phonics early reading phonemic awareness reading instruction methodologies reviews struggling readers synthetic phonics

Children Learning Reading Review – All You Need To Know Before Buying! (2024 UPDATE!)

Children Learning Reading in a Nutshell!

Who is it for? Perfect for young children, including toddlers! It’s a fantastic choice for boosting reading skills at home, especially if your child is in school and could use some extra practice.
System: A combination of Phonemic Awareness principles and Synthetic Phonics.
Levels: Everything is included in one single level. Takes your child to second grade level approx.
Reading and Spelling?: Reading instruction only. It doesn’t cover spelling specifically.
It is for you if: You want an easy-to-implement program, with short and simple lessons, based on solid phonics principles.
It isn’t for you if: You prefer a multi-sensory program.
Price: $89 $39 (special 2024 offer!)
Guarantee: 60-day money-back guarantee.

Special Bonus!

This program has allowed me to share with you a sample of their Phonemic Awareness/Phonics worksheets.

NOTE: Should you decide to buy this program, bear in mind that these worksheets are offered as an additional one-off purchase. You can still do the program without them, but they are a nice complement to the rest of materials in the program.

*Affiliate disclosure: This post may include affiliate links, meaning I can get a little commission if you buy from them at no additional cost to you.

Intro: Children Learning Reading

Can Children Learning Reading help your child become a fluent reader following a 12 weeks program? Is it really possible to teach very small children to read?

And… Can struggling older readers really catch up with the Children Learning Reading program?

If you having been looking into the Children Learning Reading program, these would be the sort of questions that go through your mind.

I know, because I had the same questions!

Some of the promises, especially the ones about teaching toddlers to read, seemed too far of a stretch!

But I was really curious about it, especially after hearing the story of how the creator of this program was able to teach his 4 children to read using the strategies on the program before the age of 3.

I was also ready to really roll up my sleeves when it came to supporting my child!

Children Learning Reading Cover
Children Learning Reading Program – STAGE 1 Book

In this review of the Children Learning Reading program, I will address all of the mentioned questions, and more.

You will get a very detailed explanation of what the Children Learning Reading program is and what you can expect.

After reading this review, I hope that you’ll be able to decide whether the Children Learning Reading program is the right choice for you or not.

Why did I get interested in Learning Reading Program?

I thought it’d be helpful to share with you a bit of background information around why I got interested in the Learning Reading Program in the first place.

But, if you are in a rush, you may prefer to go directly into the nitty gritty of the review…
Skip this section and go to What is the Children Learning Reading program section.

The main reason why I decided to look for alternative answers in reading instruction is because I was less than impressed by the standard methods for teaching our children to read at school.


Children as young as 2 years old can learn to read! Reading stimulates intellectual development, making your baby smarter. Click here to watch a 2 year old child read.

Well, they are based on an over reliance on sight words, memory and guessing (the worst habit you can get your child into!), without proper explanations about how the decoding system works.

When it comes to phonics instruction, the explanations offered at school tend to mainly focus on the first letter sound in words!

I could witness in my own home how ineffective (and boring!) that way of teaching reading this is for a kid.

Was my kid supposed to learn the 30- 50K + words (average number of words in an adult’s vocabulary) this way? Really?? Apart from being an absolute torture for the child, is that even possible?

Well, I reached the conclusion that it simply isn’t possible. First-hand experience and common sense point in that direction.

And, do you know what?

Are we supposed to memorize all words in the English language?

Scientists in the visual memory area (not related to reading research, therefore unbiased) have indicated that we simply don’t have the cognitive capacity to remember 30 – 90,000 words for immediate retrieval.

So, my quest in search for a better solution started…

With so many different tools and programs for teaching children to read, how to know which ones are truly helpful and based on sound/effective principles?

The first thing I tried is some very popular apps.

But I was not amazed by them. Don’t take me wrong… They have their place. They are fun, full of songs and somehow helpful, but definitely not the answer that I was looking for…

A couple more points here too, for full disclosure:

  • My background is languages and communication. So, this is a terrain that I love and where I feel confident. I really wanted to understand and master the English decoding system myself, so I could be a better teacher to my daughter.
    However, as you will find out on this review, I don’t think you need any specific background in order to use this program! Any mom or dad can do this with motivation… And a good strategy!
  • Even though I have been living in English speaking countries for a long time (Gosh, almost 15 years now!), I am native Spanish speaker…Why do I even mention this last point? Why do I think it is relevant?

