Topic | Phonics


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  • Sara Hagerty

    I started with Christ-Centered Phonics before we moved so directly towards Charlotte Mason’s philosophies, but now — two years in — I’m wanting to shift gears.

    I would love weigh-in from those who have done a less-intense, more basic CM approach to phonics. What have you used? What would you recommend? And, have you had any regrets in not doing a more intense/traditional phonics approach? 


    We do a more traditional phonics approach, but we tailor it to keep it from being intensive.  We use the Grade 1 Abeka Phonics charts and manual.  We do not do everything the manual suggests.  However, the order in which they introduce sounds and the method by which they are introduced works very well for our family.


    We also use a pretty traditional approach – mainly Explode the Code alongside Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

    My older kids were reading at age 4 and are excellent readers. But then I relaxed a bit :0). So the other kiddos have all become good, profecient readers by age 6 with these methods.

    I don’t do 100 Easy Lessons in 100 Lessons, by the way! It takes us about a full year to get through it with minimal frustration. And we only use Explode the Code up through first grade. Then it just seems like busy work.

    IMO, as long as you are supplementing with some hands on tools, reading aloud, and gently moving forward with phonics, it is the CM way.

    Teach them to take delight in reading and be gentle in your approach. This is easier said than done, b/c sometimes phonics can be frustrating for Mommy and child!

    Know that is not specifically what you asked for, but thought I would bump your post and let you know that it is teaching the child…not the curriculum that is important.


    We started out using both Delightful Reading and Alpha Phonics.  At first we didn’t have any problems because the Alpha Phonics began with simple phonics blends such as ch, sh, th, etc.  We ran into big problems once we started in on the “rules”.  My ds with his autistic tendencies is very bound by rules.  So if a word broke the rules he just couldn’t get over it.  “But the rule, Mommy!”  I ended up giving up on the phonics rules and just went with sight words and word families from that point on.  Basic phonics are great in the begining, but once you get into more complex rules it gets really confusing.  Which is what Delight ful Reading does.  It starts with basic phonics then moves on to sight words and families.  I will continue with this method of teaching for the rest of my dc.  You can implement the method with out purchasing DR if money is an issue, but it is nice to have everything laid out for you.


    @ruth, you might want to check out the book “Uncovering the Logic of English”. I was actually tipped off on it here on the forum. I am SO GLAD I bought it. I first got the kindle version b/c it was half as much as the book. Don’t make that mistake if you purchase! The charts were not readable, but Amazon gave me my $$$ back no problem when I explained about the charts. Then I ordered the PB version.

    Anyway, it teaches the rules that actually cover a lot of the words that break the rules. There really are a lot more rules than most phonics programs cover. We too have Alpha-Phonics, but like you, I ran into trouble with it with my 12YO son. He is not a native English speaker, so he too is very focused on the rules and if a word breaks one he gets frustrated. His heart language is Mandarin Chinese, which is characters so English is vastly different.

    Here is a link to the book:

    I highly recommend it, and I thought you might find it especially beneficial for your son. It has really helped me with my son mentioned above concerning the rules.

    This is just one example from my son’s question that I can now answer:

    Why is blue spelled “b-l-u-e”? I can now tell him that English words do not end in the letter U. Now there are a few, but they are not English but are from another language (haiku for instance).

    Another rule that I didn’t know and I have an English degree, but that is that every single syllable in English has to have a vowel or vowel blend. I guess I knew but yet I didn’t. It just comes second nature to me, but it doesn’t obviously for my son.

    Well I gotta go kiss my little ones’ good night. Daddy has them in bed! HTH


    We used a variety of things with our 9 year old including Bob Jones, MCP, My Father’s World, Explode the Code….my poor little guinea pig 😉  Thankfully, she’s not scarred and is a very good reader….LOL  Since, we’ve started All About Reading with our 7 year old and I LOVE!  It’s multisensory, which meets his dyslexia needs.  I’ve also been talking with several specialists lately regarding some tutoring for this child and many of them are starting to hear of All About Reading and giving rave reviews.  AAR is systematic, so there are rules.  Like LDIMom said, I’m learning too what I was probably taught at one time, but just forgot or no longer need because it comes second nature. 


    Anyway, I recommend All About Reading.





    Thanks for the book recomendation LDIMom, I’ll have to get that.  I will still stick with the DR method of teaching but it will be nice to know why the words are the way they are.  My son still questions why words are different if their families, but its not as bad as the “rules”.  Families are similar, but can still be different.  We aren’t breaking any rules. Laughing


    We used the Phonics Museum from Veritas Press with my DD which she loved because it was so beautiful and art rich. She loved learning her printing in D’Nealean or Modern Manuscript it is sometimes called. But AS she learned each letter, they also taught it in typeface as well! So the child can associate the sound with common book font lettering, not stick and ball letters. We found the readers a bit challenging and practiced reading with other books as well too. But I do recommend the program. I can see how it worked well.

    With my son, he didn’t want to do the D’Nealean font, was not as inspired by the art, he was just wanting some meat & potatoes, so to speak. So we started with Rod & Staff phonics and reading from the Bible & Nurture Series and moved into Explode the Code online as a suppliment. He did however enjoy the Pathways readers (and still does). I can’t say it was an exciting experience but definately thorough and simple. He rather enjoyed reading through the word lists on the sides of the pages and recording his progress. We ALSO used Fun Family Phonics with my son to help eliviate b & d confusion. I do recommend looking at that set. Muriel Endersby is the author I think. 

    I wish I would have known about Delightful Reading. I think IT would have been the best choice for my son instead of meshing all these things together. 

    Let us know how you make out!

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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