Wednesday, July 26, 2017

R.E.A.D. Curriculum Review

There are many benefits and various reasons that our family loves homeschooling. One of my personal favorites is teaching my little ones to read. Reading is a skill that will help them the rest of the lives. Whether for education needs or recreational desires, reading will mostly likely aid the process. And being the one to help them learn their letters and sounds, form early words, and read their first books is exciting to me.

Everyone has a different style, and while I didn't use a curriculum to teach my first three kids to read (but instead relied on skills I learned while teaching first graders in the classroom years ago), some might prefer something that is planned out for them. I admit, I've slacked lately in helping my soon-to-be-kindergartner with his reading skills, so it was nice to have the Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook and R.E.A.D. Review Pack to help. Since The Crafty Classroom did all the work of putting together the materials, all I had to do was print and get busy helping my little one.

The Crafty Classroom offers all sorts of downloadable curricula to help your students, including categories of the alphabet, Bible, geography, math, reading, science, and writing. There is super sequences, color science, ASL alphabet, U.S.A. mazes, writing prompts, The 10 Commandments, and so much more. Just browsing through the options makes me want to buy all the curriculum. It all looks so fun! As a homeschooling family with their own four kids, the Crafty Classroom has designed their materials to make teaching a bit easier.

The Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook (798 pages) is a 36-week curriculum for those who are Ready, Eager, Able, and Determined to READ. It's designed for a 4-day school week and contains everything you need to teach your child to read. The materials cover phonics, digraphs, blends, sight words, grammar, and writing. One word family and two-three sight words are taught each week. Set-up is simple; you print the pages and place in a binder. The only other supplies that you will need are basic classroom items (like crayons, glue, pencil, ect), a composition notebook, two page protectors, dry erase marker, and something to store flashcards.

The format is the same each week with the same activities/pages on their corresponding days. For example, the schedule every Monday looks like this:

  • Calendar & Warm Up
  • I Can Rhyme Chart (reading)
  • Letter Sound Chart (language)
  • Handwriting
  • Playdough Mat (activity/game)
  • Word Cards (sight word)
Other types of worksheets include find & color pages, word mazes, making words with letter tiles, finding the nonsense words, story reader, and more. Each day begins with the calendar and warm up exercises before completing the other pages. These warm ups teach key life skills like first and last name, time, weather, temperature, money, days, months, numbers, and more. The pages can be kept in page protectors so they can be easily erased and completed each day.  

The R.E.A.D. Review Pack is a group of 28 early readers. The books can be used as a stand-alone product, but they were created to correspond to the R.E.A.D. Notebook and promote reading fluency. The two products compliment each other well and help the student put to practice what he's learning. The mini books are very easy to assemble. Each one prints on three sheets of paper, then you cut, stack, and staple.  There is also an instructional video link included in the book. The download is 92 pages.

Each book is based on 4-6 word families and 8-10 sight words, as well as previously learned words. The first page of each one lists the word family review and the sight word review that is covered. There are simple pictures and text on each page.

My little kindergartner is loving using these materials. He's pleased whenever I tell him it's time to do his schoolwork. He really likes the hands-on pages where's there's something to cut and glue, the mazes, and dot-to-dots. He always laughs when we talk about real words and make nonsense words and likes using various liquids to complete the dot painting pages. However, he is not crazy about all the writing pages. He'll usually write the smaller portions with no complaints, but grumbles when there is a page that has line upon line of tracing or independent writing. Since he's still young and building up those hand muscles, I allow him to write each word once or twice and move on. 

The curriculum is working well and helping him to read better, which is evident by the fluency he's reading the review pack. One thing that concerns me though is the number of pages. Don't get me wrong, more for your money is a good thing, but more in every area is not necessarily good. I don't think he needs to be doing 5 worksheets along with the calendar warm up every day. To me, that's a lot of seat work for a little one. Which ones I choose to do each day depends on the amount of effort required and his interest in them.

Another issue with the number of pages is that the book is nearly 800 pages long. Even if I were to be able to print front and back, that's a lot of paper and ink, but because several of the pages have portions that are to be cut, it would be impossible to print on both sides. I could go through and determine which ones I could print double-sided, but that would take up precious time. I've used other curricula where there was a separate workbook with all pages filled and activity book with just the fronts to be cut. Maybe something like this would work here, too.

Making something work for your family is a great aspect of homeschooling. Choosing our pages instead of doing absolutely everything that's offered means that the Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook and R.E.A.D. Review Pack are great options for our home. My little guy enjoys his work and loves having his own books. Most importantly, he's learning to read.

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You can read more reviews of these products or of some of the others offered by the Crafty Classroom on the Homeschool Review Crew blog. 

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1 comment:

  1. What a neat looking curriculum for learning to read. I have to say - teaching my youngest to read was probably something that I will forever look back on with satisfaction. - Lori