Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Plethora of Reading

We have tried many reading and phonics programs over the last 3-4 years.  I hate to admit it, but RileyAnn was my guinea pig.  I used Bob Jones K-5 Beginnings, The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, Modern Curriculum Press Phonics, My Father's World First Grade, Christian Liberty Press readers, Sonlight readers, Dick and Jane readers, Pathway readers, etc. etc. etc.  She suffered through my trial and error and miraculously something worked because she's a good reader and LOVES books :)

Unfortunately, I've continued the roller coaster with Ruben, however, not with the same success.  Last year, we completed My Father's World A-Z.  This was not great for Ruben.  I felt it had too much busy work and not enough focus on phonics instruction.  When we started this school year, it seemed like he didn't retain much from last year.

So we basically started over this year with Explode the Code Get Ready, Set, Go for the Code books.  Ruben did very well with these and learned many letter sounds.  When he completed those, we moved to Reading Made Easy. 

This started out good, but I didn't care for the way it introduced short and long vowels together using different fonts and color coded letters.  I felt it was more of a distraction.  Also, when you begin to read real books, there are not color/font clues to help you decipher words.  Ruben was getting frustrated, so after lesson 12, we scrapped that and once again I went back to The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.  I do feel this is a good program, probably why I tried it with both kids.  However, for Ruben it seemed confusing to have the student words and teacher instruction mixed on the same page.  

I also attempted Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.   There again, the student part is mixed among the teacher's instruction.  So many people really like this program, but I just can't get myself into it.  

I used to have a book called AlphaPhonics.  I think this may be just what we need, large word lists on a page with minimal distractions and teacher instructions in the back of the book, not mixed in with student pages.  Unfortunately, I sold my copy with one of the Sonlight packages we completed.  

So, last week at convention, I spent much time perusing the exhibit hall on the hunt for a miracle reading/phonics program.  Several friends there, lead me to The Phonics Road for Spelling and Reading by Barbara Beers.  

The Phonics Road - Complete Curriculum for Spelling and Reading for Home Schooling and Individual Instruction

I have researched the Orton Gillingham method of teaching reading in the past.  We are currently using All About Spelling with RileyAnn, which incorporates this method and I really like it.  It makes good sense.  The problem with Phonics Road....for me, is the price.  I'm hesitant to spend $200+ on a program that may or may not work.  Also, teaching Phonics Road looks intense.  I'm not sure teaching reading should be that grueling.  A positive about Phonics Road is that it appears to be an all in one language arts program, covering speaking, spelling, writing, reading, grammar, composition, and an introduction to Latin.  This is appealing to me.  

In addition, I already own Phonics for Reading and Spelling by Bonnie Dettmer, which is very similar to Phonics Road.  As a matter of fact, after speaking to Mrs. Beers at convention, she stated she worked with or knew Bonnie Dettmer at one time.  There again, I've pulled Dettmer's program off the shelf so many times, though the method looks great, the teaching portion looks very intense.  

In the past, I've also looked at Marie Rippel's All About Reading program many times online.  It too uses the Orton Gillingham method.  Unfortunately, they didn't have a booth at the convention I attended.  I would have loved the opportunity to discuss the program with a consultant.  But eventually, I waddled over to the Rainbow Resource booth and found they had it there.  I was able to sit for some time and look over the materials.  

I then continued to wander the convention hall aimlessly.  I came across the Simply Charlotte Mason booth.  While looking over their products, I found Delightful Reading.  This has also been intriguing me for some time.  I'm a huge fan of the Charlotte Mason method, however, after reading the book How the Brain Learns to Read by David Sousa, I'm drawn back to All About Reading which teaches the five major components of reading: phonological awareness, phonics and decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension that Dr. Sousa refers to.  

I went back to the hotel that night and called The Farmer to get feedback.  He too thought Phonics Road sounded good, but a little too pricey.  He suggested either going with the All About Reading or holding off to see if we could find something else.  I prayed about it.  Toward the end of convention, I went back to the Phonics Road booth and it was jam packed with people.  They had even sold out their display copies of the program.  Though expensive, it must be a good program.   However, this led me back to Rainbow Resource at the close of the convention to purchase the All About Reading kit.  

Upon researching online after getting home from convention, I found that Phonics Road and All About Reading do in fact both use the Orton Gillingham method.  However, All About Reading takes a little slower approach.  I actually think this will be better for Ruben.  Time will tell if All About Reading is the right choice.   And who knows, maybe we'll come across Phonics Road down the road.  I really would like the opportunity to spend more time looking at it.  

No comments:

Post a Comment