Tag Archives: reading

Free Phonics for Schooling at Home

boy-on-a-bookReading Instruction

Learn to Read 2000 provides instruction on teaching a student how to read , information on  what is needed to be ready for learning to read and has it’s own YouTube Channel.

Meeghan has put together a wonderful amount of info on how to teach your child to read, on her blog, Sight and Sound Reading.

Comprehensive Programs

Phonics by the Book , A Beginning Reader’s Bible Curriculum      

Reading Bear,  a video program

Progressive Phonics: Free Homeschool Reading Program

Sound City Reading

Homeschoolers can sign up as a private school to receive ABC Mouse  for free!

Free Reading, 40 Weeks of Phonics Lessons

This Reading Mama provides a free 31-week reading curriculum for emergent readers.

Preschool Phonics Course from the Ron Paul Curriculum

Kindergarten Phonics from The Ron Paul Curriculum

Orton-Gillingham Phonics Method Software Program
A free dyslexia reading program for children ages 6 and up.

McGuffey Readers and Free Video Courses for the Readers

Primary Readers, Containing a Complete Course in Phonics, First Book

Word Mastery: A Course in Phonics for the First Three
Years

Ultimate Phonics Reading List while the phonics list is the only free part of this phonics program the list itself is enough to create your own with few supplements to include visuals and hands-on practice. You can find worksheets  and videos in link below.

ABC Fast Phonics, a digital presentation for letter names, sounds blends and basic phonics rules.

Owl and Mouse has a FREE Software program that is now all online. Check out the Reading links here to teach your child how to read.

Starfall

Alice Nine’s Johnny Can Spell Program has made videos available for all phonogram sounds and letter formation.

Want to put your own phonics program together, but you are not sure how to do that? Dorbooks has several free phonics aids including a fourteen point checklist for a successful phonics program.

Free  Readers

Phonetic Readers

Sight Word Readers from the Measured Mom

Beginning Readers from Nellie Edge

Free Phonics Videos

Guru Parents requires an email subscription, but has many alphabet videos, charts, songs, worksheets and more.

Free Phonics Interactives

Kid Port, Language Arts

Free Phonics Printables and Workbooks

MES English

FunFonix

Rock ‘N Learn

One Beautiful Home Blog

Sight Word Printables from the Kindergarten Mom

You can find more phonics printables in my post here on making your own word family lapbooks.

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Teaching Across the Curriculum with the Bobbsey Twins- A Unit Study

Reading

people-163906_64010 Free Bobbsey Twins Books on Kindle

Explore the genre with this lesson on Ingredients of a Mystery. Several Free Worksheets are included as well as a list of suggested books. There are plenty of free mysteries for Kindle and on Google Books, including the Bobbsey Twins and The Rover Boys.

There is a little confusion about the real author of these books. In The Story of the Bobbsey Twins, you” ll read about the

Read Mysteries By Kids

Use an interactive tool from ReadWriteThink to dissect your mystery. There are writing activities too!

Writing

Mystery Writing: Write with Writers 


How to Write a Mini Myster

Writing Mystery Stories The Best Mystery Writing Tips and Tricks for Kids

Science

Kids Ahead – Crime Scene Investigation Activities

Science Mystery – Educational Mysteries (and Reading)

Detective Science Games

History

The 25 Biggest Mysteries of History

The 20 Coolest Unsolved Mysteries in History

Mystery Timeline and more, including lessons and interactives.

detective-156961_640Math

Mystery Math Pictures -Math Facts

Mystery  Picture Math -Math Facts

Mystery Pictures with multiples and division.

Maths Mysteries Online Games

Math Maven’s Mysteries Home – Scholastic  Various Skills and Levels, including Logic and Reasoning

Mystery Math– an online game of deductive reasoning

Critical Thinking

Solve some mysteries at Mystery Net’s Kids Site.

You can find more FREE resources in my Facebook group, and learn how you can Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE.

Mystery Fun
Make your own spy equipment!

Reading Levels

103_0024Many mothers taking their children out of the public school are very concerned about the reading level in which their child is reading. When getting started with homeschooling, there is a good place for this concern. Finding the right placement to start your child’s curriculum is an honest endeavor.

