Category Archives: Phonics and Reading

Get the Funnix Reading Program for Free During the Month of January


Funnix is offering their reading program for free during the month of January (regularly priced at $249).

The free version of Funnix is electronic. You download the entire package of 220 lessons and other material onto your computer, and you have everything you need to teach the program. The steps of what you do and how you do it are spelled out in Teacher’s Guide, which you review before presenting the program. Workbook and textbook activities accompany the lessons. You print these.

I downloaded the program and it looks like it will be a great resource for Dora when she is a bit older. I wish I had it for Gohan when he was learning to read. You can download the program here.

Labels: Freebies, Phonics and Reading
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

A, B, C, Flashcards with Vintage Art


I stumbled on these A, B, C flashcards today and thought they were really cute. I also like that they use words for the vowels that begin with short vowels, which is usually the vowel sound children learn first when studying phonics. Many flashcards might use “eagle” for “e” or “airplane” for “a”, which really drives me up the wall. These same companies might also use blends for constants, such as “snake” for “s”. I’m a bit touchy on the issue as my son has dyslexia and I can’t tell you how important it was us that he only use phonics materials that used the short vowel sounds until he really had those sounds down pat.

These images are public domain images, so are free to use. They are hosted on Karen’s Whimsy.

A-H image

I-R image


Labels: Freebies, Language Arts, Phonics and Reading
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Co-op 1st Summer Reading Challenge

I just posted about summer reading challenges, but today the Homeschool Co-op announced that they will be hosting a summer reading challenge. It will run June 1-August 31. Each week, they will be giving out $15 Amazon gift certificates. Then in September, they will have a grand prize drawing for an Apple iPad! Your child will get one chance to win for each hour he has read since June 1st. You must be a co-op member, which is free and I highly recommend as they have all sorts of  awesome deals for homeschoolers.

Labels: Language Arts, Literature, Phonics and Reading, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Summer Reading Programs for Kids

Do you homeschool year round? I used to, but then my kids decided that they wanted to stick to the public school schedule. I prefer year round with 1-3 week breaks throughout the year, myself, but the masses spoke and I listened. So, like so many public school parents, I have to work to make sure my kids brains don’t turn to mush over the summer. Reading is a great way to keep the neurons synapsing during even the laziest days of summer. I really appreciate summer reading programs that encourage my two anti-book lovers. Our favorite summer reading program has always been the one offered by our local library, but here are some others fun reading programs:

  • Barnes and Noble – this program is for kids in Grades 1-6, and runs May 25 – September 7. Kids earn a free book after reading eight books
  • Bookworm Wednesdays – Every Wednesday at 10:00 am beginning July 7th for six weeks. Bookworm Wednesdays entitles kids to free admission to a select children’s film when they present a book report at a participating Showcase Cinemas, Multiplex Cinemas or Cinema de Lux box office. Accompanying parents or guardians and children under six receive free admission and do not need to submit a book report. 
  • Borders “Double Dog Dare” – this program is for kids under 12, who can earn a free book after reading ten books The program runs May 4 – August 26.
  • Chuck E. Cheese Reading Rewards Calendar – Agree on a reading goal with your child. Fill in the reading chart every day that your child meets that goal, and after two weeks, he can turn it into Chuck E. Cheese for 10 free tokens (with pizza purchase). They also have other calendars to work on other goals.
  • Half-Price Books “Feed Your Brain” – I actually posted about this program previously, but in case you missed it… Kids 14 and under can earn a $3 Half-Price Books gift card each week for every week they read at least 15 minutes a day from June 1 to July 31.
  • H-E-Buddy Reading Club – Kids read ten books, submit the form before October 1st, 2010, and receive a prize in the mail
  • TD Bank Summer Reading – this program is for kids aged 18 or younger and runs May 3 – September 30. Kids, who read ten books, get $10 cash.
Labels: Language Arts, Literature, Phonics and Reading, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program from Half Price Books

Half Price Books will be running a summer reading program for kids aged 14 and under. The program runs June 1 – July 31, 2010. Kids earn $3 Half Price Books shopping cards for each that they read at least 15 minutes a day.

Labels: Language Arts, Phonics and Reading, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Recommended Reading Lists

Sometimes, it can be difficult to make literature selections for our home school. Mostly, there are just too many good books – so many books, so little time. It is difficult to narrow things down and pick the very best books, while also providing a nice variety of reading material. In addition, I like to keep each child’s unique tastes and learning traits in mind. So I like to refer to recommended reading lists before making literature selections. There are tons of lists out there, some are better than others, but here are some good ones that I have used over the years:

  • 100 Favorite Children’s Books (New York Public Library) – This list is grouped by type and geared towards 2nd – 6th grades
  • 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know (New York Public Library)
  • 101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers (College Board)
  • A Book in Time Reading Lists – there are two lists, one for world history and one for U.S. history. The lists are broken up into historical periods with short reviews and age recommendations. This is a great resource to use to enrich your history lessons with fiction or use a “living books” approach to teach history.
  • Book Adventure (Sylvan) – Your child can earn small trinkets for reading with this program, but I just use it for recommendations for grades K-8. It lets you enter your child’s grade level, reading level, and interests. It then generates a list based on the information you’ve provided, sometimes it has annotations. It also has short quizzes about the books that your child can take.
  • College Bound Reading List (Peterson’s)
  • Historical Fiction (Anchorage Public Library) – This is a list of historical fiction, broken up into time periods, with short descriptions.
  • Holiday Reading – This list is categorized by holidays and age group, with some short descriptions.
  • – This site groups books by age and then either “classic” or “new fave”.
  • King County Library System – This is my library system. It seems like a lot of library systems have good recommended reading list. King County’s is grouped into categories and age groups.
  • Lexile Framework for Reading – the Lexile system rates books on reading difficulty, rather than grade level. This site helps you find books for your child’s actual reading level.
  • The Literate Mother – This site offers book reviews by mothers about books for children and young adults. It focuses more on content appropriateness (i.e sexual content, violence, etc.).
  • Literature to Supplement History (Paula’s Archives) – This is an extensive list, categorized by time period, with age recommendations.
  • Salt Lake County Booklists – As I mentioned before, a lot of library systems have recommended reading lists, but Salt Lake County’s stands out as one of the best. The books are grouped by grade levels and categories. The listing also includes a picture of the book, a short synopsis, and the call number.
  • Summer Classics Reading List – This extensive list was put together by another homeschooling blogger. It is a list of classic books, by grade level  for grades 4-12.
  • Teens Read Too – Book reviews by and for teens. This site is focused more on popular fiction, than classics.
  • Young Adult Library Services Association – A branch of the ALA, this site focuses more on current books that have won various awards. It also has some categories of recommended reading for teens.


Labels: Language Arts, Literature, Phonics and Reading
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff