This is the blog of a homeschooling mom of 6 year old twins. Education is highly valued here; but as a means to good living, rather than as an end in itself. Many Regards!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Simply Phonics

I would like to put in a good word for a phonics program that has been a blessing to my family; but which I hear little about. The program is actually a textbook. It is called Simply Phonics; and is published by Shoelace Books. Just as the name implies, the program is simple.
But it is also effective. I guess it's beauty lies in the combination of those two factors.

I was initially drawn to Simply Phonics by it's price and it's claim to be a complete phonics program. (Though it didn't hurt that I found the link to the program on Penny Gardner's website. I had heard her speak and liked her already). Anyhow, for $25, you get a spiral bound book that is approximately 200 pages long. It is complete, just as it claims. Lessons are short and simple. A good deal of the work is oral. There is a bit of writing; mostly tracing. There are also optional opportunities for children to make phonetic notations. I find that the phonetic notations have helped my kids to think through and remember how to apply phonics rules. Lessons are reviewed as often as necessary for mastery.

I believe the book is developed within the framework of a Charlotte Mason philosophy of education. The illustrations are reminiscent of Charlotte's lifetime. The reading material is generally pulled from nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and depictions of life as it may have been in Charlotte's day. Neither my son, nor my daughter have ever been put off by the illustrative content. Indeed, they enjoy both poring over the pictures; and the familiar refrains of the stories and rhymes. There are a handful of religious references. Some of them are specifically Christian in content. The references probably amount to around 10 pages.

We did pair this book with Reading Reflex for about the first half of our kindergarten year; but Simply Phonics certainly could stand alone for phonics instruction. For reading practice, we supplemented, first with Bob Books; later with just loads of books from the library.

Of all the texts, or prepared programs we have tried; this simple little gem is the one my children (and therefore I) have enjoyed the most. Results count, too. And we are happy with them.