Resources for Teaching Emergent Readers - Reading List

Resources for Teaching Emergent Readers

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

I am not sure I will ever be the mom who homeschools her kids, although I do agree that all moms need to take on the responsibility of overseeing the education of their kids. And let's be honest, to truly do this... well the answer is homeschooling... yes I am still trying to reconcile these points in my brain. So while I figure out how that will work for my family, I spend time reading how other mommies are teaching, training and educating their littles.  One of my favorite sources is Keri, who write at Growing in His Glory.

Keri has graciously agreed to share some of her favorite resources with us today!  I hope you enjoy her tips as much as I do. Please leave her a comment once you finish soaking in all this wisdom.

Our oldest daughter Kate is just like her Mama and loves to "read." (Right now readingmeans narrating various stories she's memorized.We've been reading together since she was a baby, and in her free time, Kate can often be found "reading" to herself, her sisters, or any poor soul who will listen. Lately, though, she's been really pushing me to teach her how to really read. 

Kate is an emergent reader, meaning she reads from left-to-right and top-to-bottom, uses some beginning and ending letter sounds, tells stories from memory, interprets from picture clues, and is beginning to read high frequency words.

Here are some resources we've been using with our emergent reader, including how they work and the pros & cons of each. I hope this post will help you in your ownjourney to teach your child to read.

Reading Curriculum

resources for reading


Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

I bought this book a few years ago, but failure to read the introduction resulted in a disastrous first attempt at using it. However, as I've been researching the best curriculum for teaching reading and talking to homeschooling friends about what they're using, I've discovered that Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is a very popular choice. So, I dusted off the cover and read the introduction :)

How It Works

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is a step-by-step systematic program that teaches the sounds letters make while also working on blending, rhyming, and writing skills. For each lesson there are a number of tasks to complete, all of which build upon each other. The program uses a lot of repetition, which is tedious at times, but also excellent for learning.

What We Like / Dislike

Kate and I have only just begun, and some days I want to pull my hair out because the introductory lessons are so slow, repetitive, and long. But I've been told to persevere--they do get better, so I'm heeding the advice of wiser Mamas. To keep my daughter interested, we occasionally break up lessons, doing half a lesson and then finishing it after her nap.

I love how Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is completely scripted, so no prep work is required. I always have my book, manuscript paper, and a pencil on my night stand so we can start and finish in roughly 20 minutes. And at under $20 on Amazon, it's a steal in my book!

Despite the initial tedium, I would recommend Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons because of its ease of use and rapid progress. We've just finished Lesson 10 and already Kate is reading new words! She's learned how to sound out words like mat and sat, so seeing progress so quickly is highly motivating. But be sure to read the introduction!

Explode the Code Primer Set, Books A, B & C


Prior to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, we began working through Nancy Hall's Primer to Explode the Code, which includes the following books:

 How It Works

Explode the Code Primer Set is a phonics-based program that introduces consonants one at a time, building phonological and phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, and writing skills--the essentials for reading success. Explode the Code uses a work book format.

What We Like / Dislike

We have worked through all of Book A and half of B on an on-again, off-again basis. I like the workbooks because Kate can do them fairly independently. I read the instructions, and she sets to work tracing, then writing her letters, practicing her sounds, matching sounds to pictures, etc. Plus, there are fun listening exercises that she enjoys. 

But the reason we're still stuck in the /j/ sound is because it's too easy for her. Repetition is good for learning new skills, and Explode the Code prides itself on frequent review to increase retention. Nevertheless, I think we'll be moving on to Book C.

Overall, I would recommend Explode the Code Primer Set for emergent readers, especially children who are visual learners like my daughter. There isn't much for the kinesthetic learner as far as hands-on activities and movement, so if your child needs to move to learn,Explode the Code might not be for you. 

Reading Eggs

Another fun & independent reading resource is a computer-based online reading program called Reading Eggs. I first heard about Reading Eggs from Kim at Not Consumed and tried it for free for 2 weeks. After the trial period ended, we decided Reading Eggs would be a good investment, and boy has it been! 

Most weekday mornings Kate does "her reading game" on the computer while I fix breakfast. She can work by herself, for the most part, but if she's stuck, I'm right there to help. Plus, her little sister sits with her and learns too. After she does a lesson, Kate will visit the Playroom where she can draw, play games, and listen to songs and stories.

 How It Works

Reading Eggs is designed for children ages 4-8 who want to learn how to read.Each lesson builds on the next, so the child is learning at his or her own pace. If the child needs more practice in an area, she can just keep doing the lesson until she gets it. The songs and cartoon characters with British accents make learning fun. Plus, you can see what your child is learning through periodic quizzes--the results are emailed to you so you can see your child's progress.

What We Like / Dislike 

Kate loves Reading Eggs because (1) she gets to be on the computer, (2) she thinks it's a game, and (3) the British characters and games are funny. Reading Eggs is a blast for her and a break for me as she can work without me hovering over her. 

However, I'm not always oblivious to what she's doing. My favorite aspect of Reading Eggs is how they teach blending sounds together using both visual and auditory techniques. Kate is a visual learner; sometimes she can't hear the sounds or the differences between sounds. So being able to see the blending has been very helpful for her.

I also like that my 4-year-old is fast becoming computer-literate because of Reading Eggs: she's learning how to use the mouse and maneuver the computer on her own, plus she's reading mini books. It's amazing! Plus, right now, you can try Reading Eggs for FREE!

Other Helpful Reading Resources


In addition to these great reading resources, we are also learning sight words. Sight words are the most common words found in children's books, many of which must be memorized because they cannot be sounded out. 

I like Mrs. Perkins Dolch words site because she has the sight words grouped according to reading level. Kate is learning sight words with flash cards I've made.

Dick & Jane Readers

With a few sight words under her belt and a little knowledge of how to sound out words, Kate is reading the Level 1 Dick & Jane readers all by herself! It's amazing how quickly she has been able to apply those sight words to what she's reading. She's very proud of her budding reading skills and will pick up a Dick & Jane reader of her own volition.


Starfall is a free educational website with fun reading activities for kids. It's phonics-based but also incorporates phonemic awareness practice to teach children how to read. The cartoon characters are fun and entertaining for kids, so they are learning while playing. 

The website is somewhat limited unless you pay the $35 annual fee, but because we pay forReading Eggs, we stick with the free stuff here. Still, Starfall offers a variety of fun activities from everything from learning your ABCs to reading short stories to singing nursery rhymes to learning numbers.

My Favorite Blogs about Teaching Reading

I Can Teach My Child123Homeschool4Me

There are lots of great home educating blogs out there. Here are some of my favorites with an emphasis on reading instruction and childhood literacy:

Where We're Going Next...

Sing spell read and write

As my daughter continues on her reading journey, I plan to continue Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons as well as Reading Eggs, evaluating each periodically to make sure they're still working. We may stop Explode the Code or skip to Book C; I still haven't decided.

However, this fall, when we begin kindergarten, we will be starting Sing Spell Read & Write Kindergarten & Level 1 Combo Kit. Kate learned her colors, shapes, and letter sounds usingSing Spell Read & Write Preschool Kitwhich we're using now with the 2.5 year old. Both programs are successful because they're fun and memorable; my girls LOVE listening and singing along to the CD in the preschool kit. So, I've decided that SSRW is where we're going next. 

*For a great review of SSRW, check out this one by Curriculum Choice.*

 resources to teach your child to read

If you haven't noticed, we're doing (and have done) a variety of different reading activities, some simultaneously, some alone. I'd venture to guess that most people stick with one curriculum like Hooked on Phonics or Sing Spell Read & Write or AllAbout ReadingThey've had great success with it. Others use a little bit of this and little of that. I've simply been dabbling in a variety of options to keep my child interested and play to her strengths, including her learning style. 

You have to find what works best for you and your child. This is what's working for us right now. Find what works best for your child and go for it. Don't feel like you need to do what I'm doing or your friend is doing. You know what's best for your child. Sometimes you will have to stop what's not workingfind something different, or supplement with something else. It's a learning process for everyone.

I honestly never thought I could teach my child to read. My mom said I was reading at age 4 but that she didn't teach me; I learned by watching Sesame Street and Mister Rogers, she says. But I figured my kids would learn to read at school; however, since we're planning to homeschool, I will be their teacher and that means will be the one teaching them to read!

For more reading activities, follow my "Pre-Reading Activities" board on Pinterest.

What about you? What resources have you found to be most helpful in teaching your child how to read? I'm curious.

Keri - Growing in his glory
Keri is a wife and stay-at-home mom to 3 lovely little ladies (ages 4, 2, & 1). Her blog Growing in His Glory is devoted to encouraging women in their unique, God-given roles as wives, mothers, and daughters of the King. When she isn’t learning with her kids or loving on her husband, Keri enjoys reading by herself with a cup of strong coffee, writing, and thrift store shopping. Come grow with her at Growing in His Glory.

If you would like follow Keri & Growing in His Glory, click here to have posts delivered to your inbox, or join us onBloglovin, Google Friend ConnectFacebookTwitter, & Pinterest.

[Note: This post contains some affiliate links. I make a little change from your Amazon purchases. However, I am in no way compensated for my recommendations of Starfall or any of my favorite blogs. Read my disclosure policy for more information.]

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