20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home

September 20, 2012

Whether it’s simple phonics books, trying to discover a love of reading, or wading through a classic tome as a teen, reading is an integral part of life and homeschooling.

Here are some ideas to encourage reading and make it fun:

  1. Have older kids read to the younger – keep two or three kids busy with one stone . . .er, book.  icon smile 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
    family reading homeschoolbytes 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  2. Read to them, read, read, and then read some more.  It’s quality time with a parent and school at the same time.
    reading I See Sam 2 Homeschoolbytes 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  3. Ok, so if you’re sick of reading “Goodnight Moon” for the 30th time, try making of a recording of you reading aloud and let them listen to it 30 times themselves while flipping through the book.  On the computer, try a great open-source free recording software called Audacity.  On an Apple device, just use the pre-installed app called “Voice Memo” to make great recordings.
  4. Try my favorite ‘old school’ phonics series – the one I learned to read with in the ’70s:  I See Sam
    reading I See Sam Homeschoolbytes 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  5. Check out Starfall.com – one of the best (and free) phonics-based websites out there.
  6. If your kids play Minecraft or other computer games with friends, encourage the in-game chatting they do back and forth = reading, typing, and spelling all-in-one.
    computer chatting homeschoolbytes 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  7. Peruse the ‘Series‘ section of your library with your child and pick out book #1 from a few series.  If you can find one they like, they’ll have lots of enjoyable reading as they work through the series.  Some of our favorites:  Henry and Mudge (early reader), The Animorphs (fantasy tween age), The Magic Treehouse (tween age), many Rick Riordan books (tween – teen age).  What are your favorites?
  8. Pick a reference book about a subject your child enjoys – a child who reluctantly reads storybooks, may spend hours watching birds and looking up their identifications:
    homeschoolbytes birdwatching 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Homebackyard birds book homeschoolbytes 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  9. Look for a how-to book on a favorite subject.  Watercolor art lessons might be the perfect motivation to encourage your artist to do a little reading:watercolor book homeschoolbytes 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  10. Don’t forget magazines.  The short articles, lots of pictures and wide variety of topics may be just the thing for shorter attention spans.reading magazine homeschoolbytes 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  11. Reading and understanding written instructions is a valuable skill.  Help your child decipher the next set of instructions that come with a toy, gift, or new electronics.
  12. Don’t answer their questions.  I joke to my kids that, “I am NOT Google.”  When they ask a question, I help them search for an age appropriate article on the topic online and let them read about it for themselves.  Try the Simple Wikipedia for answers that are written in a more basic language with shorter sentences:
    Wikipedia logo 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  13. Comic Books and Graphic Novels can be a great starting point for a reluctant reader.  My oldest particularly enjoyed the old style Superhero comic collections at the library, while my daughter liked the graphic novel, Rapunzel’s Revenge:
    rapunzels revenge homeschoolbytes 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  14. Audio books can be a great babysitter enrichment tool.  One of my reluctant readers was interested in stories beyond her reading capabilities.  I checked out both the audio CDs and the print book and had her follow along as she listened.  Her reading speed improved immensely.  This is also very helpful for some of the unfamiliar vocabulary found in classics.  It’s much easier to understand if you hear someone speaking the words.
  15. Appeal to their sweet tooth.  Tell them they can pick anything they want to make out of the cookbook dessert section.  Take it a step further and have them make the shopping list and go to the store with you to buy the ingredients. (writing and math done, too)
    bake cake homeschoolbytes 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  16. Be the example.  Read in front of them . . . tell them to leave you along because you’re busy reading . . . hide in the bathroom to finish just one more chapter of your book before the kids find you icon smile 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  17. Next trip you have planned, get them involved reading about where you’re going, looking up activities, science museums, etc., to do while you’re there.science museum homeschoolbytes 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home
  18. If they like movies, have them peruse the descriptions on Netflix and pick out something to watch that evening.
  19. We all like recognition, don’t we?  A sticker chart for every book read, an outing after reaching a reading goal, your child could draw a picture about each book he/she has read and bind them into a notebook once a year, snap pictures of front covers, print them out and make a collage, etc.  Get creative with lots of fun ways to acknowledge the progress your child is making in reading.
  20. Pay attention to what you’re reading.  Basically, anytime you find yourself reading something, like this blog, for instance, see if it’s something your child might enjoy, like reading a blog, for example. icon smile 20 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Reading at Home

Hopefully this list sparked some fun ideas to use with your family.  If you have other good ones, I’d love to add to the list.  Thanks!

