READING & WRITING
If you'd like to see a cute picture of a young one reading the dictionary,
Observation is a great teacher; however, learning about a variety of topics is easier with reading. There's more than one way to learn to read. My favourite way is phonics.
What is Phonics?
Phonics, or learning to read by understanding the sounds that letters and letter combinations make, is the way I learned to read, along with many others. It's the way I'm using to teach my children.
These days, not all schools use this method; however, those comparing different styles may agree with me that knowing how to sound out words can speed up progress.
This method also shows how different words rhyme, and have similarities, so that words can belong to families.
For example, let's look at the "AT" family
After learning that
"A" + "T" = the word "at",
the student can quickly add a "C", and have "CAT"
"B" makes "BAT"
"H" makes "HAT"
"M" makes "MAT"
"R" makes "RAT"
"S" makes "SAT"
OK, you get the idea. But before a student can understand this, they need to know what sound each letter makes.
In searching for a phonics program for my children, I found there was more than one, but they were all in the same price range.
Caution With Free Resources
There are lots of free resources as well, and they're a great starting place. As home schoolers, don't we all love the word "free"? But I have a word of caution to add with seemingly free resources - they aren't always the cheapest way to go. What do I mean?
Which Reading Program Do We Use?
So which program do we use? I decided on the one that was tested and used since I was a little girl -
Another home schooling friend of mine was using it, so I got to look through it before I got mine. We ordered it on line. It has 5 boxes with five levels of reading. Most find they can start by age 3; however, we started before that, and so have others. It usually lasts until 8 years old, give or take depending on the child.
The HOP program starts at the beginning with recognzing the names of letters, and then moves on to recognizing the sounds that letters make. Next the student moves on to combining sounds, and can soon read all the words in the "AT" family, along with their first few stories using these words. Then another family of words is introduced, and the next stories use the new family of words along with the previous words already learned. New families of words are progressively introduced, and students are encouraged since the words are familiar and not overwhelming.
The HOP program includes numerous books, audio tapes, and lessons for the computer on CD rom. Students will enjoy colouring, playing games and using flash cards, depending on the level of reading. We just love it. It simplifies my life, since I have years of learning in one box, and I really don't need anything else for teaching my children how to read in the beginning years, since the program progresses step by step, adding on previous knowledge.
When I first heard the price, I gasped, since it was over $200. But after seeing the program for myself that my homeschooling friend had already purchased, and now that I've become more familiar with the prices of educational materials and curriculums, I decided to buy and use it. I'm glad we did.
If you've been thinking about getting the
Hooked-on-Phonics Reading Program,
I just noticed they're on sale. It's normally $279.99, and now its $99.99. I'm not sure how long the sale will last, so check the site for the current price. I wish it had been on sale when I bought mine.
If your family is like ours, you probably love getting books, and have an increasing library. So we use these HOP books to learn to read, and have other books for the fun of reading and for practicing the skills we obtained through the HOP program.
Free Reading Resources
Free Online Audio Reading Resources
The Starfall website is a fabulous resource. I love it! It includes pictures and audio that will help you teach phonics from the beginning. It starts with the alphabet, and also includes the alphabet in sign language.
I also love that it includes on line books. If the reader doesn't know the word, they click on the word, and the program tells them. The stories gradually get harder as you go.
Edhelper.com - Phonic Worksheets
Kid's Page Archive
- printable worksheets from preschool to grade 5.
EdHelper.com - Kindergarten to Grade 8
Edhelper.com - Caring For the Earth - Theme Unit
Would you like to have your text spell and grammar checked before you hand in your report? Then this program might help:
Copy your text into the website, and it will underline possible problems with your text. Click on each underlined word and options will be given to you.
Go to -
Spelling and Vocabulary
Go to -