Michael Levin, M.D. (LinkedIn)
I am a physician specializing in behavioral, attentional and learning problems in young children. I went to medical school at NYU, did a Pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles and Cedar Sinai Hospital. I then did training in Child Psychiatry at UCLA. Currently I am in private practice in San Ramon, California where I am the Medical Director of East Bay Psychopharmacology Group and see young children for various developmental and learning problems. Previously, I was the Medical Director of the Child Development Center at UC-Irvine and have been an Asst. clinical professor in the UCLA Neuro-Psychiatric Institute and at Stanford University.
I had always wanted to recommend a book to parents of my patients but never found a suitable resource. When our daughter was four, and my wife became interested in teaching her to read, my interest in developing an easy to use, step-by-step course took a new turn.
This coming together of my professional interest and simultaneously wanting to teach our daughter to read led my wife and I to creating this developmentally appropriate reading course for teaching children to read.
I have incorporated all my knowledge about children’s learning and development in this program. The pages are clean, with little distraction. The material per page is limited. The techniques used combine phonics, high frequency word recognition and guided reading. We were fortunate to have some very prominent people in the field of education among our friends and who helped us liberally. We tested the program with my patients, many of whom had severe attentional and developmental problems and I am proud to say that this program also works for this particular group of children.
After writing the book, Charan began working on software to go with it. The software is complementary to the book and helps to engage the child as well as provide an additional mode of learning. Our software is quite different from others in that it very comprehensive. It is entertaining but it is not edutainment.
Writing these books has been an incredibly experience, and I hope that families use our products and see their children turn into expert readers. We believe our products are the best available, and I strongly encourage you to try them and send us your thoughts. firstname.lastname@example.org
Charan Langton, M.S. (LinkedIn)
My goal was simple. I wanted a simple step-by-step program that could teach my young daughter and son to read.
After we tried the Hooked on Phonics package, I purchased a book by Siegfried Engelmann, called “Teach your child to read in 100 easy Lessons.” I didn’t know it then, but this is a very popular book for parents. Though I liked it initially, I began having problems with it right away. The stories were a bit too long for my four year old. The major flaw of the book is that it completely ignores the fact that English is not 100% phonic. There are many common words that simply cannot be read using phonic rules. Words such as “would”, “do”, and “no” are extremely difficult for children to understand solely using phonics. So I began making a list of such sight words to go along with the lessons. Another problem with “100 Easy Lessons” was the book’s scripted format, which I found far too confining. I also felt that it was not necessary to have funny looking fonts and unnecessary graphics to go along with the letters. A distorted typography as is done in this book is just not helpful, and often distracting to children.
After feeling frustrated during a lesson with my kids, I said to myself, “I’ll do my own reading program!” And we did! Of course, it took us nearly five years to do so. Our two children, Nina and Victor (who were the initial guinea pigs) and hundreds of children in Michael’s practice provided a ready validation of our approach. The book is now one of the best selling books in this category.
I have a day job working as an engineer. You can see my website dealing with communications engineering at www.complextoreal.com.
About Mountcastle Company
Everyone wants their child to be ahead of the curve. When it comes to early childhood education, we want to watch our children with pride as they start to learn to read, do math, and master tough vocabulary.
My parents, Michael Levin, M.D. and Charan Langton, wanted me to get a head start. When I was four years old, they set out to find the best reading program available for young children. They searched through hundreds of options, never finding exactly what they were looking for. The programs they found were either too shallow or simplistic, and there simply wasn’t anything effective enough to teach me to read.
So, they started developing their own program at home. Starting with easy exercises and worksheets, they quickly started to see real progress. They started writing stories and creating methods for teaching me to learn the sounds of letters, basics of phonics, and putting it all together – and suddenly – I could read.
Over the years, those simple worksheets and stories came together to create the Reading Lesson. It’s become popular with schools, early education centers, and homeschooling families across the country. Since publishing the Reading Lesson, my parents have developed other educational products, which has led to a full math program, vocabulary book, and software.
20 years later, I run Mountcastle Company and help get those products to the people that want them. I believe in these books, and their ability to help young children learn to read and do math more efficiently than their peers. We’re truly a “mom and pop” (except, in our case, “mom, pop, and daughter”) company with great products, and we’re grateful for your support and interest.
Please let me know if you have any questions about our books. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments!