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What did you use to teach your children to read?


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Guest melissarday

I'm asking the older student board because I'm looking for a long term perspective.  I'm torn between using Rod and Staff and The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading.  What did you use?  If you could, would you go back and use something different?  

Thanks!

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I used Rod and Staff Phonics and Reading with Phonics Pathways.  I did NOT force a lesson a day though.  Where needed, we took it very slowly, and sometimes went to Phonics Pathways for practice and reinforcement when we got stuck or if we needed something lighter.  The Rod and Staff was bought used, and a friend gave me Phonics Pathways with the advice, "use it for the rough spots."

 

People criticize Rod and Staff Phonics because it uses some sight words, but I didn't know better when we started with it.  By the time that I understood different types of programs, both were making great progress, and I didn't see any reason to change.  My oldest took three years to get through their 1st and 2nd grade programs, the other was reading beautifully by the end of the 1st grade program and was figuring out words faster than I could keep up.  Just a little tweeking with Phonics Pathways, and we were done there without ever using the 2nd grade program.

 

No regrets.  I suppose if I had the money to try different programs, there might have been something better.  But it was very scripted, thorough, and cheap, and it worked for us.  Our library had a lot of simple readers, and so I used those quite a bit.  We did buy several of the Bob Book sets because they loved those and read them over and over at home.

 

Most of my local friends used Sing, Spell, Read, and Write.  It seemed complicated and expensive to me, but they raved about it.

 

 

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To be honest, if you have a kid who picks it up easily, most programs will work. If you have a child who struggles, Abecedarian and Rewards worked for me. I used LLATL Blue and Pathway Readers (and their phonics and accompanying workbooks) with both Geezle and Trinqueta. That was all T needed to launch and read on her own. Geezle needed Abecedarian and Rewards and lots and lots and lots of practice.

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I'm asking the older student board because I'm looking for a long term perspective.  I'm torn between using Rod and Staff and The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading.  What did you use?  If you could, would you go back and use something different?  

Thanks!

Like the others, I'll answer that it's likely not to matter as far as how they actually teach the reading.  Now it might matter if you have kids who need color and games and kinesthetic (which neither of those really are) or they turn out to be dyslexic or struggle in some way.  But in general, kids with learn with both.

 

Is it the price point making you question?  See, if I were asking that question, I'd be asking it because I *liked* Phonics Road but felt guilty about paying so much.  PR is a complete LA approach and VERY nicely done.  My suggestion is that if you're DRAWN to it and can see yourself using it, do it.  

 

A lot of these homeschooling decisions boil down to your GUT.  Now is the time to validate your gut.  In your heart of hearts, when you dig down deep, put aside the money considerations, etc., and really get honest, is there one you see yourself using or one you really hate and are having to suck it up for?  Go with your gut.

 

If you like PR but not the price, there are less expensive ways to get there...

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If you like PR but not the price, there are less expensive ways to get there...

 

An older friend of mine who has done a lot of tutoring of students with reading problems told me that a determined but flexible parent can usually teach a child to read with any of the solid programs.  If you are tuned to how your child learns and will pace it to the child, you can usually be successful.  With one of mine I added in magnetic letters on a whim, and he loved that.  I made up words for him to read, and had him make words that I said from the letters.  He loved it so much that he and Daddy would do that in the evenings when I was at work.  So trying different things and not expecting perfection is very important.  My second kid just wanted to read.  Let's get the lesson done so we can read.  Go figure.

 

Teaching them to read was the scariest thing for me.  No problem doing Trig now, and I can find my way through most Latin and Spanish homework.  But phonics?  It scared me...

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Bob books followed by whatever early readers we could find at the library followed by Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County and the Far Side.

 

My kids now have a freaky awareness of 80's politics.

 

But, yeah, for a lot of kids it may not really matter what you use,as long as there's a reader (adult or otherwise) there to say the words out loud for them. Although, if my kids had had to learn formal rules I'm not sure they ever would have learned.

 

Both my kids, in fact, wanted to learn how to write long before they could read -- once they knew the letters they'd insist on knowing how to spell all kinds of things that they were writing. I suspect this taught them a lot, but might not have been the "right" way to do it. Still, they were interested, and anything that interests a kid is going to work more than something that bores them.

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Three used Phonics Pathways

One used Dancing Bears as an older child

My current is using Saxon Phonics - refuses to look at the page, adores worksheets, and loves writing. It's a good match

Youngest hasn't started - I'll either use Phonics Pathways or Saxon Phonics depending upon handwriting ability and willingness to look at a page. :001_smile:

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My boys learn to read using the ancient leappad that has a stylus on a string and comes with sets of books and cartridges.

