Comments of users:    
   

To the authors of the notes that are reprinted here:   

 Thanks for the feedback.

These notes will be appreciated by other parents who may consider your testimony while they try to select one reading program from the hundreds available.

  Frank Rogers

Dea Mr. Rogers,

I ordered the S&H Manual this summer at the recommendation of Laurie Bluedorn in the book, Teaching the Trivium.  I have been so pleasantly surprised. 

 At first glance, the manual overwhelmed me, but with the Penny Primer and some study of the manual, two of my precious children (ages 5 & 6) are systematically decoding words on the pages of the Penny Primer.  Last year when I began with a “horizontal style” phonics program, I noticed the first letter of the word “hat” was decoded, but then the “at” were guessed at.  

The timings are really proving to be the key.  Thank you for teaching ME, a certified elementary teacher, how to teach reading.  I remember my “Teaching Reading” class in my credentialing program which was nothing more than a debate between phonics and “whole language”.  

I only taught 6th grade as a certified teacher, so I never got practice in teaching children how to read.  The slower readers usually went to the reading specialist.  Your program essentially takes the mystery out of teaching children to read.

But the news I really wanted to share with you was the response of one of my daughters (age 5) who was decoding the “butterfly page” for the first time.  She came to the word “mama” and systematically tried the first sound of a.  I asked her if that sounded like a word.  She shook her head.  Then she tried may-may.  And she shook her head again.  When she tried mama (with the third sound of a) she looked at me with surprise and love in her eyes and shouted, “Mama! You’re my Mama!”  And then proceeded to give me a big hug and kiss.  

And now everytime we practice the butterfly page, she reads Mama and is disappointed if I forget to throw my arms around her and hug and kiss her afterwards.  It’s our little tradition.  Truly, as you have said, one of the most rewarding things you can do with your children is to teach them to read.  This has been a treat for me that I’m so glad I didn’t miss!  Thank you!

ES, (Oct 2006)

        

Dear Mr. Rogers,

I find myself again recommending the Saltmine & Hifwip to another friend, and thought I'd check out my link to make sure it was correct.  I found myself browsing through the site, and reading the comments.  I found I just had to send mine in!
 
I have lost track of how many times I have recommended your program to my friends.  I absolutely love it.  I first bought the Saltmine & Hifwip in 2003, when I was attempting to teach my oldest how to read before our fourth child was born and I was distracted with a newborn.  I was overwhelmed with the manual at first, but after I took the time to listen to the tape while looking at the manual, it started to make a lot of sense to me.  I hung the poster on our fridge, and started teaching my oldest, who was four.
I chose not to focus on writing, so our lessons were conducted orally in the kitchen while I was making dinner.  I will freely admit to my lack of discipline in teaching phonics on a daily basis, but my son has an excellent memory.  We made it through about three sections of the phonograms, and then left on a summer-long business trip with my husband.
Imagine my surprise after we returned to hear my oldest son reading to his sister from a Dr. Seuss book one morning after we had returned!  We had done no review while we were gone - just read books.  Within six months, he was reading at a first grade level, and within a year, he was reading at a 4th grade level.
My daughter and I have been working on reading this year with the Saltmine & Hifwip, and I'm reminded again of how much I love this program.  She needs much more review than her older brother, and tires quickly.  This program is perfect for her - it doesn't take much time, and review is built in.  In the past few months, her reading has progressed wonderfully towards the end of the year.
I'm looking forward to teaching my younger two children to read with the Saltmine & Hifwip in the next year or two - which makes me all the more happy with the Saltmine & Hifwip - it's easy to teach, easy to learn and economical too!
I have to comment on the customer service I received when I purchased the program.  My girlfriend actually purchased it for me as a thank-you - so I talked with you personally three times in two weeks as you followed up with me and her purchase and she referred you to me.  I appreciate your commitment to customer service and making sure your customers can and will use this wonderful program.
(Michelle, IL, 

