She’s reading! That’s right; my daughter began reading about a month ago and it has opened up a whole new world for us as a family. Seriously, I finally feel like we can actually do this homeschooling thing now!
Truth be told, I have known that she could read longer than she has known. She mastered her phonics sounds by the time she was three and by the time she was four she had a pretty impressive bank of sight words. And then I would catch her reading random words but when she realized that I was watching, she would ask for help. By the time she was four-and-a-half, she was reading two-syllable words with ease but without confidence. Finally she admitted to me that she did not want to ready because she did not want to be a big girl. It was enough to tell me to slow down and I pulled back opting to take reading step by step and not rush.
Yet, the thought of teaching my daughter phonics, and yes, it has to be phonics as that whole language, balanced literacy crap is exactly that: crap – sent me into a full-fledged anxiety attack each time I thought about it. My biggest fear was that I would miss some crucial element and ruin any hope of my daughter developing a love of reading and words. Oh, I tell you, it was a dreadful experience – thinking about it that is. I spent a month initially scouring online forums, websites, blogs, educational books for the best resources that I could find and then spent more months research as we used some of the materials I found. And in the hopes of sparring any other homeschooling parents this torture, I present for you my list of the Best Teach Your Child to Read Help for Early Learners.
A word of advice: if you use books with a tons of pictures when your child is ready to start stringing sounds together, cover them up! I’m not kidding! Teaching kids to look at the pictures to help with unfamiliar words creates children who can’t read when pictures are not there. It hinders them in the early years and is a serious headache for the parent and teacher.
*This post has affiliate links. These affiliate links are used only when I have actually used the product and genuinely feel that it is worth the cost because we had success. I am not paid to post this and I take time to research all products extensively before recommending them.
Downloadable For Free:
- Progressive Phonics: Beginner Phonics Books: These FREE books teaching common sight words as well as short-vowel sounds. Includes activity pages and handwriting sheets as well. My daughter LOVES these. It’s one of the few things that she wants to do everyday.
- Dolch Sight Word Lists: Provides sight words broken down by age group and allows you to print them as flash cards. You must register for SpellingCity.com but YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY. Stick with the free version and you can Print flash cards for your child and your child can take “tests” and play games.
- Primary readers containing a complete course in phonics by Katharine Emily Sloan – This, I think, is what sent her into reading territory (well, this and cancelling cable). This is a “whole word” primer with a phonics base and done extremely well. Phonics is boring (for many) and this primer allows children to really feel as if they are reading on their own which encourages them to keep going. Be sure to read the introduction before using it. I also recommend New Sloan readers: containing a complete course in phonics. Primer-, Volume 2.
- The Holton Primer by Martha A. Holton: for those on a 1st grade level. Fun poems and verse. Not so PC, but great stuff!
- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons: Simple, short, fun lessons. A little tedious at first but it gets better and more interesting. I never did the handwriting part of the lessons because we do handwriting differently.
- All About Spelling: Begin teaching spelling the same time you begin teaching reading. It helps. My daughter was able to understand the connection between letters-sounds-words because of this program. We love it.
Ipad Apps Free and Low Cost
- Sight Words by Little Speller
- Little Reader: teaches 3 and 4-letter words.
- Pocket Phonics Lite: teaches letter writing and has word games.
- Montessori Crosswords by LEscapadou: We love this. The Tornado loved spelling words and hearing phonetic sounds. We still use it.
Now of course there are tons of other resources, but these are what we use and have found success with! What tools do you use to teach your child to read?