 

They didn't like the Bob readers and Hook on phonics. They generally dislike readers.

 

So either people are buying a lot more programs than they need (which is probably 0-1) and/or some of those programs really don't work.

Or the phonic programs were gifts from well meaning relatives and friends. I gave plenty away.
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The short answer: Books.

 

My daughter had no patience at all with "readers" or any curriculum designed to teach her to read. We did the usual alphabet stuff when she was little and some very basic phonics workbooks from the dollar store, but after that, we went directly to picture books. I made a deal with her that I would buy her any book she would read. So, we went to B&N, and she picked out a picture book from the spinner rack. (I think it was Rugrats themed, actually.) We went home, and for the next few days we spent 30 minutes or so sitting together on the couch while she sounded out the words. When she could read all the words and put them together into sentences that sounded like they made sense, I congratulated her and took her back to the bookstore to choose another book.

 

Within a few months, she was reading independently, and we made weekly library trips a regular part of our routine. When it got to the point at which she was had read every Arthur, Angelina Ballerina and Magic School Bus picture book in the library and was checking out huge stacks of them that she read before we made it home, I nudged her towards chapter books.

 

My son took a little longer and did make more use of the leveled readers.  (He really loved the Now I'm Reading series, although he went through each box in about a day and a half.) But the principle was the same. 

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With my third, I bought a used set of Sing, Spell, Read and Write and new workbooks to go with it. It was great! I wished I'd made the purchase for the others.  With my first two I tried Phonics Pathways, Alpha-phonics, and Reading Reflex. We also used BOB Books and Modern Curriculum Press phonics practice readers from the library.

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We use Simply Phonics from Shoelace Books plus BOB Books and McGuffy Readers. I have no intention of ever having more children, but I can't get rid of that Simply Phonics book. It was fantastic.

 

The thing that REALLY pushed him into reading though was a little game we played.  I put a white board in his room and we made up an imaginary friend who came to visit every night and write him notes.  His name was Jack the Gnome, which explained why he could only come at night (gnomes only come alive at night... duh.  ;) ).  DS would get up SO excited every morning to read what Jack wrote on his board the night before.  It was weird but so much fun.  Once Jack moved on to another child, we visited a place nearby called The Enchanted Woods to see where Jack lives.  

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My oldest pretty much taught himself to read. He knew the alphabet by site because of read alouds, and when he discovered each letter made a unique sound he acted as if we had been holding out on him. For about two weeks he pounded us with "What sound does __ make??" and then he was reading. *shrug*

 

#2 used a combo of Phonics Pathways and Plaid Phonics workbooks, and played on starfall.com.

 

#3 and 4 used Phonics Pathways, Starfall.com, Leapfrog videos, and BOB Books.

 

#5 started out like 3 and 4, but found the presentation of Phonics Pathways offensive. I jumped ship to Writing Road to Reading (4th edition) in K and she was happier. She will finish a hand-me-down Sing, Spell, Read, Write level 1 this year as a first grader, which has fun workbook pages and songs. She big, fluffy, purple heart loves SSRW. She finished her first chapter book this week (Boxcar Children), so obviously the jumping hasn't harmed her a bit.

 

#6 just turned 4yo. He already knows letters and sounds from living in a homeschool and having a set of Leapfrog videos in the same cupboard as his little kid cartoons. He blends a little bit. He is not ready for actual curricula. I will probably use Sing, Spell, Read, Write when he is ready. It is high interest, fun, and very effective.

 

Fwiw, not counting the 4yo (yet), they're all bibliophiles who would test/have tested well above their grade levels.

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1. leapfrog dvds: http://www.amazon.com/LeapFrog-Letter-Factory-Ginny-Westcott/dp/B001TKUXUC

2. teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons

 http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Lessons-Fireside-Edition-0671631985/dp/B00FDX1YCW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1412185818&sr=8-4&keywords=teach+your+child+to+read

 

both girls tanked at about lesson 67, so this was followed by

3. Reading Made Easy http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Made-Easy-Valerie-Bendt/dp/188251470X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412185758&sr=8-1&keywords=reading+made+easy

 

which they finished beautifully.  it said they were now reading at a mid-grade 2 level.  so i pulled a canadian curriculum that i had and they tested at the beginning of grade 1.

so then we did this series for 8 years:

 

4. Teach your children to read well

http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Your-Children-Read-Well/dp/1894595017/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412185985&sr=8-1&keywords=teach+your+children+to+read+well

 

i can't say enough good stuff about it.  it was simply fabulous.  it works on fluency and comprehension and speed.  :)  

 

hth,

ann

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Someone once said (Mary Pride maybe?) that the third phonics program works. Doesn't much matter which is the third. The deal is--the kid has now seen it from three different approaches and is probably close to a year older. I've seen it happen, over and over. 

