This is probably the number one question that folks ask me in relation to my homeschool. I enjoy sharing my favorite book with other parents so that they can help their own kiddos!
One of the things that attracted me to homeschooling my children was the opportunity to teach my own children how to read and do math. The thrill of seeing those little lightbulbs go off for them was a definite guiding factor in my family’s decision to home educate! I wanted to be the one to guide them through this simple, yet important process. When I was looking around for the perfect reading curriculum, I was overwhelmed by the choices available. What it finally came down to, for me, was to choose something simple, yet thorough. I wanted something to the point. I certainly found each of those qualities in The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington.
The book itself is simply made in black and white. There are no flashy components to this non-consumable book!
This text covers many questions parents may have, along with recommendations from the author, in its Question and Answers section. There is information on how to use this book for brand new readers, as well as using it as a remedial tool for older readers. Phonics are heavily used with only a few sight words introduced. If used in its entirety, the user will be able to read at about a 4th grade level by completion of the lessons.
The first several lessons simply cover the sounds of each letter and teaches a little rhyme to the kids to help them remember all of them. These lessons seem to go the quickest as it is mostly review. I’ve completed them with my children anyway, though, because I believe it really helps to give a solid foundation for the rest of the instruction. It gets them used to the format and pace of the lessons to come.
There are over 200 lessons for the reader to complete, and it is suggested that the lessons be completed very regularly to keep them moving ahead and for the material to stay fresh on their mind. The lessons are all scripted, telling the teacher (parent) exactly what to say and how to say it to their child. There is no guess work!
In our house, we complete about 3 lessons a week, while reading easy reader type books on our “off” days. As far as supplies needed to complete the lesson, we only use The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading and either a dry erase board or paper and pencil to complete the lessons. On a few lessons, I’ve made index cards for some of the games that are suggested for extra practice.
Peace Hill Press does publish supplements to go along with the text, but I haven’t found them necessary for my kids yet. They sell a companion audio CD (that assists with pronunciations), flashcards (which would eliminate the need for paper and pencil or the dry erase board), and magnetic letter boards as extras to better teach children that need more than just a textbook.
I have used this book for two of my children so far. I have to admit, the fact that I can use it again and again with each child certainly appeals to me as it saves me from having to continuously purchase materials for them!
With each child, I have begun lessons with them when they expressed interest or ability for reading. My daughter told me to teach her to read on her fourth birthday. For my son, he was right around five when we started. My children have thrived with this instruction. My daughter was able to read simple books and stories within three weeks of beginning lessons. My son finally gained the confidence to even attempt sounding out words within a month.
Now that my daughter is finishing first grade, we are slowly finishing up the book. She is an excellent reader, perfectly content to read several chapter books and loves reading stories to her little brothers. My son is able to read CVC words and is working on fluency after about 4 months of lessons. He reads words when we are out and about, especially at the grocery store! It really gives him a sense of accomplishment and it makes me so proud! 🙂
We have loved using this book. I’ve found it to be a fantastic value. I love that the lessons are all inclusive, scripted, and offers thorough instruction. I feel that my kids are getting a very solid foundation that can be applied to their leisure reading in a very positive and neccesary way. I highly recommend The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington to any parent that is hoping to begin or supplement reading instruction! It is available as a softcover book ($29.95) or a PDF download ($23.95) from Peace Hill Press. The publisher recommends it for K-3 instruction, but it could certainly be used by younger or older students as needed.