Mr. Rogers,

I ordered the S&H Manual this summer at the recommendation of Laurie Bluedorn in the book, Teaching the Trivium.  I have been so pleasantly surprised.  At first glance, the manual overwhelmed me, but with the Penny Primer and some study of the manual, two of my precious children (ages 5 & 6) are systematically decoding words on the pages of the Penny Primer.  Last year when I began with a “horizontal style” phonics program, I noticed the first letter of the word “hat” was decoded, but then the “at” were guessed at.  The timings are really proving to be the key.  Thank you for teaching ME, a certified elementary teacher, how to teach reading.  I remember my “Teaching Reading” class in my credentialing program which was nothing more than a debate between phonics and “whole language”.  I only taught 6th grade as a certified teacher, so I never got practice in teaching children how to read.  The slower readers usually went to the reading specialist.  Your program essentially takes the mystery out of teaching children to read.

But the news I really wanted to share with you was the response of one of my daughters (age 5) who was decoding the “butterfly page” for the first time.  She came to the word “mama” and systematically tried the first sound of a.  I asked her if that sounded like a word.  She shook her head.  Then she tried may-may.  And she shook her head again.  When she tried mama (with the third sound of a) she looked at me with surprise and love in her eyes and shouted, “Mama! You’re my Mama!”  And then proceeded to give me a big hug and kiss.  And now everytime we practice the butterfly page, she reads Mama and is disappointed if I forget to throw my arms around her and hug and kiss her afterwards.  It’s our little tradition.  Truly, as you have said, one of the most rewarding things you can do with your children is to teach them to read.  This has been a treat for me that I’m so glad I didn’t miss!  Thank you! (ES, CA, Oct 2006)

Mr. Rogers,

We are so pleased with the program.  Today Caleb read the 8 phonograms in the Penny Primer 88 phonograms in a min.  I believe it is time to advance to the S&H manual.  He is so pleased with his accomplishment.  I can see a definite improvement in his confidence level as he decodes words.  Thank you for allowing God to use you to develop this curriculum & for your sweet spirit to encourage & counsel us in our endeavors to teach our children to read well.  God bless, (DJ in LA, June 2006)

Mr. Rogers,

I wanted to give your a report on how TATRAS is working for us. Our TATRAS program arrived very quickly in the mail about a week ago, and I spent a weekend listening to the introductory tape and familiarizing myself with the materials.  On Monday (on week ago) I asked my 4-1/2-year-old son Ethan if he'd like to start learning to read.  When I explained what we'd be doing in the Penny Primer, he said, "Let's try that right now."  This was something I didn't expect to hear, as he was very reluctant to learn how to read when we tried a few pages of Phonics Pathways a couple of weeks ago!

We sat down at the kitchen table and I explained the three sounds of "a" and showed him how to trace the capital and lowercase letters on the finger clock.  After he traced the letters himself he should, "this is fun!"  I stopped after about five minutes as recommended, but a couple of hours later Ethan came to me and asked for another reading lesson!  We reviewed the letter "a: and I showed him how he could practice at any time on the wall chart (It's on our refrigerator).

After two days of working on "a" we moved "s".  Those two letters were last week's accomplishments!  This morning while we were eating breakfast, Ethan asked me, "Mom, when we're done eating may we do some of my learning how to read?"  This is music to a mother's ears!  He remembered the sounds of both letters and traced them perfectly even after two days without review over the weekend.

I have to admit that while I was listening to your introductory audio tape and heard your emphasis on making reading fun, I thought, "How can this be fun?  There are no fancy pictures or songs or games to play."  However, I must admit that you know more about this 4-year-old boy's idea of fun than I do"  I want to take the time to thank you for putting together this wonderful phonics program.  It has truly opened the doors of reading to my son without making it a drudgery for him.  I have already recommended it to my sister who will be teaching he own daughter to read in a couple of years.

You hard word is appreciated, (JK, MN, Apr 2003)

Dear Frank.

I thank you for all of your efforts in putting this reading program together.  My daughter went through a full of homeschooled Kindergarten using the traditional method of phonics, and both of us were getting very frustrated in the fact that she still could not read.

