The book itself is just black and white text, with the script for the parent to read in small print and the words and sentences for the child to read in bigger print. No bells and whistles here....
And really, that's good, because it forces your new reader to focus on the words and not get distracted by pictures, which can cause them to guess rather than read. But if you have a child that really loves bells and whistles, OPGTR can be a really tough sell.
To be fair, I should point out that there are some games and other fun little activities in the book, and the number of those seems just right to me. I am not one who loves doing lots of hands-on stuff every day, it just stresses me out. Looking ahead, I can see that she will soon be reading the word "pop" just before she pops a paper bag and that we will be making up silly sentences and playing go-fish type games. To me, this book is plenty "fun" enough and I really appreciate it's simplicity. My six year old, however, does not agree!
I started OPGTR with Rose shortly after she turned five. She was very resistant and just generally did not seem ready, so I put it away for a few months. Again, she did not seem ready, so I put it away for a few more months. Shortly before she turned six, I brought it back out. She was more interested, but clearly did not find the book terribly engaging. It was, in her words, boring. I spent a lot of time researching other programs. All About Reading jumped out as one I thought she might love, but I did not love the price-ouch!
So instead of buying a new program, I set about trying to make OPGTR more fun. Here's how we are doing it now!
First, we set up our reading lesson on the back porch whenever it is nice. We have our OPGTR book, a pad of stickers, a small notebook, any OPGTR flashcards we need that day, plus a few special friends to help us.
Today, we have three characters from Frozen joining in the lesson! They take turns reading the words to us, with much encouragement and help from Rose.
Instead of reading out of the book, which can be a bit overwhelming, I put the words we will read on our magnet board. This way, it is much easier to focus, plus the word looks a little more interesting. Our letter tiles and magnetic board are both sold by Peace Hill Press. They have seen better days, as you can see here, but are still going strong.
After one of our "helpers" has read three words they get to choose a sticker to add to our reading notebook. I chose an inexpensive notebook and stickers we had around the house; I may eventually get a more special notebook or sticker book for this.
Our "helpers" take turns reading the words and adding stickers to the book. They can add stickers even if if takes a few tries to get the word, I am trying to encourage effort rather than perfection!
We finish the lesson by reading the short story that is at the end of most lessons. Rose is usually eager to have a turn at this point-she doesn't seem to realize that she has been doing the work all along! She reads the story sentences straight from the book, I do not put them on the magnetic board. I ordered this handy little reading helper help her keep her place. You just set the reading helper over the line of print to be read, and it is highlighted for you! These are available from Rainbow Resource Center.
At this point, if she is up for doing more, we choose a beginning reader or two to read, like one of our BOB books.
Rose has really blossomed with this method and is much more willing to put in the effort needed to learn how to read. I often see her trying to puzzle out words on her own and she likes to show off her new skills to Daddy. I don't know if this method will continue to work in the long run, but it has definitely gotten her over the initial bump of sounding out those three letter words! And it's way cheaper than switching to AAR!