There are many great phonics programs out there that assist in the early reading process. We love this one by Distar: "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons".
We have created many supplemental packets for helping your child stay engaged throughout the program and help liven it up with activities and crafts. But here's the question I often hear from customers:
"We finished the program! Now what?"
So I'm going to take a moment to share what I have learned works well once you have finished this program. These ideas might be helpful for other reading programs, too. But this particular post is tailored to "How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons".
BOB BOOKS: In another blog post, I have mentioned the helpful BOB books. These are not only helpful during the program but as supplemental reading materials after the fact, as well.
EARLY READERS: One of the best things to do once you have completed the program is to get your child reading small books that they can find success at reading. There is an entire section in your local library dedicated to these books. It is called the "Easy Reader" or "Early Reader" section.
I found that my son had created an assumption in his head upon finishing the program: somehow, he believed the only book he could read from, was the "Teach Your Child to Read" book. So I needed to get him reading very easy readers to give him confidence to try reading outside of his comfort zone. Let me share with you some of our favorite Early Readers:
These are the "Elephant & Piggie" books by Mo Willems, a brilliant children's author. My kids love them. We have checked out every one of these at one time or another. I usually read them first out loud (if I can get to them first) and we all giggle over them together. Then, my son pours over them on his own, and eventually is reading them out loud to his sisters. Sometimes, I have him keep track of the books he reads with a Reading Log.
READING LOG: Reading Logs are great when children are just discovering they can, in fact, read. They are logging the books they have read, concretely. Most Reading Logs require the child to print out the title of the book they have read, the name of the author and illustrator. Some ask for the number of pages read and there's usually a place for the child to draw a picture from the book.
I eventually created my own Reading Log because we finished the one I had purchased. There are many nice Reading Logs you can use, and it is good to vary them if you can, so your students don't get too bored with the daily practice. I tried to create one that included all my favorite parts and gave the kids room to doodle or color if they wished. There are several pages as options, some in color and some in black and white. Plus, it's a Freebie in my store. So, please, take advantage of it to get you started.
But what about additional follow-up? In "Teach Your Child to Read...", the program makes silent letters small and therefore easily recognizable as silent letters. They become easy for the children to ignore in this way, and I think it is a strength in beginning reading. However, it is also something that needs to be addressed with a later program.
As the children get older, they might require a bit more reinforcement on the phonics rules regarding some of these silent letters. For instance, let's spend a little extra time covering that when you see "ea" together, it almost always makes the long e sound. Or, when you see a C-V-C word with an "e" at the end, the "silent e" almost always makes the vowel say its own name.
CHALL-POPP PHONICS : Let me suggest one of my favorite next level phonics programs: The Chall-Popp Phonics series.
The Level A book (seen above) is very easy, very basic, a reinforcement of capital and lower case letters and sounds. You *could* skip level A, if you believe your child has a solid mastery of the "TYCTR in 100 EL" program. If you want a little reinforcement on the names and writing of capital letters and lowercase letters, then start here. It doesn't hurt your child to spend some extra time here, and they will develop quite a bit of confidence as most of the activities will be quite easy.
With my younger Kindergartner, I decided to take the time to do it while she was also in process on the "Teach Your Child to Read" program. I like her having pages to do with ease. And I like reinforcing her knowledge. She can confidently have added practice before entering into the next level.
Most children will be ready to jump right into Chall-Popp, Level B (generally considered a 1st grade level). Here you will get the added reinforcement of those phonics rules that cover silent letters and how we say sounds. This will give the added practice needed.
WRITING: The next thing to focus on is writing. Have your student practice writing in just about any form, and every day. If your student is not able to enjoy the creativity stretch of coming up with his or her own creative ideas to write about, consider buying some grade level appropriate writing prompts.
First up is this lovely Seasonal Bundle of Writing Prompts from the TpT store, Miss Martin's Classroom.
These would be an excellent introduction of writing for our students who have just finished the "Teach Your Child to Read" program.
They have a few lines for text and attractive images for kids to color or decorate as they would like.
Miss Martin's Classroom has many writing prompt options to choose from.
You can try out a small packet of one season, or purchase a larger bundle. This one that I chose to show as an example is obviously for the four seasons. Again, a perfect starter for next year!
Here's an awesome set from another TpT store for encouraging Narrative Writing.
These great writing packets can be found at Raise the Bar Reading.
You will want to check out her preview for this particular bundle to get a closer look at everything included in this 76 page packet.
When your child is ready to take that step into writing stories beyond one or two sentences, THIS is the bundle that will offer everything you need to help teach how to plan, form and begin writing narrative.
If you're student is home-schooling, another great writing activity would be to find another homeschooling student for a pen-pal, so two students can write snail-mail letters back and forth. Writing becomes very relevant to young children in this way, and besides: it's so fun for them to get a letter addressed to their own name show up in the mailbox!
I try to vary what I use for writing, to keep interest high, because I have found there to be a bit of complaining about having to practice this new skill, at first. But it is so important!
Writing and honing the confidence of writing in students is an important facet of the reading process.
SIGHT WORDS : And lastly, I like to use Sight Word practice to heighten fluency and practice of those basic little words.
Just Ask Judy.
Getting children to do activities like rolling dice and graphing their sight words is wonderful for mixing it up. Printing sight words is fine, but how much more fun to make a game out of it?
This has over 99 pages and is chock full of games with high frequency words (sight words).
You can get a taste of it with this FREEBIE: "Spot the Difference Free Sampler"
Some students might also respond to creative activities, such as in this "Sight Words Free" by Cherry Workshop.
But giving students plenty of opportunities to try a variety of activities, will just reinforce the sight words all the more.
Be sure to leave a "Thank You" in the form of a nice review for these teachers who are sharing their tried and true methods with you.
They will appreciate it so much!
This should be enough to get you started. If you have additional ideas or favorite products that you love to use after your students have completed the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" program, please share it in the comments.