 

I think this is a Ruth Beechick quotation.  I remember it was in an article I read once. 

 

We used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

 

But:

We did not try to do the writing portion of the lesson.  I taught writing as a separate skill, a bit later, with Italic Handwriting.

DS #1 and DS #3 both encountered problems around lesson 65-70, where a series of sight words and words that slightly break phonics rules are introduced.  In each case, we took a detour through a set of phonics readers (5 boxed sets of Clifford Readers from Scholastic, alas, now out of print).  The readers let my kids go backwards and practice early skills, then build upon them.  When we finished the boxed sets, then we went back to the reading lesson we'd stopped at and finished the 100 EZ Lessons book.

 

Also:

Each kid was given a small stuffed animal to cuddle during and after their reading lesson.  This was their reading buddy.  Each morning it was put up on the shelf with the reading book until the day's lessons were complete.  At the conclusion of lesson 100, we had a reading party, complete with a cake, books and bookmarks as presents and a formal presentation of their reading buddy as theirs forever.  It wouldn't necessarily work with every kid, but my goal was to have as many positive associations with reading as I could come up with.

 

Even when we finished 100 EZ lessons, there were a few more years worth of daily reading practice.  We used a lot of DK level 3 and 4 readers, a chapter a day.  Then branched into other easy books.  We read a lot of Mr. Putter and Tabby, Henry and Mudge, Poppleton, Little Bear and CDR Toad.  One kid did well with Frog and Toad, so we proceeded to buy and read every Arnold Lobel book I could find. 

 

With kid #1 & #2 there were specific points that were breakthroughs.  They realized that they didn't have to be afraid of chapter books and never held themselves back again.  With kid #3, it was a much slower process (We moved four times in his K-3 years, with three of those being international moves.  Once we were able to really pour in solid consistency, he bloomed.  My most reluctant reader now reads adult science fiction and The Economist.)  I liken education to the process involved in making a pearl.  It is a long slow process of laying layer upon layer down.  Each layer is so thin as to be hard to detect on its own, but together they make something beautiful.

 

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Alphaphonics with 8 kids.  With a few of them I had to work on fluency afterward.  I love that Alphaphonics spends so much time on short vowels because by the time they get to something else the whole idea of sounding out words is solid, solid and then they can handle the increased speed at which long vowel and other vowel sounds are introduced.  I did use 2 of the Merrill Linguistic Readers for reading practice until they got past short vowels. The only readers my kids ever use.  

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I used Saxon Phonics. It was a bit of work to go through, but it included spelling as well. When son finished SP 2, he tested as 4th grade level for reading & spelling. I think it provided a great foundation. We also used First Language Lessons for the gentle intro to grammar, but we didn't do too many of the writing assignments. Son (at 18) still remembers the list of prepositions!

 

HTH,

Brenda

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With #1 I tried a couple of programs that didn't seem to work/connect with him, tried Explode the Code and within a very short time he was reading books (we went through the lessons very fast).  #2 has a completely different learning style as well as being a reluctant learner.  Tried 2-3 different kinds (completely different than used for #1), finally out of exaperation tried Explode the Code, and in no time he was reading.  For kids #3,4, and 5 i Just started (and finished) with Explode the Code and saved myself the hassle.  #6 will get Explode the code when he is older too.

 

My kids have very different learning styles but I found the Explode the Code was a good basic down to earth no frills approach that everyone of my kids could get something out of and got the job done.  We never needed any extra materials other than we used itchy's alphabet for the kids who had problems with letter reversals. But Basic phonics was books 1-8 never used the 1/2's or other stuff.

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Older two-real books after I  learned how to teach with real books by reading Ruth Beechick's pamphlet Homestart in Reading. (amazon $4.)

 

My oldest started learning to read at 4 and could read like an adult by her 5th birthday.  My middle started learning to read at almost 8 and could read like an adult by age 11.

 

Youngest-Phonics Pathways and accompanying pyramid books.

 

My youngest started learning to read at age 5.  She can read independently very well but can't read like an adult yet at age 9.

 

Note* 100EZ Lessons is usually a love it or hate it for most people.  We hated it when I tried with my oldest.