    Because, in Spanish, we NEVER use sight words for teaching children to read, only phonics.  Like English, Spanish is an alphabet-based language, so we always use phonics principles. On the other hand, unlike English, Spanish does not have so many irregularities, and “weird” letter combinations, so we don’t really have to be so systematic and strategic in the approach we use in order for phonics instruction to work.
    Anyway, after learning a ton about the decoding system in English, I still think that phonics is the best method for learning to read EnglishWhen you have a strong decoding system based on good/ solid phonics principles, you are set up for reading success!

And, finally, the last caveat:

  • My daughter was already 5 years old, so she already knew some literacy basics. This program covers these basics, and it is designed to teach kids to read that start totally from scratch. I According to the program’s author, it can even teach toddlers to read. I haven’t tested it with a toddler though. My daughter was already 5 years old when we used it, and it was her first year of formal reading instruction at school.

What is the Children Learning Reading Program?

The children learning reading program is a step-by-step program that helps parents to teach their children to read.

It is based on phonics principles, and one of its peculiarities is that it has been designed to teach even really young children to read. As long as your child is able to speak, this program claims that it will help you teach your child to read fluently.

It is based on the combination of strong phonemic awareness principles and synthetic phonics.
This is a pretty unique approach that I had not seen in any other program.

This program has allowed me to share with you a sample of their Phonemic Awareness/Phonics worksheets.

You can download them here!

Should you decide to get this program, bear in mind that these worksheets are offered as an additional one-off purchase. You can still do the program without them, but they are a nice complement to the rest of materials you may want to consider.

How does the Children Learning Reading Program work?

The program is designed in two stages, the foundational stage and the advanced stage.

Each stage comes with its own manual and lessons. These lessons are short and will take between 2 minutes to 15 minutes/day to complete.

If these sessions are too long for your kid (especially if you are using the program to teach a toddler to read), you can spread out shorter lessons throughout the day.

However, consistency is important. In fact, way more important that longer lessons. You want to commit to do these lessons at least 3-4 times/week. So, my advice is: make it a routine, so it becomes a no-brainer.

For instance, every morning, after breakfast, we are going to sit down and have a lesson. Or, if your child goes to school, right after our afternoon snack, we have a lesson.

The program includes some tips on how to engage children on the learning experience. This is useful especially for those children that still have short attention spans (very young children – toddlers). As mentioned before, this program has been designed to teach even toddlers to read!

For instance, these are a couple of useful tips that the author shares in the program when working with young children.

#1 Assume that distractions will be a part of the process. Especially some children get more side tracked than others. Instead of immediately trying to re-focus them when they get distracted, the author believes it’s better to give them a short moment to indulge their distraction. Trying to force them back too quickly can make it harder for them to concentrate. So, if your child becomes sidetracked, consider letting them briefly explore it, unless it completely disrupts the session.

#2 Don’t worry if your child is “resisting” to read longer sentences. It’s pretty normal, especially with younger children. With time and practice it will all become natural.

Besides, I noticed that  the program is strategically created so the initial lessons are short and easily digestible for really young learners.

The main objective of Stage #1 is to get your child to develop the foundational skills of learning to read fluently.

After completing this initial stage (28 lessons in total), your child will know the letters and its sounds, and should be able to retrieve all of this information automatically.

This means he/she will be able to read simple words without effort, such us CVC words (this is words that follow the structure: consonant vowel consonant words – the most basic word structure in English) or even more complex words, such as CCVC (consonant, consonant, vowel, consonant).

As the program focuses on making all of this retrieval process automatic, by the end of stage 1 you will witness your child reading full sentences, simple stories and rhymes.

Once your child has mastered these foundational skills and is able to decode these “simpler” sentences/ stories automatically, it is time to move on the Manual #2.

In the Stage #2, your child is introduced in a systematic way to more advanced and challenging concepts, such us letter combination sounds (for example, the letter combinations “CH”, “TH”, “SH”), the idea that we can represent the same sound in different ways (for instance, the /f/ sound can be represented with an “f”, like in fan, “ph”, like in photo, or “gh”, like in laugh), or even more complex things, like -R controlled syllables.

