Language Arts

Listed below are our top recommended resources for homeschool language arts.

Teaching Reading

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0940319004″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41I5mymy7GL._SL110_.jpg” width=”71″]A Home Start in Reading (Grades K-3). I highly recommend that you read this book. Often a homeschooling parent’s greatest fear is: how will I teach my child to read? Reading this 28 page book will not take long and the wisdom contained in it is unbelievable. Ruth Beechick boils down how to teach reading with the phonetic method and teaches you all you need to know to teach your child to read well through a simple, home-made flash card system. She points the finger at curriculum companies that lead parents to believe that teaching a child to read is difficult and that it requires purchasing expensive curriculum. If you choose her method, you will spend less than $10, maybe even less than $5 total to teach your child to read.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0671631985″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51KLsOekFeL._SL160_.jpg” width=”123″]Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann
This program gets the child reading and then gets out of the way. Many parents never have to finish the book because their children are off and reading well before the 100th lesson. The program is entirely scripted so that all the parent has to do is open the book and follow the directions with the child. Each lesson takes approximately 20 minutes. It is not a complete phonics program, but it gives easy readers all they need to jump right into reading.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0941995305″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71lP9mH1AmL._SL160_.jpg” width=”135″]Alpha-Phonics Book Including CD ROM Version by Sam Blumenfeld. We taught all three of our boys to read using Sam Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics (actually, they pretty much taught themselves), and we consider this the best learning-to-read program available for children who are ready to read and who need a good, “no frills” phonics program. Alpha-Phonics uses a linguistic, word-family approach that has the child reading words from Lesson 1 and simple sentences by the third lesson. It points out rules when they are helpful to the reading process. Extensive word lists and practice sentences are in the text, so no separate readers are necessary. Alpha-Phonics produces significant results when used as little as ten minutes a day, and can be completed in less than a year.

Anyone who knows how to read can teach reading with Alpha-Phonics. You don’t have to know how to teach, or even what vowels and consonants are. Alpha-Phonics requires almost no teacher preparation. The 128 lessons are self-explanatory. However, a teacher’s guide is found in the back of the book.

Alpha-Phonics includes the complete text of Alpha-Phonics in both spoken and printed instructions. Requires no keyboarding skills—all commands use the mouse. System requirements: Pentium 90/32 Meg. 256 colors, 800X600 Res. Win 95-ME/NT.

Readers

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0545019249″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yTaD1jMxL._SL160_.jpg” width=”151″] Bob Books by Bobby Lynn Maslen

Even though most reading programs have practice sentences equivalent to a whole set of readers, sometimes children just want a book to read. They gain a sense of accomplishment in finishing an entire “real” book. These Bob Books are the best and most reasonable beginning readers we’ve found. They come in five sets, each with 8 – 12 little books illustrated with simple line drawings. The sets have been recently revised to include more activities and a brief teacher’s guide.

Ruth Beechick says, “I heartily endorse the Bob Books. Presenting stories in this careful, phonetic sequence is the most efficient beginning reading system that I know of. It is a natural and easy way to learn to read and I can only wonder why all publishers don’t make it this easy.”
Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers has 12 books of 12 pages each with 3 letter, short vowel words. All letters except Q are gradually introduced in this set.
Bob Books Set 2-Advancing Beginners has 12 books of 16 pages each, with longer stories and some longer words, but still only short vowels.
Bob Books Set 3- Word Families has 10 books of 16 pages each, with eight stories and two activities books. Short vowels continue, adding blends and compound words.
Bob Books Set 4 – Complex Words has 4 books of 16 pages plus 4 books of 24 pages that introduce new blends, more sight words, multi-syllable words, and endings.
Bob Books Set 5- Long Vowels Has 4 books of 16 pages each plus 4 books of 24 pages each with a strong emphasis on long vowels, starting with “silent e” words.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0471294284″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51gGEELNw-L._SL110_.jpg” width=”70″]McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers Boxed Set. McGuffey’s famous readers were first published in 1830 and became the backbone of American literacy for over 100 years. Now they have been carefully updated without sacrificing the quality or Christian tone of the originals. The result: a five volume reading curriculum unmatched for quality, usability and Christian content that starts with first grade and progresses to high school.

Books for Beginning Readers

The following children’s literature can be used as read-alouds when the children are small and as readers when they are learning to read.

