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Which phonics program will give the kids the most bang for their buck

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Short version – I need a phonics program to teach 8 kids, 45 min. class, 1x week, for 11 weeks. Ages vary 1st grade to 4th grade, one grade/class.  My problem is choosing which phonics program will give the kids the most bang for their buck, so to speak.

Long version – I know this is for homeschooling and what I am asking is not, but I don’t know who else to ask.  I have been given a great opportunity.  I will be teaching several classes for the local rec. center starting the middle of March.  Each class is 1½ hours for 11 weeks and is supposed to cover math, handwriting and reading.

I am mainly concerned with the reading portion for older children. The class is advertised for children who need extra practice in math and reading.  I don’t expect to have any children with severe reading difficulties and I wouldn’t know what to do with them or possibly even recognize them if they show up.

I expect to split the class into 30 min math, 15 min handwriting and 45 min reading.  I would like to do phonics and some form of buddy reading out loud and possibly add a chapter a week from an audio book as a read aloud.  My problem is choosing which phonics program will give the kids the most bang for their buck, so to speak.  I am by far not an expert in reading or phonics and have only recently come across terms like explicit, vertical and horizontal phonics.  This first class will only be 11 classes and in this school district, sad to say, I may be the most intensive phonics instruction they receive.

 

I have copies of First Start Reading (it teaches word families), 100EZ Lessons, OPGTR and the 3R’s by Ruth Beechick.  I have a copy of WRTR 4th Ed. in my Amazon basket.  I have been looking at Alpha-Phonics and something called the Great Saltmine and Hifwip.  I have been looking at Don Potter’s page and Blend Phonics etc.  I have looked at several programs and had to reject them because they are not secular (this is being subsidized by the city) or they cost more than I am being paid to teach the class.  I have a lot of superficial knowledge with no depth.  I need help.

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Short version – I need a phonics program to teach 8 kids, 45 min. class, 1x week, for 11 weeks. Ages vary 1st grade to 4th grade, one grade/class.  My problem is choosing which phonics program will give the kids the most bang for their buck, so to speak.

Long version – I know this is for homeschooling and what I am asking is not, but I don’t know who else to ask.  I have been given a great opportunity.  I will be teaching several classes for the local rec. center starting the middle of March.  Each class is 1½ hours for 11 weeks and is supposed to cover math, handwriting and reading.

I am mainly concerned with the reading portion for older children. The class is advertised for children who need extra practice in math and reading.  I don’t expect to have any children with severe reading difficulties and I wouldn’t know what to do with them or possibly even recognize them if they show up.

I expect to split the class into 30 min math, 15 min handwriting and 45 min reading.  I would like to do phonics and some form of buddy reading out loud and possibly add a chapter a week from an audio book as a read aloud.  My problem is choosing which phonics program will give the kids the most bang for their buck, so to speak.  I am by far not an expert in reading or phonics and have only recently come across terms like explicit, vertical and horizontal phonics.  This first class will only be 11 classes and in this school district, sad to say, I may be the most intensive phonics instruction they receive.

 

I have copies of First Start Reading (it teaches word families), 100EZ Lessons, OPGTR and the 3R’s by Ruth Beechick.  I have a copy of WRTR 4th Ed. in my Amazon basket.  I have been looking at Alpha-Phonics and something called the Great Saltmine and Hifwip.  I have been looking at Don Potter’s page and Blend Phonics etc.  I have looked at several programs and had to reject them because they are not secular (this is being subsidized by the city) or they cost more than I am being paid to teach the class.  I have a lot of superficial knowledge with no depth.  I need help.

 

The Great Saltmine and Hifwip is a Spalding spin-off.

 

Because you have the children for such a very short amount of time, I don't think more comprehensive methods like Spalding or OPGTR will be the best. Maybe something like the Victory Drill Book would be good. Start the reading time with that, and then find some good children's literature--not necessarily a basal reader, but a good, interesting children's book--to have them read aloud.

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I'd be inclined to do Phonics Pathways and combine it with something like the Ladybird Peter and Jane books which are based on high frequency words.

 

And also maybe add the pyramid book for extra practice....

 

If you had more time I'd suggest dancing bears and apples and pears, but given your parameters, I think PP would be easier to implement.

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I 2nd Phonics Pathways. It's inexpensive, simple to use and very adaptable. I use it to tutor ESL students in grades 1-6. Of course, since you already have OPGTR you could probably adapt that to work (since the print is smaller and includes a lot of scripting, you would need to copy words onto the board or type up your own handouts with the info you want the students to see). Also, I believe Blend Phonics is free, so that might be a good choice too.