But, through a friend, I learned of your phonics program, and began using it after Thanksgiving of last year with both of my girls ages 5 and 7.  By the end of January, they both were reading words, and by the end of February they were reading library books!  Their confidence in themselves has blossomed since they have learned to read, and my five-year-old is devouring every book she can get her hands on.  Thank you again.  Sincerely (ML NY, June 1999)

Dear Mr. Rogers,

I have been using TATRAS for seven years now.  I cannot praise it high enough.

After teaching two of my children with TATRAS, several of my friends convinced me to try another reading program with my third child.  Well, that only lasted about a week.  After trying a different (and more expensive) program, I am more able to appreciate what TATRAS has been for our family.

Thank you for a LOGICAL way to teach this most important subject for a cost that anyone can afford.  I will never try a different method again!

Sincerely (PH,  email, March 2001)

Dear Mr. Rogers

Thank you so much for helping me teach my daughters how to read.  My 6 year old is on book #12 of the Reading for Fun Enrichment Library, and my 5 year old is on book #4.

Your help and assistanced has been gretly appreciated. (with photo of Alicia, Andra, Alex & Abbey) Sincerely (MM, CO, 1998)

Dear Mr. Rogers:

I have been using your program with my son, who just started Grade One this month, since July and we are both having a lot of fun.  My son particularly enjoys the segment when I dictate words for him to spell, calling it the spelling "game".  I'm really glad we heard about your program!  (I don't know if you remember doing a presentation at my next-door neighbour's townhouse in Surrey a few months ago.  Anyway, I was there.)

I just finished re3ading the enclosed article from the September Saturday Night magazine (a long-established and respected Canadian publication) and I though you might be interested in reading about the politics behind the phonics-whole language debate in Canada.  P.S.  My only suggestion for improving you program is to make the lettering charts on the finger clock card larger.  My son likes to refer to them when he is printing and he finds them rather hard to see, especially the lower case letters.  (WB, BC Canada, September 1995)

Dear Mr. Rogers,

...We've been using the Penny Primer and Great Saltmine program for 2 months now.  My son loves it and reallyl enjoys reading his primers now.  He's on his 24th phonogram, has read 3 Reading for Fun primers and has a few sight words down.

Also, my husband a grade 10 teacher uses the program for a student with a grade 2 ability.  They practices the phonograms and read poetry such as "Case at the Bat".  This will likely be the student's last year in school, so he's s excited that she is getting a good foundation for reading before she's on her own.....We are always singing the praises of your TATRAS system and really enjoy using it ourselves.  Sincerely (VW, Alberta Canada December 1996)

Dear TATRAS

We have been using your program since Sept. with our son who is in First Grade.  We are thrilled at the results.  I can honestly say that as a homeschooling parent, watching our son learn to read is every bit as enjoyable as was watching him learn to walk!

Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately) we now have a problem.  Where do we go from here?  Is there a curriculum that you would sugest we use that would pick-up where TATRAS leave off?  I can easily see us continuing to use your MOO words as a spelling list well into next year, but then what? 

Again, let me say how thrilled we've been with TATRAS.  Its been everything you've said it would be.  If you have any suggestions for our next step we would love to hear it.  Thank-you very much.  Sincerely, (KB, Montana, December 1991)

Dear Mr. Rogers.

I have enjoyed using TATRAS so much more than Spaulding.  I agree with you that learning the names of the letters first is important.  My not-quite-five year old is already sounding out simple words, and I don’t have to push at all.  If she looks the least uninterested, I say, “do you want to stop now?”  This has been a most satisfactory experience so far.

My ESOL students at (    ) have also been enjoying the phonics review.  This is a great way to isolate pronunciation areas of difficulty.  I have found that many of them really had no idea of the possible variety of sounds each letter could make (These are adults, many of them highly educated)

Anyway, thanks for the phone counsel, I enjoyed it immensely.  Sincerely, (LH, Florida May 1997)

Dear Mr. Rogers.