Posted under Reading Curriculum

Where to find Free Ebooks – Guest Post

December 11, 2010

ebook homeschoolbytes Where to find Free Ebooks   Guest Post

(Thank you to Alisa Gilbert for this guest post on a few places to find free Ebooks!)

Places Homeschool Moms Can Find Free eBooks

Some of my favorite tech gadgets of late are eReaders whether it be a Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader or even the super-cool iPad, which serves as an eReader among other purposes. Avid readers can carry around one of these lightweight contraptions capable of holding hundreds of eBooks instead of lugging around tons of books or filling their already overflowing shelves. I also happen to think eReaders are a great tool for a homeschooling mom.

These eReaders can be quite the investment (particularly if you opt for the iPad), so it’s nice to have a few web resources up your sleeve where you can download free eBooks.

    1. Probably one of the best-known resources for free eBooks is Project Gutenberg. The site allows you to search by author or title, and is chock full of excellent classic literature to supplement an at-home English or literature class. The site only offers books with expired copyrights; many of the titles were written by authors who have passed away, so no one’s losing money as a result of you using this site.Of the 33,000 titles you can download here, many are classics you likely have built into your curriculum, such as A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol (perfect for the holidays!) by Charles Dickens, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. For older students, there are more complex works, like Moby Dick, Metamorphosis and War and Peace. You can also find fiction works here other than the classics.

 

  • You can also do an advanced book search on the newly launched Google Books and download numerous titles in the public domain. All you do is mark that you are searching for titles that are “full view only” and your searches will bring up books that are available for download in their entirety. I found Great Expectations and The Jungle Book here in a casual search.

 

 

  • Sony’s eBook store is also a good place to find free eBooks in the public domain.

 

 

  • Another good site is Free E-Book, where in my most recent searches I found books like The Red Badge of Courage, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Call of the Wild all available for free download.

 

 

  • Barnes & Noble also has some titles available for free if you happen to have the Nook. Take a look at the free Nook Books available. You may want to be careful though. A lot of them are harlequin romance novels that probably won’t give your child the right kind of education! There are some useful titles, though, like The Scarlet Letter and Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

 

Enjoy!

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Alisa Gilbert, who writes on the topics of bachelors degree.

Places Homeschool Moms Can Find Free eBooks

Some of my favorite tech gadgets of late are eReaders whether it be a Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader or even the super-cool iPad, which serves as an eReader among other purposes. Avid readers can carry around one of these lightweight contraptions capable of holding hundreds of eBooks instead of lugging around tons of books or filling their already overflowing shelves. I also happen to think eReaders are a great tool for a homeschooling mom.

These eReaders can be quite the investment (particularly if you opt for the iPad), so it’s nice to have a few web resources up your sleeve where you can download free eBooks.

Probably one of the best-known resources for free eBooks is Project Gutenberg. The site allows you to search by author or title, and is chock full of excellent classic literature to supplement an at-home English or literature class. The site only offers books with expired copyrights; many of the titles were written by authors who have passed away, so no one’s losing money as a result of you using this site.

Of the 33,000 titles you can download here, many are classics you likely have built into your curriculum, such as A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol (perfect for the holidays!) by Charles Dickens, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. For older students, there are more complex works, like Moby Dick, Metamorphosis and War and Peace. You can also find fiction works here other than the classics.

You can also do an advanced book search on the newly launched Google Books and download numerous titles in the public domain. All you do is mark that you are searching for titles that are “full view only” and your searches will bring up books that are available for download in their entirety. I found Great Expectations and The Jungle Book here in a casual search. Sony’s eBook store is also a good place to find free eBooks in the public domain.

Another good site is Free E-Book, where in my most recent searches I found books like The Red Badge of Courage, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Call of the Wild all available for free download.

Barnes & Noble also has some titles available for free if you happen to have the Nook. Take a look at the free Nook Books available. You may want to be careful though. A lot of them are harlequin romance novels that probably won’t give your child the right kind of education! There are some useful titles, though, like The Scarlet Letter and Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

By-line:

This guest post is contributed byAlisa Gilbert, who writes on the topics ofbachelors degree.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id:alisagilbert599@gmail.com.

