The Pride Reading Program was developed for use at the Pride Learning Center as well as for in-home tutoring, particularly for use with children who have difficulty learning to read. The programs's Orton-Gillingham-based methodology can just as well be used to teach all children to read. The Pride Reading Program now delivers the methodology for parents or tutors to use at home. The program uses a combination of online lessons and packages of student materials. There is no additional cost for student materials beyond the monthly subscription fee for access to the program.
The Orton-Gillingham method teaches intensive phonics using multi-sensory approaches. It is highly structured and scripted. It teaches phonograms, sometimes even for words that are treated as sight words by other programs. In the Pride Reading Program there are three lessons for every skill: introduction, practice, and reinforcement. These three lessons for each skill are grouped together as a module. Students need to master each skill before moving on to the next module. Simple assessments that you can access free on Pride Reading’s website help you choose the correct level to begin.
From the scope and sequence, it appears that the number of modules per level varies from 15 to 23, so the time required to complete each level will likewise vary. Students will likely complete a number of levels in one school year, but the entire program should take two or more years to complete.
It is expected that instruction should take about an hour a day, but many lessons will take more than one hour depending upon each student’s ability. You will simply stop at an appropriate place and pick up where you left off rather than try to complete an entire lesson within a certain number of lesson periods.
The online teacher’s guide is the heart of the program. Student packets are shipped to you as you reach each new level. The first packet includes a student workbook, flashcards (called sound cards), a poster, a whiteboard, whiteboard markers, a reading guide strip, and letter tiles.
When you first access the program, the online starting screen shows two choices. One is for whichever level course you will be starting and the other is for Pride Reading Program Training Videos and Sample Lessons. The parent or teacher should start by watching the training videos to understand techniques used in the program.
Once you understand how course components are to be used, you can start the first module. The Beginning Consonants section will be the starting point for children who still need to learn the consonants and their sounds. Children must know these fairly well before beginning Level 1 – Yellow Book. Levels 1 through 8 continue with lessons that might be used through about second or third grade. Students who will begin the program in Level 1 rather than Beginning Consonants will review beginning consonants briefly before moving on.
Level 1 introduces the short a sound. Children are expected to be able to read words such as man, ran, van, and jag in the first lesson. They are taught from the very beginning to distinguish individual sounds and phonograms even if words are already familiar to them. For example, the first lesson of Level 1 includes this teacher's script for Step 5 that he or she will read to the student: “Put your finger under the first word. Underline the vowel with your pen. What sound does the vowel make? What is the first letter in the word? Point to each letter and give its sound. Go back to the beginning of the word, glide your finger under the word and say it fast.”
Similar interactive methods are used continually throughout the program. Following the scripts, the teacher is always teaching and eliciting responses from the student. Children might respond with oral answers, by using their fingers to write on the palm of their hand or in the air, with hand motions such as sliding their finger or tapping their arm, by writing on the whiteboard or in their student workbook, by using movable letter tiles, by using "sound markers" (round plastic winks) with game boards, or by reading. Children will also write phonograms, words, and sentences from dictation and practice reading lists of words as quickly and accurately as they can.
A set of Sound Cards is used to teach phonetic concepts. Sound cards are black printed on white for consonants and green printed on white for vowels. Other colors are used for some of the other phonograms. (Letter tiles also highlight vowels in a different color than consonants.) More Sound Cards are added as children progress through the levels of the program. A separate set of cards is used to present sight words.
While lessons are tightly scripted, they still sometimes ask students for their own subjective responses. For instance, to help students develop reading comprehension skills, the teacher might ask a child what they thought was the most important event in a story or to predict what they think will happen next. Graphic organizers are sometimes used to help children with reading skills such as sequencing events in a story.
The student workbook is used throughout the lessons, but it is entirely dependent upon the instruction by the parent or teacher. While it has word lists, sentences, and stories to read, it also has graphic organizers, pages for writing from dictation, fluency drills, and games. At various points, the online teacher manual will direct you to do a progress check using assessments toward the back of the student workbook.
The sample lesson on the publisher’s website shows how the program works using each component. This is a great way to get a quick overview of the program in just a couple of minutes.
In the online teacher manual, each module leads you step by step through the three lessons on a particular skill. For example, there are three lessons each on short a and short i. While you can move around within a module, once you move to the next module, the only way to go back is to go the end of a lesson and click on “Previous Unit.” However, the parent or teacher will probably have become familiar enough with the material that he or she can quickly review a concept that was covered earlier without having to find the original lesson.
The Pride Reading Program can easily be taught by parents or teachers without any preparatory training. Lessons are so detailed and thorough that whoever is teaching can simply follow the lesson plans. This type of thorough instruction coupled with multi-sensory learning activities can be especially helpful for children with learning difficulties. However, because it is so thorough, children who grasp reading concepts quickly might find it excessively repetitive, so it might not be a good fit for those children. While the cost for Pride Reading is higher than other popular Orton-Gillingham programs used by homeschoolers, Pride Reading is the easiest to use.