Thank you, just does not express my gratitude for the supportive ways you’ve helped R. and I.  No one has been as caring as you and I will be forever greateful.

R. enjoyed reading Kit Carson and found he can read an entire book beginning to end without give up in despair.  What an accomplishment.  Both his Father and I see great improvement this year in both R’s reading skills and attitutde.  Our deepest Appreciation, (VD, ltr not dtd or located.)

Hello Frank,

Thanks so much for the TATRAS stuff, the phone call the other day, and all the material.  My daughter a. is literally screaming through the Penny Primer and love it ALOT!  She’s 4 and has “read” the bear page, the butterfly page, AND the chicken page.  This is great stuff…….(MB, email Dec 2002)

Dear Mr. Rogers.

….I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for the “TATRAS” reading program you developed and made available for the very reasonable price of $30.

      As I mentioned in our telephone conversaton, I taught my son who has been diagnosoed with dyslexia, to read using your program.  I was very fortunate to stumble upon this resource when searching for a reading program.  I was desparate to find help for my son after I was told by his fourth grade learning spedcialist that he would “never learn to read.”  I started using the TATRAS program in June after his fourth grade year and he returned to school in the fall a reader.  His teachers were amazed that “N. is reading now!”

     N. is starting his freshman year at a college prep high school this year.  He still struggles with dyslexia and we continue to use the TATRAS daily lesson plan for reading practice.  He is very grateful to me for teaching him to read and knows that if he hadn’t received this help he wouldn’t be able to read at all.  He has strong decoding skills and the confidence that this brings.  I also really appreciate that the program was affordable to us and that personal assistance for using the progrm is always available…..Sincerely, (KS, OR, Aug 20, 2001)

Dear Mr. Rogers,

I am a home-schooling mom.  I obtained a copy of your Penny Primer after purchasing Spalding’s Writing Road to Reading.  I am somewhat overwhelmed and disillusioned with Spalding’s material but….maybe when my girls are older and I am more proficient at developing my own techniques of offering material, such as this, to my children…

   I am very impressed with the Penny Primer.  My  4 year old, as of June 1 Birthday, had alredy learned most of the sounds of her letters but your primer gave her some simple words to begin with and she can now decode the whole primer proficiently! (W/in 3 weeks, no less!)  Needless to say, my husband is impressed and so we would like to purchase your material.  We already have Spalding’s flash cards, if they’re applicable, and your primer and 30-min tape which introduces the primer.  I hope $46 will cover anything else we would need, such as your second tape, Saltmine & Hifwip book, etc….

  There are quite a few military families home-schooling over here in England and are waking up to P.A.T.!……But, more importantly, as a parent of a non-interested reader, your program makes phonics and de-coding fun!  Thanks ever-so much!  P.S.  She now loves to read and can’t wait to get to her “pages” to practice.  (DD, England, Sep 1991)

Dear Mr. Rogers.

  We have been using TATRAS with three of our four children and have loved it!  I enjoy the straight forward no-thrills approach to phonics.  It is so easy to keep track of where each child is and the program is very convenient for a busy Mom!

  I am needing to purchase more TATRAS Reading Record Sheets and another finger clock.  Could you please send me a products list?

  My nine year old is a leftie who is still reversing a few letters and many numbers.  She decodes very well and is reading at least at grade level, but handwriting and spelling are her worse subjects.  My plan is to come back to the beginning with learning phonograms, in hopes that the connection to spelling will click…

  We are also teaching a seven year old, who is a good learner, and a four year old who has just started reading thanks to your program.  I can’t tell you how happy I am that I purchased the Salmine Hifwip Reading Manual four years ago!  Sincerely, (JAW, WA, Mar 1999)

(No salutation.) 

Thank your very much for the notebooks, and the speedy service too!

Both my boys have learned to read using your manual.  The 6-year old is reading chapter books, and the 5 year old is just starting Doctor Seuss books.

  He’s at the Group 5 phonograms.  I’m very pleased with your easy-to-use manual, and “real words” word lists.  (JL, CA, Sep 1999)