The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter
Goodnight Moon
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
If Your Give a Moose a Muffin
If You Give a Pig a Pancake
The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh
The Complete Adventures of Curious George 
Katy and the Big Snow
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
The Little House
Blueberries for Sal
Make Way for Ducklings
A Time of Wonder
One Morning in Maine
Fritz and the Beautiful Horse
Caps for Sale
The Story About Ping
The Story of Ferdinand
Bread and Jam for Francis
A Bargain for Francis
Read Aloud Bible Stories

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0547391005″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GUIgWFIRL._SL110_.jpg” width=”87″]The Complete Adventures of Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey. Here, in one oversized hardback volume, are all of the Curious George books. Who can resist a loveable little monkey who tries his best to be good, but whose curiosity always gets the better of him? Boys love this book. Ages 3 – 8.

The 20th-Century Children’s Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0679886478″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Y844B31EL._SL110_.jpg” width=”91″]. What a terrific book! A huge hardback with the complete text and full color illustrations of many of our favorite books for ages 3 to 8. It includes such classics as Goodnight Moon, The Snowy Day, Madeline, Make Way for Ducklings, Millions of Cats, Curious George, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Bedtime for Francis, The Story of Babar, Stella Lluna, Harry the Dirty Dog, The Story of Ferdinand—and more.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0679893148″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515qDDz260L._SL110_.jpg” width=”91″]The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury is a great gift to kids (and adults). Jack Prelutsky has compiled some of the best poetry of the 20th Century. The poetry covers the broad range from wistful to joyful, with imagination to spare. Illustrations by Meilo So gorgeously capture the gist of many poems and his paintings are filled with wonder.

Books for Increasing Reading Skill

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1888344164″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51iEi3chO8L._SL110_.jpg” width=”84″]Reading Strands: Understanding Fiction by David Marks teaches children and parents how to analyze and discuss a work of literature. It has practice discussion scenarios to show you how to get your children to think about what they are reading. Very useful for Jr/Sr highs.

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”1433506955″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wrQOT4DoL._SL110_.jpg” width=”71″]For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay is the best book we can recommend to help you encourage thoughtful reading. Mrs. Macaulay shares ways to interact with living books.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0671212095″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51gvUnJVoQL._SL110_.jpg” width=”71″]How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren. This is the best guide to reading comprehension for the general reader. It explains various levels of reading and how to achieve them—from elementary reading, through systematic skimming, to speed reading. You learn how to extract the author’s message with different reading techniques for reading literature, plays, poetry, history, science, etc. This is an excellent book to help parents choose books for their children or it can be used with senior highs to boost reading skills.

Grammar and Composition

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0195153162″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51fVtYn7y2L._SL110_.jpg” width=”71″]Any Child Can Write Harvey S. Wiener shows how parents can encourage their children to write with a home program that can be used from preschool through high school. Beginning with the building of attitudes, Wiener moves through simple, varied and practical experience with the written word. By setting up an atmosphere in the home that encourages creative written expression, coupled with a parent’s guidance in writing, children gain an outlook on writing that builds confidence in their abilities to use language. In addition, Wiener describes how to find the best educational online resources and how to supervise a child’s work on the Internet.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0880620269″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XGDF%2B2-3L._SL110_.jpg” width=”82″]How to Write Clearly: The Meaning Approach. Ruth Beechick is one of our favorite, no-nonsense authors about how to best teach children reading, writing, and arithmetic and in this book she speaks clearly to writers from young teens to adults. Read and use the insights as you see fit in your own writing. There are no boring drills and assignments. *How to link sentences to keep the readers with you. *How following the story thread is better than “encyclopedia” fact writing. *How to solve most comma problems with grammar rules. *How to write with verbs instead of nouns to perk up your prose. *Numerous other techniques that make sense. This book contrasts with much of today’s teaching on how to write, which is ineffective and deadening to students. Here she explains the historical roots of that old system so you can confidently move to the meaning system. A bonus chapter gives a history of how English language came to us.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0865303177″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/6153F4DSD0L._SL110_.jpg” width=”110″]If You’re Trying to Teach Kids How to Write, You’ve Gotta Have This Book. The handbook at the top of every required resource list–a how-to book for understanding and working with the whole writing process, an at-your-fingertips source of ideas for starting specific activities, and a ready-when-you’re-in-need manual for solving writing problems.

