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What about A Beka Letters and Sounds K compared to other programs?


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My daughter was liking the look of the A Beka workbook at a friend's house last week. How does it compare to something like ETC? Is it overkill to use a workbook like this along with Phonics Pathways? Dgs is really needing something to push the letter sounds and dd was thinking this looked colorful and fun so it might be appealing to him.


Any input?

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Sorry I've never used it. I did a search and got several links that I can share. Hopefully you guys can glean something useful from past posts.






and a thread on what to do after



However, since your daughter has a friend who uses the curriculum, perhaps the best bet would be for her to make a "Curriculum date" and go over and look at her friends set, maybe she can take ETC with her and they can have coffee and chat about it together?


what sort of schedule does your daughter and grandson have/want? Is school a daily thing? What about their current choices aren't working for them?

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Thank you for the links - gonna read those right away.


Well, her friend is in Jacksonville. We looked at the program when we stayed with her last weekend. She liked the overall look because she felt like it would appeal to dgs. It's a little difficult to engage him with the Phonics Pathways, and she was thinking something a bit more colorful and "fun" might do the trick.


As far as their schedule, yes, they school daily but probably only for an hour to an hour and a half total. They live nearby, so he comes here once or twice a week to spend the night and we do various little units, lap books, etc. when he's here. The only thing she really doesn't love is the PP, and that's mainly because he just doesn't seem to be interested in the presentation of it.

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Does your daughter feel confident teaching phonics with just a scope and sequence?

Honestly, phonics is as fun as you make it. Does DGS even WANT more "fun" in his phonics or does he just want to do his work and move on?

Why can't she just add "pizazz" to PP? It's a solid program,


Maybe she'd like to print and staple together phonics booklets for him to read?

There are a lot of freebies from around the internet.

Progressive Phonics | I See Sam | Hubbards Cupboard | Free Phonetic Readers | Readers by Teachers


Additionally she could buy a book of decodables from a big name school publisher for him to practice with if she doesn't want to print or wants full color readers.




However, if she wants something different than PP, then I can recommend some alternative resources. My personal favorite phonics/early reading book is "The Reading Lesson" and I kinda outline how I use it in this post.

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I think the issue is that she doesn't feel overly confident yet with anything. It's her first year home schooling (although she was home schooled from K-12), so of course she questions herself about everything.


Maybe if I could just look up some ideas of things to add to PP, that would help.


I do like the looks of The Reading Lesson. I think I had looked at it before. What are the benefits of that over PP?

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I found and settled on The Reading Lesson several years ago, so while 've looked at Phonics Pathways I have never used it with a student so I am not qualified to compare how well TRL does in comparison to PP. I will say that PP goes further/more explicit. TRL is a great beginning reading program and some of my students take off reading after it, others need more help and I use free sources to bridge that gap.


However I've used TRL multiple times. I can tell you lots about how I use it. I have the eBook version and here are some of the things that I like about TRL:

0--It is ONE book, not a ton of parts and pieced and I can print the pages as I need them (since I have an eBook)


1--Symbols and sounds introduced on an as-needed basis.

  • TRL teaches the symbols for the lower case letters first and only a few at a time. It teaches digraphs as they are needed. I think lesson 3 introduces "th" so students can read "the" The first 5 chapters/lessons cover blending and short vowel sounds.
  • Think about it. To read the word "pig" the beginning reader child only needs to know 3 symbols and sounds, so what good will knowing an additional 23-41 sounds and additional 49 symbols do them during that instance? Children can't confuse sounds and symbols that they don't know yet.
  • TRL DOES introduce the upper case letters gradually but usually as an end-of-lesson exposure type of thing. If you are doing an ABC book or other activities on the side, then this is more than enough. You can easily do additional memory match games on the side to help your child recognize the letters.

2--Each chapter/lesson in TRL contains letter practice, words, phrases, sentences and stories. (So you don't need anything else) and the layout is very easy to use. It's a very flexible program, but it's not flashy.

  • I might do one page 3 times in the same sitting. 1st drill sounds on the top half, 2nd blend-read-say the words on the bottom half. 3rd read straight down the page in columns, 4th read down the page in rows. 5th have the student read the page again. Then give the child a crayon and tell them "squiggle the word caaaat" "underline the word dooooog" "circle the word mmmmooomm" (blending instead of saying each word and allowing the child to find the word).
  • When we have a page of phrases, I have the student read each phrase "the smooth/fast way" any word that they struggle on, we stop and blend, trace with our finger, etc, then we say it slow and then fast way 2-5 times, then I say "good job, what word is this?" and then have them re-read that phrase the fast way.
  • Some pages have short clauses/phrases that describe a picture. Since I have the ebook I hot-dog bun fold those pages in half (fold them vertically) to hide the picture, have the student read all of the phrases the smooth, fast way, then I unfold the page and have them read it again and let them match/mark the picture described.

