A Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Teaching Reading

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A Homeschool Mom's Guide to Teaching Reading

There are many, MANY resources available for teaching a child to read. When my first child was in preschool, I was completely overwhelmed. My first attempts at teaching reading had both of us in tears. I adopted a more relaxed approach with my other kids, and we had a much more enjoyable time. Since I've used SO MANY reading approaches, programs, and curriculum options, I thought I would share my experiences with you.

I've learned that teaching reading comes down to a few important steps:

  • Teach the letters;
  • Teach the vowel sounds, then consonant sounds;
  • Use a great book that will help you tie it all together (like one of the options below);
  • Reinforce what you are teaching.


Almost ANY ABC book is a great, fun way to teach letters. My kids have learned letters from songs, some from Sesame Street, and MOST OF ALL from reading with Mommy or older siblings. Letter recognition is one of those things that even a reluctant reader can learn easily – it's one of those things that can be made very fun, and can be taught without the kids even realizing that they're learning! This is one of our favorites: 

G Is for Goat
Patricia Polacco


Vowel Sounds/Consonant Sounds and books to tie them all together:

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons – this is a great book, and it helped us to get a good foundation down. I love the format – each lesson is about 20 minutes, and they really work! One of my kids was just plain bored by this book, so I didn't finish it with her, and we switched to a different book. I really think it depends on your child – and of course, I could have persisted with these lessons even though she didn't enjoy them, but I chose to move on. One of my other kids did really with this book. 

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Engelmann, Siegfried, Haddox, Phyllis, Bruner, Elaine


Phonics Pathways & BOB Books – My second daughter was taught with an interesting combo of mom-instruction (from books like Phonics Pathways) and self-teaching (sounding things out on her own with BOB books). We also did great with Abeka's phonics program. 

Phonics Pathways: Clear Steps to Easy Reading and Perfect Spelling
Dolores G. Hiskes
Fun in the sun (Bob books)
Bobby Lynn Maslen

For my son, I was genuinely surprised – he learned to read much earlier than my girls (I think that's unusual), with The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.
The lessons were not too long, there was enough variety to keep it interesting, and he started putting things together on his own pretty quickly. I really love The Well-Trained Mind model of classical education, so this book was a natural progression for us and fits in well with the rest of our curriculum choices. 

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition)
Susan Wise Bauer, Jessie Wise


A new one that we've just discovered is Fun-Time Phonics by Critical Thinking Company. This one really IS fun, and I feel like it's more than just a phonics program. I was given a copy to review, and my full review will be coming shortly, but I wanted to include this option because it's fun, stress-free, and my not-yet-reading kids are loving it! 

Hooked on Phonics – this is a very, very popular program, and there is a lot to recommend it, but it just didn't click with my kids. I found it to be somewhat parent-intensive, so when I wasn't enjoying it I decided to try a different program. But I definitely recommend checking it out for yourself to see if it's something you'd be interested in! 

For a combination reading AND writing program, which lays an excellent foundation for future learning, we currently use Logic of English (I have a full review of this product HERE). 

Reinforce what you are teaching: 

One of the best resources I've found for teaching ANY subject at home is Debi Pearl's Big Book of Homeschooling. We have had so much fun with the ideas in this book! Pinterest is also a great place to get ideas. 

There are many options and resources available to help you get started; I hope this list points you in the right direction! Happy teaching! 


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