As you begin homeschooling your Kindergartener, you’ll want to include daily time for reading. Reading can be as basic as learning to recognize letters and the sounds they make or, for those children who started earlier, it can involve reading simple beginner books. There are many resources out there for you to choose from, some with less formal instructions and others with set curriculums.
How do you know which reading course is best?
You won’t know until you try. Once you’ve chosen a curriculum, however, it’s important to remember that you are not tied to it. If it’s not working for your child, set it aside and try something else. If that’s not working, try yet another approach. As a homeschooler, time is on your side; you can take the time to find the best method to help your child learn.
If you have more than one child, it’s likely that they won’t learn to read in the same way. A curriculum that worked for your first child might not work with your second. Again, try different approaches until you find the one that meets the needs of each child individually.
Your children (and your friends’ children) will also learn to read at different rates; your first child may be reading Dr. Seuss when he’s three, while the second is just starting letter sounds at five. Take a deep breath and relax. They will both learn to read – what’s most important is not when they learn to read, but that they learn to love reading.
Below are some reading resources to get you started:
A Beka Publications produces an entire Kindergarten curriculum, although you can purchase the resources separately. Their reading kit includes a blends and word book, readers, and flashcards.
Alpha Omega Publications produces the Horizons Kindergarten Phonics and Reading Curriculum. This series features four workbooks for students as well as a teacher’s guide, illustrated readers, and an alphabet floor puzzle. The workbooks begin with basic letter recognition and letter sounds, gradually moving to digraphs and consonant blends as the lessons get harder. If your child likes workbooks, this may be the curriculum for him.
Alpha-Phonics by Sam Blumenfeld is a phonetic approach to reading, with the teacher’s manual and lesson plans all in one book. Follow this approach page by page to help your child learn to read.
Bob Books: These little books with colorful covers by Bobby Lynn and John Maslen are ideal for encouraging little ones as they begin to read. Introducing only a few new letter sounds at a time, the Bob Books series combine the letters into simple words and sentences. Children quickly realize they’ve read their first book, and the pride in their accomplishment shines through.
Explode the Code series by Nancy Hall is a workbook series that combines writing, reading, and spelling, introducing children gradually and systematically to new letters, sounds, and words. Extra workbooks that fit “in between” the levels provide additional practice.
Sing, Spell, Read, & Write for Kindergarten is a 36-step program that can actually be spread over two years. Through the use of songs, games, readers, and activities, this curriculum was designed to encourage children to become fluid, independent readers.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann is yet another reading resource for young children. Engelmann suggests that by following the plan provided, you can teach your child to read on a second-grade reading level within 100 teaching days. This book takes parents step by step through each lesson, instructing the parent on what to say as well as what the child’s response should be — a good choice if your child enjoys learning while sitting in your lap.
The Three R’s by Ruth Beechick is actually three books in one, including her book Home Start in Reading. In this little book, Ruth Beechick shows parents how to teach their children to read phonetically using homemade flashcards. This is a simple and direct method for a parent that is feeling overwhelmed.
The Writing Road to Reading by Romalda Bishop Spaulding focuses on phonics for teaching speech, reading, and writing. While the book is involved and requires more work on the part of the instructor, many have attested to the effectiveness of the Spaulding method.
No matter which curriculum or method you use, make sure it is enjoyable for your child and not a chore. Reading should be fun and books a reward. Most importantly, read out loud to your Kindergartener every day. You might choose the books, or you might let your child pick a favorite, but don’t be surprised if he chooses the same one over and over. Take him to the library to find new ones. Show him what an adventure reading can be, and you’ll find you’re raising a life-long learner.
Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell
Screenshot from jensimon7