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I am trying to choose between several different phonics programs, but it's so difficult!! I don't want to spend the $$$ without feeling fairly confident that I'm buying the best program for us - how do you experienced mamas figure this all out?

I'm looking at:
Phonics Pathways
Explode the Code
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Basic Phonics Skills (as a workbook supplement?)
Spelling Workout
Spell to Read and Write
Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teach Reading

So...have you used one of these? I'd love to hear the good, the bad AND the ugly! Is there a different one that you'd recommend?

We're still pretty new to homeschooling, and choosing curriculum is pretty intimidating to me. I just feel like I need to get it right the first time, so DH isn't feeling like we've wasted lots of money on something we can't really use. Thanks for any insight you can offer - I really appreciate it!!
 

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I've only used Explode the Code but I love it! My 6 year old son is on book 2 and really enjoys it. There is tons of practice in it and also lots of writing practice so we don't even do a separate handwriting program at this time. My 4 1/2 year old will be starting book 1 soon. She is already starting to read along in her brother's work. It is very cheap, price wise, so I definately recommend it and if you don't like it you haven't lost much. Good luck deciding - choosing curriculum can be such a hard decision!
 

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Well, you may be able to get 100 easy lessons and Ord Parents Guide at your library to check them out which I would highly recommend.

Spelling Workout is not a phonics program, it's spelling.

ETC is cheap and you can always just get the first workbook and see how you like it if it's one you're interested in. They are about $6.50 I think.

check out www.homeschoolreviews.com for reviews on most of these and that may be helpful. But remember, different things work for different kids so just because it has great reviews doesn't mean it will click for your child KWIM?

I've used ETC for 2 yrs with the Nora Gaydos readers and other easy readers and I really like this program for my son. It works for him.

But I'm starting Ord Parents Guide for my DD because that type of program works well for her.

Things to think about:
-does your child like workbook type lessons?
-do they like short lessons or can they do longer ones?
-can they write yet or do the lessons need to be oral?
-if they can write, do they want to?
-how much time will the lesson take for the parent to prepare ahead of time?

all these factors may affect which you choose.

Good luck
 

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Often libraries have some of these, at least through interlibrary loan.

I have seen OPGR and 100EL, I have used PP and ETC. (so my guesses about the others are only that, guesses
)

There are two basic setups. A book you read together PP, or 100EL, or the work book way like ETC.

In my opionion they all are much the same, the differences are going to be purely personal opinions.

Does your child like workbooks or can't stand them?

Do bright pictures and text help or distract him?

Do you feel better if the program is scripted (every word you-the teacher- say is written out) or is more open?

Do you feel okay with a basic text or do you want a program with lots of extras (flashcards, games, tapes, ect.)?

Do you want to learn all the sounds first, or do you want to learn a few and start making words?

Again I think that most of the differences about phonics (and really about so many curriculums) are largely a matter of how you and your child like things. So if you find another mom previous suggestions work good for you then keep following her advice, but there is no one phonics (or math, or science, or whatever) curriculum that is the best for everyone.

I agree about not spending money until you know better what is going to work for your family. Here are some free, basic phonic articles and texts online, you can play around with these first, then you will know better what is going to work for you and your child.

Starfall is an online free site, more game like then the rest.

So is Study Dog, but I don't think it is free any more. But it seems that almost every one likes it.

Here are some free sites
Reading Basics

Phonics Rules

Another site with many links about teaching reading.
 

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There are so many to choose from aren't there!

I have 100EZ lessons, but I looked at it and didn't like the layout- it looked so boring. I read about Reading Reflex (RR) and bought it and it is great.

I started it in September with my dd who is now 7 and she didn't even know all her letter sounds when she started, we should do it every day but we haven't- now I hear her sounding out bigger and more words every day. She never seems to hate it either which is great!

I looked at ETC but it had a lot of writing which dd found physically tiring, which is why I went with RR. It does have writing involved, but in the early stages, I used letter tiles for her to line up to spell th word rather than write it. Now at the advanced code part, she does write as we 'map' the sounds (ie write the sounds out as you spell the word). What I like as well is the variety in the lessons.

For example the lesson we are on we first read the list of words, then we sort them out into groups according to the sound blends in them (I write this) Other times dd has to write the word out as she says it. Then we use a whiteboard, I write the word and she underlines each sound eg for the word 'seed' the 'ee' gets underlined together as they make one sound. there ar also stories to read.

I have really enjoyed doing this program and it has worked for dd. I have to say I did look at Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teach Reading you can view pages on Amazon. I like the repetition and rhymes they use, the only problem I have is that in some areas in contradicts the RR.

