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Reading program or not?


CCelebi
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My DS is just under 4 and a half and he is in the process of learning his letter sounds. I have a subscription to Explode the Code online and he is beginning to sound out three letter words. HE also LOVES Teach Your Monster to Read. I am considering purchasing a structured reading program, but I am not sure that this is necessary. I could just purchase some beginning readers and some sight word cards, but I admit, the programs in a box look very attractive!  I would love to hear some advice from those of you who have experience teaching your kids to read to find out what I really need and what I could do without.

 

TIA,

Christina

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How well do you know phonics? If you don't know phonics well enough to teach them, I would recommend a phonics program. There are some very inexpensive ones that are excellent - Spalding (The Writing Road to Reading is the manual and easily found used for dirt cheap), Phonics Pathways (one simple book you read together), etc.

 

There are also programs that are a little more involved and may include some writing and some readers, such as A Beka or Rod & Staff.

 

Two of my kids taught themselves to read, for the most part, but my middle son who took the longer route to reading did well with a variety of sources. Phonics Pathways was great for getting him blending really well. My youngest was 3 at the time, and he was blending already, but I saw a jump in his blending ability the same week that my middle son had a jump in his, despite using different parts of the book. That was neat. PP is also nice because there is no writing involved, so it's good for young kids. I switched to Rod & Staff Phonics and Reading back in October, and that has been fabulous for my middle son, who turned 7 shortly after switching. He is really taking off now. My 4 year old has sometimes worked on the phonics books, but I won't have him officially do them until K next year (when he's 5). He doesn't really enjoy phonics lessons that much. He only likes doing phonics if it's phonics he already knows. ;) He's reading on his own though, so phonics for him will just be filling in anything he didn't intuit on his own. My oldest was the same way, teaching himself and filling in phonics holes later.

 

So yes to getting a phonics program or at least reading through something like Spalding so YOU understand the phonics rules. I don't think you need to start a phonics program quite yet, but let him play with the stuff you have and see where that gets him. My oldest jumped ahead in reading when I left him to his own devices. ;) He had played a lot of starfall.com (the basic free version), and I think that's where he picked up most of it. My youngest picked stuff up from listening to big brothers, playing starfall, etc. Like his big brother, he's made the biggest jumps when I haven't actively taught him anything phonics related. :) Recently, he suddenly started reading everything in sight, and the only thing I've had him doing for school (at his request) is math. :lol: So just realize that 4 year olds can be like that sometimes. At least mine have been. I don't know about anyone else's! Yours seems to be progressing quite nicely.

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I waited until my dd was over 6 to start a teaching her to read.It has been a slow and steady process.She is  now 8 1/2 and is barely now reading fluentlyI wish I would have started sooner.I started my ds right before he turned 5 and he was reading fluently in notime.He is an advanced reader and loves to read and actually reads better than his older dd.I would recommend you start with a formal program especially if you don't know how to teach phnonics.The earlier you start the slower you can take it.I used Mcruffy SE and was successful with it.I especially like kinder.It is very gentle but grade 1 and 2 really step it up a notch and it is a bit much writing in my opionion for a younger student.It is an all in one.It includes spelling,handwriting, phonics, grammar and creative writing in the 1st and 2nd grade.The kinder level is just focused on learnnig to write and phonics.I highly recommend you look into the free sites.I used progressivephonics, starfall.com,reading bear.org,firststepreading.com,and I really love soundcity reading spelling worksheets.I also used hooked on phonics videos on youtube and phonics song 2 on youtube was my dc favorite.I would read to your little one daily.It helps them alot.It builds vocabulary, comprehension, helps them to stay focus and build a love for reading.Good Luck.

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Oldest started with kindergarten and continued on slow and steady like most kids. Middle child showed interest at 3 by memorizing how to spell cvc words. Funnix program was really helpful it's online and once a year the reading and math programs are free! It kept her attention and got her to reading BOB books then we used Abeka phonics.

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I had ZERO budget with my oldest so I just looked over the options my library had and I liked Romalda Spalding's Writing Road to Read best. I had to adapt it to use fridge letter magnets as my oldest was sounding out CVC words but not yet writing. WRTR was not the most user-friendly but it was effective.

 

With my 2nd child, I found a great clearance deal on the Hooked on Phonics K-2 kit. So that's what I used with him, then he started in on All About Spelling.

 

My little one has special needs so I may need a more intensive program with her. She only just turned 5 in January and won't start kindergarten until this coming fall so she's got some time. I've got my eye on Lindamood-Bell LiPS (phonemic awareness program) followed by either Barton or Wilson. But those are expensive and overkill for most students.

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Be VERY careful about sight words in the beginning. I would recommend a strong phonics program. It doesn't have to be expensive at all. Progressive Phonics is free, and it pretty decent. Another inexpensive alternative that I highly recommend is "Teach Your Child To REad in Just 10 Minutes a day" by Sidney Ledson. The focus on phonics is strong, and the "lessons" are kept interactive, fun, and short!

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