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Institute of Reading Development - 23 Reviews - , Novato, CA - Special Interest Schools Or Instruction Reviews - Phone (800) 964-9090

Institute of Reading Development

Novato, CA 94945
(800) 964-9090
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My daughter was not an immediate reader and continues to struggle with visualizing and spelling. This program, combined with reading at home and with a tutor two days a week incre...


They promote an over priced product. They take advantage of people who are desperate for help. They thrive on taking money from the people who can least afford it. It's people who...

Don't 1/25/2018

They promote an over priced product. They take advantage of people who are desperate for help. They thrive on taking money from the people who can least afford it. It's people who run companies like this who need to be put behind bars for taking advantage of people in a vulnerable condition. more

unimpressed 1/22/2017

Like a few others contributing to this thread, I also worked for this organization for a brief stint. Basically, I needed money to finish my bachelor's degree and then earn my master's degree. I am currently an English Language and Literature PhD candidate at University of Michigan and am training to be a professor of literature. I took the job because the pay was better than most places in my rust belt home town in Indiana, and it was (so I thought), related to my professional training. I must say that the entire time I worked for this place I dreaded going to work because I felt so disingenuous when interacting with students and parents. As another person mentioned, I was asked to travel to Florida for a training session, and as soon as I got there red flags were raised that there was something off about this place. They handed us literal scripts masquerading as lesson plans, a subtle reminder that the vast majority of people in the room (myself included), were not qualified to be taking on a teaching position. The few people in the room who did have actual experience as teachers were largely discouraged from bringing any of their skills to the table which might alter the scripts. When someone expressed concern about the price of the materials we were being asked to peddle to our students and their parents, we were told to just emphasize the value of what they were getting for their money (which was a few flimsy paper back books and some relatively useless phonics workbooks). The classes themselves were not challenging for most students, and met too few times per week to have any real impact. Most parents walked away feeling cheated, and I felt like an awful person because I knew that they were being cheated. I sold their bullshit because I needed the money, but I never mention having worked for them to my current colleagues because honestly, I don't feel great about having been associated with this scam. Just take your kids to the library in the summer and help them choose books that they will enjoy! more

Yikes! 9/8/2016

I actually worked for this place for two summers as a teacher because I was putting myself through college. I was working on a bachelor's degree in English at the time, so while I had a great deal of experience with reading and analyzing literature, I had almost no experience as a teacher. However, they made me fly to Florida to attend an intensive week of "training" in which I was basically taught to follow their scripted lesson plans, and forced to regurgitate the script precisely to their liking. They had absolutely no interest in my ideas about how to alter the lesson plans to make them more effective. I felt pretty terrible the entire time I was teaching for them because I think I knew deep down that I was contributing to a huge ripoff for parents who thought they were doing a good thing for their kids. The lesson plans are not challenging enough, the in-class and at home assignments are basically bullshit workbooks and cheesy DVD practice. The small class sizes an one-on-one time with instructors are really not true; some of my classes were over twenty students and their parents squeezed into tiny room, and I was expected to assess and teach a class for each of them. Or on the other end, I sometimes had classes with only two students enrolled, which made for a completely dead and ineffective classroom environment. The quality of the classes definitely do not add up to the ridiculous price of them. They are an institution that basically expects you to do as you're told, follow the script (literally), and keep your mouth shut. I no longer work for them, and I have to say it feels like an enormous weight has been lifted off of me. Honestly, you'd be far better off just going to the public library and checking out books your kids are interested in to read and practice with over the summer. more

Excellent program! 5/31/2016

My daughter was not an immediate reader and continues to struggle with visualizing and spelling. This program, combined with reading at home and with a tutor two days a week increased her reading level by two grades. She loves it! more

RIP OFF 6/20/2015

One star because you cant't choose zero. The program is simply assigning reading homework. I regret spending $600 so both of my boys could participate. The teacher is a stepford robot. The in class is boring. The homework is drudgery. My kids now hate reading more than before. more

Review from former employee and student 6/13/2014

I have worked with this company year after year for the past 6 years and I have to say overall they do really care about children and helping them learn to read and customer satisfaction. After reading some of the reviews I can tell you where some people may be going wrong. First former employees: No this company is not a cult nor are they car salesman but when hired to be an enrollment coordinator you are expected to have a high enrollment rate and you should certainly be passionate about your job, if you are not go somewhere else and do something you are passionate about. I have worked as an enrollment coordinator and also have had 2 of my own children and 3 of my nephews enrolled in these programs, as well as taking the adult speed reading class for myself and I can tell you in all cases it made a huge difference. One size does not fit all, so that is why they now offer online courses at different levels which are fantastic ( I had one of my children do the online since it was a better fit). If you call in being honest and trying to have an honest conversation about what your needs and your child's needs are you will find an extremely helpful person on the other end 99% of the time. Are there a few bad apples in the bunch? Sure,but they don't last long and I myself have had to clean up some messes of those bad apples, but that is not the majority of the enrollment coordinators there. In my many years with them and thousands of calls I've talked to all different types great parents, lazy parents, exhausted parents etc. and no it is not easy to figure out why your child is struggling or how to help them but if you can just be honest and not defensive you can find that the person you are talking to can be a great resource. I have told people that the in person program is not a good fit and sent them to an online one (which is less money) and I have turned people away completely because none of our programs may be a good fit and did my best to give them ways to find help elsewhere. more