When my children were taken out of public school to homeschool, my oldest was reading high above her grade level in reading, and while she glommed onto math quickly, her interest and confidence lacked in math, nevertheless, she was right on track with her grade level standards. She also had a solid understanding of patterns of speech and was a natural speller. Most of what she was doing in school bored her. In making curriculum decisions, I had to keep these things in mind.

There are many placement tests all over the web to use. The free ones are harder to find than others. At www.iamhomeschooling.com,  the author has compiled a list of free place placement test in both math and language arts.

However when we talk about reading level, there is an easy way to do this with access to leveled books. You can find out the level of books using your libraries database, and there are  other websites like www.scholastic.com where you can find the level of a book in your home. Keep in mind that interest level is not the same as reading level. Some websites only give the levels of interest, or what age group is reading books just like this. Often this number is inflated for those that read the book aloud to their students, but if you are looking for an independent read for your child, you want to focus on the reading level.

You are going to be looking at two things Independent Reading Level and  Instructional Reading Level. Independent  Reading Level is what your child can decode and comprehend on their own without any help whatsoever, Instructional Reading Level is what they can decode 90-95  percent (or thereabouts) and comprehend up to 80%. This should be at a comfortable and fluid rate of reading, not stumbling over every other word. Public School would use a timer to measure this, but I think observation by the parent is sufficient. If they are stumbling over the words, it is too hard and they will not comprehend the text enough to appreciate the story or gain new information.

Neither of these levels matter in the grand scheme of things, but it gives you an idea of what books are well suited for your child. Honestly, I don’t worry about this at all when letting them choose reading books, I let my children find out for themselves. As I have gotten to know them as readers, observation helps me choose books for other subjects like science. Remember not to dwell on where they are at, but instead where they are going.

Find a starting point, a level you think they might be close too. You can do this by having them read a couple of books on different reading levels and go up or down as your observation tells you to do. There are many reading levels within one grade level. Grade Level Equivalent is probably the easiest level to understand and also the level that you will find most readily available. The number consists of a whole number for grade level, a decimal, followed by a number for month in the school year. So, a book with a 5.4 grade level equivalent is understood to be for a fifth grader in the fourth month of school.

Once you have found a starting point, have them read the book, silently or aloud, depending on preference, for a minute or two. Have them stop and tell you what they have read. If your child can tell you most of the main points with a couple of details perhaps even comments that show they can apply what they read to other situations or relate them to similar circumstances, chances are this is their independent level. Instructional level is found when the child reads and needs help comprehending some new information or vocabulary but most of the decoding is accurate. If you didn’t have your child read aloud at the beginning and you question why your child did not comprehend the text, you can have your child read aloud to see if there are decoding issues.

boy-160174_640I’m less concerned about reading level than I am getting him interested in reading. I just let my child’s interest lead his reading and rarely do we do book reports.  I rely mostly on discussion. I rarely have to ask questions. They are usually so excited about what they are reading that they are eager to share. One of my children is a relatively new reader and is reading above grade level, but sometimes  he wanted to read books above his own level because of interest. When he fell in love with Oz, the books were not on his independent or instructional reading level. To accommodate his interest we used the audio version on LibriVox along with the book. Regardless of whether he comprehended everything or not, he understood more with the audio than he would have without. He love it so, he continued with the entire series.

Some are very adamant that a child should not have a book in his hand that is above his grade level. In my opinion it limits a child’s reading. My daughter was told once, that she couldn’t check out a book at the library that was above first grade level. Every child is differs in development and some find an interest early on that they choose to go after. When they do, growth follows. I know reading level was not a consideration when I was in school Library books were checked out on an interest basis only. I couldn’t have been happier.

Whether a child is on the grade level they are assigned to, is a lot less important than fostering a love for reading. Most veterans homeschooling moms will tell you that their children have all developed reading skills at different ages and in different methods, that standards do not always match individuals. I think that the change in philosophy was what allowed my son to go from reading on 1st grade level (in kinder) to reading 3rd grade level in a matter of months after beginning homeschool. The big difference was that he is allowed to follow his interest, and when he is interested, he is motivated to gain comprehension, through audio, videos, and through discussion after he reads.

Let interest be chosen over a designated reading level. Your child will likely put back a book that is too hard in exchange for one that he can read well enough to gain insight and be entertained. As long as he has an interest in reading on some topic, he will continue to develop his reading skills.

