Tuesday, August 06, 2013

5 Days of Teaching Kids to Read: Happy Phonics

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Welcome to Day 2 of Teaching Kids to read!

Today I am going to talk about delving deeper into the wonderful world of PHONICS. While I taught my first child the basics of learning letters with the items mentioned in my previous post, I found it much easier to progress further with some type of program. I was so happy when I came across the inexpensive Happy Phonics curriculum! A decade ago, I think I bought it for $50, but it looks like it now sells for about $60. It's a GREAT phonics program and all of my kids loved it!
Whether your kids already know their letters and sounds or whether they are ready to begin blending sounds, I highly recommend Happy Phonics since it worked so well for our family! My children mostly used this program during pre-school/Kindergarten.
Happy Phonics by Diane Hopkins is a simple, fun method of teaching reading primarily through the use of games. Phonics sounds are introduced a few at a time followed by games to help reinforce what's been taught. It's a program designed for you and your child to be able to move along at your own pace. I now see that it is included as one of Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks for homeschool curriculum!
My Happy Phonics kit contained the following items:
  • Happy Phonics Guidebook
  • 25 Cardstock Games
  • Flip and Read Booklets
  • 7 First Books
  • Read and Spell Lists
  • Flashcards
  • 76-page Beginner Reader, My Big Book
  • And More!
I did have to cut out and assemble the cardstock games 10 years ago, but I don't know if you still have to do that or not. It wasn't really that big of a deal, especially since I thought I was getting it for a decent price.
Diane includes 8 detailed steps to teach children to read fluently, which I found easy to follow.
  • Step 1: Teach your child to sing the alphabet song.
  • Step 2: Teach that capital letters match the lowercase letters.
  • Step 3: Teach a sound for each alphabet letter. (She recommends teaching one sound at a time, but I didn't do it that way with my second and third children. I will explain in another post in this series.)
  • Step 4: Blend letter sounds to form a word.
  • Step 5: Teach common non-phonetic words.
  • Step 6: Teach that vowels can make a second sound.
  • Step 7: Teach phonics units containing two or more letters.
  • Step 8: Reading Everything!
For each step, she tells you exactly which games and other accessories to use. Some of our favorite games to play together were:
  • Muffin Match
  • Castle Game
  • Climb the E Tree
  • Boat Launch
  • Space Race
  • Bingo
The best part of playing these games, besides seeing how much fun my kids were having, was using CANDY as pawns!! My kids loved being able to eat their pawns as soon as the game was finished. M&Ms, Skittles, Smarties, Jellybeans, etc. make great pawns. My kids were always excited when we played Bingo because they got to eat more than one piece of candy at a time. :)
Teaching my kids to read with Happy Phonics really did make it fun. I have sweet memories of sitting around the kitchen table playing games with my kids and spreading out Muffin Match cards and sentence cards all over the living room floor. I still have my kit and would be completely willing to sell, but I don't think it is in good enough condition since I used it over and over again with all 3 of my kids. It is available on Amazon, though!

Tomorrow, I will be sharing about some other resources I used during the phonics stage that incorporated writing. Be sure to check out lots of other great articles from members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew! Just click the banner below.

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Unknown said...

Learning is essential for every human being on earth. I am volunteering my services at a school which is running for poor kids. i feel so satisfied teaching and helping kids read and write.

Unknown said...

Can this program be used with Spell to Write and Read?


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