Listening / Basic Skills Series, Part 1. Includes: Advantages of Good Listening; Principles of Good Listening; and 10 Listening Practice Activities. Applicable to both younger and older children.
10 Ways To Get the Most from Homeschool Events. Includes list of 2014 State Conventions, dates, and links to more information.
Books To Help You Teach Phonics
Online Phonics Resources
• Through the Phonics Barrier, Student Manual, A Self-teaching Audio-Visual Approach
to Reading Improvement. 64-page online book. From basics to advanced phonics with extensive word lists and phonic rules, plus eliminating reversals (p. 49), how to divide words into syllables (p. 53), misread words by high-school and college students (p.56), typical errors in spelling (p. 58), and more.
• How To Teach Phonics (copyright 1916). 40-page online book. Instructions for what the teacher is to do and say, games, word lists, phonics rules, four-year curriculum. Also available for Kindle.
• Reading Made Easy with Blend Phonics for First Grade. 42-page online book. Instructions for what the teacher says and writes, word lists, phonics rules, more.
• Ready to Read, Teaching Support Material, Sound Sense: Phonics and Phonological Awareness. 56-page online book. Practical suggestions for teaching phonics (including what to say and write), learning activities, lesson plans, and more, including this note on terms:
• A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word.
• Phonemic awareness means the ability to hear and differentiate the individual
sounds within words.
• Phonological awareness, which is a more inclusive term, refers to an
understanding of the sound system of spoken language.
• The relationship between spoken sounds and the letters that represent them is called phonics.
• For Younger Children. Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics
Phase One Teaching Programme 54-page online book. Learning activities to develop speaking and listening skills, phonological awareness, and oral blending and segmenting.
Links to More Resources
• An Old-Fashioned Education. Links to many free online books of yesteryear, including some of the phonics resources listed above, alphabet books, primers (such as McGuffey's Eclectic Primer), readers, McGuffey's readers & speller.
• NeoK12 video lessons teach phonics with songs and visuals.
ABC Phonics for Kids
ABC Phonics Song with sign language
ABC Phonic Chant
Phonics Vowels, A to Z, Blends
• Attractive, colorful worksheets.
Reading: Phonics to Vocabulary for 1st grade. 43 pages.
Phonics Fun: Vowels & Diphthongs for 2nd grade. 24-pages.
St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day
presents an opportunity to teach your children the true story of Patrick of Ireland, who at the age of 16, was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave. After he found God while herding pigs and escaping, he returned to his home in Roman Brittan, and later returned to Ireland as a humble and brave missionary!
We have included many excellent resources, a free unit study, and free e-books below.
• Free 5-day St. Patrick Unit Study from Knowledge Quest. Includes: biography about St. Patrick, research, and report; science, nature, and craft activities; timeline, mapping, and lapbook activities; and an Irish dinner.
• Free 23-Page E-book from Living Books Curriculum, St. Patrick's Day Holiday Helper. Includes: a biography, rare illustrations for picture study, a recipe for soda bread, and more.
• Read more about Patrick in the online article from Joyful Heart, "Will the Real St. Patrick Please Stand Up?."
• Read a shorter account (on AnniesHomepage.com) for children of Patrick's life and how he used the shamrock to explain the Trinity.
• St. Patrick's Breastplate: Read this poetic prayer, listen to and see it sung in an Irish setting, and study vocabulary, geography, and comprehension questions.
• Free eBook: Confession of St. Patrick. Read this brief story of St. Patrick's life, told through his own eyes.
on Your HSLDA Membership
Home School Legal Defense Association offers homeschooling families a low-cost method of obtaining quality legal defense that gives them the freedom to homeschool without having to face legal threats alone.
Use this link and discount group number 299142 for $20 off your membership fee. (Be sure to enter the discount group number 299142 in the "Discount Group
Code" area, not the "Coupon Code" area.)
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We play spelling games throughout the day, so I was not surprised when our son, age 4, came up to me and said, "Mom, I know how to spell eight."
"OK," I said, "how do you spell eight?"
Proudly he announced, "T-U-V."
When I told him that was not the correct spelling, he looked confused. "But that's the way the phone spells it!"
Submitted by Sue S., Texas.
Send your humorous anecdote to email@example.com.
Peace with God
1. God loves you.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
2. Man is separated from God by sin.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23) For the wages of sin is death. (Rom. 6:23)
3. The death of Jesus Christ in our place is God's only provision for man's sin.
He (Jesus Christ) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)
4. We must personally receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Eph. 2:8, 9)
Immerse your family in God's truth through systematic reading and study of God's Word.
