At-Home and Online
Homeschool Reading Curriculum By Age and Grade Level
Table of Contents
- 3 Steps to Choosing the Best Homeschool Reading Curriculum
- By Age and Grade Level
- Orton-Gillingham Based Methods
- Sequential, Incremental, and Cumulative Lessons
- 5 Reading Principles
- Individualized Instruction
- Benefits to Homeschooling
- Next Steps
Choosing the Best Homeschool Curriculum
Are you looking to homeschool your child or are you currently homeschooling?
If so, then you are probably on the hunt for the best homeschool reading curriculum. A reading curriculum is the core of your language arts instruction.
So, how do you pick a reading curriculum? I know as a parent I just wanted my kids to start reading and have fun with it.
The best homeschool reading curriculum should focus on phonics and other skills such as fluency, comprehension, vocabulary building, writing skills, and spelling.
Keep reading to discover what is included in the best homeschool reading curriculum!
3 Steps to Choosing the Best Homeschool Reading Curriculum
1. Evidence and Research-Based Reading Curriculum Includes:
There is a science-proven way to teach reading. When you teach all the components, you will successfully be able to teach reading to your kids.
- Phonemic Awareness
This is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. For example, the word sun is made of three individual sounds: /s/, /u/, and /n/. This is key to being able to sound out words and is critically important for reading and spelling.
This is the ability to match sounds to the letters that they represent. Phonics is also known as the alphabetic principle.
This is the ability to read smoothly, easily, and quickly. Good readers can read words automatically without having to sound out each syllable (also known as decoding). In other words, you don’t have to spend a lot of effort and attention on the mechanics of reading.
This is the ability to understand, analyze, and use what you have read. You may be able to read the words on a page, but it won’t do you much good if you are unable to understand the content.
This is the body of words a person knows, understands, and uses. The larger vocabulary a person has, the easier it is to read and comprehend what they read.
The National Reading Panel has shown that the above principles are critical for developing strong reading skills.
2. Additionally, specific methods are critical to reading:
- Orton-Gillingham Based Methods
- Sequential and Incremental Cumulative Lessons
- Taught in Different Ways
- Include Phonics, Fluency, Comprehension, Spelling, and Vocabulary
These are proven methods that work for kids of all abilities, whether they are average, above average, gifted, have learning challenges, have dyslexia, or have ADHD.
3. As a parent, you are also deciding:
- How much parent involvement does the curriculum take?
- How much time is spent on reading each day?
- Is the curriculum strictly online, offline, or a mix of both?
- Is the curriculum science-based?
- Does the curriculum include the best practices for learning to read?
- Does the curriculum integrate spelling?
- Will my child enjoy it?
- Will my child learn to read accurately and understand what they have read?
- Will my child learn to read faster and with expression?
- Will my child learn strategies to help them with reading in school and everything that it is they do?
Reading Curriculum by Age and Grade Level (Elementary Grades K-8)
The best homeschool curriculum is self-paced and allows for your child to progress at their own speed and grows as your child grows.
Kindergarten is critical to building the foundation of learning to love to read and learn. If your child did not build a solid foundation of learning the letters and the sounds that represent them, it will be critical for them to learn those skills here.
Start with reading easy-to-read decodable books. These are books where kids can sound out the words and start with short vowel words. Scholar Within’s homeschool curriculum has some of the best decodable books. Be sure to play some games and have fun teaching your kindergartener so that they have a positive association with learning.
Many parents decide to homeschool to help their struggling readers. This way, they can be sure that the reading curriculum teaches phonics and the other 5 principles of reading.
Orton-Gillingham Based Methods
In homeschool reading curriculums, Orton-Gillingham based methods are the most effective and best for teaching reading.
Multisensory instruction is a must for all homeschoolers because it teaches how to process information in different ways from sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and movement. It places a heavy emphasis on oral language, reading, and writing. To increase the odds of success, homeschoolers rely on multisensory methods to teach.
Teaching reading with a multisensory approach is where students see the words, listen to the sounds of the words, and then be taught how to say them back. This is effective for teaching reading because it involves both seeing, hearing, and speaking. It also helps with comprehension skills later on in life.
There are so many reasons to teach your children how to read, but don’t underestimate the need for them to know phonics. Learn to read by the sounds that individual letters (for example: b, f, k) and letter combinations (for example: ch, th, sh) make is extremely effective. One way to do this is to practice writing words a sound at a time in order for them to better remember what each word looks like and its pronunciation. This process helps improve reading skills. This is built into our Scholar Within phonics lessons.
Sequential, Incremental, and Cumulative Lessons
Step-by-step lessons that you can follow at home make it easy so you do not have to re-invent the wheel in how to teach your kids to read effectively. The homeschool reading curriculum should be sequential and incremental, which means teaching one concept and mastering it before moving on. You can’t just throw a homeschool reading curriculum at a homeschooler and expect them to learn.
The homeschool reading curriculum should also be cumulative, which means it needs to build on preceding lessons. If the homeschooler can’t do a lesson because they don’t know how to read yet, that’s fine. They just need exposure and experience with what will come later so they’re not starting from scratch when they finally get to that lesson.
Well-Rounded Reading Instruction
Reading should be taught in different ways. For example:
- Include reading fluency practice of reading skills in short 5-minute one-on-one reading sessions
- Use literature and expository (informational texts) to teach comprehension skills
- Read aloud poetry to introduce rhyming and line breaks
- Provide plenty of time for reading the grade-level short selections (typically 5 – 15 minutes)
- Teach through word recognition, and word structure (the 8 spelling patterns)
- Include hands-on games to teach and reinforce skills
- Provide pleasure reading lists of books according to grade level for additional practice
To make this easier for yourself, prepare your lessons ahead of time so your child can do them individually or with a small group. You will want to introduce new vocabulary words with their reading selections. Or, you can choose a done-for-you reading program. The best reading programs take your child’s needs and levels and provide you with a customized program.
The Best Curriculum Should Include the 5 Reading Principles
Phonics, fluency, comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary are a must in the best reading curriculum. Make sure that the curriculum that you choose includes all these key principles as the foundation of the program. When you have lessons that incorporate the 5 principles of reading, your child’s reading skills improve much faster.
Individualized Reading Instruction
The most important thing to remember about homeschooling is that there are no wrong answers when teaching kids.
What to consider when choosing a homeschool reading curriculum:
- Consider what you want your homeschooling experience to look like and how many hours a day for homeschool subjects will be needed
- What are the skills that need the most work?
- Do you have a child who has dyslexia or other learning disabilities?
- Does the curriculum have the flexibility to grow as your child’s reading level grows?
- Does the curriculum provide video instruction and answer sheets or just an instructor’s guide?
- Does the reading program offer email or chat support?
- As a homeschooling parent, how much time can you devote to working with your kids on reading per day? (0-30 minutes, 30-60 minutes, 1+ hours).
Homeschool parents have several homeschool reading curriculum options to choose from. Individualized homeschool reading instruction is where a parent teaches their child with his or her needs and abilities in mind. A homeschool curriculum can also consist of structured reading instruction, which has set hours for homeschool subjects.
Take a look at Scholar Within’s Homeschool Reading and Spelling Program.
Benefits to Homeschooling
One benefit is that you have more flexibility on how much time your child spends with different homeschool subjects.
As homeschool parents, you can choose from a variety of homeschool reading curriculums to use in your homes. There are three types of homeschool reading curriculums: the phonics approach, the literature-based approach, and the combined reading curriculum that uses phonics, literature, expository reading, and poetry.
We have found that the best curriculum includes methods and activities for visual, auditory, and tactile learners. This means your student will do a variety of activities each day and week.
Project-based learning is a great way to supplement your reading curriculum. This is where your child can research and do a report (written, presentation, or semi-scripted video) on a topic that interests them. This is a great way to help your kids pursue what is important to them while using their reading skills to research the topic, executive function skills to plan out when they’ll work on what, writing skills to write the report, and more.
The most important thing is finding a homeschooling approach that your child enjoys and in turn, helps them learn at their own pace. Some ways you can do this is by playing games with your homeschool reading child, getting them outside to play in the sun, or reading aloud.
The most important thing about homeschool reading is that there are no wrong answers when teaching kids. At Scholar Within, we have tried to make homeschooling as easy and most effective as possible with our at-home and online programs. Follow the links below for more information.
What is your child’s reading level?
Select a grade level to learn more about Scholar Within’s homeschool reading and spelling curriculum: