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This post,Learning to Read Made Easy with Horizons , was made possible with the chance to review Horizons Kindergarten Phonics & Reading Set from Alpha Omega Publications as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
So far in my ‘career’ as a homeschool mother, I have helped 2 of my boys learn to read. For each one I used a different approach based on recommendations from friends and what we had either purchased or been gifted to use. Since I am a voracious reader, I want my boys to not only learn the mechanics of reading but also catch the joy of it.
Learning to Read Made Easy with Horizons: What’s In the Box?
Horizons Kindergarten Phonics & Reading Set is what most would call a ‘boxed curriculum’ as everything you will need is in one box. The program is just one offering from Alpha Omega Publications (AOP.) They provide print based, computer based and online curriculum to meet the needs of homeschool families seeking a Christian based educational program.
Horizons is a teacher led curriculum with a workbook approach for the students. Seven major themes are covered in this curriculum: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, text comprehension, spelling, and penmanship. This material is broken into 4 distinct segments with a teacher guide, student workbook, and reader for each one.
The workbooks and readers are colorful and laid out in a manner that engages the child in learning the material. Lessons in the phonics & reading set build upon each other so that within a few weeks the child is starting to recognize and read simple words. The set also includes a floor puzzle that can be either glued onto cardstock or laminated for durability.
If you work on one per school day, a child can easily finish the 160 lessons in Horizons Kindergarten Phonics & Reading Set within the school year. Some lessons have more activities than others to complete, so the teacher is offered the suggestion to break the lesson apart and have a different activity or break in the middle. You can see samples of each book included to get a better idea of what is covered and how it is presented.
Learning to Read Made Easy with Horizons: Thoughts Using the Curriculum
Overall, I am quite impressed with the Horizons Kindergarten Phonics & Reading Set. There is something about being able to open the box and just get started with little planning or preparation needed which brings joy to this mama’s heart. While I thoroughly enjoyed helping my other boys during their early elementary years, I find myself wanting more ‘turn key’ curriculum that has stood the test of time and gives me the time I need for high school course preparation and other work I am doing.
The repetition built into the program is helping my son have things ‘stick.’ We are in Book 1 and all of the early lessons have you both reading an alphabet story or poem (or both!) as well as reviewing the alphabet. In the early lessons, the alphabet is written across the first workbook page. When we reached lesson #3, J commented that it was the ‘wrong’ letter as it wasn’t in alphabetical order. And he was correct as the progression through the alphabet in lessons 1 through 26 do NOT strictly follow alphabetical order. What the parent using the materials will quickly see is that the progression enables them to start introducing sound combinations early along with how to write the 2 letter combination in print.
The one bit of prep work which I did not get finished before we dove into the materials was to make photocopies of the illustrations which go along with the Alphabet Story and Alphabet Poem. While J seemed okay with looking at the uncut floor puzzle which came in the box, it is nice to have the actual illustrations in front of us. When I did get the copies made, I did 2 sets so that J can color each letter’s illustration as we cover the letter. The other copy is for me to use like flashcards while reading the Alphabet Story or Alphabet Poem.
As this is the first year of more formal work, J has been resistant to doing an entire lesson in one sitting. We’ve taken the suggestion to break it which has helped a lot. Sometimes, I save the corresponding story in the reader for when Dad is home and they can have time together. And, the older boys will sometimes work with him on some of the activities making the process more of a family affair than just a sweet little boy learning to read alongside his mother.
What he is really proud of is being able to write his name. He does this on the top of each worksheet.
And, he was able to get his first library card recently. (Writing your first and last name is required on the application.)
Maybe this is a sign of a future eager reader in my house!
How have you approached teaching a child to read?
Have you used a ‘boxed’ curriculum like Horizons?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the Alpha Omega Publications Review post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this and other self-paced courses.