As I said, the beauty is that your child will build upon the knowledge s/he already has, as s/he is introduced to all of these more difficult concepts in a systematic, logic order.

This way the child doesn’t get overwhelmed with the amount of new information she/he receives at the same time.

What materials do you get?

The standard package includes:

2 manuals:
  • Manual #1: Foundational Stage.
  • Manual #2: Advanced Phonics Stage.
Children Learning Reading - Manual 2
Children Learning Reading – Manual 2
Children Learning Reading Cover
Children Learning Reading Program – Manual 1.

These manuals include all the information you need to understand what the program is all about and what you need to do with your child.

At the end of the manuals, you will find the lessons for each day.

You’ll just need to follow the script given for each day!

I must say that the manuals are pretty lengthy, especially the first one, as the author offers a superb explanation on the principles behind the program, the scientific evidence that supports this approach, why this system works, what exactly you need to do, etc.

Even though I found this information fascinating and really useful (and I would recommend that you eventually read the manuals fully), if you just want to get started right away, you don’t need to read the entire manual all in one go at the beginning.

There are just around 35 pages that you can’t skip before starting.

On a video inside the membership area, the creator of the program walks you through the specific pages that you absolutely can’t skip before starting.

Inside Children Learning Reading Membership area: The author of this curriculum, Jim Yang, welcoming you to the program and walking you through it.


  • Fun-to-Read Lesson Stories for Stage 1: These stories will be appropriate for the level of phonics of your child at that point. They are really important to consolidate what your child has learned in each lesson without getting overwhelmed or confused.
  • Fun-to-Read Lesson Stories for Stage 2: Again, these stories are appropriate for the level of phonics your child is at. Great for putting into practice (in the context of real stories!) what he/she’s learned.

Lesson Stories Sample.
Letter sounds MP3 audios:

Don’t assume that you already knows these!

This is like a crash course for adults! Make sure that you are teaching your child the right letter sounds!

It may seem too obvious, but it is crucial that you get this step right.

Why? One extremely common mistake is adding the /uh/ sound at the end of consonants when teaching letter sounds. I have spotted this mistake so many times (in YouTube videos, in apps, in well-intentioned parents and carers, even in some educators…). It’s not surprising at all, as this is how most adults were taught letter sounds in their childhood!

The program shows you how to exactly pronounce letter sounds, so your child won’t add any extra /uh/ sounds when attempting to blend sounds into words!

Believe it or not, even educators oftentimes teach letter sounds incorrectly, which leads to real problems when children attempt to sound out words themselves and blend sounds.

INSIDE CHILDREN LEARNING READING MEMBERSHIP AREA: Learning how to pronounce letter sounds


Nursery Rhymes are a fantastic way to develop Phonemic Awareness in your child.

As the name indicates, they are all about rhymes and playing with the sounds, and children have a natural predisposition for them!

Do not underestimate the power of these apparently “simple” old songs!

Sample Nursery Rhyme (Children Learning Reading): Little Miss Muffet


This list has nothing to do with the typical list of high frequency words, Dolch words or Fry words that you are probably used to!

The definition this program has for sight words is totally different. These sight words are “words presenting real irregularities/ exceptions to the norm, and therefore can’t be decoded phonetically.”

The idea behind the program is to keep sight words (as per the definition I have just shared) to a bare minimum. Memorizing words by sight should be the last resort.

You will be amazed that there are probably less words than you were expecting!


You will have forever access to Children Learning Reading’s membership site. This includes access to any updates this program may have in the future.

Children Learning Reading Premium package: What does it include?

The premium package includes all the materials listed above, plus:


These are video recordings of the creator of Children Learning Reading teaching his own child, Ethan, to read following his program.

Total video length: 2 hours and 24 minutes.

INSIDE MEMBERSHIP AREA (Premium Package): Lesson Video Recordings

This series of videos documents a 12-week learn-to-read period while Jim Yang, creator of Children Learning Reading, was teaching his second child, Ethan, to read. By the way, Ethan was a 2.5 year old toddler at the time!