Spelling and Vocabulary

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0838820565″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lD9Uh2DbL._SL110_.jpg” width=”82″]A Spelling Dictionary for Beginning Writers. Nearly 90% of the words young writers use come from the same 1,000 words. Unfortunately, many of these words have irregular spellings like does, said, and friend. This is a word bank of the 1,400 words most frequently used by children in grades one through four arranged alphabetically in large print. Get one for each of your children.
A Spelling Dictionary for Beginning Writers Book 1: A Resource for Independent Writing
A Spelling Dictionary for Writers: Book 2 : A Resource for Independent Writing

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”1558500189″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51-fznzwddL._SL110_.jpg” width=”72″]Words You Should Know features definitions and sample sentences for the 1200 essential words every educated person should be able to use and define. A good vocabulary and spelling list for Sr. high students.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B000GTBCBQ” locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41VAb1v7%2BEL._SL110_.jpg” width=”58″]Rummy Roots We can’t say enough good things about this amazing card game. It is made up of a deck of cards, half of which have 42 common Latin and Greek roots and half of which have the English equivalents. The game is played at four levels. The first and simplest level is a matching game similar to “Go Fish” where root words and English equivalents are paired. Once all players learn all 42 roots and their meanings they can progress to 3 harder games: one game combines roots to form English words (example: “tele” and “scope”), the other two involve dictionary skills, organizing words by themes (science, etc.), and deciphering word combinations. Lots of twists and turns make the games entertaining. Ages 8 and up.

More Rummy Roots follows the basic format of the original rummy roots games, but concentrates on prefixes and suffixes. (75% Latin, 25% Greek) You don’t have to have used Rummy Roots  first.

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”0307945022″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515DYbKHj2L._SL110_.jpg” width=”73″]Word Smart selects 823 difficult words that appear most frequently in the vocabulary sections of the PSAT, SAT, and GRE and gives definitions, sample sentences, quizzes, and learning tips.

Reading Great Books

Books with Recommended Reading Lists

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0143037390″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51jLGLMXBhL._SL160_.jpg” width=”101″]The Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition by Jim Trelease. This book not only convinces you of the critical importance of reading aloud to your children, but it also has lists and lists of the “best of the best” books that all ages can read aloud and enjoy.

(See our list of great “read-alouds.”)

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”0801011566″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51fDv4VZOzL._SL160_.jpg” width=”119″]Invitation to the Classics by Louise Cowan and Os Guiness. Subtitled, “A Guide to the Books You Always Wanted to Read,” the authors have prepared a history of literature by presenting, in chronological order, important literature in the history of Western civilization. They start with Homer, through the Greek poets, the Romans, the Middle Ages, and so on to the twentieth century. Each chapter analyzes a different author’s work from a Christian perspective, explaining his or her worldview, and summarizing the plot of some of his or her most important writings. A large, hardcover book. Young adult and up.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1581341989″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514HZI0oh9L._SL160_.jpg” width=”104″]Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children’s Literature by Elizabeth Wilson is a wonderful book derived from the insights of Charlotte Mason who believed education should take place mainly through reading books that make a subject come alive. It lists hundreds of “living books” by subject area and grade level.

Books by Gladys Hunt

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0310242460″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51bRZKS1sxL._SL160_.jpg” width=”127″]Honey for a Child’s Heart gives many suggestions for making reading more rewarding and includes an 85 page annotated booklist of the best children’s literature by subject and age level. [easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”0310242606″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513U6Afhh2L._SL160_.jpg” width=”125″]Honey for a Teen’s Heart is the sequel to Honey for a Child’s Heart and has teen reading lists and lots of ideas for creating teen readers and keeping them reading. Honey for a Woman’s Heart: Growing Your World through Reading Great Books is another great reading compilation, this time for busy Christian women. Full of great summer reading ideas.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0764561014″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51He1uMOo4L._SL160_.jpg” width=”109″]Reading Lists for Coll Bound Students contains suggested reading lists from 100 top colleges, an annotated list of the 100 books colleges most often recommend, and suggestions for planning a high school reading program.

(See also the College Bound Reading List recommended by The College Board.)

Books for Increasing Reading Skill

Reading Strands: Understanding Fiction by David Marks teaches children and parents how to analyze and discuss a work of literature. It has practice discussion scenarios to show you how to get your children to think about what they are reading. Very useful for Jr/Sr highs.

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”1433506955″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wrQOT4DoL._SL160_.jpg” width=”103″]For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay is the best book we can recommend to help you encourage thoughtful reading. Mrs. Macaulay shares ways to interact with living books.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0671212095″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51gvUnJVoQL._SL160_.jpg” width=”103″]How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren. This is the best guide to reading comprehension for the general reader. It explains various levels of reading and how to achieve them—from elementary reading, through systematic skimming, to speed reading. You learn how to extract the author’s message with different reading techniques for reading literature, plays, poetry, history, science, etc. This is an excellent book to help parents choose books for their children or it can be used with senior highs to boost reading skills.

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