As a homeschooling mom one of my happiest jobs has been teaching my children to read, and one reason it has been such a positive experience for me and my children is a wonderful reading curriculum called Reading Made Easy.
When I began thinking about what I wanted in a reading curriculum, I knew that something natural and conversational would be the best choice for my son’s learning style. Lots of heavy phonics drills and written work would have quickly burned him out.
Reading Made Easy: A Full Homeschool Curriculum Review
When I found Reading Made Easy I realized that it was everything we needed. It is written by Valerie Bendt, a homeschool Mom who taught her six children to read in a relaxed, enjoyable way. Gleaning from her experiences with her own children, Mrs. Bendt wrote a reading curriculum that makes learning to read a delightful part of the school day.
The curriculum consists of a teacher’s manual, which is available in hard copy and on CD. (There is also an optional set of workbooks, which are a new addition to the program, but I have not yet had the chance to use these.)
The Teacher’s Manual Contains:
The Teacher’s Manual contains one-hundred eight phonics-based lessons which teach letter sounds, word families, blends, digraphs, and sight words.
Even though this is a phonics-based curriculum, it does not place an emphasis on memorizing phonics rules. The emphasis is on learning to decode words, derive meaning from the text, and enjoy reading. A simple system of phonics clues, or symbols, is used to help the child learn new sounds.
For example, short vowels are written in grey, blends are circled, sight words are underlined, silent letters are dotted, and so on. In later lessons the symbols gradually taper off, and by the end of the manual, the child is reading “regular” print with no clues. It thrilled my son to work toward this goal and reach it!
The Student Work Book Contains:
Each workbook contains review material to accompany the lessons in Reading Made Easy.
The workbooks include:
- word/picture match-ups and other exercises to strengthen phonics and decoding skills.
- sentences, poems, and mini stories to develop reading comprehension.
- copy work passages from Reading Made Easy with space to complete the writing exercises.
- space for the drawing and creative writing exercises suggested in Reading Made Easy.
The short lessons, which take less than thirty minutes to complete, are effective and nurture a love of reading. They are completely scripted and include:
- review and practice of skills learned in previous lessons
- teaching and practice of new concepts
- a story for the child to read (Early on, the stories are only one or two sentences in length, but in later lessons they consist of paragraphs and entire pages.)
- a picture relating to the story with questions to sharpen observation and comprehension skills
- an ordering/copy work activity: The child watches the teacher copy a sentence from the story onto index cards, writing one word per card. The teacher points out capitalization, punctuation, and phonics clues and then mixes the cards up. The student puts the words back in the correct order, and then copies the sentence. (The copy work is optional for students who might not be ready for a lot of handwriting.)
- Students also have the opportunity to trace or draw the picture if they wish.
- other hands-on activities
Mrs. Bendt suggests covering three lessons per week with a review day in between lessons, but you can choose whatever pace is best for your student. No recommended ages are given for this curriculum, but you could use it with any child who is ready to learn to read.
What I Didn’t Like About Reading Made Easy
For me, the only drawback to Reading Made Easy is that all of the pictures are black and white; however, it didn’t seem to be a problem for my children. Each day they looked forward to their reading lessons and were so excited to read their new “stories”. This curriculum sets the child up for success in each lesson and helps to give them a strong sense of accomplishment. I enthusiastically recommend it!
More Reading Resources For Your Homeschool
- Games for Reading: Playful Ways to Help Your Child Read
- The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading
- Funnix Reading Program
- Summer Reading Inspiration
~ Originally published June 2009, written by Shannon, Unit Study/Charlotte Mason mother of three. Shannon takes pleasure in reading with her children and listening to them read to her. S