This is such a gem! You’ll see how things are put into practice in real life, and witness how Ethan goes from nothing (not even knowing letter letter sounds to reading words and sentences).

On top of that, in these videos the creator discusses, shares and highlights critical key points you need to take into account.

Not only will you feel inspired by these videos, but you’ll also learn from the ‘real-life’ experience of the program creator


It is a pity that these only came with the premium package, because, in my opinion, they are an essential part of it!

Have a look at what they look like in the image below!

Children Learning Reading Print Outs Example

They may look like a simple little thing, but they are amazing, powerful tool. So, do not underestimate their value!

Print them out, have them handy, maybe carry them always in your pocket and get your child to practice with them every time you have an opportunity.

It may only take a couple of minutes, but when you get into this habit, these minutes do add up! Repetition is key for sticking those letters sounds in your little one’s long-term memory, and for automating the process of reading.


A book with colorful illustrations containing all the rhymes included in the stage 2 lessons.

How much does Children Learning Reading Cost?


The standard package costs $69 dollars, and the premium package costs $89 dollars.

Besides, the program also has a 2-weeks trial for $9.

This program is a very affordable option, taking into consideration everything is included in one single level.


Children Learning Reading is offering a special discount in 2024.

You can get the program for only $39!

Hopefully, this will still be active when you read this! Find out below! 

> Check final price on the
Children Learning Reading’s website here! <<

With regards to this, I also wanted to share an important note from the official Children Learning Reading program: “Many resellers of the Children Learning Reading Program claim that they provide special discounts to buyers when buying from their links. Please note that the Children Learning Reading Program does not come with any special discount, other than the ones mentioned on the Children Learning Reading official website itself”

I hope you got the point clear – If the program offers discounts, they will be advertised on the official website itself. Do not trust anyone claiming to have special discounts or coupons only if you buy from them. 

Link to Children Learning Reading’s official website here.

How to buy the Children Learning Reading Program?

As mentioned on the previous section, the only way to buy is through their official website here.

Once you buy, you get instant access to the program’s membership area.

On the membership area, you can view and download the materials included on the program.

Is Children Learning reading an app or a computer-based program?

Children Learning Reading is not an app or a computer-based program. As explained before, you have a membership area where you can access and download all of the materials.

The lessons are to be done offline, on short (approx. 5 – 15 minutes long) one-one-one lessons with your child.

This, in my opinion, is an advantage.

Even in this time and age, nothing replaces being taught reading by a human (especially if that human is your parent!) on a one-one or small-group setting.

So, is Children Learning Reading just a pdf?

No, it’s way more than a manual to teach your child to read in pdf format. As explained before, there’s a membership area from which you can download the different materials included in this program, but also other audiovisual materials, such us video content and audio content.

The materials in pdf format are:

Manual number #1 (pdf format)
Manual number #2 (pdf format)
Story Lessons (pdf format)
Nursery Rhymes (pdf format)
Stage 2 Rhymes (pdf format)
The most common sight words (pdf format)
Lessons printouts (pdf format)
Phonics worksheets (pdf format) – add on!

The audiovisual you’ll have access to are:

Letter sounds mp3
Video lessons (total: 2 hours and 24 minutes)

Bear in mind that some of these materials (including printouts, stage 2 rhymes and video lessons) are only included in the premium package, as explained before.
This is the package I decided to go for, actually, as for me it was important to have access to the video lessons.


Children Learning Reading is offering a special discount in 2024.

You can get the whole program for only $39! (Premium Package!)

Hopefully, this offer will still be active when you read this! Find out below! 

> Check final price on the
Children Learning Reading’s website here! <<

Who is behind the Children Learning Reading program?

The creator of the program is Jim Yang. Jim is a veteran literacy teacher who, disappointed with the standard approach for reading instruction, developed his own program for teaching reading.

Then, they used it to teach their own children to read before turning 3 years old.

There are various clips of their young children reading. Probably you may have seen some of them.

They are pretty amazing!

Who is this program for?

This program designed for parents with young children between the ages of 2 to 6 years old. However, it can be used with older struggling readers too.

You may want to skip some of the initial lessons, as your child might already know some of the basics.

But the system can work for teaching anyone, of any age (even adults) to read. The principles are the same.