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I used Reading Reflex with my two who are currently in high school and am using it again with my 6yo because I loved it the first time around. It's a simple and usable method and I think it's unfortunate that it's sometimes seen as a remedial program for older children when it's great for teaching new readers.  

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I tried a few programs for oldest son and all caused a lot of frustration.   He ended up teaching himself to read around age 9, mostly from listening to audio books and then re-reading the books.  He was dxed dyslexic  but is now a strong and avid reader.

 

Younger son was an early reader and learned to read well before his older brother.  He actually is also dyslexic but it presents itself a bit differently.  He pretty much only likes to read non-fiction.

 

So, basically they learned to read from books, not any particular program.

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I have 3 VERRRRRY different girls. The ONLY thing that worked for every single one of them for any subject was Phonics Pathways. One read fairly early (age 4-5), another fairly late (3rd grade-ish) and another slightly later- age 6?  

 

I never did any suggested writing with the phonics lesson- it was either too advnaced for my easy reader, or too frustrating for my slower reader.

 

I never never never scheduled it, either- we just opened the book every school day, and finished if we did 1 lesson, or got as far as we could that day and worked on the same lesson the next day and maybe even the next until it was done.

 

I especially loved not having to get any specific books, teacher guides, manipulatives, games, charts, etc. Just open the book, read the lesson, and go.

 

It was SO easy to use that even my grandmother- who barely had an 8th grade education, could do the lessons with my girls when I needed help. She was SO proud of herself AND the girls- she told everyone who would listen to her at the Senior Center how she was "Learnin' them great-ones their reading." :laugh:  ("Great-ones" was her collective word for Great-Granddaughters.) (Haha and no, she didn;t do Grammar with them. :leaving:  )

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Note* 100EZ Lessons is usually a love it or hate it for most people.  We hated it when I tried with my oldest.

 

Oh yes!  I absolutely loathed that book.  More than the method itself, the pages were SO cluttered and busy.  DS thought so, too.

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Kid #1 - taught herself

Kid #2 - The Reading Lesson (just the textbook, not the software, etc.)  This is a huge font, simple-format book that worked really well with her vision issues.  (See huge font here http://readinglesson.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/The-Reading-Lesson-1-to-3.pdf)   Highly recommended for any kid who needs vision therapy or glasses at a young age, otherwise it's just yet another phonics program, but I thought I'd add it to the list.

 

 

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I used Reading Reflex with my two who are currently in high school and am using it again with my 6yo because I loved it the first time around. It's a simple and usable method and I think it's unfortunate that it's sometimes seen as a remedial program for older children when it's great for teaching new readers.  

 

I used Reading Reflex for all three of my kids.  It's so straightforward, very easy to teach reading this way.  Completely phonetically-based, no sight words to learn, no 'rules' to learn.  A bonus is that this method made it extremely easy to teach reading in other languages - my kids could also read in Spanish and German by the time they were 6 (they could sound out everything fluently, even if they didn't understand all the words yet).

 

May be the best homeschool purchase I ever made.  And only $16.

 

The only other thing I used early on were some readers I got from the library, then books.

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With DD#1, I used Sing, Spell, Read, and Write. I liked the program OK, but there was a lot of writing, and it was too much for my then 5 yo dd. So, I began to research other programs when it came time to teach DS#2 how to read. I stumbled upon the book, The Writing Road to Reading by Romalda Spalding. (This is now called the Spalding Method.) This is a fascinating book about the neuroscience of how the brain processes information. I absolutely love this methodology! It works, it isn't expensive, and it makes sense! This was a much  better choice for us; there was less writing, but lots of oral practice. If memory serves me correctly, the Phonics Road uses the Spalding Method.

 

HTH,

Jennifer

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I used I See Sam and Progressive Phonics. It was a fun, free, effective way to learn for both my boys. Side note: I did Phonics Road for spelling after we were reading well. I would get reading down before spelling again, if I had a younger child to teach. 

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Okay, sidenote: I just freaked myself out by thinking, "Why are people responding on a high school board about using OPGTR? That book has only been on the market for a couple of years. It's still new!"

 

Then I looked up the publication date: 2004. Ten years ago. So yeah, people who used OPGTR do indeed now have high schoolers. (LOL)

 

Where has the time gone?!?

I did the same thing! :P
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My oldest two used Abeka and it worked well for them. They are very strong readers, is it from the curriculum I dont know, could be just all the reading we do. But one thing for sure, I am sold on phonics as a way of teaching reading!!! I know it is overwhelming now trying to decide which is best....tough choice good luck!

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