Wednesday, August 07, 2013

5 Days of Teaching Kids to Read: Phonics Resources That Incoroporate Writing

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Welcome to Day 3 of Teaching Kids to Read!

Three phonics resources I used to incorporate writing:
  1. Tablet Paper
  2. Explode the Code
  3. First-School (mentioned in my first post)
Tablet Paper
When I first started teaching my children to read, they really weren't old enough to write yet, so we focused on coloring pages, etc. When I felt that they'd developed enough fine motor skills to be able to hold a pencil and make legible marks on a piece of paper, I bought some inexpensive, age-appropriate Tablet Paper from the store and had my kids trace letters/words that I'd written with a yellow highlighter.
While my kids were continuing to practice phonics, they were also learning how to write. I started with the alphabet going in order from A-Z, and I also included a couple of words at the bottom of the paper that I knew they could already read.
Once they finished the alphabet, we moved on to phonograms (two or more letters that make one sound). At the bottom of the paper, I included short sentences which featured words with that particular phonogram and other words that I knew they could already read.
I used Happy Phonics (which I mentioned in the previous post), and I used 70 phonograms from Wise Guide for Spelling (which I will explain in Friday's post) in order to cover all of the letter blends on the tablet paper.
Explode the Code
Explode the Code is a workbook series that I used in conjunction with Happy Phonics. Individually, the workbooks are pretty affordable, so sometimes I would only order a couple at a time if I couldn't afford to get them all. There is a Primer Set that precedes Explode the Code Books 1-8, however, we never used those. My kids also never used the 1/2 Books that come in-between each book. It is my understanding that the 1/2 books offer extra practice if needed. 
explode the code
Following is a brief explanation of what is covered in each book:
  • Book 1: short vowels
  • Book 2: initial and final consonant blends
  • Book 3: long vowels, silent e, digraphs
  • Book 4: compound words, endings, syllabication
  • Book 5: word families, 3-letter blends
  • Book 6: r controlled vowels, silent letters, vowel diphthongs
  • Book 7: soft sounds of c and g, silent consonant patterns, and more
  • Book 8: suffixes, irregular endings
My children went through Books 1-4 in Kindergarten, and Books 5-8 in first grade. Because my children learned to read much faster than they could write and spell, I would tailor some of the tests at the end of each book according to their needs. I remember Book 4 being the most difficult for all 3 of my kids to get through. While my kids could do these books on their own most of the time, I helped whenever they needed me to. Sometimes we would do lessons together, especially in Book 4.
Overall, I really liked Explode the Code, and I loved that once my kids could read fairly well they had workbooks they could do all by themselves!
This is the only Explode the Code Book that I could find that I saved. At least 2 of my kids started this book at the beginning of first grade.

The entire set is available on Amazon. I don't believe answer keys are included, so those will have to be ordered separately.
I mentioned this free website in my first post in this series, All About Learning the Alphabet. My kids colored letters and pasted pictures before they began writing. Well, I also used this website to print Handwriting Worksheets. Again, everything is free, and there are a lot of different types of worksheets from which to choose. I highly recommend that you check out this website if you haven't already.
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