As you are moving along the program, maybe skipping some parts if you are using the program with an older child, test your child’s abilities and knowledge first!

Do not assume, make sure s/he knows before skipping lessons!

What is so unique about this program?

As I mentioned before, it is based on a combination of Phonemic Awareness and Synthetic Phonics principles.

This is a pretty unique approach that I haven’t seen in any other program. And the good thing is that this unique approach is also very effective.

Confused by these terms? Ok, hold on!

In short, Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the individual sounds in words.

These individual sounds are called phonemes.

 For instance, a child with phonemic awareness will know the word cat is formed by the individual sounds /k/ /a/ /t/.

He/she will also know that if you add the /s/ sound at the end of this word, you get the word cats. And if you replace one of its sounds, you get a new word.

For instance, if you swap the initial /k/ sound on the word cat, with the /b/ sound, you get the bat. Phonics is different from phonemic awareness.

If interested, for further information about phonemic awareness, you can check this post.

The program truly follows the motto “Learning to Hear is the First Step of Learning to Read”.

Why does the program put so much emphasis on Phonemic Awareness?

Because latest research is overwhelms shows hat Phonemic Awareness is the #1 predictor for future reading success (or of reading failure).

 A program that focuses so greatly on the development of phonemic awareness from an early age is quite exceptional.

So, the first step is learning to hear the sounds in words, before you even attempt to read. This step, while crucial, is usually overlooked.

It is hard at first, as the kids might only be able to hear the first sounds in words. But after some practice, they can become masters at it.

And it will really facilitate the path for learning to read and become a fluent reader!

Another pretty unique feature of the program is that it doesn’t force your child to explicitly memorize any phonics rules!

I believe that this might be because the program was originally designed for young children.

Inside Membership Area (VIDEO LESSONS): The creator of the program teaching his child to read following his own method.

The creator may have thought that it would be nearly impossible to get young kids to memorize phonics rules.

And I agree with him.

Phonics rules can be helpful, but you certainly need a certain degree of intellectual maturity in order to memorize them… Or even understand them!

Besides, did you know that some very popular phonics rules have been found to only work in as little as 40% of the cases… Which makes you wonder why should you even introduce them in the first place!?

So, I agree with the creator’ premise around phonics rules Plus, it is truly liberating not having to necessarily teach them!

However, in my case, since I am working with a slightly older student -and we’ve already covered all the basics, that is, Stage #1 of the program- I am introducing some of them based on the following 3 criteria:

  1. I feel she is mentally ready for understanding / memorizing the rule.
  2. The rule is simple and truly helpful (doesn’t break more times than it works!)
  3. It won’t confuse her more than help her (if I detect any sign of confusion, I stop)

Why do I do that?

You obviously don’t need to! The program is designed to work perfectly fine without introducing phonics rules.
The main reason is that I feel she’s now ready for some of them, and I find they can be helpful for spelling purposes.

By the way, if you go ahead and purchase the Children Learning Reading program, and you would like me to share with you some phonics rules that I have found helpful, you can contact me!

I’ll be happy to share them with you!

Why should you teach a toddler to read? Is it even possible?

Many parents (and even educators!) will give you a weird look if you tell them that you are trying to teach a very young child to read.

I am sure that you are skeptical too! In fact, I was super skeptical about this point!

But I can now see how the lessons and the program in general is structured to work with really young children

Having said that, I haven’t tried the program with a toddler myself. As explained before, I started using this program with my 5-year-old kid, so she was definitely not a toddler!

As the main problem you face with toddlers is their attention span, the program has been designed in small digestible lessons.

You also get advice throughout the book on how to work on the attention span of really small children.

And, as they say, “the proof is on the pudding”: In the video lessons you can be a witness of how the creator of Children Learning Reading actually applied the program to his 2.5 year-old son. 

As to why you should even try to teach your young child to read… Well, learning to read at a young age offers numerous advantages for the child.

Studies have consistently found that teaching a toddler to read and helping children develop phonemic awareness well before entering school can significantly improve their development in reading and spelling. This gives them a true head-start at school..

Besides,  studies have also found that learning to read at a young age literally “makes you smarter”.  The simple fact of being introduced to early reading led to higher intelligence levels in identical twins. You can read more about this on this post.

