My daughter is 7 and has been homeschooled her entire life (we started when she was 3). She struggles to read – has always struggled. Part of that is due to a visual processing delay, part of that is due to very low frustration tolerance, and part is due to lack of focus and other aspects of autism that affect her learning.
Over the last year, we decided to focus ONLY on language arts and math, pushing phonics and reading skills more than anything else to help her get caught up. The beauty of homeschooling is the ability to slow down or speed up learning, based on your child’s needs, and tailoring their lessons to their skill level.
In our homeschool we use an arsenal of resources including games, workbooks, media, manipulatives, etc. which I have SCOURED the internet (ok let’s be real… I scoured Amazon) to find.
If you have a struggling reader at home, check out these resources! We use a combination of these daily and have seen a LOT of improvement in her reading ability!
180 days of spelling & word study
These workbooks are fantastic! We’ve worked through grade 1 and are on track to finish it in time to begin grade 2 this fall. I credit this workbook with the majority of progress we have seen this year. It is very logically orgnanized, and provides a one page daily exercise to strengthen vocabulary, spelling, and reading. This workbook focuses on phonics to create weekly word groups, explores changing verbs to past and present tense, provides sentence context and sentence building practice, and more. I already the grade 2 workbook in my Amazon cart and will be clicking that buy button within the next few weeks.
Handwriting Practice Paper
Every week we use the vocab list for the 180 days book and I have K write the words one or two times each. I got really tired of trying to use spiral bound notebooks or loose leaf paper for this – the notebooks I had on hand were all college ruled and I honestly hated the thought of buying a wide ruled notebook. I wanted lines with the dotted middle line for her and I wanted to be able to use the same notebook for the whole year. This book of 100 pages (it comes in a 200 page option too) fits the bill! We use it for ALL of our writing practice, from handwriting practice to sentence building. It’s easy to recognize too, as opposed to non-descript school notebooks that tend to get lost in the shuffle more often than you’d think.
I LOVE these little books. Each short story focuses on a handful of key letters/sounds, which build on each other as you progress through the set. We’ve worked through 2 sets of these, are currently in the middle of set 3, and I fully anticipate buying future sets as K progresses further. I also really love that the illustrations are simple and use only 1 or 2 colors throughout the whole book. For kids with visual overwhelm (or a visual processing delay) reducing the amount of “noise” on the page is VERY helpful! There are also Bob Book Workbooks that have accompanying activities for extra practice/immersion.
Big Box of Sentence Building
This was a recent addition to our reading toolkit. It’s admittedly a little overwhelming with how MANY words are included in this box. BUT, we took the opportunity to sort the words into various parts-of-speech. So now we have sandwich baggies of “verbs”, “nouns”, “prepositions”, “pronouns”, etc. If you get this, I HIGHLY recommend sorting the words in this way, because it is MUCH easier to find the words you need when practicing sentence building.
We use these tiles to build silly sentences, or to use her words of the week from her 180 days workbook in sentences. Or I will build a sentence and have her read it for practice. There are a myriad of ways to use this resource!
my first bananagrams
This is a version of the classic bananagrams that is geared toward younger kids and early readers. Letter tiles are bigger and differently colored, with vowels standing out in yellow among red, blue, and green consonants. Some double letter tiles are included like “oo”, “th”, “wh”, “at”, “ea”, etc. It does come with instructions for game play, but we tend to use these as manipulatives to practice spelling “by ear” (given a word, find and arrange the correct letter tiles to make the spoken word), or to practice word families.
There are also SO many packs that can be used with the palette base, not just reading based packs. There are packs for addition and other math concepts too! I like to select one “sheet” from the packs we have and use this as a warm up activity. It requires a little visual scanning, critical thinking, and fine motor skills. This palette is a great addition to a multi-sensory approach to reading and best of all, it is self-correcting (answers on the back). Once you buy a kit with the base, you can simply search for the stand alone packs, like this one, to add on as needed and there are various grade levels to choose from!
my first reading library
From Usborne Books comes this FIFTY book, phonics-focused, library for emerging readers. Starting with the green level, kids and adults take turns reading, gradually increasing the amount of words and pages the child reads as you progress through the set. Pages meant for adults to read aloud are in smaller text, while pages meant for children to read aloud are in larger text. The stories are short and cute, and the books include reading comprehension questions/activities at the end of each story. We do one of these about every other week, as the reading skill needed increases with each book, at a more rapid pace than the Bob Books, and the illustrations tend to be a bit distracting with lots of color and detail.
In addition to the above resources, we also utilize media like Teach Your Monster To Read and Education.com. I also have a WISHLIST of items from Amazon that I’d like to add to our arsenal. Some of the items on this list are:
Teaching your child to read, especially when they have special needs associated with autism or ADHD or visual processing delay, can be frustrating and difficult at the best of times. I know there are have been so many days I have literally cried feeling as if I am failing at this homeschooling thing. But, over time I HAVE seen definite improvements, and each week seems a little less difficult than the last. I credit the tools and resources we are using. Some kids just need a different approach. For us, a multi-sensory approach works best and we love mixing and matching games, media, and workbooks for our language arts and early literacy lessons.
Please leave a comment and let me know if you have tried any of the resources listed and how they’ve worked for your family!