Tag Archives: Reading

Phonics and Reading Programs for Early Learners

Have a child ready to learn to read? Don't miss this post where we discuss some of the top phonics and reading programs for early learners.

Last week we discussed some tips on how parents can teach their children to read. Today we are going to discuss some of the top phonics and reading programs for early learners.

Hooked on Phonics

I have used Hooked on Phonics to teach five children to read. I absolutely LOVE this program, and cannot say enough good things about it. Hooked on Phonics teaches children to read using the phonics program. Children start with short vowel words (-at, -an, -ap) and then move on to short i, short u, and then long vowel sounds. Every 3-4 lessons the child gets a review lesson where they also learn sight words like where, like, who, there, etc. At the end of this lesson they also get a REAL book to read. My kids were always so excited to get these books. They packed them around and read them to everyone that would listen. Hooked on Phonics is a fantastic program for teaching children to read!

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

This is another popular phonics based reading program. It is probably best used with a child who had not had any reading instruction due to the fact that it uses an unusual formation of letters to represent sounds. Teach Your Child uses 44 different letter formations to teach children how to read. Using the letter formations eliminates problems such as the different sounds of certain letters when used in conjunction with other letters (example tan and than).

We tried this program once, and it was not a good fit for us. However the product gets great reviews from those who have used it successfully and many say that it is easier to use than other reading programs.

All About Reading

All About Reading is an intense phonics program for children in preK through 4th grade. Using the Orton-Gillingam methodology, AAR boasts the ability to teach 97% of English words phonetically leaving only 3% to be learned as sight words.

AAR is an interactive multi sensory program that is mostly open and go. The lessons are scripted but can be adapted with hands on activities, a child’s favorite book, and adjusting the pace of the lessons. AAR receives great reviews and is one of Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top picks.

Teaching a child to read is one of the best parts of homeschooling. When the time comes for this child I encourage you to take a look at one of these three reading programs. Also, ask around and see what worked for others you know, ask to see the programs in person. With a little help you can find the perfect phonics and reading program for your new reader!

Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

3 Tips to Teaching a Child to Read

Here are some tips for teaching a child to read. #3 is great!

Years ago when I was longing to be a teacher, my desired grade was 1st. Why? Because at the time this is the grade when teachers taught their students to read. I LOVED reading, and volunteered throughout Jr. High, High School and College in the reading lab.

When I first began homeschooling I started out with an eager 5 year old who was longing to read. We purchased the curriculum and got to work. To my surprise it wasn’t as easy as I thought it’d be! Fast forward 6 years and I am working on my 5th reader (2 of my own, 3 extras). I have learned a few things about what works, and what doesn’t. Here are three tips to teaching a child to read.

Immerse them in Books

From the womb we have read to our children. As infants we offered sensory books, as toddlers we offered board books, and at preschool age we began reading good quality literature. We have immersed our kids in books at a young age, and so far it has paid off!

Kids LOVE books! IF they are offered to them. In order to create a reader you have to encourage a love of reading in your kids. Reading often will give your children the longing to learn to read themselves. It will create in them a love of reading that will last a lifetime.

Be Patient

I am not the most patient person, and sadly that shows in our beloved phonics curriculum. In the first book there are pencil marks where I circled words over and over again that my daughter missed. I remember those moments; I remember the tears and the frustration (from both of us). And, I have left the pencil marks there. Why? As a reminder that patience pays off. The second book has little to no pencil marks in it, and you know what? She breezed through that book.

Patience is SO important when it comes to teaching a child to read. Patience builds confidence; and confidence is a skill that is required for learning to read. If a child does not feel confident in their own abilities they will not offer their best work. So, be patient!

Be an Example

This goes along to an extent with being patient. Modeling patience will encourage our children to be patient while they are learning. BUT, we should also model a love of reading. Let your children see you read, take them to the library, let them see you checking out books, let them see that reading is something fun to do. By being an example, you will encourage your child in their own reading endeavors.

These are just a few tips that can help when teaching a child to read. Come back next week as we take a look at some of the best reading curriculums!

Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool mom.  She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.




Summer Reading List

Summer Reading List

I try to have a sample reading list ahead of time for each child to ensure they pick out good, quality literature. Yes, I let them make their own selections, but I also recommend a few titles that I think they will like.

Through the years, we have read countless books. Many of these I believe would be great for most children. Here are a few of our favorites that you may consider putting on your summer reading list.