 

LOE Essentials would be excellent, but likely too expensive and intense for this short of a session. Of course, if you only bought the Teacher’s guide it would be more affordable, but possibly still out of your price range.

 

I would highly recommend that you read "Uncovering the Logic of English" yourself. That will give you an excellent crash course in phonics, and all of the rules are neatly lined up for you there. That could help you create a scope and sequence, and use another resource you already have for word lists, etc.

 

HTH!

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Thank you all for your advice.

 

I am looking at the Victory Drill Book website.  I am a little confused by what it is exactly.  I am thinking it gives a phonogram like /a/ and then a list of words that use that phonogram?

 

I have also looked at Phonics Pathways but I didn't think I would be able to cover enough material in the 11 classes.  It was definitely a consideration in the beginning.

 

LOE has several problems, the main ones being lack of time and lack of money.  I like the way the program looks, I just don't think I will have the time and $198 (on sale) for the program  + $22 x 8 students is more than I can afford.  If I ever teach a more extensive class I will definitely look at this and Phonics Road.  I have just put "Uncovering the Logic of English" in my Amazon basket.  Thank goodness for Amazon gift cards for Christmas.

 

I have also looked at Abeka but the religious content rules it out.  Personally, I use Christian based materials to homeschool, but this is a city subsidized program.

 

I think I will have to read the WRTR 4th Ed. at least twice and Uncovering the Logic of English and then I will be better able to start making a plan.

 

And just think, I am also signed up to teach 2 other classes.  :willy_nilly:

 

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Thank you all for your advice.

 

I am looking at the Victory Drill Book website.  I am a little confused by what it is exactly.  I am thinking it gives a phonogram like /a/ and then a list of words that use that phonogram?

 

I have also looked at Phonics Pathways but I didn't think I would be able to cover enough material in the 11 classes.  It was definitely a consideration in the beginning.

 

LOE has several problems, the main ones being lack of time and lack of money.  I like the way the program looks, I just don't think I will have the time and $198 (on sale) for the program  + $22 x 8 students is more than I can afford.  If I ever teach a more extensive class I will definitely look at this and Phonics Road.  I have just put "Uncovering the Logic of English" in my Amazon basket.  Thank goodness for Amazon gift cards for Christmas.

 

I have also looked at Abeka but the religious content rules it out.  Personally, I use Christian based materials to homeschool, but this is a city subsidized program.

 

I think I will have to read the WRTR 4th Ed. at least twice and Uncovering the Logic of English and then I will be better able to start making a plan.

 

And just think, I am also signed up to teach 2 other classes.  :willy_nilly:

 

I love Spalding and its spin-offs (LOE and the others), but truly, because of your very limited time, I don't think it will be the best (Spalding would be way less expensive than LOE, BTW).

 

I don't think the Victory Drill Book uses the word "phonogram." :-) But it is a *drill* book. A letter or combination of letters is taught, then words which use that sound. It isn't flashy, and it isn't as comprehensive as Spalding/Spalding spin-offs, but it gets the job done. And it's secular, and it's inexpensive, and it's easy to teach.

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I'm not familiar with all of the the curriculum here, so I'll offer that as a disclaimer.  However, in my experience, many of the comprehensive phonics programs spend a lot of time in the beginning setting up a system for kids to organize their thinking about phonics, whether it's establishing the idea of keywords for kindergarten level readers, or syllable types for older readers or whatever.  These kinds of systems can pay off later, when kids learn concepts quickly because they're slotting them into an existing system.  

 

But if you have 11 hours to work with these kids, you can't waste time setting up systems that they won't then have time to use.  You'll want something where kids are doing the heavy lifting of blending, segmenting, and manipulating sounds in words from the very beginning.  

 

One program that I really like, that I feel gets to this quickly, is Phonographix, found in the book Reading Reflex by Carmen McGuinness.   It's a program that doesn't do a lot of explaining, which is great if some of the other kids are doing other phonics programs.  It also lends itself well to games and hands on activities.  