Eg in RR you are told not to say 'short sound' 'long sound', which Ordinary Parent's... does. You are also not told to say something like 'when there is an 'e' at the end of this word it makes the vowel say its name (hee as in 'name') which I think would make it easier!!

So I love the RR but am sorely tempted to get Ordinary Guide to have a look and see if I could blend the 2...it is me that wants the variety though!
 

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Over here the big overhaul we have had (in schools at least) is how children are taught to read. There are critics but generally the Synthetic Phonics has been adopted (of which the RR is one way to teach this), this site has loads of info to have a look at, and suggested books to read.

As well as the Reading Reflex I do use the Jolly Phonics books as my 2.5 yr old joins in with their actions and it is really fun using actions to learn letter sounds! I used Jolly Phonics (finger board books) initially when she was learning individual letter sounds. (Just got the Jolly Grammar too!)

Hope some of this helps xx
 

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My son and I are using 100 Easy Lessons. It works really well for him, it matches the way he thinks. Absolutely I say try it before you buy it, though. It is not the kind of book that would work with every child.
 

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My dd (5) loves workbooks and loves to write but hates to be told what to write, so the ETC workbooks didn't work for her. Way too much directed writing.

We have really enjoyed using The Reading Lesson. It's inexpensive (I think about $20) and it doesn't need to be used on any sort of schedule. My daughter pulls it out whenever she feels like it and goes through a few (or many) pages. She likes it because the typefont is large in the beginning, making it easier to read. It also worked well in teaching my 12 year old, who was learning English, to read.

Namaste!
 

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I don't have any advice, just wondering what others thought was a good lesson book for children unable to blend sounds. Like c-a-t to caaat (then hearing cat). My son isn't able to do this and we have 100 Easy Lessons, which doesn't help with this at all.
 

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I personally like Spell to Write and Read, because I think it is a very systematic and complete program (spelling plus phonics with some other stuff in as well). I really like the Spalding methodology. But I wouldn't use it unless my kid was at least six and a half ish and had moderately good fine motor skills.
 

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I like the "Spalding Method" in The Writing Road to Reading (this is the book actually written by Spalding-- sorry not familiar with Spell to Write and Read) bc it has simple practical and inexpensive ideas parents can do at home, PLUS it covers exceptions to general phonics rules. I developed my own (more inclusive and updated version of Spalding) based on this method. (PM me for details)

I have also used 100 easy lessons, which works, but be aware-- you will haveto MAKE it fun, and you'll also have to follow up for more advanced readers.
:
 

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I've read over Phonics Pathways and really liked it, never did actually use it though. My local library has Hooked on Phonics and I've used it. It's the one I like the most of all the ones I've come across...and I've tried many.

I did read a book called Reading Readiness (I think that's the title) and it gave lots of hints on how to teach the child to read by way of sounds...like, facing away from you as you make a long "i" sound so they would have to focus and actually listen for it, etc.
 

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I have 2 kids using ETC right now. My 7yo is in book 4, and my 5yo is in book 2.

ETC has helped my 7yo really polish up his reading skills. It seemed like overnight he went from easy readers to short chapter books.

My 5yo is a bit reluctant to read, so we are taking our time with the books. We normally break each lesson into two so that she isn't too overwhelmed.

I have tried 100 Easy Lessons, but I felt it was boring. I think we abandoned it after about 25 lessons.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by party_of_six View Post

My 5yo is a bit reluctant to read, so we are taking our time with the books. We normally break each lesson into two so that she isn't too overwhelmed.
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I'm going to have to try this when we start ETC next year. My son is the same, he is 6 (he will be nearly 7 when we start next year - for this year we cut the abeka and went back to just focusing on the alphabet and ignoring reading altogether). This is his little mantra "I do NOT like to make MISTAKES" oye. GREAT trait, but really tough to work with till he knows how to handle it, and when to be able to just let it go! The marked up papers in school earlier this year didn't help at ALL
I should have pushed harder to keep him home from the start.

aisling
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by aishy View Post
I'm going to have to try this when we start ETC next year. My son is the same, he is 6 (he will be nearly 7 when we start next year - for this year we cut the abeka and went back to just focusing on the alphabet and ignoring reading altogether). This is his little mantra "I do NOT like to make MISTAKES" oye. GREAT trait, but really tough to work with till he knows how to handle it, and when to be able to just let it go! The marked up papers in school earlier this year didn't help at ALL
I should have pushed harder to keep him home from the start.

aisling
Sometimes when they struggle it is easier to just slow the pace down a bit or give it up for a while. I have always found that if I just give my kids a little time they develop to a point that they are ready to take on the material again. Usually when we go back to it its much easier for both of us!

Good luck!
 
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