Want to know more about Teaching Them to Read?

Teaching Them to Read

100_1027How do I teach my child to read? This is a question lots of new moms ask. I think that many think there is a secret formula. Special materials. A formal program. You do not have to have teaching experience. None of these things are needed and you really don’t need to start with a “lesson”. You  start doing what it is you are trying to teach. You need to start with reading. When I was a child my Granny sat with me and read.  When I asked her to read again, she read again. She loved to read and spend time with me. I loved her, and in the time we spent together, I learned to love the story. Although many of us read to escape and we do so in solitude, blocking out the rest of the world. Reading can also be something that you can do together, with a child, a spouse, a friend. My husband and I are currently reading through the Old Testament together. If we get busy, I miss it. I also remember a time when we traveled a long distance and read a Gothic Renaissance novel to me as I drove. I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed someone reading to me as an adult. My children love to read with both of us and though my youngest two can read on their own now, they still very much enjoy being read aloud to.

So, start with reading books to your child, often. During reading you can point out characteristics of print, tracking from left to right, and from top to bottom. Point out periods, commas, exclamation points, and question marks. Talk about why theses marks are there and how your voice changes when you see them. Ask your child to notice how you take a break to breath, shorter for commas, and longer for end marks. Notice aloud, the high frequency words you see repeated in text. “This word is ‘me’. Can you help me find out how many we can find on this page?”

Explain a couple of new vocabulary words. Sometimes a detailed explanation is needed, but many times all that is needed is a synonym for the new word. This allows for the flow of the story to continue with minimal interruption.  At the beginning stages of reading aloud you will notice that your child may not want to discuss a lot with you. Children to know what happens next,  and what happens on the next page. They are learning to love the story. They are learning to visualize.

Retell difficult parts in simpler words. Make comparisons that help with the understanding of the text. “Have you ever felt that way? I felt that way when…” A similar situation is given in order to make a connection or to relate to the text, something the character does, says, sees, or feels. The connections can be made with other books you have read together, tv shows, Bible stories, news stories, stories you have heard in others lives, or your child’s own experiences. These are stories we remember when reading another similar situation. Connections help a reader understand new information with greater ease. Connections are the reason that we can cry about something that has happened in a movie, even thought we have never been in that exact situation. We relate to it because of another similar situations. The similarity does not have to be huge. A small likeness can help you compare to events. There is no need to make a list of questions before you read every book to your child. Use the connections that you make while reading. Share them or turn them into a question to get your child thinking. Start small start with one at the end of the telling. “When the character said that, it reminded me of Dad and how he always says…”, or “Does that remind you of someone who always says….?”

Ask open ended questions. “What do you think the character was feeling when that happened?” or, “What do you think the character will do now?” or, “What do you think…?”  Scaffold this (start small). Hold of on asking  your child to retell the events for you. They are still learning to love the story.  Before long  your child will be more and more curious about reading the words for his/herself. You child will be pointing out words before you ask. You child might start asking questions for you answer. You have shared your connection sin the past and now your child is seeking your help when a connection is hard to make or may just need confirmation they are on the right track. Often your child will simply mimic the questions and behaviors you have had when reading together. When your child is interested you can read along side her pointing out phonics rules little by little. ” the “ow” says /ow/ in this word. When your child shows interested in trying to read on his/her own, allow it, but be there for support. Your child will not have full mastery and will need you there to help decode some word still. “What’s this word, Mommy?” It’s okay to give the word to your child. At this point find some simple readers that your child can spend small amounts of time on reading aloud to you or silently. (I’ll be posting some this week in the public domain.) Don’t stop your read alouds with your child. You are still needed. You will continue to model inflection and speech patterns when you are reading aloud. You will still be entertaining and spending the close time your child loves.

Once your child is reading on their own. Continue the discussion. After your child reads, ask, “What happened in the chapter today.” Continue to ask your child to make connections with the book. Laugh over the characters. Empathize with them. Judge them. Befriend them. My children really like this time to discuss what they have read. It is a time to get their opinions out without risk of failure (It is not a multiple choice quiz). Their connections belong to them, and their judgement belong to them. The discussion will help you see whether they are understanding the text. If your child has little to say, consider that it is not the right book, whether it is because it is too difficult or not of interest. It does little good to have a child read something they are not interested in, and if it is too hard, it will lead to frustration. You can still continue your read alouds. You could also take turns reading or sit beside each other and enjoy seperate books, but  continue reading.

You can do this. You are all your child needs. Just read.

19th Century Schoolbooks

school-32981_64019th Century Schoolbooks is  fabulous for some ebook downloads. We have used A First Book in American History by Edward Eggleston. You will find it is more comprehensive than public school history text and much less agenda. It tells history like an adventure story full of wit and charm. There are some facts we quibble about at home, but so far it has served as a good beginning. We also plan on using The Young American, or, Book of Government and Law by Samuel G.Goodrich for our Civics requirement in our state. I chose this book because it really dives into the discussion of liberty and the purpose of government. It was written in a time, it seems where ideals were still close to the ideals of our founders.  

If you need to print a book for one of your children, you might go crazy when you figure out that you can only print one page at a time. This is a bummer, however there are other website to download and print these titles at. If you find a title you like and desire to print it, try searching for the title at one of the following sites: 

https://archive.org/

http://www.gutenberg.org/

http://books.google.com/

http://www.loc.gov/library/libarch-digital.html

I find the books style and vocabulary refreshing. I prefer the content in the “readers” far more than some contemporary text. They tend to include high moral standards, problem solving, and charm. I have found that some authors write a series including different age groups for the same topic. You can simply go to the preface of a book that you like. Most tell you the age group the book is intended for and what other books are included in the series. This is a great option. I can download the 3rd grade version for my son, the 4/5th grade version for my oldest and they can discuss the topic having understood it fully from a text that was comfortable to them.

Searching the Internet Archive

detective-156961_640Archive.org is a treasure trove. I cannot tell you how awesome this database is for finding public domain resources. Just the other day, I was perusing another website for science and history books to download for my newest reader. I needed something fairly straight forward, yet something to catch interest. I happened upon some books written by Albert Blaisdell. I fell in love instantly with the voice he writes in. He relates the topic very well to prior learning. The only problem was that I could not find all of the books in the series of textbooks he wrote. Instinctively, I surfed on over to Archive.org and found every one of them. I was giddy.

Archive.com  and its users have data-based  websites, video, audio, books, and TV news broadcast. All are free for your listening, viewing, or reading pleasure. The uses are endless in homeschooling. I love to find 19th century readers for the kids. The writing seems more wholesome, inviting the read to problem solve with a higher moral code than the world today. My kids enjoy the  classics. From Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz series to Robert Louis Stevenson’s works, we often us the books found here with the audio version to enjoy a book that might be above our most comfortable reading level.  We have found some adapted versions of the classics, as well. We enjoy the 19th century schoolbooks for many reasons. I will address that in another post.

To search Archive is simple. You can enter your key words and search all types of media or you can minimize your search to a certain form of media by using the pull down menu or  by clicking on the links at the top and choosing your media form . If you search by the first method, you will see an icon  before the title of the resources listed that indicates the type of media it is. If you have found a book on the database, simply click on the title and notice the options for viewing or download to the left of the page. You can read it straight from the website, download it from Google, to your Kindle or other device. If your find more than one of the book you are looking for, be sure to check them out. Some scans do not have the quality others do.wizard-of-oz-269148_640

My oldest is happy reading from the computer, so she downloads them to her Kindle for PC, that way she has use  of the digital bookmark. My middle child likes a paper copy. I print and bind his, according to the width. I might use a binder, a folder with brads, or simply staple a portion of a book. I save them for my youngest to use.  You can print them with an economy option if you have it. I also print them with 2 pages per sheet on landscape. You have to test print each book to see how small the font will be if you do this. Most turn our great. The printing of course is not free, but with my printer and ink combo, the cost comes to just under $3.00 for a 300 page book, using the 2 pages per sheet option. Some of the books I find are available to purchase, but I haven’t found one cheaper than printing on my own.

There are a couple of other places that I take advantage of for media in the public domain. Look for posts on them soon. You can also look forward to reading about other finds on Archive that we enjoy. That way you don’t have to do all the legwork. Just enjoy homeschooling for free!