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Looking for an inexpensive, easy-to-use phonics program


Katiebug_1976
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Hi,

Looking forward to next year, I think I have decided to let my will be 1st grader tag along with my older kids doing MFW RtR and just get her age appropriate phonics and math. That being decided, I need some help in finding a phonics program that is easy for me to sit down and teach (I am a very visual learner and have a hard time reading pages and pages of instructions), but we have to watch the budget too. It doesn't stretch very much anymore. I would like to hear your opinions on what worked well for you and why and mabye what didn't work so well to give me an idea of what to look at and what to stay away from.

 

Thanks so much,

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I found Explode the Code to be very affordable. You can get it from http://www.christianbook.com. I think it was about $8.00 per level, plus about $6 for the teacher manual. The average pace is 2 levels per year, but you can buy each level when you're ready which makes it easier on the budget. Our local homeschool store carries it, too. Make sure you get the teacher manual because it's much more rich that way.

 

--Kim

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PP is probably the easiest, if you find that's not quite enough explanation, then OPG, but it sounds like OPG might be a bit too wordy for what you want.

 

If you watch my spelling lessons and the first few of my phonics lessons, you will get a nice easy visual explanation of how to teach phonics!

 

Spelling Lessons: http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Spelling/spellinglessonsl.html (Phonics lessons linked below in my signature.)

 

Blend Phonics is also simple and free, but needs to be followed by a more complete program like PP or OPG. The instructions in Blend Phonics and Word Mastery are free online at Don Potter's webpage (programs are free, too!) and well worth reading, they're simple and to the point yet tell everything you need to know to get started.

 

http://www.donpotter.net/education_pages/

 

I would not teach sight words, here's why and how not to teach them, I've remediated a lot of students taught too many sight words:

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/sightwords.html

 

Also, I have a one to two page summary (depending on how your font size is set) of how to teach a young child to read, which includes some game ideas:

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/newstudents.html

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I used Simply Phonics for my DD8, but she really practically taught herself so I can't speak for how easy that was to actually "teach".

 

For my DS6, I've been using Progressive Phonics and he's doing fabulous with it. It's a series of downloadable books that you print out. They are very reasonably priced...I think $20. You pay once and get a few year's free access to them. There are rules you read to your child and then practice pages where you and your child read short stories. They are interesting enough to keep the child wanting to read them. It's very, very easy, and my son is reading very well now; we're almost done with the program. You can download a few books for free to see if you like them. Here's the website:

 

http://www.progressivephonics.com/

 

I completely agree with the poster who said there are way too many sight words. Ruth Beechick's reading book has a good list of true sight words...I've seen some lists from public schools and there are a lot of sight words that are easily read if you know your phonics. I think true sight words should be the ones that don't follow phonics rules.

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OPGTTR is wonderful, IMO. It is an all-in-one book, no pictures, but there's a reason for that (so the child doesn't try to guess the words based on pictures - that would defeat the purpose of 'phonics'). It does have material in the 2nd half or even last 2/3 of the book appropriate for your child's age/grade. I still use some of the last sections in it as a refresher once in awhile for my 2nd grader.

I have read/heard many success stories w/ ETC, & they have an online option you can purchase through homeschoolbuyer's co-op.

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Another solid vote for OPGTR. It's pick up and go for the most part, although you may need a few things if you want to do all of the extras. We did almost none of these, just worked throught the lessons. dd did like drawing and labeling things on the white board, so she did that sometimes.

 

If you have any chance of seeing books in person, I really recommend that. Ask friends, go to a home school store if you have one, etc. Failing that, buy items in good used condition - - you can generally make most of your money back if it doesn't work out for you.

 

Reading programs seem to be a quirky fit - - there are lots of good ones that just don't work for some people. I think PP is a good one, but it just didn't work for us. Can't even identify why, but it just didn't go as smoothly for us as OPGTR.

 

Make sure that you check your library. I know that mine has Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and other posters have mentioned finding OPGTR.

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I like Alphaphonics and have used it with several students. Most do fine with it, but a few start guessing because of the word families. In that case, you need to switch to something else or work across instead of down.

 

It's actually a good idea to sometimes work across the page instead of down even if you don't think they're guessing, just to make sure they are sounding them out and not just going by the word family pattern.

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