Ball Stick Bird reading

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  • Reviewed on Saturday, April 15, 2006
  • Grades Used: k-1
  • Dates used: 2005-06
I have used another program for learning phonics, (which we will still continue to use, as it is multi-grade) and was at the 'in-between' stage of having learned all 74 phonograms, and wanted to start 'real reading' when these "Vad" (a character in the series) books arrived, while we were on summer vacation- yes, I am THAT dedicated! (lol)

Anyway, my very active son and I started on the first book, which was basically a review of stuff he already knew. But by book three, he was Really getting into it, and during one session about two months ago as we were finishing Book V in Set One, he read over fifty pages in one setting!! (The print is big, and each book is @100 pages with large silly 'space adventure' drawings on each page. The entire series can be divided into two 'sets' which made it more economically feasible)

Observations? My son was in PS K last year - at end of year, he was off the charts in reading- and this district doesn't even 'teach' reading for Kindergarten! (So this, my El.Ed. wife told me, was due to my Phonics instruction with program #1) Fast Forward to this academic year (while I again took a teaching job, instead of HS'ing- my first love!) and we endured a horrible First Grade at a different PS district. But, even with the frustration we ALL experienced about PS, my son was tested by THAT School, (after my son and I had been through these books) and he came out at about end of Second grade level in reading i.e. beginning 3rd grade; and THIS is due to the B-S-B books, I am sure! The 'take home reading' we do with him that the school assigns is WAY below his level of vocabulary & comprehension- or, in his words, "Dad, this is booooring!"

The author states this (ball-stick-bird) is not a "full-orbed" language arts program. Knowing this, I still value it VERY Highly for it's giving a joy and sense of accomplishment in getting my son past that first hurdle in reading, without having to spend inordinate amounts of time doing 'B** books' or some other rudimentary reading, esp. if a child is older primary age- or what my son would have said was 'baby' readers, (as he was 6 upon entering K) .

Both my wife and her sister initially did not like the subjective element in some of the early book's drawings, as they 'might' (note quotation marks!!!) be considered not 'Christian' enough for some tender minds. (The author is not a Christian, but deals in these books with some moral decisions; these moral quandries can easily be enforced from Scriptural principles via the parent who wishes to re-enforce their own faith- FYI,the [one] picture under discussion touched on what 'looks like' the creation of the solar system, and could be misconstrued that the main character (Vad) is portrayed in a 'God'-like position)

But as my son got into the books, this became a very minor point to my wife. Indeed, my son would BEG to read the "Vad" books; he even asked me to get the Second set (Books 6-10) and when has your child EVER asked YOU to buy him harder curriculum!?

The Ball-Stick-Bird website has excellent articles, and samples of the drawings and pedagogical aspects behind it. I recommend this as a reading supplement to any beginning Language Arts Program- and your children will want to know the 'further adventures' of Vad, his sidekick Mimi, and the Vooroos!

Toni Colgrove

  • Reviewed on Sunday, February 23, 2003
  • Grades Used: pre K and up
  • Dates used: 2002 up
I love this program!! Written by a woman that has dyslexia and hjas great success with both challenged learners and with everyone else ! Based on the concept that every letter can be made with combinations of three basic shapes Ball Stick and Bird. Comes with cut out manipulatives for 'building' the letters. My son is speech delayed and I homeschooled his using (so far )the first 3 books in the series. Then at his request (of the bus ride) I let him go for the second semester of kindergarten, and he started out in their highest reading group (and is still unchallenged at school, he is staying home again next year) !! I literally never spent more than 10 minutes a day and not even every day, some days the words flowed smoothly and we did a full 10 minutes and other days it was a struggle and we just put it aside , waited a few days and picked up where we left off.

Story is science fiction and captivates my son !! I can't remember if it is Ball-sick-bird or simply Ball stick bird, or BallStickBird, you will have to try them and see which gets you to their web page.