Topic | Those who use McGuffey’s

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  • KJG1214

    How do you use McGuffey’s readers in your homeschool?

    We are switching to McGuffey’s (coming off of TGATB) for spelling primarily. We are starting my 9 year old son on the 2nd reader. He can read the words in the third reader easily but needs to start on 2nd for spelling. My general plan for how to approach the lessons is as follows:

    Mon – read the lesson, define any new words, copy spelling words, spelling games to study words

    Tues- read the lesson, copy a passage, spelling games to study

    Wed – read the lesson, copy a passage, spelling games to study

    Thurs – read the lesson, copy a passage, spelling games to study

    Fri – read the lesson, oral spelling review, study words, “test” (No grading, and we dont move on until mastered.)

    We have used Dictation Day by Day and I like that, I just wanted to incorporate the McGuffeys as well.

    Another possibility is to continue to use Dictation Day by Day for spelling and bump him up to the third reader as that is where he is strictly reading wise.

    Any thoughts on this are appreciated.


    I have used Mcguffey in the past.  I wasn’t very successful using it for grammar, but did use it for reading practice/instruction, dictation, elocution, and copywork.  I also used it for some narration as they got older.

    I think we used Dictation Day by Day many years ago, and I really liked it!  I’d be tempted to stick with that in your situation.  The sentences are nice and short and you don’t have to choose a sentence for them to write out—it’s already been done for you!  My kids would prefer fresh sentences for dictation instead of ones they’d been copying/reading all week, but your child may be different.

    Copying the same passage everyday and using it again for dictation sounds like it could be tedious.  I’m not sure if you are having them read the same passage everyday or a new one each time?  We pretty much started with a new passage each day (in the younger years anyway) and I had them copy a bit from it.  Just a couple words for my youngest ones and up to a couple sentences for older kids.  As they got older (I want to say when we got to the Third Reader) I think we spent a couple days on a passage (if my memory is correct).  The passages were longer, and we added more narration (some written), vocabulary, and continued with copywork…and they continued to practice reading aloud, which I think is important even into adulthood!

    I really like Spelling Wisdom and Using Language Well because the work has already been done for me.  I love the added grammar lessons, which I struggled to do well on my own.  So that’s what I’m currently using, as my kids are now much older.  I have one more beginning reader, so I may be dusting off my Mcguffey readers soon!  😀


    Thanks so much for your input. I think we are going to stick with Dictation Day by Day for spelling and use the readers for reading. I use Longs Language Lessons for grammar and writing so we are covered there. I’ve been getting really into these old books lately, and making the transition from The Good and the Beautiful, where it is all together, is taking some figuring out. My son’s reading is far above his spelling so I think using DDD at a lower level and McGuffeys at a higher level is going to be a good fit. It’s amazing to me how many quality textbooks are out there absolutely free as PDFs!


    There are some gems out there!  My kids were excited to hear about Laura reading from McGuffey’s in The Long Winter.  😀

    Paper Sloyd for the Primary Grades has been a great one for handicrafts!


    This year we are using the Eclectic Second Reader as a reader for my 3rd grader.  I do have the Parent-Teacher Guide by Beechick and occasionally use her ideas with the lesson.  We only use this reader once a week.

    Last year, I used the reader more.  We focused on one story a week.  The first day she read the story aloud.  Second day copied vocabulary words and drew a few pictures of vocab words.  Third day was copywork.  Fourth day was dictation of copywork sentence.  I attempted to attach a link so you can see where I got the free printable sheets and ideas from.  (If it didn’t attach correctly it’s from

    This year we are using Spelling Wisdom and it’s working well.  That’s why we stopped using the above method and now use the Eclectic Reader as a reader only.  I love how versatile the ER’s are.  They really are wonderful.

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