How to Choose an Effective Reading Curriculum
Your child is ready to read, but how do you choose an effective reading curriculum. The first thing you need to do is to decide how you’re going to teach them to read.
Deciding on an Effective Reading Curriculum
If you are very creative and have time on your hands to spend searching for arts and crafts to do with your child, you may be a parent that can take a more laid-back approach to teach reading. You may not need a reading curriculum at all.
But, some parents feel better having a specific plan to follow to help guide them in teaching this especially important skill.
A good reading curriculum gives you direction. It suggests how to proceed and what steps to take next and doesn’t hold you prisoner. It gives you as much information as possible but gives you a little freedom to add to the information being taught if you have the time and energy.
Here are some resources that parents use to teach their children to read.
A reading app can be a very beneficial reading curriculum, but I’ve found that trying to rely on them solely to teach your child to read only ends in disappointment. If your child is learning from the app, what they’re learning isn’t applied to daily life because it’s difficult for them to take what they’ve learned and use it. (Don’t feel bad or like you’ve failed if you’ve tried this approach and it didn’t work. I’ve done it myself and failed… miserably.)
My kids ended up just trying to click the game to get an end result and that involved A LOT of guessing to get the correct answer. Unless I was sitting with them the entire time, they were only tapping and guessing.
If taking your reading curriculum with you is a must, then apps may be the way to for your child to learn to read.
One thing to look out for is clicking for a correct response. Some kids just click meaninglessly to get a result, they aren’t trying to get the question right.
Computer Reading Games
Computer reading games fall under the same category as reading apps. We were still just guessing and clicking for a result, not caring if it was the desired result or not.
Another problem I found with the computer reading game my kids used was expecting an awful lot out of them. It started out teaching them and then expected them to be able to spell out a complete sentence. I thought I was going to pull my hair out! They would go through the lesson ok, but then get to the end and the sentence part and totally bomb it unless I told them what to type. I believe it tried to move too fast.
I thought using a computer curriculum would save me time. When, in the long run, I think it cost me more time.
If you’re leaning towards using a computer reading games as your reading curriculum, you’ll want to try and find one with a free trial or a money-back guarantee. This way, if it doesn’t work out for you and your kiddos, you aren’t out a ton of cash.
Printed Reading Curriculum
A printed curriculum seemed like it would be a good fit for my family, but I found it to be too pricey. I understand sometimes an investment is needed, but not being able to afford a pricey curriculum was a real problem for us.
The one printed curriculum that fit into our budget and worked fairly well for my older children was 100 Easy Lessons. It was affordable enough, but I’d have to print off their suggested handwriting practice in their paper primary tablets. And, if they couldn’t make the letters on their own, I had to show them, sometimes holding their hand, or making dots on the paper for them to follow. It was a whole process that required time for prep work and lots of patience. The two very things this busy mom was extremely short on while trying to run a service-based business from home with little ones underfoot.
All of those resources just mentioned are great as long as they’re being used to supplement another program or you have time to sit with your child and watch their every move or have set aside the money to spend on reading curriculum. When I was doing my shopping, some of the reading curriculum I looked at cost nearly $150.
When the time came to teach my twins to read, I saw after several lessons that 100 Easy Lessons wasn’t going to work for us AT ALL this time. Trying to teach both of them at the same time wasn’t working, and I didn’t have time to sit with them for 30 minutes each to teach them to read. I had other kids that needed me to teach them too and there weren’t enough hours in the day to sit down with everyone.
A New Reading Curriculum Idea
I gave myself and the kids the benefit of the doubt… maybe they truly weren’t ready.
We waited a while longer and began a second time.
No, this method was still not working for us. I couldn’t understand and we all got very frustrated quickly. Every lesson resulted in tears and anxiety for the kids and me. I was to the point I just couldn’t take it anymore.
We took some time off again. This time I prayed a lot, gathered my thoughts, and came up with my own way to teach my children to read. I kept the lessons short, teaching only one sound per week at first, but teaching in a way they could recognize the sound in other words and recognize the letter on sight too. I made up some fun worksheets and IT WORKED! They were learning to read without tears or frustration for any of us. My 4-year-old even wanted to learn with them.
I’m able to teach them all from the curriculum I created and we have a good time learning.
A Heart for Reading has been a literal Godsend! My kids are finally learning to read, retaining what they’ve learned, and are having fun in the process. Instead of tears, we have lots of giggles and my kids are learning to read in about 10 minutes a day.
If you’re having a hard time teaching your children to read be sure to check it out. The first workbook unit is free.