Reading and Phonics Guidance

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  • Kristi M

    I’m looking for guidance/clarification on teaching our daughter phonics and reading.

    She is 5 years old and is already a fairly strong reader. We used, “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons,” but never made it through the entire book (or even half of it) because she just sort of took off with reading and didn’t want the formal instruction of the book anymore. We also read a LOT together, sing phonics songs, play games, etc. to build up her foundation. She loves to read and of course still comes upon words she can’t pronounce right away, but most of the time she is able to figure it out or if we aid her, she picks it up quickly and retains it.

    She is our eldest child, so this is our first time teaching reading and phonics. I’m struggling with whether or not I should get an actual phonics program to further her reading abilities. I know Charlotte Mason’s approach doesn’t include a lot of heavy phonics training, just a lot of good books… which either way we will continue. However, when I look at Language Arts programs so many of them emphasize that formal phonics should continue to be taught for several years. That, and the ones at a Kindergarten level seem like they start with the alphabet which she already knows.

    I’m torn on how to move forward. While I don’t want to mimic a public school approach, I want her to exceed their expectations for LA but I also don’t want to kill her joy in reading by spending time drilling over phonograms and such each day. (Nor do I want something so basic that she’s bored.) Since I haven’t done this before, I don’t know what is truly necessary. How long do you continue teaching formal phonics lessons once a child is reading?

    If we do utilize a formal phonics curriculum, is there one that is gentle, open-&-go, and engaging for children? Again, I really don’t want to harm her love for reading and don’t want to get involved in something that feels like rote memorization or drill without any relevance or interest to her. (I’ll also add- she isn’t writing much yet, though we just ordered the SCM writing program).

    I’m overwhelmed when looking at the options. I need some wisdom from all you who have gone before us! 🙂

    Thanks in advance.


    Spelling You See level B is an option.  It has some phonics in it.

    I’m using Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books for reading because it is a loose framework that I can use to stick in some phonics as my dd5 reads to me.

    You can use a spelling program that has some phonics, because it doesn’t sound like your dd5 needs a reading program.


    If you want to do a full phonics program to be sure she doesn’t miss something, look at All About Spelling. I am using level 1 and my son finds it interesting and engaging. It doesn’t take long…10-15 min several days a week? You could probably start at level 2. You could skip the white board or drill with the white board and tiles instead of the phonogram cards and its easy to make your own word cards. The book shows a picture of each card. You can often find the books used on Abe books, eBay, homeschoolclassifieds , or thrift books. Level one would be easy and you could maybe skip it…take the placement test on the all about learning website. I really like it. It includes sentence dictation as well as word work. It makes so much more sense to me than traditional spelling programs. I was one who could read well and did read a lot but couldn’t spell at all until I learned all the phonograms and phonics rules. This is a low stress way to do it over several years.

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