by Kim H.
Product: Phonics Road to Reading, Latin Road to English Grammar
Subject: Phonics, Reading, Grammar, Handwriting, Spelling (later levels incorporate Latin)
Levels Used: I, II, Latin Road I
Dates Used: 2006 - present
Likes: GREAT program! Thorough and well-conceived, this curriculum is based on Spalding's Writing Road to Reading, with all the "legwork" done for you. The writing pages are all pre-printed, grammar sheets, etc. It is very well organized and they learn to read WELL.
The first step is memorizing the phonemes of the English language - done by earning "tools" in their toolbox. We play Bingo, draw in sidewalk chalk, climb "Phonics Stair Mountain", etc. After 14 weeks, they begin their first reader (all readers included) - and this is NOT "cat in the hat" stuff! They read sentences like: "Hobbs sits by the door and looks for mice." They become very fluent very quickly and spelling - WOW!
I am a spelling fanatic, so it is important to me that my children spell well. This program really teaches them to listen and analyze each word. They learn syllable division right off, plurals, contractions, abbreviations, compound words, word suffixes and affixes, etc. All spelling rules are set to familiar tunes and are reinforced often.
The best part is the penmanship. My older two did not go through the first levels of this (didn't know of it then) and even though we did study handwriting (A Reason for Writing, several levels), their penmanship is very sloppy compared to my younger two (fifth child will go through this program as well!). It transitions to cursive in Phonics Road to Reading II and they complete an in-depth literature study of Little House in the Big Woods the second year (including artwork, dictation, list-making, etc.).
The later years begin a transition to the study of Latin which is a formal three year course beginning around 8th grade. A solid, fun and thorough course.
DISLIKE: The price. The results were worth the cost for us, however.
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