Marvelous Monday – Phonics

     When I was four years old my parents enrolled me in a private, church day school.  It was an interesting choice.  My parents were not Christians, but they joined the church so that I could be enrolled in kindergarten, though I was only four.  Their reasons for making this choice were quite simple.  Though it was the very early 1960’s, they both worked full time.  The church school provided a cheaper solution for what to do with me, their only child, than a baby sitter.  I don’t mean to make them sound unloving, because that certainly wasn’t the case.  However, it was a financial decision.  I now know that this was providential as I was then exposed to the Savior that I now claim as my own.
     In another act of His sweet grace, the church school taught reading by way of phonics.  The public schools, at that time, were teaching reading through the sight, or word, method.  I truly credit my early and solid phonics instruction for my love of reading today!
     My girls began their school days at the same private school that I attended.  We began homeschooling when our girls were in 4th and 1st grade, respectively.  Corin was already a strong reader, and had been reading since she was three.  Dani was not reading, but she had had such a thorough introduction to phonics, she began reading fluently with very little help from me.
     So, when Aaron was ready for phonics, I was hitting every booth at the homeschool conference, checking out every phonics curriculum on the market.  I settled on Sing, Spell, Read and Write .  It was highly recommended by many folks.  It was slick, and it had all the bells and whistles that I thought would make the program fun.  It was an expensive program!!!  I know many families who have used it successfully.  The truth of the matter is that Aaron was not ready to read at four.  Or five.  Or six.  Aaron was a late reader.  By the time he was ready to read, the Sing, Spell, Read and Write program was too immature for him.  This, of course, is not the fault of the program.  Please keep reading.
     When Aaron was about six, I bought a used copy of Samuel Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics for around $5.00.  When Aaron was ready to read, Alpha-Phonics’ simple, yet solid, phonics instruction was perfect.  He had the instant gratification of being able to read real words within days.  The program progresses at your child’s pace, and really requires no prep time on your part.  It’s simple, effective and low cost.  New copies are available for under $20.  William began Alpha-Phonics when he was five and moved through the book rapidly. 
     I know there are other programs out there, and I’m sure they are effective.  For my money, though, nothing beats Alpha-Phonics!  My well worn copy remains on my shelf for any of my children who wish to borrow it to teach their own children to read. 
     I paired Alpha-Phonics with some good phonetic readers.  We started with the ever-popular BOB books.  These are pretty silly reading, but for the young beginner they are real confidence builders.  I also invested in a complete set of Phonics Practice Readers, though I bought them one small set at a time.  You can buy them from the publisher and pay shipping, or buy them from Amazon for $.50 more and get free shipping.  These were loved by both of my boys, and my grandsons have read a few of them, too.  (Corin, you do remember I have these, right?).  I’d also recommend the God is Good series from Rod and Staff.
     Whew!  We’re done!  The Marvelous Monday series has been fun to write, and I’m sure Kendra joins me in hoping that you’ve found something of benefit in these posts.  Head on over and see what Kendra recommends in her Marvelous Monday – Phonics post!

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

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4 comments to Marvelous Monday – Phonics

  • I have LOVED  your Marvelous Monday’s! I made several decisions on my own home school year (2009-10) based on these posts.

    Zach was a late reader too…he is just now really taking off. I used the 100 easy lessons book with him and it worked well, but just reading aloud to him made all the difference. I am happy to see Charlotte have such a love for books already. She reads daily on her own and chooses books that are those I would choose for myself.

    Again, thank you for your Monday’s…they have been very inspiring and helpful!

    Blessings~ Bren

  • In New York where i grew up we were taught reading through Phonics.  When my children started school there, before we moved to FL, I was surprised to learn they no longer used that method.  To me it was the best.  I learned quickly and learned to love reading.  

  • Dear Cooperswife:

    As publisher of Samuel Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics (for 25 years) I want to thank you for the wonderful things you have posted about the program.  You echo what many other parents and techers who have used it over the years have also said or written to us.

    We would like very much to quote your post on our website:

    Since we are a small company and cannot afford large advertising budgets folks like you are our main source of publicity.

    We thank you very much,

    Peter Watt for The Paradiglm Co./Blumenfeld’s Books

    Boise, Idaho (208) 322-4440

  • @peterwatt – You are welcome to quot me on your web site, though I’d appreciate a link back to my blog.  By the way, it’s coPPerswife (my husband is a law enforcement officer).  Thanks!