One of the most daunting tasks as a homeschooler is teaching your child to read. I was very fortunate that our oldest child learned to read very quickly and easily. We read lots of books together and we did some cute crafts with the letters, but she pretty much just started reading on her own. Easy peasy I thought. Why was there so much fear surrounding our capabilities of teaching someone to read? Well, I soon learned that she was the exception. None of our other children have taught themselves to read or have naturally picked up on it. A few of them have dyslexia, working memory dysfunction, and dysgraphia. All of them are what I would call reluctant readers. I was going to need a very systematic approach and get creative in teaching them to read. For a while, we called on the help of someone trained in the science of reading. Their teacher was absolutely fantastic and used a very structured, systematic, multisensory approach to help our next two children start to read. If you have a struggling learner and live in Central AR, I highly recommend checking out Bridge to Hope Academic Therapy. Our children were doing wonderful and making excellent progress. And then the pandemic hit and everything came to a halt. On the upside, instead of spending our days running from one activity or therapy to the next, we were home and I finally had time to dig in and do some research myself. I knew I could provide the multisensory experience, I just needed the structure and system. We had tried several programs in the past with little success (I won't list them by name, because while they did not work for us they may work for others and I don't want to discredit them).
Finally, we found Treasure Hunt Reading by Prenda. I could not believe that this amazing program is FREE. All of the videos for each lesson are on their website and then you can either print off the workbook for free or buy it. We started three of our children at the same time. They are going through it at their own paces, but all of them are learning to read and making excellent progress. Using the Orton-Gillingham approach, Treasure Hunt Reading was just the backbone that we needed!
Our sons (yes, our boys that never sit still) were so captivated by the program that they even dress up in costumes when they are watching. We do this program to mastery, meaning that we do not move on to lesson 2 until we have mastered lesson 1. For some of the lessons, completing the worksheet and watching the video is enough. Most of the time I add some multisensory activities to it. Here is what that looks like:
Writing letters or words on a tray of sand, rice, or beads.
Writing letters/words in shaving cream.
Writing letters/words with finger paints.
Writing letters/words on a dry erase board and then wiping them off with your finger.
Writing letters/words with window crayons or dry erase markers on the windows/glass.
Writing letters/words in the mud.
Writing letters/words with sidewalk chalk.
Tracing sandpaper letters.
Crafts grouping CVC words.
Using sticks and other nature materials to make letters/words.
Using Boggle Jr. to sound out words.
Signing sight words (American sign language)
Making up silly songs and rhymes.
Using a letter flip made out of a book of index cards.
Using moveable letters on cookie sheets.
Using letter stamps.
Using alphabet blocks or tiles.
Games like Sequence Letters.
Going on scavenger hunts to find items that being with the letter you are working on.
Touch Type Read and Spell (TTRS), which teaches typing while reinforcing reading and spelling (you can customize this too to make typing lists of your sight words or the CVC word family you are working on).
There are endless possibilities. Be creative and have fun!
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