 

You also didn't ask, so please feel free to ignore this advice, but I'd skip the handwriting, and the read aloud and spend a full 60 minutes on decoding.  I'd even go so far as to suggest that you spend the whole 60 minutes on phonics.  There's a lot of evidence that for many kids, phonics is the missing piece that keeps them from moving from non-readers or struggling readers to readers, and 22 30 minute sessions (I'm assuming a set up that's something like 30 minutes of teacher directed phonics and independent pencil and paper work, 30 minutes of math, 20 minutes of phonics games in partners or small groups), is enough to make significant headway, especially if you set very clear goals for each grade level, and structure your classes around those goals.  

 

For example, if you were setting a goal for first graders, assuming you don't have kids with significant reading disabilities, I think that in 22 30 minute sessions you can most kids through blending, segmenting, and manipulating sounds in 3 or 4 letter words where each letter makes it's most common sound, and introduce the idea that 2 letters can make one sound (e.g. "sh" or the "oa" in soap), although you wouldn't get through all the 2 letter combos.

 

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Can they have "homework"? I would go with Phonics Pathways cover certain pages during the class, and then assign them practice pages for during the week. PP is to the point and comprehensive. Alpha Phonics would be my second choice. 

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Perhaps on the first day you could assess where they are, using some readings from OPGTR. Then divide them into groups based on that, and work with them from there. You'd need something to occupy the others when you are working with some of them though. I think you have a difficult job. :)

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Thank you all for all the advice and recommendations.  I could not have figured this out nearly as well without you.

 

I have come to some decisions.  I need some depth of knowledge, so I have ordered WRTR, Uncovering the LOE (also the Kindle version) and Reading Reflex.  I bought Alpha Phonics and a How to Teach Math book at Half Price Books.  As soon as I get some more money, I plan to buy the Victory Drill book and several other books that are too many to name.

 

I suppose I could just choose one program and start, which is what I am doing at home, but in order to teach kids who may have a reading disorder I really think I need to understand the whole process.  I will probably do something based on Reading Reflex (but that’s without reading the book) and the Victory Drill Book.  I am also planning to look into The Great Saltmine and Hifwip.

 

I looked at Explode the Code, but trying to determine which kid needs which level and then the expense of buying them pretty much excluded them and any other multi-level workbook system.  The rec. center will make copies of pages for me, but because of paperwork, budget etc. can't purchase workbooks.

 

Daria, I think that your ideas are very good and if I can implement it I will probably use your schedule idea.  I am sort of stuck with the handwriting because it is in the class description, but maybe I can incorporate it with the phonics.  A lot of decisions will need to be made after the first class.  I might end up with a bunch of great readers who can’t count, add or subtract. 

I have looked this over and obviously I am still confused.  :confused1:

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Thank you all for all the advice and recommendations.  I could not have figured this out nearly as well without you.

 

I have come to some decisions.  I need some depth of knowledge, so I have ordered WRTR, Uncovering the LOE (also the Kindle version) and Reading Reflex.  I bought Alpha Phonics and a How to Teach Math book at Half Price Books.  As soon as I get some more money, I plan to buy the Victory Drill book and several other books that are too many to name.

 

I suppose I could just choose one program and start, which is what I am doing at home, but in order to teach kids who may have a reading disorder I really think I need to understand the whole process.  I will probably do something based on Reading Reflex (but that’s without reading the book) and the Victory Drill Book.  I am also planning to look into The Great Saltmine and Hifwip.

 

I looked at Explode the Code, but trying to determine which kid needs which level and then the expense of buying them pretty much excluded them and any other multi-level workbook system.  The rec. center will make copies of pages for me, but because of paperwork, budget etc. can't purchase workbooks.

 

Daria, I think that your ideas are very good and if I can implement it I will probably use your schedule idea.  I am sort of stuck with the handwriting because it is in the class description, but maybe I can incorporate it with the phonics.  A lot of decisions will need to be made after the first class.  I might end up with a bunch of great readers who can’t count, add or subtract. 

I have looked this over and obviously I am still confused.  :confused1:

 

I would have just started all of them at the same place with ETC. :-) But I think Victory Drill Book would be just fine. :-)

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I use Alpha Phonics.  Not sure how you would use it all in 11 weeks.  But this is mainly supplemental and this book has lots of practice.  There lare more lessons that focus on the short a sound with all the other basic letters then you will probably need.  So you should be able to pick and choose.

 

Another option might be to use The ABCs and All Their Tricks.  It is a small reference book that covers the phonogram and lists many words that use that phonogram.  It also has some explanations to help understand when and why to use the specific spelling for a given sound.  This would be for you to use as a guide.  You can then make make sheets or prep to use a white board or make up some games.

 

 

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