As a homeschooler, the major selling points of the program for me are that it's:
All inclusive. There are no additional teacher's manuals to buy, read through, keep up with, etc.
Affordable. Pretty self explanatory, but many homeschoolers are single income families.
Tailored to the child's interests. This program reminds me somewhat of the Bob Book series, but to me, a major benefit to this program is that you can choose the topic your child would enjoy most. Obviously one of the major benefits of homeschooling is that you can custom fit your child's education to their interests.
Finally, I think the fact that Dr. Burton has a professional background in education, but developed the program to help her daughter is an interesting point. Her professional accomplishments add credibility to the product, but ultimately many products that are developed for classroom use don't really translate well to one on one homeschool use. Knowing that she developed it to be used at home, in a one on one atmosphere, is an important point.
— Lisa, Homeschooler, Texas
In regards to Zachary, your series has been very helpful. He\'s able to associate the words with the pictures and has his favorites, which for right now is Chrissa\'s Cat and Thor the Train. His confidence has risen with each story. Although I purchased the program in November, I just started using it consistently in January, mostly focusing on Series A books and some B. The reason I purchased your series was my son\'s birthday came after the Sept. 1st cut off date for kindergarten this past year, but he showed signs that he was ready to learn how to read. Although I do have Zachary in a day care / preschool setting, I\'ve recognize he\'s one of many kids and your message on WGN hit home with me as a parent that I\'m the one responsible for making sure Zachary hits his milestones. As a working parent, this reading series has been my best investment for Zachary this year:).
— Sandra King, Illinois
The Stepping Stones Together program is a wonderful way for families to engage in literacy activities at home. This program encompasses all of the vital components of literacy. Children not only have an opportunity to practice reading and writing skills, but comprehension strategies are embedded within each story, thus preparing children for classroom learning. Equally as important, the books are created with high-interest content, which will help ignite an excitement for reading at an early age. The Stepping Stones Together program is an effective tool to make literacy fun and rewarding.
— Jennifer, First grade teacher, Glencoe, IL
Thanks to Stepping Stones Together, my daughter has absolute enthusiasm for reading. She runs around spelling words and proudly reads her Stepping Stones books. It’s only been a week and there’s a noticeable difference in her reading abilities. She loved designing her own personal book with her name on the cover. She’ll proudly announce daily a new word she learned and how to spell it. Then she will sit and write the word over and over because she feels as though she accomplished something. It’s like a light went off. I highly recommend the program. As a mom who likes to work with her children, it’s very rewarding to see your child feeling so prideful when learning, reading, and writing. Thank you!
— Stephanie- Parent, Deerfield, IL
Dr. Burton has developed a valuable and meaningful early reading program with Stepping Stones Together. She has incorporated the vital components of a literacy program necessary for the acquisition of early reading skills. The most frequently used sight words in early readers are integrated with high interest content to provide youngsters with the vocabulary and comprehension skills required for reading with meaning. Literal and higher level comprehension skills that promote critical thinking are an important feature of Stepping Stones Together as children talk, write, and/or draw their responses to the literature. Instructions for teaching the program are explicitly stated by Dr. Burton, as she explains how parents can implement reading strategies that all effective readers use, such as predicting, rereading, decoding, and using picture clues.
Furthermore, the program is motivational for young learners, as it provides for positive reinforcement of acquired skills, as well as learning games, not to mention the valuable time spent with parents in productive activities.
As a classroom teacher and reading specialist for almost 40 years, I appreciate the value of an early start reading program that originates in the home. Stepping Stones Together is also a wonderful program to reinforce and extend literacy skills learned in pre-school or elementary school, especially over the summer, when many children unfortunately “lose” some of the academic progress acquired during the school year. I look forward to using it with my own grandchild!
Joan Freud, Reading Specialist
— Joan Freud, Northbrook, IL
Dr. Burton has uniquely made Stepping Stones Together an incredible way for busy parents to spend time with their children in a fun yet educational way. Not only is this rewarding for the child, but it lets the parents get involved in one of the most important roles as an educator. This program is phenomenal and I highly recommend utilizing it with your children!
— Anat Aszodi Lansky MD, Illinois
Stepping Stones Together is a very family friendly program that is easy to use. The program is geared toward interests in children’s literature, incorporates writing, comprehension and critical thinking skills. Children and parents can keep track of their progress and skill building and are positively rewarded for their success with their own certificate after the completion of each level. The graphics are kid friendly and helpful checklists are provided for parents to assess their child’s reading readiness with the Alphabet and Sound identification sheets. Not to mention that children can personalize their own library of books with their own coloring. This program is very affordable and a great family activity to do together To foster an appreciation of Reading, a child must be provided with opportunities to read which will ensure their future success in school and as lifelong learners. This program encompasses those opportunities and allows the parents to ignite the PASSION for Reading at a very early age.
— Cheryl Wrobel- Special Education Teacher, River Grove, IL
In today’s day and age it is becoming increasingly difficult for parents and caretakers to find time to spend with their children. Stepping stones together is a unique facilitator and means to make this time spent together both rewarding and educational. As a pediatrician in the community I understand the plasticity of a child’s developing mind. Unbeknownst to most, the pre-kindergarten timeframe is one of the most important times for children to develop the tools necessary for effective lifelong learning. The interactive process utilized by Dr. Burton in her breakthrough program seamlessly integrates both reading development, comprehension and of course motivational tools that are essential for childhood development.
I strongly endorse ‘stepping stones together’ as a fantastic method for parents to give their children a jump start on the educational process!
Justin D. Kriezelman, MD FAAP
Attending physician, Pediatric Emergency Medicine; Associate professor of Pediatrics, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine
— Justin Kriezelman MD, Chicago, IL
Parents who work with their children on beginning reading skills provide their children with an important and scientifically proven foundation in literacy that will lead to proficient and lifelong literacy.
Timothy Rasinski, Ph.D.
— Timothy Rasinski, Kent State University
Stepping Stones Together is a wonderful program for children to use with their parents. Very often, children are interested in taking the next steps toward reading, and parents don't have the time to sit down and work with their child. This is an easy way for parents and children to work together. Kids will love the variety of stories, and they will be highly motivated by this program. I am thrilled that the program also incorporates comprehension questions at the end of each story. I have been a preschool teacher for 12 years, and this is one of the best early reading programs I have seen. Your child will be excited to learn and read!
— Katie Froelich, Pre-school teacher, Glencoe, IL
Since this program is made for children a little older than my daughter, I modified the incentives and the daily writing practice sheet to be more age appropriate for her. We did read the stories over and over which is normal in our house anyways. She is at an age where we have to listen to the same music again and again, as well as books. She likes the repetition but it shows that she is learning something because we read some of the animal books and she would tell me what the pictures were. I did print out some of the stories for her to use as coloring books as well. Coloring is a big thing in our house, so we talked about the pictures that she was coloring while she was doing it. Even though, she's not quite reading yet, her recognition of pictures and things is great.
— Abbey Fatica
From the moment I met Dr. Burton, I instantly saw her passion and determination to help parents help their children love reading. Stepping Stones Together engages families with practical and affordable literacy activities. The materials are easy to understand and provide a solid foundation in building children's confidence and competence in reading.
Dr. Danny Brassell, America's Leading Reading Ambassador (www.dannybrassell.com)
— Danny Brassell