Part 1: Reading Curriculum (SERIES: Before You Throw the Book at 'em)
Today, we’ll start with reading! In the past few years at Yellow Wood, teaching kids to read and building reading skills in older children has exposed me to some great and not so great reading curriculum! The thing to remember is this: There’s more than one great option!!
(note - this post contains affiliate links! I only recommend products that I’ve personally found to be amazing! I promise!)
All About Reading
This past school year I taught our Pioneers class at Yellow Wood - 6-8 year olds and we used All About Reading Level 1. Our older elementary students used All About Reading Level 3 and 4 with another teacher. Here few things I LOVE about this program:
1. It’s scripted and methodical!
This program is seriously SO easy to use for parents and teachers. It is designed to be an open and go program. Lessons are in bite size chunks, and give lots of practice for reading and spelling new words.
2. The readers are beautiful in more ways than one!
Each level comes with 3 readers that have beautiful illustrations! Each story corresponds to specific lessons in the teacher book, so there’s no questioning when a student is ready to move onto the next story.
Another thing I appreciate about the readers is that even in Level 2, they are not “baby-ish”. A lot of beginning reading is written for very young readers and it makes it hard to find easy readers for older students who need confidence and remediation! The books included in All About Reading are written in such a way that students won’t feel belittled or dumb if they are older and working their way through the program.
3. It’s hands on!
Though the letter tiles may seem tedious, this extra hands-on element can really make learning stick! By learning kinesthetically, visually, and auditorily all at once, the brain more chances to absorb the new information. It also is great because you use several parts of your brain instead of just one, which will help build a well-rounded brain.
4. Easy to build upon it to fill in gaps
This program is scripted, but simple! It doesn’t take much time in your day, so if there is another method or practice you want to incorporate, you can! We added copywork, dictation, reading practice, poetry memorization, and more to our English lessons. It wasn’t overwhelming because AAR was fun and quick!
Even if you just use AAR, you’ll be off to a great start! No need to add to this reading program (for reading) if you don’t want to. It’s comprehensive and methodical!
5. Several Levels!
This program has 4 levels, which is wonderful for making sure there are no gaps in reading skills for elementary students! It doesn’t just teach the basics of reading, but goes deeper so you can be sure there is a solid foundation for middle school reading!
The Reading Lesson
Next up is The Reading Lesson! This program is great for new readers and struggling older readers alike! We've used it to remediate reading skills and build confidence in several older elementary students.
This program is FREE on kindle unlimited. Yep, you heard me right! If you don’t have Kindle Unlimited or prefer a hard copy, it’s less than $20. You can’t beat that!
2. Visual Cues
The most unique aspect of this program is the visual cues it uses to teach students different sounds and combinations. It uses special typography for letters and sounds, and then gradually fades them away as students become comfortable.
3. Well Balanced Approach
This program uses a balance of phonics and the whole language method. It can be great for students who learn better organically without trying to memorize and apply reading rules.
4. Great for Struggling Readers
This book is great for building confidence in struggling readers because it moves quickly, has simple paragraphs, and LOTS of practice!
Right Brain Phonics
Last but not least, Right Brain Phonics! This program has it all. Sight word flashcards, parent lectures on teaching right brained children, and a methodical approach to gaining reading skills. We most often use this curriculum with students who are older and have been diagnosed with dyslexia. We also use aspects of it from the beginning with our 6-8 year old students!
1. Comprehensive and visual approach
This program has it all! Sight words, reading practice, parent workshops, and more. If you want to dig into teaching your right brained learner how to read, this is a great curriculum to use.
2. Great for struggling readers, dyslexia, and more
We use Right Brain Phonics with older students who are struggling with reading and confidence. The visual and relaxed approach helps students overcome challenges with reading and realize their potential.
3. Teaches sight words and letter sounds through visuals
Sight words and letter sounds are taught with picture based flashcards! This is so fun for young learners, especially those who are intimidated or having trouble with sight words. The phoneme flashcards are great for visual learners because it helps the sound stick in their mind!
4. Uses colors to help the brain words accurately
Another visual approach used in this program is putting specific sounds in color so that the vowel sound or the consonant chunk jumps out from the page and is easier to recognize and remember! This can be a game changer student’s visual processing is weak.
So, those are 3 amazing reading programs! I hope you can use these suggestions to have a stress-free and successful school year teaching reading!
Do you use any of these programs? What do YOU love about it? Let us know by commenting below!