Learning Language Arts Through Literature
"Its just common sense!" Yes, everything about this program is common sense. A very complete program organized around quality children's literature and covering phonics, reading, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, handwriting, and higher-order reasoning. Phonics instruction is systematic, introducing a few sounds at a time and providing opportunities to read a "real" (small story book) book which uses those sounds. The literature component (carefully selected children's favorites) reminds students that the reason for all the hard work in phonics is the joy of reading wonderful books. And woven through both of these elements is comprehensive instruction in all aspects of language arts. Relying heavily on Ruth Beechick's principles for teaching reading (including her letter dice activities), the program includes a wide variety of activities appealing to all learning styles.
The current 3rd edition features updated covers and clearer day-by-day instruction; there are also updates throughout the series to reflect changes in how research is conducted. Also, there is clearer direction for making personalized spelling lists. Some lessons have been "switched-out" to give students exposure to more classic literature. Since the original series was written over several years by two different authors, this 3rd edition has been tweaked to make it more consistent. A few out-of-print books have been replaced as well.
The Teacher Book is a homeschooler's dream; all the work has been done for you, taking you step-by-step through the 36-week/36 Lesson program. The Lessons are grouped into "Parts" and each is divided into five days of detailed instructions. New skills are listed for each lesson and necessary supplies are included at the beginning. There is virtually no teacher preparation needed; you teach as you read. All answers are provided within the lesson. Examples and diagrams are user-friendly including the easy-to-follow references to the Student Book. Periodic assessments are provided to help you determine your childs readiness for the next "Part." The Student Book contains the materials (except for household and school supplies) needed for cut-and-paste, word wheels, flip books, picture sequencing, story-telling puppets, and handwriting pages. The comfortable, natural handwriting method that isnt exactly traditional, modern, or italic was developed by the authors. This handwriting instruction is coordinated with the phonics and includes pages for children to carefully complete and display or give as gifts. The Student Book is consumable with perforated pages. Even the back cover is put to good use providing the miniature book covers to be added to the personal reading chart that marks the childs progress. Phonics concepts are reinforced in separate beginning Readers. They are small-sized for little hands and include black-and-white illustrations. Stories are engaging which is a good thing since the weeks learning activities are built around them. The student uses puppets to retell the stories, completes sequencing activities with a series of reader-related events, and answers comprehension questions. One interesting aspect of the teacher-student interaction concerning these readers is that the weeks lesson starts off with the teacher reading either the small book (Blue) or a part of a reader (Red) to the child. After several lessons thoroughly covering the new phonics concepts and practice reading parts of the story, the student concludes the week with the successful reading of the same reading selection. This is an effective variation of the typical approach because the goal of reading the book is always before the student. The Materials Packet (Blue Program only) is a useful collection of color-coded letter and word cards for learning and review along with cards used for reinforcement games and, of course, the letter dice (to be assembled from cardstock patterns). While this part of the program is not exactly consumable - you could use the various components again - the components do get a workout. If you are expecting to use the program with another child, you'll want to save these items, possibly laminating them. However, we sell additional Material Packets as well as Student Books and Reader Sets so you can easily use the program with a second student. Well-known children's literature (Read-Aloud Library) is suggested each week, so at the same time your child is learning phonics, he is also learning other important reading skills such as literal recall, comprehension, predicting outcome, and drawing conclusions. These books are an integral part of the program and the Student Activity Book relies on them. Although usually available at the local library, for your convenience we also sell them. ~ Janice