3--The font and illustrations are VERY friendly to beginning readers.

  • Some children like to color in the simple, happy looking illustrations after the finish a page.
  • The large font is inviting and the layout has generous amounts of white space.

4--The Special Orthography is unobtrusive and not nearly as "funny looking" as the orthography used in 100EZ. The orthography is VERY useful and the children are gently weaned off of the marks. Even when a child is reading from a "regular" book, if they get stuck, I can trace that orthograph symbol above the letter/digraph to clue them in and they pick up on it right away and keep reading. No problems.


5--It is easy to pace this book (there are no pre-planned lessons) but even my first time ever teaching with this book was EASY.


6--TRL includes some basic punctuation marks and with a child who is more familiar with some basic print/grammar then we talk about a little grammar as we go. For example, the last "story" is lesson 5 is written exactly as follows:

it is hot in the sun.

the man is hot. man

has a fan. fan is on

but the sun is gone.

Most kids know that this "sounds off" so we talk about "the" and then we insert the word "the" were it is missing and get:

it is hot in the sun.

the man is hot. the man

has a fan. the fan is on

but the sun is gone.



So if I'm doing phonics with a (usually older)  child who knows upper/lower case letters already and knows what a sentence is, and that a capital letter starts a sentence, some of them like to "edit" the story further by crossing out the lower case and writing in the upper case letters so that it is "correct"

and we would have this:


Iit is hot in the sun.

Tthe man is hot. Mman (or The man)

has a fan. Ffan (or The fan) is on

but the sun is gone.


7--At the end of each lesson is a page of "key words" from that chapter. The idea is that while working through the chapter the student developed familiarity with the key words and the test of whether or not they are ready to move on is can they easily read the words. You don't HAVE to and I don't ALWAYS but sometimes, depending on my student, I like to make flashcards of the keywords for before we begin the chapter, so that as we are going through the chapter, the child can have a zippy bag of words to practice  decoding/blending. You can play games with the cards if you want. For example, we take turns drawing words from the bag and saying them slow, letting the other say it fast. OR we lay all of the cards face up on the table and I'll say a word the slow way and the student tries to quickly find it. Some kids like to be timed so that they know how fast they can go.


I love to use the Sight Words by Sound words as well and this helps the kids develop fluency with reading/decoding the words and eventually they know them by sight, without having to sound them out, and we have thoroughly avoided drilling the whole word.

The best thing to do is bring the energy. Colors don't make a workbook "fun" the energy of the students and the teacher do.


I imagine that many of these ideas can be be used with any of those books--TRL, PP, OPG, or any of their free alternatives. I happen to have bought and love TRL so I rarely look elsewhere, but there is a lot of potential in that book.


TRL is not to be underestimated. By pairing TRL with a set of readers, my students usually explode in reading ability during K and 1st because of how easy/cohesive it is.


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I would strongly encourage you to print a set of the Sight Words by Sound put them on index cards and use these words for decoding practice. You'll use columns 2a and 2b with the first 5 chapters of TRL.


I'm assuming that your grandson already knows many of the letter sounds since he worked in PP so there is no reason to not start now. You do want him to build quick recognition of those words--they are everywhere but you want him to learn them via decoding/blending, not as whole pictures.


Kids who learn them by whole often confuse from and for, to and at, yes and yet etc. and unlearning them, once they've been learned wrong is a brutal process. You can use 1-10 cards a decoding warm up prior to each phonics lesson, then use the cards for games also. I have the older version of Sight Words by Sound and don't like this new version as much, but it's every bit as useful. Those 2 pages are a literacy treasure. Seriously.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I haven't read what everyone else said but I used the workbook in combo with phonics pathways for a little while and I though it worked great. Once my daughter was blending fluently I moved to AAR1 and it was great. I'm glad she had the foundation of initial cv blends rather than word families

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I am not as familiar with Phonics Pathways.  However, I will say that I used SSRW with my son, and we are switching to A Beka phonics for my next son.  I am using ETC for my second grader as a review after SSRW to fill in the gap sort of thing, and I am not overly impressed.  He hates it!  And he loves A Beka math books because they are colorful and engaging.  If your child is learning this for the first time, I would absolutely recommend A Beka's phonics books.  IMHO, their K-3 skill materials are probably the best products they offer.  

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You should go to a motel meeting for A Beka and look at the complete curriculum. I used the A beka and thought it was great value. http://www.abeka.com/MaterialsDisplay/default.aspx?zip=35202&distance=100&Search2.x=23&Search2.y=10&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1


I had a copy of Phonics Pathways and found it really hard to implement. The one from Peace Hill Press was much easier......Ordinary parents guide, I think.

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