The Teaching Home's
Unique Bible Reading Schedule
• Start any month.
• Read 6 days a week
(allows for church on Sunday).
• Read 4 weeks per month
(24 days per month).
Online at TeachingHome.com.
Listen to the Bible Online. Choose from six English versions (plus Spanish and other languages) at BibleGateway.com/Audio.
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Listen to beautiful traditional, sacred, and inspirational conservative Christian music (commercial free!) when you tune in to these online stations:
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• Old Christian Radio
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Reading & Phonics
"The skills involved in word analysis should be mastered
by every child and adult, whether or not they can already read."
• Basic Skill: Reading
• Word Analysis
• Pre-Reading Phonics Practice
• Teaching Phonics Step-by-Step
Basic Skills Series
Topics in our Basic Skills Series will include:
Word Analysis: Reading & Phonics
Generalizations/Analysis & Synthesis;
Application: Bible Reading & Comprehension
Evaluation: Teaching Discernment Through Literature
3. Math: Concepts, Computation, Problem Solving
4. Resources: Visual & Reference Materials
• Freebies. Online Phonics Resources
• St. Patrick's Day Free Online Resources
Basic skills must be thoroughly mastered in order for children
to acquire, use, and communicate knowledge in other subjects.
These basics must also be constantly reviewed, and used, so
that they are retained.
You may want to go back to the basics to test mastery,
understanding, use, and speed by means of daily or weekly quizzes
You may also want to concentrate on the basics for a while:
• When your child is beginning his home schooling.
• When you are overwhelmed with too many subjects or family
• When your child has reached a roadblock and cannot seem to
• When your child is ready to begin a new, higher-level subject.
Although the basics are the first steps in learning, they
are never outgrown – they are the tools that our children need
to have honed and ready for all their future learning.
May the Lord bless you and your family for His glory.
The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian
The Teaching Home is a homeschool, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.
Basic Skill: Reading
Reading is the passport to the world of knowledge and
understanding of the world. Reading and comprehension skills can
enable your child to learn in any subject area throughout his life.
1. Reading Methods
The methods used to teach children to read include whole
word (also called "sight reading" or "look-say") and intensive phonics.
Whole word requires the child to memorize the shape of
the word, not the individual sounds of the letters. However,
a child cannot possibly memorize all the words he may encounter.
Phonics teaches the sounds of the letters and certain groups
of letters. Phonics rules give the child tools to decode written
sounds of even new and unfamiliar words.
Intensive phonics will also help your child learn to spell.
Teaching a child to read is not as difficult as you may
think. You need only a few phonics resources, patience, and enthusiasm.
Start with short lessons and gradually increase the length.
If your child becomes frustrated during a reading session, stop
on a positive note, rather than try to finish the lesson.
2. Reading Readiness
Reading readiness depends on the individual child. Most
children are able to master reading skills by age 6 or 7.
However, you need not delay reading instruction if your child
shows interest and ability sooner.
Likewise, you need not worry if your child takes longer
to learn to read. It is more important to establish a solid
foundation of reading skills than to push for early reading.
3. Teaching Your Child To Read
Have you taught your child to read? What a delight to watch
the lights go on and the world open up through the printed word!
That is the time many mothers feel they have passed the first
test and become home educators – and they have.
If this exciting opportunity is still ahead of you, we trust
that you will find help and encouragement in this newsletter.
Take your time and enjoy teaching your child to read. It can be
a wonderful experience to share together!
If your child is in junior or senior high, you might be
surprised to learn that a review of phonics rules can help smooth
out some stumbling in his reading or improve his spelling. The
basics are always appropriate study material for any age.
Word Analysis (as tested in nationally-normed
standardized tests for the early grades) includes the
decoding skills of grapheme-phoneme relationships (written
letters and their sounds). These include:
• Initial (beginning) sounds of words
• Medial (middle) sounds
• Final (ending) sounds
• Rhyming sounds.
Word analysis is a skill that consists of many separate
sub-skills. It begins with attentive listening (see Part 1 in
our last newsletter) applied to the sounds in words, and
culminates in the ability to read any printed material.
The skills involved in word analysis/phonics/reading
should be mastered by every child and adult, whether or not
they can already read. This group of skills will:
• Solidify and expand reading ability (decoding).
• Teach or improve spelling (encoding).
• Prepare our children to teach our grandchildren to read.
• Enable us and our children to teach others to read,
either as a wage-earning employment, a volunteered public
service, or a Christian ministry.
Pre-Reading Phonics Practice
A well-developed phonics system will lead to early
success for almost every child within a few months.
