Homeschool Phonics That Takes {most of} the Headache Out of Teaching Reading

Okay, so after using Play n' Talk for our first two boys, I was expecting to jump right in and have it work well for our homeschool phonics for our third son as well.  

We started and after a while it just didn't seem to be working the best.  But not really knowing what else to do, we plowed ahead.  And it still didn't really work.  

He was discouraged.  I was frustrated.  Where do we turn from here?

I spent time at our homeschool convention looking for something else that would be a better possibility, but didn't seem to find anything that we felt was the right thing for us.  

And then...

God led me to this: The Reading Lesson - Teach your child to read in 20 easy lessons!

boy with The Reading Lesson

Sounds too good to be true, but I was ready to give it a shot. =)

It was one of those times when it feels like I just stumbled across it and I know it was God's gift to us.

I was excited because this seemed like a great answer to my homeschool phonics search - it was affordable, used a great approach (see below), and besides that was simple and yet cute!  

There are two popular ways to teach reading currently - The Whole Language method and the Phonic method.  There seems to be an ongoing controversy about these techniques, but which really is best? 

Here is a brief look at the two approaches:

The Phonic method focuses on teaching the child to read small sound units first and then to combine them into bigger units - words.  The awareness that combinations of letters represent unique sounds is the key essence of the Phonic method.  

The Whole Language method does not break the word into small units to be sounded out, but instead teaches the child to recognize the word by memorizing it.  The theory is that the brain can translate directly from the written word to the meaning.  By knowing the context, the reader anticipates what is coming, and can often speed up the recognition process by guessing.  

At first glance, the two approaches seem to contradict each other, but in fact, they complement one another in building reading fluency.  Used alone, phonics isn't enough, so combining it with the Whole Language method as needed rounds it out.

But what makes The Reading Lesson unique?  

  • Combines Phonics with Whole Language
  • Offers step-by-step lessons that teach phonics and build sight vocabulary
  • Designed for children ages 4 - 8 
  • Begins by teaching the most common letters in the English language instead of following the alphabet.  That way, the child can begin reading words and simple stories from the very first lesson.  
  • Uses special typography that is large in early lessons and gets smaller as the book progresses.  
  • Uses special symbols to help the child learn the complex and irregular rules of English pronunciation.  There are special marks to help the child distinguish difficult letters like b and d.

Has this been a dream-come-true? Well, yes and no!  Learning to read is work, no matter what homeschool phonics curriculum you choose.  Learning to read, like all learning, comes easier for some children than others.  

The Reading Lesson has been a great addition to our curriculum this year and I am so grateful for it!  I would highly recommend this as a great way to teach homeschool phonics.

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