Our eldest child attended public school for kindergarten and first grade and learned to read there. The school’s reading lessons focused almost exclusively on memorizing visual words. He memorized hundreds of visual words and seemed to be reading pretty well for a small child. However, since he had practically no knowledge of phonetics, he tried to find new words. He still has some spelling difficulties today, and I believe that the lack of phonics lessons when he learned to read helped.
We pulled him back from school after first grade and started homeschooling in the fall when he was in second grade, and his younger sister was a kindergarten teacher. When it was time to teach her to read, I knew I wanted to focus on phonics, not memorizing words. We also needed something affordable, simple, and easy to teach. After doing a lot of research, I came across Reading: teach your child to read in 20 easy lessons and decided to give it a try.
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How we used the book
Reading Lesson: Teach your child to read in 20 easy lessons Begins teaching letter tones and continues to explore words, read sentences, and finally read longer passages. We worked on the lessons in this book for approximately 15 to 20 minutes a day. The lessons lasted about one week on average. The first lessons lasted less than a week, while the lessons took longer towards the end of the book.
Each lesson begins with clear, easy-to-follow instructions for parents. Classes focus on mixing sounds and learning to explore words. The book’s unique typography and font style help children identify and separate the letters they already know. These bars, dots and special graphics serve as aids and help the child to mix the sounds into words. Through repetition, your child also learns to recognize key words.
I loved the simplicity and effectiveness of this book. As a new homeschooler, I was overwhelmed by the thought of the more complicated reading programs. They often have numerous components and labor-intensive lesson plans. Reading Lesson: Teach your child reading in 20 easy lessons without any preparation.
More reading exercises
After completing the lesson: teaching your child to read in 20 simple lessons, I made our daughter practice reading aloud from the start. We started with simple ones and gradually increased the level of difficulty. I was lucky enough to find this set of 55 Abeka Reading for Fun kindergarten readers from 1979 at a local sale of used books for just $ 3! Our set actually had 60 books because the lady who sold it had put a few small Abeka Pre-k readers in the box. We really enjoyed these books and this price is unbeatable! The latest issue sold by these readers for over $ 65. For some additional exercises, we used the free one Learn to read Lessons at Starfall.com. Our daughter had a lot of fun with these games, stories and interactive lessons.
What about visual words?
I never had to bore our daughter’s words. At the end of kindergarten, however, she read very well. Still, I wondered if all the advocates for sight words were correct. What if I did something wrong because there were no visual words to remember? After all, adults don’t hear every word. We know most of the words that we read from memory.
So I decided to ask her for words. I went to K12 Reader and printed out the list of 1,000 Fry Sight words. These are the visual words used in many schools, including the one our son attended. I then asked our daughter to read the lists. It flew through the first two hundred words and missed only a few. Nor did she have to sound it out. She knew her from memory, although she had never seen a card with a single word. I never asked her about the rest of the words.
I was a little surprised that she did it so well, but I really shouldn’t have. Fry Sight words are the most commonly used words in the English language, listed in order of frequency. So the first few hundred words were the ones she had read in her readers all the time. With regular reading practice, most children learn the first Fry Sight words through natural repetition without the need for index cards.
Other options for reading
If this simple approach to teaching reading appeals to you, but the reading lesson: teaching your child to read in 20 simple lessons, this doesn’t seem to be a good fit, so consider this Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons or The guide for ordinary parents to teach reading. These are also easy-to-use open-and-go programs. I have several friends who have had success with these two books. And if you need free options, we list some on our curriculum page.
If you’re looking for beginners that your child can practice with, you may not be lucky enough to find 60 worth of books like we did for a few dollars, but there are many places where you can find affordable readers for your child can find. This post lists many places where you can search for inexpensive, used books. Try your public library for free options. If you don’t mind e-books, download some of them free classic readers. For a child just starting to read, download the primer-level books.
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