Monday, August 11, 2014

Teaching Children to Read (and a Giveaway)

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
Welcome to the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop, where over 50 of my fellow bloggers from the Schoolhouse Review Crew are going to be sharing various posts on the subject of homeschooling. As I have been spending the last month sharing different products in my Back to School/5 Year Blogiversary Celebration, I am going to be sharing with you some of my favorite products, ideas and resources for different subjects. These aren't written in stone, but I plan to share some ideas on:
  • Teaching to Read
  • Online Learning
  • Hands-On Learning
  • Science
  • Math
In honor of today's Back to School/5 Year Blogiversary Celebration review of The Reading Game, I would like to focus on what I have done in the past and plan to do in the future to help my children learn to read.

For many years I had been a strong supporter of learning to read using phonics, and only phonics. This came about because of my strong dissatisfaction of the way my older children were taught to read in public school. They all struggled through school because they did not have a strong foundation in reading. I was then introduced to teaching with phonics when I was teaching at the Montessori. The head teacher was able to teach our preschool age children to read short books in time for our Ladies Night at the end of the school year. These children went into kindergarten already knowing how to read. I was quite amazed at the results!

I knew I wanted to implement some of the techniques that were used at the Montessori with my children.  I also did quite a bit of researching to see what others were doing and saying about teaching children to read, and literacy. Now I would like to share some of the resources I used.

Books I Read:

Native Reading by Timothy D. Kailing

Mommy, Teach Me to Read by Barbara Curtis

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

Phonemic Awareness Activities for Early Reading Success by Wiley Blevins

Activities I did with the girls:

The most important thing I did with the children was read, read and more read. 

We played with letter magnets, letter blocks, felt letters, and foam letters, learning the sounds and using them to form words.

We played the Beginning Sounds game. We try to think of words that start with a certain sound. For example, I'd say, "I hear 'mmmm' when I say 'mmmmommy,' 'mmmmouse,' 'mmmmmoon.'" As the children got older they were able to add their own words. 

I made lunches where the foods started with the letter we were focusing on. A cutout of the letter was made in bread or cheese and added to the lunch.

We made letter/sound collages and letter/sound books.

We made crafts in the shape of letters.

We played with sandpaper letters, learning to form the letter and focusing on the sound. 

I made a movable alphabet that we could use to form words, starting with C-V-C words.

I had Tabitha sit on my lap as I typed out words and had her sound them out.

We used printable books from Progressive Phonics where I read the majority of the story, but Tabitha read the words highlighted in red. 

Videos and Shows The Children Watched:

Leap Frog Letter Factory

Leap Frog Talking Words Factory

Leap Frog Talking Words Factory 2: Word Caper

It was after Tabitha started watching Talking Words Factory that everything seemed to click. She was only 2 1/2 and suddenly she was blending words together. Shortly after that she was reading The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss with me.
They also watched Super Why! on television. 
As Tabitha started to read more, she read Hello Reader books, Step Into Reading Books, and Abeka 1st Grade Readers.
We have not used any specific curriculum to learn to read, just lots of fun games, activities and crafts.
Here are some of my old posts where I share what I have done with the children to teach reading.
I primarily used phonics to teach Tabitha, but I have also added in sight words occasionally. We have two of the Sight Words DVD's from Rock 'n Learn which the children enjoyed. Currently I am using The Reading Game with Hannah. This is something new for me, as it does not focus on phonics, but on memorizing sight words with phonics added in at the end. You can read my full review here. (Just to let you know, you can earn bonus entries into the Back to School/5 Year Blogiversary Grand Prize Giveaway by commenting following the directions at the bottom of the post.)

Speaking of The Reading Game, at the end of the post you will find this week's Back to School Celebration Giveaway. This is the last weekly giveaway before next week's Grand Prize Giveaway.

There will be a wide variety of homeschool posts shared this week by my fellow Crew mates on the Schoolhouse Review Crew. I hope you will find some time to stop by and see what wisdom you can glean. There are always wonderful posts by these great ladies. Here, check out today's posts:
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break shares My Back to Homeschool Checklist: School Scripture
Tara @ This Sweet Life shares 25 Back-to-School Oatmeal Recipes (and a Giveaway)
Laura @ My (re)Viewpoint shares Avoiding the Homeschooling Comparison Trap
Alyson @ Family Style School shares Wow Is It Really That Time
Kemi @ Homemaking Organized shares Our Methods (and Madness)
Anne @ Upstate Ramblings shares Back to Homeschool - 10th Grade Curriculum
Julie @ Nurturing Learning shares Our 2014-2015 Curriculum Choices
Beth @ Acorn Hill Academy shares Making History Relevant: Century Chart
Also check out the main post on the Schoolhouse Crew Blog, for all the participating blogs and a chance to enter the huge giveaway worth $1300.

And now for this week's Back to School Weekly Giveaway
There will be 2 winners again this week!
Each winner will receive a copy of
The Reading Game

All you need to do is enter in the Rafflecopter form below. There are only 3 simple mandatory entries, with the remainder of the entries being optional. Remember, you do not have to do the extra entries, but they will increase your odds of winning.

This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and over.
The giveaway runs August 11th through August 17th.
All entries are subject to verification.Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received The Reading Game for free.  I received no further compensation. This did not in any way influence my reviews. As with all my reviews, the Back to School reviews reflect my own honest experience and opinion.  I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are my own.


  1. I have been considering the Leap Frog program for my Grandson for Christmas. This would include the videos and their toddlers learning computer. We are a household of readers and writers so I really want to make sure this love of words is passed onto my Grandson.

  2. I might try the leap frog program since my 1st grader has been having problems with reading. He just does not seem interested like my 3 year old daughter is.

  3. I like the idea of letter/sound collages.

  4. I have already done so many of these same great ideas with my daughter, one thing I have not yet done is make sandpaper letters.

  5. Awesome giveaway! I think the Leapfrog Letter Game would be awesome for my daughter!

  6. I like how you talk about in another post of yours doing activities and crafts to go with the giveaway!

  7. I would try and make crafts in the shape of letters


  8. I really like the idea of doing crafts to teach my kids to read! My daughter is a great artist and would really love and relate to this way of teaching.

  9. I might try using the Talking Words factory video.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  10. I loved the idea you shared about having your child think of words that have the same sound as a word that you give them, for example "Moon" and they would say "Monkey" ;) Love it!

  11. I would like to try to make lunches based on the different letters.

  12. My kids love the Leap Frog movies and we watch them pretty often, that's one thing we do to encourage reading in our house.

  13. We have Talking Words Factory, but I need to do a better job at watching it with my daughter and working on the words together

  14. I really like your idea about having the child try to sound out words as you type them. My son loves anything that has to do with the computer, so he'd love this "game"!

  15. I think we will try a revised version of sounding out words as you type. We'll modify it to be her typing out the words as she sounds them out. I am also checking out Progressive Phonics printable books, which is more where she is at now - simple books to read out loud. - Lori H

  16. I like the sounding out words and talking words video.

  17. My boys love Super Why. My 2 year old likes to watch episodes on my kindle. It is my favorite app since he can watch any pbs show, with Super Why being one of the favorites.

  18. I may try the movable alphabet that we could use to form words, starting with C-V-C words.

  19. I like the sounding out words .MY daughter would love this.

  20. I like the idea of making lunch with foods that start with the letter you are working on that day


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