I purchased the CM Delightful Reading Kit - I'm so excited! I would like to know from others - has this been a comprehensive program including reading, spelling and phonics or are there CM resources that I should add to our curriculum to complete it?
Delightful Reading is for teaching reading only. It does not go into spelling other than the developing awareness of how words are put together while learning to read. Charlotte used a technique called "prepared dictation" for teaching spelling, but she didn't start until children were in about 3rd grade.
They key is to have reading down solid before tackling spelling. If you start before that, while your child is still learning to decode words, then spelling will be a painful chore.
Regarding phonics, remember that phonics is not learned for its own sake. It's only a tool to reach other goals, such as becoming a fluid reader. If you are already reaching those goals then phonics serves no purpose.
You might like to take a look at our video on Basic and Intensive Phonics. Charlotte used basic phonics (the sounds of letters and blends) to teach reading, but she did not use an intensive phonics rules approach.
I also have just purchased this but keep getting drawn to the intensive phonics programs. But my most recent thinking is this..how could a CM education, full of living books, not teach reading in a way that works. I would assume if we could find a statistic on the literacy rates of students coming out of CM schools it would be pretty high.
I don't know of any specific studies or statistics, but we've seen a plenty of anecdotal evidence of fluid readers who have been brought up on a CM approach. We've also seen children and heard stories from so many parents about their children struggling with reading because of being encumbered by all the rules.
We've probably all heard children who stop and start and stutter while reading. This is often a result of their trying to remember the rules as they decode the words.
Do you consider the phonics rules while you read normally? Nope. Even if we learned by rules we end up knowing words by sight and context. That's the bottom line.
Every child is different so I'm not going to make a blanket statement that rules will never benefit any child. But I can say that I've seen Charlotte's more simple and gentle methods work over and over again.