Bear in mind one very important caveat here, though: You should only try to teach a child to read once he/she is able to speak more clearly, capable of expressing him/herself using simple sentences.

Typically, this happens around the 2.5 year – 3 year old mark. There is really no point in starting if the child isn’t at that point yet!

Pros of Children Learning Reading

  • Unique sound approach based on synthetic phonics principles and phonemic awareness.
  • Can be applied to children from a really early age.
  • Step-by-step lessons designed to be quick and effective.
  • Lesson stories are appropriate for your child’s level of phonics.
  • Introduces phonics in a systematic way, strategically designed to build upon what your child has learned previously, without overwhelming him/her.
  • Fantastic video-lessons where you’ll learn from the author how he uses his own program.
  • Excellent value for money! Everything is included in one single level – Compare this with what you end up paying when you buy curricula that have many different levels!
  • This program is intended to teach your child to read, and that is what you’ll do. That is the ultimate goal. This is very different to some tools or games around literacy, which are somehow helpful, and nothing else.
  • Comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.
  • Excellent reviews and happy customers. Over 112,000 parents have used this program plans to successfully teach their children to read!

Cons of Children Learning Reading

  • This is not a spelling program. This is really not that important if you are planning to use it with a young child or a toddler. In those cases, I personally wouldn’t introduce spelling lessons just yet. I’d just stick to the program, as spelling is hard… It’s probably just going to confuse him/her and delay your kid’s progress. Plus, rest assured, a strong phonics foundation will help him/her become a better speller too in the future!
  • Phonics activities worksheets not included. But, don’t worry, they are not necessary for the program to work! Just a nice addition to have. Their Phonemic Awareness/Phonics Worksheets can be bought separately for $29 (one time fee only).

    If you want a free sample of these phonics worksheets (so you can assess whether you’d like to purchase them or not in addition to the program), you can get one for free here.
    By the way, you can also get their learning numbers and math workbook as separate one-off purchase , but I haven’t tested it, so I can’t really share my opinion about it in this review.

Verdict: Is Children Learning Reading worth it?

In my opinion, this is a high-quality program that is really worth considering.

If you are consistent (remember consistency is key to success!) you will teach your child to read. Moreover, you’ll establish a robust decoding system rooted in phonics and phonemic awareness for your child

These principles form the very strong foundations needed to build a solid ‘literacy house’ for your child. Learning to read in this way is truly a gift. Your child will be forever thankful!

For all of these reasons, I believe that program is worth the money and gets my recommendation.


2024 Update: Is Children Learning Reading Still Relevant in 2024?

With the rise of new technology-based solutions to teach reading (especially since AI has made its way into our lives), many people wonder if programs that have been around for a while (as is the case with Children Learning Reading) are still relevant and worth it.

In my opinion, the short answer is yes.

Old-school programs, where instruction is delivered by a human, are still the cornerstone of reading instruction. It’s phenomenal if, on top of that, you decide to use a good-quality literacy app to reinforce learning. This trend is called “blended learning,” and it’s gaining a lot of traction in education. Fortunately, these days there are good-quality literacy apps (or even YouTube videos and other audiovisual content) that can serve as an ‘add-on’ to your traditional learn-to-read lessons, speeding up the process. However, they aren’t a substitute for them.

Furthermore, the fact that this program has been around for so long and is still highly regarded speaks a lot about its quality. It’s passed the time test!


Children Learning Reading is offering a special discount in 2024.

You can get the program for only $39!

Hopefully, this will still be active when you read this! Find out below! 

> Check final price on the
Children Learning Reading’s website here! <<

If you are still unsure and would like to learn about other  learn-to-read programs alternatives, check out our epic post about the Best Learn-to-Read Phonics Programs!  We go through (in detail) a selection of the top phonics programs out there, in 2024! 

Prefer to watch in video??

2 replies on “Children Learning Reading Review – All You Need To Know Before Buying! (2024 UPDATE!)”

[…] If you know me, it is not secret that I really like this program. I personally used it with my older daughter and her progress was amazing. I actually wrote a very detailed review of the Children Learning Reading program that you can check here. […]

This review provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of the Children Learning Reading program, which is helpful for parents and educators looking to improve their children’s reading skills.

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