Posted under Reading Curriculum, Social Studies Websites

How’d I Get My 4-year-old to Read Books on His Own?

June 8, 2010

I See Sam homeschoolbytes Howd I Get My 4 year old to Read Books on His Own?

Doesn’t he look so proud of himself?

Well, it was mostly him.  I just kept offering him all kinds of reading and spelling options, and he did the rest.  He’s on his 12th “I See Sam” reader already.  We’ve used a mish-mash of things, letting him set the pace and enjoy it.  He’s switched through a bunch of different activites, since I didn’t want to force him into anything.  It’s worked really well doing that, since he’s so enthusiastic.  And as soon as he starts getting tired with one learning method, I give him a bunch of other choices and he’s gets all excited again.

If you’re curious about the reading ‘mish-mash’ we used or need some ideas, here’s the info:

First, he did the first individual letter lessons in The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise.  It is my favorite of all the phonics instruction books I’ve used and even better, is available for less than $20 on Amazon.  Short daily lessons keep it from being boring, and if you’re looking to help older readers with spelling troubles, this book is very complete, working it’s way through things like the sounds of ‘ough’ or the many ways to spell the ‘oo’ sound.   (Here’s my review)

reading Howd I Get My 4 year old to Read Books on His Own?

When we got to the simple word lessons – sat, rat, cat, etc., he had a very, very difficult time ‘adding’ the sounds together.  He would get the ‘s’, ‘a’, and ‘t’ sounds but not be able to combine them at all.  I tried voicing the sounds in a slow drawl and gradually saying them closer together, but no go.  He wouldn’t get it until I practically said the word for him. 

So, I figured it was time for a different approach.  The other kids have been doing themed spelling lists on the amazing free www.SpellingCity.com (Here’s my review).  Tim had been bugging me for his own spelling list, so I told him that instead of reading he could do spelling.  We made a few 3-letter word lists together and I let him go at it.  He loved playing the games with his words and before I knew it, by 4-year-old was acing his 5 word lists – even typing them in by himself.  He was so proud of himself.  I’m also a little astounded by how fast the kids master the keyboard and mouse!

spelling city 468x60 Howd I Get My 4 year old to Read Books on His Own?

During this time, he also spent a lot of time playing around with the great phonics and stories on Starfall.com and listened to Tumblebooks for free through our library’s subscription.

starfall 300x77 Howd I Get My 4 year old to Read Books on His Own?

The spelling was the key.  Playing with the letters and spelling his own words helped him make the connection needed to combine sounds into words.  After a few weeks, my husband mentioned that with his great spelling, he could probably read a book on his own.  He was excited to try.  We used my favorite early readers:  The “I See Sam” series (My review here).  He’s been reading a book a day and loving it! 

The stories are silly, so the kids enjoy them.  What also makes them so successful is that the words are introduced one at a time, and unlike other early readers, there are no unknown words in the books.  Each book introduces a few new words, and then only uses words you’ve already learned.  This means that after the kids learn the new words for each book, they can read the books completely on their own.  It’s such an accomplishment to read a book on your own at such a young age.  We use the Little Series 1 and 2, and then move on to reading other books.

The “I See Sam” Readers

i see sam Howd I Get My 4 year old to Read Books on His Own?

I hope this helps with reading ideas.  Do you have any books, websites, or reading curriculum that you really enjoy?  I’d love to hear from you!

Enjoy!

Posted under Reading Curriculum

Five in a Row – The Early Reading Curriculum that doesn’t feel like school at all!

January 2, 2010

five in a row Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!

Do your kids love stories?  Would you rather pick up a stack of library books and snuggle together on the couch with a blanket than break out the school work?

Jane Claire Lambert has designed a great curriculum where you read and reread a classic book to your children each week, while focusing each day on lessons taught by the story in five subject areas; Social Studies, Language, Art, Applied Math and Science.

This curriculum is called Five in a Row, and is an excellent first curriculum for younger children.  The daily lessons, including any facts and details, are spelled out very clearly and little preparation is needed.

My younger kids have loved these books and lessons.  Fun pieces of the classic stories have made their ways into our daily lives.  For example, we call the kids to come to evening prayer by singing, “La, la, la, la, LI!”, from “The Story About Ping” and the little duck that was too afraid of the swat he would get if he was the last one on the boat.

