It’s no easy task to teach a child to read. It takes grit and perseverance for both the parent and the child. For a homeschooling mom we likely have to teach more than one child to read and therefore get to, in some ways, repeat teaching reading every so many years which requires much fortitude. This is why I like to use these tools to spice it up a little bit. Afterall, beginning reading should not be stressful. If you try these with your child and it does not intrigue them or they struggle then it may be a sign to just wait for a period of time and come back to it and see if developmentally they are ready again. The joy of homeschooling is tailoring your child’s education to where they are at developmentally and what they are ready for
For learning readers I like to make it as fun as possible so they’ll want to stick with it and actually look forward to it. Keeping reading fun has proven successful for my boys’ progress in this academic subject. I have both an auditory/kinesthetic learner and a visual/kinesthetic learner and these tools worked for both of them. However, I have gone through the Hooked on Phonics curriculum at a different pace with both boys based on what they were ready for developmentally.
Tool #1 Hooked On Phonics
At the level of Kindergarten and First Grade I consider this tool to be the “core” curriculum. This can stand alone and be the one thing you use to teach your child to learn to read. I have used this as a self paced tool. In other words, if my son wants to do more that day, then we do more, if he is having a rough day and can only focus on a little bit, then we only do a little. My goal is not to overdo it or make it upsetting. Doing it this way we have been able to finish both the kindergarten and first grade level for both my sons in one school year.
The kit I am showing is one of the older Hooked On Phonics Kits and honestly, I like them better than the new ones. This kit comes with a box for Kindergarten and a box for First Grade. In each box there are workbooks, audio cd’s, sets of flip cards on a ring for letter sounds and letter combination sounds, beginning reader story books, stickers, and an incentive sticker chart (only in older kits.) *Also, DVD’s are included in the newer kits which are not my preference because there are so many opportunities for screen time nowadays that I like something that goes without it once in a while. *The newer kits are all sold separately. For instance, there is a level one kindergarten to buy separately then you buy level two when you are ready to move on, and so on. The older Hooked on Phonics Kits are still available on ebay which is where I bought mine at a very good prices years ago.
This is only a partial picture of all the supplies included in the curriculum.
This curriculum does require full parental involvement but as with teaching any beginning reader there is always a need for sitting with your child and teaching them phonics directly. In total, it takes about 15 minutes per day to go through give or take.
This is the incentive chart in the older kits. I reused it for Cody (my second) which is why his name is at the top because I wrote Corbin’s in sharpie when I used it for him. Instead of incentive charts in the newer kits, the kids get to put their stickers on each page of the workbook that they complete. Either way, my boys both love incentives even if they are simple stickers and this chart proves very effective for helping them progress.
Hook on Phonics helped both my boys to read because of the methodical/spiral process this curriculum uses.It builds upon itself each day. During the lesson you play the cd and follow the instructions the lady tells you to do. (By the way she has a very easy listening voice – in the older kits) First, they start with sound/letter memorization and then combine those sounds into words through repeat rhythmic repetition on the cd. Some days there are games to play with letter cards (that come in the kit), sometimes there are activities to do in the workbooks and some days there are mini stories or actual storybook to read at each level.
Each time I have used it with my children they have finished the curriculum being able to read at a beginning level. It is so rewarding! Once we are done with Hooked on Phonics we move on to Christ Centered Phonics.
This tool I consider as supplement to learning phonics. It can be used in addition to Hooked on Phonics described above. I like to use this to change up our routine a bit during the week. Sometimes we will use it in addition to our HOP (Hooked on Phonics) lesson and sometimes we will use it in lieu of our HOP lesson. Sort and Slide Word Building can be used once the child grasps each letter sound and can sound them out individually. If they can do that then they might be able to put together the three to four letter words in the sliding system.
This kit is pretty self-explanatory. What you see in the picture is what it comes with (except there are many, many letter and picture tiles that wouldn’t fit in my photo frame!) The idea is that the child or the parent chooses a picture and then helps the child sound out the words phonetically. The child then searches for the chipboard letter tiles and slides them into the appropriate column. Once the four rows of the sort and slide have been filled up the flap that says “Word Building” at the bottom is actually magnetic and can be released letting all the tiles fall out so the game can be started over. It is great for a visual/kinesthetic learner.
My youngest son would ask repeatedly to do this activity and I absolutely love it because it reinforces sounding out letter sounds and putting them together to form a word all while he is having fun. It really has added a lot of fun to our phonics time in our homeschool day.
Tool #3 Boggle Jr. by Parker Brothers
Who wants to play a game and call it school? My boys do! This tool/game has been helpful for me to reinforce letter sounds and making words phonetically which in turn helps my kindergartner learn to read well.
Boggle Jr. comes with lots of plastic letter cubes and a big variety of picture cards. Three letter words are printed on one side of the picture cards and four letter words are printed on the other side of the picture card. The parent slides the stack of picture cards in the orange base and places the plastic flap over the letters that are below the picture. Then, the child and parent sound out the word together and the child finds the correct letters to match the sounds and places them in each cube placer in the orange base. Once the child has placed the cubes in the base then the parent slides the orange flap open to reveal the word and see if the child got it correct. If they get it correct they get to keep the card. Another way to do it if the child is first starting out is to let them see how the word is spelled on the card and they can match the letters while sounding them out with the parent then put the word together. I started with the three letter words and progressed to the four letters words for my kindergartner and he loved the incentive of getting to move “up” once he mastered the three letter words.
This tool is a great way to help your kindergartner learn to read and to reinforce skills that have been learned in your phonics program (whether is is HOP or not.)
There are many fun tools out there to make learning fun for our children. Keep it simple and fun at a young age and don’t fret if they don’t get it. Just remember take a break or some time away and your child will learn to read in God’s timing for them.
Cheers to a great homeschool week!