This Company Is A CULT -- Stay Away -- I Know I Worked for Them! 1/29/2013

This organization is a cult and I highly recommend staying away from them, not speaking with them and certainly not signing up your child for their programs. I worked for them! They are a complete brain washing system of control and submission. All they want is money and they target the financially challenged to get them to pay anything they can through manipulation. These people are evil in every way. From the way they treat employees to the way they manipulate people into giving them money for fear and guilt of illiteracy and stigma with their children. Dispicable and evil people. Hang up! more

Mixed Reviews from a Current Employee 5/29/2012

My impression is still forming. My husband has also worked for IRD. He hated everything about it, though ironically, he was the favorite of his trainers and supervisor(s) because he is a talented teacher and he practically radiates positivity. This review of IRD is based on our combined experiences and is as objective as I/we could possibly make it. For parents: The teaching methods that IRD uses are fine (not ground-breaking, but not bad either), and they work for most (but not all) children, provided that both teacher and parent(s) are also doing their part. (The teachers may not be state-certified, but they are well-trained for what they are doing. That said, there are always a few duds, so if you don't like your child's teacher, call and ask for a new one.) The curriculum, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Be prepared for your child to read a lot of very dated books about white boys in rural and/or small town environments. That said, once you know your child's reading level (which you probably already do, since your child is likely enrolled in school already), ANY teacher or children's librarian should be able to help you find books at your child's reading level that are more relevant, current, and interesting to him/her personally, and it's much cheaper to just go to the library than it is to order an $89 or $99 book kit when the course is over. For prospective employees: You can learn a lot from this job and enjoy it, but it's not for everyone. If you happen to already be a teacher and/or children's lit scholar, for example, be prepared to bite your tongue, a lot. This company does not want your feedback on any aspect of their program (expert or otherwise), which is too bad, because they attract a lot of extremely bright and passionate people from whom they would do well to solicit constructive criticism. What IRD does want is for y more

Horrible Program 3/5/2012

This place is a scam. Very unprofessional staff that don't care about kids or parents in the least. Much better programs out there to help with reading for a lot less money. Stay away!! more

Complete scam 6/16/2011

I spent one season selling these programs and I can say with complete authority that they are garbage. Parents who call tend to be desperate so it's not difficult to talk them into buying. Another reviewer called us used car salesman and that is EXACTLY what we were. The very nature of scams is that they prey on the ignorant and/or helpless. Any parent calling in is already in one of or both of those camps. Some parents would talk and admit their shortcomings, some would get defensive and lie but in the end, you're still on the phone because you don't have a clue what to do and places like IRD are there to grab you by the ankles, turn you upside down and shake the money out of you. IRD is on its own. It is not affiliated with any of the schools or universities where it holds the classes and only when pressed would we ever admit that. Even then, you would still close the deal more often than not because once again...desperate, clueless parent. Avoid this place at all costs. more

Don't fall for sales pitch 4/20/2011

I received letter in mail about this coarse.When I called to get additional information, the person I spoke to sounded like a used car salesman and was reading from a script. I could hear telemarketers in the background.He also seemed anxious and almost "pushy" to get my credit card and sign my daughter up for class. I didn't fall for it, too fishey for me. more

Didn't work for ADD learner 3/29/2011

Unless your child is a motivated learner, I would recommend spending the money. The class is pretty much a review of learning strategies kids have already been taught. Maybe a review would help yours, but if he didn't apply it the first time, chances are he won't the second. more

Don't do it. 2/25/2011

I was a teacher for IRD two summers ago. I was not a licensed teacher at the time. They do train their teachers for about two months--putting them in fear of being fired at any moment. Teachers are constantly on edge, because they fear if they do not follow *SCRIPTED* lesson plans, they will not be able to pay their bills. As a person who has gotten her ed degree and has spent time in a real teaching environment, I can tell you this program is a complete scandal. I was driving to four cities around the south, my car loaded with materials for ages 4-adult. I was not specialized on any grade or age level, and neither were any of the other teachers. Do NOT spend your money on this pre-formulated scam. Instead, hire a local tutor or college student who can really recognize the needs of your child. more