Has your family used the Five in a Row curriculum?  What did you like/dislike?  Please share in the comment section!

Five in a Row: Volume 1 includes lessons on the following children books:

This is an excellent list of classic childrens’ books to read, even if you don’t purchase Five in a Row.  I’d also love to hear which is your favorite classic children’s book?  Please share – I’m always looking for good books to read to the family!

story about ping Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!

The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese

lentil Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Lentil by Robert McCloskey

madeline Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

pair of red clogs Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno

rag coat Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills

who owns the sun Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Who Owns the Sun? by Stacy Chbosky

mike mulligan Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

glorious flight Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
The Glorious Flight by Alice and Martin Provensen

how to make apple pie Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman

grandfathers journey Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say

cranberry thanksgiving Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin

dancing bear Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Another Celebrated Dancing Bear by Gladys Scheffrin-Falk

papa piccolo Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Papa Piccolo by Carol Talley

very last first time Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews

clown of god Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
The Clown of God by Tomie DePaola

storm in the night Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Storm in the Night by Mary Stoltz

katy big snow Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

night moonjellies Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha

stopping woods snowy evening Five in a Row   The Early Reading Curriculum that doesnt feel like school at all!
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (with illustrations by Susan Jeffers)

Enjoy!

Posted under Books to Read, Reading Curriculum

Favorite Chapter Books Your Kids Love to Read – Thursday Topics

July 16, 2009

children books Favorite Chapter Books Your Kids Love to Read   Thursday Topics

Have your kids discovered a chapter book or series of books that bumped them from the “Do I have to read?” stage to the “Turn off the light.  Stop reading, and go to bed!” stage?

My 7-year-old daughter is still turning her nose up at reading, so I’d love some new ideas for a ‘princess’ reader.

Here are the ones that sparked my oldest son’s love of reading:

superman comic Favorite Chapter Books Your Kids Love to Read   Thursday Topics

  1. Comic books – To get over the big change from picture books to ones with pages of just text, the classic comic books were perfect for my son.  We found the hardbound “Action Comic Archives” at our local library, which I was much happier with than current comic books.
  2. magic treehouse Favorite Chapter Books Your Kids Love to Read   Thursday Topics

  3. The Magic Treehouse Series – This series was tons of fun for my kids.  Jack and Annie discover a magic treehouse where books transport them to all kinds of places and adventures.  The series mixes a bit of history, mystery, and adventure, plus frequent illustrations that together keep things fun for a beginning reader.  I would consider them at the 1st to 2nd grade level.
  4. animorph Favorite Chapter Books Your Kids Love to Read   Thursday Topics

  5. The Animorphs Series – What a great science fiction series for kids!  The kids in the series are given the power to ‘morph’ into any animal they can touch in order to help fight alien invaders.  My son loved learning what it might be like to be a hawk or a dog first hand.  The plots are full of battles, adventures, and mysteries.  A great read.
  6. harry potter 7 Favorite Chapter Books Your Kids Love to Read   Thursday Topics

  7. And no kids ‘love of reading’ list would be complete without all 7 of the Harry Potter Series.  There is something great about seeing a 9-year-old kid curled up on the couch with a book thicker than a dictionary and loving it.

I’d love to hear your book suggestions.  My son just finished the 7th Harry Potter book and is in the middle of the Hobbit, but I need some new ideas for my boy adventurer.  Please share in the comment section.  Thanks!

Posted under Books to Read, Reading Curriculum, Thursday Topics

What’s Your Favorite Reading or Phonics Curriculum? Thursday Topics

June 25, 2009

stack books Whats Your Favorite Reading or Phonics Curriculum?  Thursday Topics

Teaching a child to read seems to be the first big scholastic hurdle for homeschoolers.  But there are so many books and reading programs available that it can be a bit overwhelming.

So, I’m asking you experienced homeschoolers if you would share  your advice with the rest of us – especially for those who don’t really know where to start.

Here are some of my ideas:

  1. First is simply a book, The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise.  Instead of spending lots of money on expensive phonics kits, you can buy this book for around $20 and it will guide you lesson by lesson through a very complete and fun phonics program.  I’ve had great success with it and wrote a book review here.
  2. My kids have also enjoyed the beginning readers set:  “I See Sam” – I really like that each book only uses words that have been introduced in previous books, so the child can read every word in the book, not just the ones teaching the current phonics principle.
  3. Finally, the amazing phonics and reading website:  www.StarFall.com If you have an early reader, you have to check this website out.  It’s the best I’ve seen to grab a child’s interest while teaching reading at the same time.  And it’s all free – the Schutz family’s contribution to children learning to read.

