Reading

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Reading Fluency

Here's a problem I see from time to time: a child knows all his or her letters and even the sounds of the letters, but still doesn't read. The answer to this, in a lot of cases, is to give them practice reading below-level books. By that, I mean reading books that contain words that are below the child's current reading level. 

These are not always easy to find. The little readers that come with reading curriculums can get monotonous and kids lose interest. Here's how I've attacked the problem with one of my tutoring clients. I wrote a letter to her using words that she knew and a few that I wanted her to practice. I used colorful paper that had a panda on the border, and I signed it "Manda Panda." I even put it in an envelope and attached a pretend stamp on it. Now, everytime she

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Continuing Education

Even if you already have a college degree, continuing your education is a great way to bolster your teaching skills, and add inspiration to your homeschooling curriculum. Although there are countless resources on the market, I’ll give you a short list of my favorites.

A Well Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer is a book that helps homeschooling parents walk through the process of building their own understanding of classic literature. It’s a wonderful book with plenty of guidance. However, because it included some “assignments” to help sharpen your skills, it is best read within a group setting. If you have a few friends that are interested in studying literature, I would highly recommend this book.

iTunes University offers free seminars on a number of different topics from a variety

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How to Stock a Family Library

You can save a lot of time and money by stocking your family library with books that can be used throughout your homeschooling years. Here's what I look for when I go book shopping:

I look for biographies that make learning about famous people fun for kids. I especially like Childhood of Famous Americans, Opal Wheeler biographies, and Rookie Biographies . I know these are wholesome books.

I look for classic literature published with interesting illustrations. Because much of the classical literature is written in vocabulary that is often no longer used or difficult to understand, good illustrations help hold a child's attention. (I also keep a dictionary handy! Try reading Robinson Crusoe in it's original version and you'll see what I mean.)

I look for science and history books

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Free Reading Curriculum from Dept. of Education

The Department of Education offers these free resources to help parents reinforce the reading and language arts skills that their children are learning at school. This is a great resource for homeschoolers, as well!

More than 100 activities are provided for each grade level (Kindergarten, first, second and third grade) in PDF format (download and print on your own printer). The activities cover same/different, rhymes, color words, reading and writing the letters of alphabet, beginning and ending sounds, vowels, upper and lower case letters, sight words, syllables, compound words, following directions, predicting, capitalization, writing sentences, reading comprehension, prefix, suffix, blends, writing paragraphs, using reference books such as the dictionary and atlas, parts of speech,

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Reading Skills Competency Test

Reading Skills Competency TestsLearning phonics rules is important, but you need to remember that only 80% of our vocabulary words can be decoded using phonics rules. Reading Skills Competency Tests (Second Level) by Walter B. Barbe, Ph.D. is a resource that covers all areas of reading skills, including phonics. 

Using the tests, chart, and recordkeeping form included in this book, you can access your child’s reading readiness and actual reading skills, as well as keep track of his or her progress. The chart is a chart showing all the different skills students should master. It is made of heavy-stock paper and pulls out of the book for easy reference. 

The skills covered include (not a complete list):

Vocabulary Skills:

  • Reading readiness
  • Sight words (includes Dolch list of 220 Basic
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