Loved the programs..You get what you put in 2/19/2011

Good: I liked how organized it was and how it not only reinforced what they learned in class but at home as well. They taught how to learn to the reading skills and also to love reading. Engaging a child is what is important for the long term.. Bad: At first my expectations were to be immediate but that didn't happen. What did was it showed up stronger with a bit more time. Learning the skills are one thing, practicing and using them solidified them.. Improvements: A stronger sense in the beginning from the teacher the importance of parental assistance and reinforcement of using the skills learned in class. Also, to realistically realize that all isn't going to happen overnight.. Other: I took the adult class and I WAS VERY IMPRESSED. I was a super slow reader and my comprehension was deplorable. After taking the class and using the skills, I not only read faster but I understood everything the first time I read it. FINALLY! I put the skills to use seriously and it changed my reading experiences in a HUGE way. When people buy diet pills the directions ALWAYS say,"individual results vary," as well as exercise. If you don't exercise you're not going to get the same results you could get.. more

Excellence! 2/5/2011

Well worth the time and tuition. Maybe it's locational but my daughters enjoyed the classes and I appreciated the teacher for her patience and enthusiasm. See you next summer! more

Unless your child lacks any skill this is not for you 9/1/2010

My son's teacher had suggested a tutor. He is going into the second grade and was reading at a second grade level, but the school he attends is very competitive. Instead of getting a tutor, like I now wish I had, I had him complete a course at the Institute of Reading Development. I think the organization should be commended for their ability to market to parents a program which is worth nothing. I wondered if the teacher even held a certificate of teaching. I thought the setting would be more intimate; there were 21 kids. I would highly suggest not taking the class, my son could have gained so much more from simply reading to me. Unless you have $300 to simply blow I would not waste my money or time. more

good materials bad teacher 8/27/2010

Good: The materials were good for the 4-5th grade program. Bad: The teacher did nothing. She did not check the homework of even review what the students were doing in class. It would have been much better as a home study program. Improvements: Better teacher student interactions. If you assign written homework review it!!!!!!. Other: The Institute of reading refuses to respond to letters or phone calls. Do not deal with a company like this. All my child learned was how little work you can get away with.. more

Waste of time and money 8/25/2010

We signed my son up for the Summer Reading Program through the Institute of Reading Development aka WSU Summer Reading Program aka Reading and Study Skills Program. It was a major disappointment and waste of money for us. My son is a good student but struggles with reading comprehension--this program focuses on supporting students with this. We thought to help with SAT's we would enroll him. The ONLY reading technique that this program teaches is "Long Smooth Underline". Here's a tip-save your $300 plus and just look it up online. My son learned this technique in 4th grade. It was not a tool that helped him, so naturally this time was no different. When I spoke with the teacher asking for different techniques (as we all having different learning styles) she said this was the only one taught and her "hands were tied" if this technique did not work for my son. They spent 30 minutes of class time going over "how to select a book" (here's their revolutionary tip: "read the back cover." I was standing outside the classroom listening and was bored to tears. It was the most uninspired program I have seen to date. When I asked for a refund I was told that the teacher timed my sons reading during week one and saw an improvement week two. There was no improvement--the only difference is now my son absolutely hates reading more than ever. The program does great marketing and issues a lot of promises, but does not really seem interested in helping kids. more

Scam!!!!! If it sound good to be true then it NOT TRUE!!!!! 8/4/2010

A descent institution would give you a partial refund for the class. I sign up my son for this reading class. It was a red flag already that the teacher allowed all parents to set in the class for entire 2 hours. She come in only introduced her name but not telling her education background. Coming in not prepared her maker was out of ink , no one can see what she is writing, and just reading a book to students. Asking kids to differentiate between long vowel and short vowel without explanation. The DVD that come in the package to teach your child at home are trash not teaching anything no picture nothing but audio. I called and complain after the first day right after the class they refused to give me even just a partial refund. The class setting at a City College and Desk was not appropriate for elementary schooler ( lecture desk). Children are dropping books and pencil the entire 2 hours. Teacher allowed people to come in and out of the class , most important thing for safety stand point classroom was not locked during the class session and please remember parents! this class was on Saturday held at 2;45 Pm til 4: 45Pm no one on campus!!!!! Very isolated! Remember parents do not sign up on anything just because it sound good, ask to go for a free-Trial class. I would recommend all parents just get a Spectrum and teach your children, I use this to all my older daughters and it's work. I thought IRD would deliver what they are selling!! I will report this to BBB. more

What is Really Important 1/28/2010

My son took an Institute of Reading Development class several years ago in third grade and I sat in on two of the classes. I am a reading specialist and so I had some skepticism and a critical mindset. Wow! The teacher was really good. What really impressed me, though, was the focus on parent education, combined with solid skill-building activities for the kids. I have since recommended the program to a number of my students. I can't think of a better summer activity than a well-organized reading program that focuses on developing skills and a love of reading. So many of my students lose ground in the summer. Kudos to the Institute of Reading Development for a really well-designed program. more
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