Would you mind sharing some of your tips on selecting a reading and/or phonics curriculum?  What are your favorite books, early readers, and websites?  And why?

Posted under Books to Read, Reading Curriculum

Online Reading, Writing, Science Curriculum Free May 4th – 8th!

April 23, 2009

learningaz Online Reading, Writing, Science Curriculum Free May 4th   8th!

Looking for some online literacy and science curriculums?

Learning A-Z is having a free trial week in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day.  If you’re investigating literacy resources, this is a good time to check them out.

They offer the following:

  • Free all week long: Raz-Kids.com:  A collection of online books kids can choose, listen to, read along, or read on their own for $60/yr.  (Raz-Kids won Learning Magazine 2009 Teacher’s Choice Award for the Family)
  • Free on May 4th:  Reading A-Z: Everything you need to teach reading including phonics, leveled readers, lessons, worksheets, etc. for $85/yr.
  • Free on May 5th:  Science A-Z: A K-6 science curriculum with lessons, experiments, worksheets, etc. for $60/yr.
  • Free on May 6th:  Writing A-Z: Writing resources including research packets, mini-books, story cards, writing prompts, lessons, etc. for $30/yr.
  • Free on May 7th:  Vocabulary A-Z: After building your word list, a lesson generator will give you a week’s worth of lessons, activities, games, and a graphic organizer.  $30/yr.
  • Free on May 8th:  Reading-Tutors:  If you need tutor lesson plans, this site offers 450 complete tutoring packets with lesson plans, games, activities, etc. for $60/yr.

[tags]reading, writing, phonics, science, homeschool, printables, worksheets, lessons, learning, teachers, websites, review, free [tags]

Posted under Language Art Websites, Reading Curriculum, Science Curriculum, Writing Curriculum

Phonics and Learning to Read – Part 3 – Starfall.com

October 24, 2008

starfall 300x77 Phonics and Learning to Read   Part 3   Starfall.com

This series wouldn’t be complete without at least one post on an awesome internet resource to help with phonics, so I’ll write about one of my favorites:  Starfall.com

This site is amazing!  If you only check out one internet educational site, this is it.  I stumbled on Starfall a few years ago and have watched the site improve and grow with new features all the time.  Here is an explanation of the site for parents.

The first thing I really loved about Starfall was the founder’s story.  Although Stephen Schutz went on to earn his PhD, he struggled to read as a 9-year-old and was always at the bottom of his class in reading.  As an adult, he was inspired to give something back that would help other children who were struggling like he was as a child.  How cool is that?

What we like:

  • How interactive it all is.  The kids can click everywhere – on the letters to hear the sounds, on the characters to watch them do something funny, on the words to hear them read or sounded out, etc.  And it’s all very intuitive with big buttons even my 2-year-old can navigate.
  • It’s progressive, starting with beginning sound and letter skills and moving all the way through advanced reading skills.
  • My kids really enjoy the games, videos, and stories that go along with the early reading section.  It’s a fun way to reinforce early reading skills.
  • You can buy books and other educational supplies that parallel the online phonics stories for a very reasonable price.  But even better for the bargain hunters in the group, they offer some great printable PDF documents for FREE.  icon smile Phonics and Learning to Read   Part 3   Starfall.com   You can print cut-up take home books, printing practice sheets, reading/writing journals and more.
  • And my usual favorite, once again, it’s free icon smile Phonics and Learning to Read   Part 3   Starfall.com

Do you have a favorite reading site online?  Please share it with us in the comment section.  Thanks!

Other Posts in this Series: 

Also, since this blog is still new, feel free to post links to articles and the website, or to email links and recommendations to friends.  The more readers the better!  Thanks!

Posted under Language Art Websites, Reading Curriculum

Phonics and Learning to Read – Part 2 – I See Sam Readers

October 14, 2008

If you’re looking for a great series to help your beginning reader gain confidence and skill one word at a time, this is a great one:

The “I See Sam” Readers

i see sam Phonics and Learning to Read   Part 2   I See Sam Readers

 Little Books Set 1 & 2

I learned to read from these little readers back in the 70′s before I went to Kindergarten.  I remember how excited I was to finish the last book in the stack of over fifty readers, and how disdainful I was when I went to kindergarten and the teacher began introducing a letter a week to us icon smile Phonics and Learning to Read   Part 2   I See Sam Readers  

In my opinion, this is one of the best first reader series. 