Babies and Toddlers

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, By Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle (there are a few in this series like Baby Bear, and Panda Bear that are also great!)
  • Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
  • Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon,  by Crockett Johnson 
  • Babies (So Tall Board Book) by Gyo Fujikawa 
  • Peekaboo Books (babies LOVE these types of books)


  • Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman 
  • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  • If You give a Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond 
  • Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
  • Edwina, the Dinosaur that didn’t know she was extinct by Mo Willems
  • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
  • Corduroy  by Don Freeman


Early Readers

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • Seuss Books
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean 
  • Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Aweibel
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett
  • Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
  • Splat the Cat by Rob Scotten.
  • Amelia Bedeliabooks by Peggy Parrish
  • Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
  • Harry the Dirty Dogby Gene Zion

Independent Readers


  • Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Historical American Girl Series (Authors Vary)
  • Circle C Beginnings by Susan K. Marlow 
  • Bindi Wildlife Adventures by Bindi Irwin and Jess Black
  • Magic School Bus series by Joanna Coleand Bruce Degen
  • Sisters in Time (Authors Vary)


These books we have not read, but they have gotten rave reviews by other homeschool moms and are on my kids summer reading lists.

  • Frindle by Andrew Clements
  • Runaway Ralph . by Beverly Cleary
  • Summer with Elisa by Johanna Hurwitz and Debbie Tilley



Middle School

  • The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks
  • By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman
  • Because of Winn-Dixie   by Kate DiCamillo
  • Love That Dog  by Sharon Creech
  • Hol es by Louis Sachar (Newbery Medal winner, 1999)
  • Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien and Zena Bernstein 
  • Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Fiderle

Have you ever heard the phrase “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents”? I whole-heartedly agree with that statement! Read alouds are a favorite in our home. We have read every book on this list, and my kids love to have that time together as a family. Our read aloud time is during lunch, but really, you can carve out time anywhere in your day to sit down and read a book as a family. Just find a time that works for you!

Read Alouds for the Whole Family

  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 
  • Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh and Leonard Weisgard
  • The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Charlotte’s Web by EB White
  • Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • All of a Kind Family by Sidney Taylor
  • Mr. Poppers Penguins by Richard Atwater
  • Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
  • Animal Stories by Thornton Burgess
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • In Grandma’s Attic by Arlette Richardson

So, take this list, or make your own and go to the library! Summer reading programs can be found at your local library and most bookstores like Barnes and Noble.


Summer Reading

Summer Reading

We all know how important reading is for our kids. Children who are good readers typically do better in school. Reading helps kid become fluent, independent readers.  Reading opens up learning opportunities, helps kids to develop empathy, opens the door for new ideas, and encourages a good imagination.

Many of us have closed the books for the summer, and while we know learning doesn’t have to happen when school is “in session”, in reality summer is usually when we allow our children to have “down time”. Learning may not stop, but it slows down. Thankfully though we can encourage our children to continue to learn throughout the summer with a great selection of summer reading titles and by participating in our libraries summer reading programs.

Summer reading programs are in full swing across the country and the opportunities for learning abound. There are many benefits to participating in a summer reading program.

Summer reading programs:

  • Encourage reading to become a lifelong habit
  • Offer activities for those who may be reluctant readers
  • Reading over the summer helps children keep their academic skills up
  • Studies have found that children who take part in their libraries summer reading program significantly improve their reading skills.

We participate in our libraries summer reading program each year. My kids LOVE the library and love to participate in the fun hands on literature related activities they offer.

Come back Monday for a list of books that would be great to add to your child’s Summer Reading list!





Over Twelve Great Family Read a Louds

Family Read a louds

Do you want to make sure your child gets the best education they can? Do you want to ensure that your child has a head start in academics? If so, then the most important thing you can do for your child is read to them!

A study completed years ago title, “Becoming a Nation of Readers” found that “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success is reading”. Research has also found that reading is an accrued skill. Meaning that the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Reading to a child at a young age encourages them to read later in life. It becomes a habit, it is engrained in them, and honestly it helps them to develop a love of literature.

So, what are the best read a louds for families? Here are a few of my favorites!

  1. The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  2. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  3. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
  4. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
  5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  8. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
  9. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
  10. Stuart Little by A.A. Milne
  11. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  12. Paddington by Michael Bond

These are just a few of some of our families favorite read a louds!