As a child I loved to read. My mother tells me stories of how when I was in grade one I was reading novels (she also remembers my sister walking at 8 months which I'm pretty sure is not true...so take my accounts of being a reading prodigy with a grain of salt!).
When teaching my eldest how to read, I had not seriously considered homeschooling. I didn't research the homeschooling blogs to see what method was best, or what manipulatives should be used to reinforce what was taught...instead I turned to trusty Amazon.com! I searched "learn to read" and the best selling, highest rated book was Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons by Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox and Elaine Bruner.
When I received the book, I was somewhat intimidated because they make use of Distar orthography which looks like the English language with strange lines and dots above and below the letters. I actually held on to the book for a few months before starting it when Sofia was shy of 4 years old because I thought it would involve a lot of time learning a new "language" on my part. I was wrong (thankfully!). The funny writing you see below is very easy to learn and really does make learning phonics logical and organized.
Important phonics lessons are incorporated slowly into each subsequent lesson. It is done so gradually that you barely even notice they are adding them. In addition to reading, there are comprehension questions that make sure your child understands the stories they are reading. There is also writing practice at the end of each lesson where the child writes the letter sound they learned. We did this at the beginning but we eventually cut that part out. By lesson 100 your child is reading at a second grade level. At that point Sofia had no problem reading the stories in the book but was still hesitant to read "regular" books on her own.
Sofia finished this program earlier this year and overall I think it was a success! It is amazing to watch your child go from learning letter sounds to figuring out entire sentences before your eyes. What is even better is watching Sofia now reading to Maya and Emelia. Maya usually loses interest after a while and Emelia just wants to eat the book...but it is still precious and one of my favorite things to see.
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