What I like:

  • Progressive addition of words – The first book has only three words: “I”, “See”, and “Sam”.  Each book builds on this reading vocabulary by slowly introducing new words.  What’s great about this compared to other early readers, is that there is never a word in the books that the child hasn’t seen before or learned to read.  For example, another phonics book may use lots of words ending in “-at”, but they’ll throw in random larger words the child can’t read, like ”The fat cat ran after the rat.”  The young reader may stumble over “after” and not be able to read the book ‘all by himself/herself’.
  • With the “I See Sam” series, your child can read every word in each book.  It is a great confidence builder and sequential learning process.
  • Funny and engaging stories - It’s amazing to me, but somehow these books can tell a funny story only using four or five words and line drawings.  Each of my kids have favorites.  “Remember how the bull knocked over Sam the lion because he dressed up like a king and had a cape on?”  or ”When Sis the Snake wanted Mit’s apple, so he tricked her into a hollow log and tied her in a knot so she couldn’t get it, but he shared with her in the end.” 
  • Each book has reading aids and confidence builders in addition to the story including: a pronunciation guide, sound practice, word practice, new word list, and coming attractions to introduce upcoming words.
  • Comprehension questions in small print at the bottom of many pages for added skill practice.
  • See a sample ‘Little Book’ here.

What I don’t like:

  • The cost:  Each set of 27 ‘Little Books’ is $30.  This seems a bit pricey to me, but our set has been through three kids now, so that spreads the cost out quite a bit.  In my opinion the first two sets are the crucial ones.  After completing the second set, my kids have developed the reading skills to move on to the more typical early readers available in most libraries at no cost.
  • The books are paperback with cardstock covers, not glossy, and need more care to last through multiple uses by little hands.
  • The line drawings look much like coloring books and are quickly used as such by crayons in those same little hands icon smile Phonics and Learning to Read   Part 2   I See Sam Readers

Other posts in this series:

Do you have a favorite first reader book or series?  Please share with us in the comment section.  Thanks!

Posted under Reading Curriculum

Phonics and Learning to Read – Part 1 – Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading

October 13, 2008

reading2 s Phonics and Learning to Read   Part 1   Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading   Phonics and Learning to Read   Part 1   Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading

Learning to read is a huge milestone in a child’s life and can be a source of much concern for parents, thus all the fancy (and expensive) reading and phonics programs on the market.  My third child in now an ‘early reader’ and my fourth is just learning his letter sounds.  We’ve used a variety of programs to teach reading, so I am starting a short series to highlight our favorite and most effective methods.

reading Phonics and Learning to Read   Part 1   Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading

First is simply a book, The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise.  It is my favorite of all the phonics instruction books I’ve used, available for less than $20 on Amazon.  It is also in many libraries or can usually be requested.  We purchased our own copy after renewing the library’s copy four or five times. 

What I like:

  • The lessons are broken up into a page or two a day and are easy and short enough for the limited attention span of a young child. Phonics and Learning to Read   Part 1   Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading
  • The lessons start with vowels and then move on to the consonants.  Both are taught with fun rhymes that were easy for my kids to learn. 
  • The book doesn’t stop after the usual simple blends of “th” and “ch”, but goes all the way through ‘eigh’, ‘tion’, all the vowel combinations, and so on.  I was excited to finally find a phonics program that was complete.
  • The reading parts in the lesson for the child are in larger print which is easier for their young eyes to see.
  • There are lots of suggested game and activity ideas to supplement the lessons.
  • There is an second section in the back with lots of ideas for preparing, teaching, and presenting reading instruction to children.
  • The cost = about $20

What I don’t like

  • Some of the reading parts in the lessons can get a bit repetitive or arduous for the beginning reader.  But, in the true tradition of homeschool, we have skipped parts, or taken a few days to master a particularly difficult lesson.

Other posts in this series:

Do you have a favorite book that has helped you teach reading?  Please share with us in the comment section.  Thanks!

pixel Phonics and Learning to Read   Part 1   Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading

Posted under Reading Curriculum