However, to prevent hang-ups, slow-downs, or
mental/emotional blocks, make a low-key game of the
following pre-reading phonics exercises for months (or even
years) before you begin to teach reading. This will develop your
child's ability to hear and evaluate similar and different sounds
1. Initial, Middle, and Ending Sounds
Have your child think of words that begin with the same
• "What words start the same as Daniel (or your child's
name)? How about door, dog, and dinner. Now you think
• Another day think of words that start like Mommy or
Sister, etc., until all sounds have been covered.
• Do the same for middle and ending sounds.
2. Word Pairs
Say word pairs and have your child tell you if they have
the same beginning, middle, or ending sound. Say:
• "Do bat and ball begin the same?" (Yes)
• "How about bat and cat?" (No)
• "Do bat and foot end the same?" (Yes)
• "How about bat and ball?" (No)
• "Do hat and can have the same middle sound?" (Yes)
• "How about bat and bit?" (No)
• "Which parts of bat and bed are the same?" (Beginning)
• "How about bat and can?" (Middle)
• "How about hat and feet?" (End)
Do not try all these questions at once or you will confuse your child; practice each step until it is easy (using many different examples on many separate occasions) before moving on to the next.
Do rhyming games and riddles.
• Say "What rhymes with bat and cat?" (fat, hat, mat,
pat, rat, sat)
• Or "What is a food that rhymes with sneeze?" (cheese)
Teaching Phonics Step-by-Step
Teaching phonics is not hard. Instruction materials
can range from a simple manual to an extensive system
with cassettes, workbooks, games, phonetic readers, etc.
Or you can make up your own flashcards, word lists, and
practice sentences (see "Resources" at end).
Any good phonics system should use the following steps
and teach all the letter-sound connections used in English
words. Eighty-seven percent of English words can be read
by "sounding them out" with the rules of phonics.
1. Consonants and Short Vowels
Teach letter/sound associations:
• For consonants: b in
boy; c in cat, etc.
• For short vowels: a in bat;
e in bet; i in bit; o in hot; u in hut.
2. Beginning Consonant and Short Vowel Blends
Practice reading initial-consonant plus short vowel
• sa in sad; me in men; fi in fig; ro in rod; nu in nut.
3. Add a Final Consonant
Create, read, and spell one-syllable words with short
vowels by adding a final consonant to each of the blends
learned in Step 2
• For example: baa-t, bat; saa-d, sad; haa-t, hat.
An estimated 62 percent of the English language is made
up of short-vowel words and syllables; this gives immediate
success if practice words and sentences have been carefully
4. Long Vowels
Two rules generally apply when long-vowel words are added
(a in cake; e in seed; i in bike; o in boat; u in huge):
• When there is one vowel in a short (one-syllable) word, it usually says its short sound.
• When there are two vowels in a short word, the first
vowel usually says its long sound; the second one is silent (e.g., same, meat, fine, road, rude).
5. Practice Reading and Spelling
Applying just the four steps above opens up a world of
reading vocabulary to your children. Provide sentences and
stories to give your child practice using the phonetic sounds
they are learning and to develop smoothness and speed.
6. Multiple-Syllable Words
Once a child is familiar with one-syllable words, then
words of more than one syllable can be introduced.
The easiest way to teach two-syllable words is to begin with
simple compound words like baseball and root words with
added suffixes like jump, jumping, jumped.
Teach your child to divide words into syllables and
sound out each one separately.
Many two-syllable words can be read after you teach the following.
• A vowel is usually long if followed by one consonant and then another vowel (e.g., begin, open, silent).
• A vowel is usually short if followed by two or more consonants before the next vowel (e.g., children, kitchen, cupboard) – unless the first consonant after the vowel is followed by le (e.g., table, maple, but not little, kettle).
7. Special Phonics Rules
Use word lists for spelling and reading that contain
phonics rules as they are learned. The following are a few
• Letter clusters: ch in chin, chair; or in for, order; sh in ship, shape; ing in king, bring.
• Silent-letter words: comb, lamb, half.
• Special groupings of letters: night, bright, light; laugh, cough, enough; could, would, should; through, though.
• Silent-l words: chalk, talk, walk.
• Words using ank: bank, drank, sank, thank.
Recommended Phonics Resources
• A Beka Book, including Handbook for Reading
Also see Six Easy Steps to Reading
• Christ Centered Publications
• All About Reading (Multisensory, Orton-Gillingham)
• Reading Made Easy
• The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading
• Sing, Spell, Read And Write
• A Home Start in Reading, Booklet by Ruth Beechick