Learning to Read Resources

Some children learn to read all by themselves, but most need help. Those who need reading instruction tend to fall into three categories: (1) Easy readers who require a minimum of instruction, (2) Children who need a good, “no frills” phonics program, and (3) Children who need a program with a lot of reinforcement. Most children fall in the middle category. Please read the information about teaching reading before making your choice. Reading comes fairly easily to children who are ready, so if your child has unusual difficulty learning to read there may be some processing problem.

[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.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0941995011″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lQiYHS1%2BL._SL110_.jpg” width=”69″]How To Tutor by Samuel Blumenfeld. We taught all three of our boys to read using Sam Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics, which we consider to be without peer among reading programs. Sam’s book How To Tutor contains the original phonics lessons from which Alpha-Phonics was taken, plus step-by-step lesson plans for all math skills from preK through sixth grade as well as cursive handwriting instruction. We’ve carried How To Tutor for years, and many home schooling families have told us it is their sole resource for teaching the three Rs through sixth grade. The tutoring tips alone are worth the price of the book.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0767916158″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51B40gmkuTL._SL110_.jpg” width=”73″]Your Child’s Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning From Birth to Adolescence by Jane Healy. This is a very interesting book for anyone who intends to teach a child to read. It discusses how thinking and learning abilities develop for language arts types of skills like reading, writing, spelling, proper use of grammar, etc. and what parents can do to create the “mind pathways” that enhance these thinking and learning abilities. (While you are at it, take a look at Mrs. Healy’s other book Endangered Minds: Why Children Don’t Think And What We Can Do About It.)

Supplemental Workbooks for Reading

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0838814603″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZC9S3vSEL._SL160_.jpg” width=”116″]Explode the Code is a series of workbooks containing exercises in recognizing the sounds of letters, combining sounds, and reading words, phrases, sentences, and stories. Each workbook has activities in matching sounds, words, or sentences to pictures, in writing out words or sentences, in choosing the correct word between similar spellings, or in reading a story and then answering questions. We don’t usually recommend workbooks, but these provide excellent reinforcement for beginning readers who need extra practice. Use the workbooks in the order that sounds, blends, or other phonograms are presented in your reading program.

Explode the Code Book 1 (consonants, short vowels)
Explode the Code 1.5(further practice for Book 1. If the child has grasped all of Book 1, you may move directly from Book 1 to Book 2.)

Explode the Code Book 2 (consonant blends)
Explode the Code 2.5 (further practice for Book 2. If not needed, move directly to Book 3.)

Explode the Code Book 3 (one syllable words ending in a long vowel, including y, silent e words, digraphs, trigraphs, diphthongs)
Explode the Code 3.5 (further practice for Book 3. If not needed, move directly to Book 4)

Explode the Code Book 4 (compound words, common endings like -ful, -ing, -ed, rules for syllable division)
Explode the Code 4.5 (further practice for Book 4. If not needed, move directly to Book 5.)

Explode the Code,Book 5 (word families all, alk, old, olt, ild, ind, qu words, three letter blends, diphthong ey, ed)
Explode the Code 5.5 (further practice for Book 5)

Explode the Code, Book 6 (r- controlled vowels, more dipthongs)

Explode the Code, Book 7 (soft c and g, silent consonants, digraph ph)

Explode the Code, Book 8 (suffixes and endings)


[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.

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