Homeschooling Kindergarten: Phonics & Reading

As I shared in an earlier post, we have jumped into Classical Conversations for the general base of our homeschooling curriculum.  In the younger years, we also need to teach reading and math.  (I love watching kids learn to read – a whole new world opens up to them!)

My favorite, favorite tool for introducing phonics sounds is a dvd called Leapfrog Letter Factory.  My kids entertain me because they correct ME when I get the sounds wrong.  Can we say mommy is a tad bit tone deaf?  My littlest watches the dvd each day (give or take) while my older one works on his reading work.  She’s getting it!

I’m a fan of Leapfrog products, and we also had a lot of fun with the Leapfrog Phonics Toy that sticks to the refrigerator.  The kids plug in letters, and it says the sounds for them.  Great way to tie together letter shapes and their sounds!   I’ve found these toys on Craigslist before too.

I am focusing on phonics for reading and had heard great things about Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons.   However, since I personally have no phonics background, the book looked like Greek to me.  In perusing the reviews, one parent mentioned using a computer program called Funnix.  Score!  We haven’t looked back.   D is learning a lot, and he can do this subject WITHOUT ME.  This is often our first subject for the day.  I get him started while I try to wake up, make my chai, get my little one set up with something to do, and check my blogging work for the day.  🙂

I’m excited that by the time he finishes lesson #120 (we’re on #75 right now), he’ll be reading paragraphs!  It started with sounds, and progressed to actual reading pretty quickly.

I appreciate the economics of this program too.  While I caught the company during a season while they were actually giving it away for free (can you say awesome!), it is only $38 for both levels of the program.  That includes a pdf workbook that I print out at home.  All my kids can use this program, and Iwill just print out new worksheets for them.

Bob Books
We have also been working our way through the Bob Books and he LOVES them.  They are short, intentional in how they build on what the kids are learning, and provide such a sense of accomplishment for him.  He recently made a big jump and read Go, Dog, Go.  Now he’s starting to voluntarily read parts of books we read together at night (instead of me making him).  We found the Bob Books Collection 1, 2, & 3 at Costco.

Some of the Level 1 books you find in stores that are based on popular characters, like Cars, drive me crazy because they don’t seem like they’re designed to actually help kids learn to read.  Level 1 is more like Level 3 or 4!  With the Bob Books, D literally started as a non-reader, and he’s progressing along really well!   The picture at the top of this post is after he finished his first book by himself.  He was proud. 🙂

What are you using to help your kids learn to read?  

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