My 7 year old DD just finished up AAR level 1 and although it has helped her reading immensely, she still struggles with fluency. I’m not wanting to continue with AAR, so I’m wondering what to do next? What can I do to continue teaching her phonics, and help improve her reading?
And thinking ahead…if I were to decide to use the pathway readers, do you recommend the grammar program that goes along with it…I think it’s called Growing with Grammar, or am I better off without it?
I’m still learning ALOT about how the CM philosophy works, so I’m sorry if my questions seem silly! It’s hard to plan out how to teach certain things while trying to learn all about it myself! But, in the meantime, I’m so very thankful for all of you!AngelinaParticipant
We use Growing with Grammar and love it, but I would never start grammar as young as your DD (unless your state or province requires it). Have your DD focus on reading and copywork – this is perfect for age 7, along with plenty of wonderful read alouds by you….science, history, literature, artist and composer bio’s…get her to fall in in love with reading and everything YOU read to her.
Again on grammar – We started GWG at age 9.5/10 years and that was just about right for us.
On reading – AAR wasn’t a great fit for us, either. Just too structured. We ended up just doing a few Explode the Code workbooks to just keep awareness of phonics alongside our readers ( we did daily reading aloud from the readers by my children) and it went fine. Another idea – If you take the time to pre-read (or even just scan) your DD’s pathway reader chapter each day for words you know will stump her, you can start her read aloud session with a little reading “lesson”. Simply put the hard words on a white board and walking her through the sounding-out or breaking into syllables. Don’t worry if you don’t know phonics “perfectly”, just do the sounding out and syllable break down as you would any word unknown to yourself. Do this little task daily or a few times per week until about 4th grade and then if you still feel you want more phonics, just go to a phonics based spelling program (phonetic zoo or megawords) to continue to reinforce phonics. In the meantime, you’ve kept the early years pleasant and light and more about learning to love reading than learning to memorize phonics rules.
Thank you Angelina!! Your plan sounds a lot more enjoyable! My state doesn’t require anything from us until the child is 8…so I have another year to enjoy our “freedom”! 🙂
So, by me reading aloud to her and providing her with enjoyable readers to read to us, this *should* be all I need to continue improving her reading? I’m always so worried I’m not doing enough and I know I’ve got to stop thinking that way!
So I will go ahead and put off grammar and spelling until next year! So thankful for that! 🙂AngelinaParticipant
You are most welcome, AFthful! Yes, enjoy the hear of “freedom” and a focus on reading. Don’t forget that daily copywork is part of a CM education as well. This is the key that answers your question on “enough”. You can purchase a copybook from a HS catalogue or here on SCM, or you can make and print a sheet of copywork for your DD for each day. (more work but you get to custom choose exactly what she copies, which is nice) Have your DD spend 5 minutes per day on copywork; 5 minutes is plenty as long as she is putting her most diligent effort, taking time to form each letter carefully and as neatly as she can.
Note if you opt to do your copywork (make a sheet for your daughter each day) there are free web tools such as the Zaner Bloser website, StartWrite software and the likes. It’s pretty easy, though it is an extra teacher prep step each day (or at the start of your week). When I was reading the Thornton Burgess “Adventures of” series to my kids, I often chose their copywork passage from the chapter we’d read the previous day. These books were VERY beloved, so my kids felt a real little thrill when they saw a little part of yesterday’s chapter on their copywork.
We use the McGuffey Readers to continue with phonics…they read aloud a lesson a day. I also throw in some easy reader books for variety (like Frog and Toad or Dr. Suess).
The readers are available on Gutenberg.org, so you can try them without spending money. I eventually ended up buying a set, but we used the free ones for a few years.TailorMadeParticipant
Agreeing with HollyS!
We used the 100 Lessons, McGuffey’s, with our older children, and have added the “I Can Read” books to our DD7’s daily routine. She is using these now and picking up speed. Comprehension hasn’t ever been a problem for her, just fluent, smooth reading. She’s excited!kerbyParticipant
I used the Pathway readers set for my youngest 2, mostly. I did use the Climbing to Good English that goes w/ them. The gr 1 book’s emphasis is basically phonics teaching and reinforcement. The grammar parts are downplayed and don’t even really get into the proper terms for the parts of speech. Plus, if I remember correctly, those aren’t covered much until nearer the end of the book.
The readers can be used alone.
(I’d be glad to share more info for anyone interested.)
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