Many of us have started homeschooling for the first time this year, whether it’s a virtual option through our school districts or we’ve decided to take on the role of classroom teacher ourselves. Richland Library’s Education Studio has reading curriculum to help guide you through your new position as homeschool teacher or reading tutor.
These carefully curated materials offer the gold standard of reading instruction that will meet the needs of beginning or struggling readers. The collection is based on the Orton-Gillingham method—which might be a new concept for you, but don’t worry, we will walk you through the process.
Choosing the best reading curriculum to suit the needs of your students can be a daunting task. We are here to help you. We’ll take a deep dive into each of the Orton-Gililngham based reading programs in the Education Studio’s collection, so you can decide which program works best for you and your family. Each program has distinct differences in the style, format, and layout, but all check the boxes for effective lessons that adhere to the OG principles.
The Orton-Gillingham Principles:
Cognitive- Students use thinking skills when reading and spelling rather than memorization
Synthetic and Analytic-Students learn how the parts (phonemes) work together to create a whole (words), and how the whole can be broken down into parts.
Multisensory- Students use all learning pathways—visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and touch—to enhance memory and learning
Structured, Sequential, Systematic, and Cumulative—Students are taught material in a logical order from easy to hard, from common to uncommon. Concepts are taught systematically and reviewed to strengthen memory.
Repetitive—Struggling readers need continuous practice and review.
Explicit and Direct—Students are directly taught concepts. I do. We do. You do.
Diagnostic and Prescriptive—Student lessons are monitored by teacher to identify and analyze student needs.
Emotionally Sound—Students experience a high degree of success in each lesson. They gain both confidence and skill.
All About Reading
All About Reading curriculum creates a well-scripted roadmap to guide you through each lesson. This program will “have your back” for first-year teachers or those who are new to OG. These lessons are user ready—you do not need to be an OG expert to dive right in. Keep in mind, they require careful planning and organization, so be sure to read and prepare before sitting down with a student.
Scope and Sequence
Scope and sequence refers to the order in which concepts are taught within a curriculum. In this case, the scope and sequence refers to the order in which the letters, word patterns and sight words are taught. The scope and sequence is essentially the backbone of every program.
Teaching reading starts with the most basic building blocks of the English language, phonograms. Phonograms are symbols symbol representing a vocal sound. The symbol “a” has the vocal sound of /a/ or “ahh.” Reading is blending the phonograms together to make words, /s/ /a/ /t/. Some sounds are used more frequently than others or they are easier to blend, so they are introduced within the first reading lessons. Therefore, phonograms are not introduced in alphabetical order, rather, they are introduced by frequency of use and difficulty. This is important to note when evaluating a program like All About Reading because each reading program has a different order of introducing the letters.
In addition to the step-by-step lesson plans, The All About Reading’s website includes a slew of helpful resources: checklists, posters, activities, games, and “how to” guides for teachers. These helpful resources mean less time scouring Pinterest for supplemental games and activities, and more time learning about OG.
Checkout the AAR Phonogram app designed to help with letter pronunciation. This is an incredibly helpful tool for both you and your student. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of correct phonogram pronunciation. Many of us, unconsciously attach an “uh” sound at the end of our consonants and this can be very confusing from our struggling readers. Take a moment to review your letter sounds before each lesson, so you remember to clip the extra “uh” sound at the end of consonants.
Organization is key for all OG curriculums, and All About Reading is no exception. Invest in inexpensive organization supplies—hole punches, binder clips, index cards, and recipe boxes. These materials will help you create your own card decks and keep them organized. You have the option to purchase supplemental reading manipulatives, but creating your own will keep a few more pennies in your pocket
The All About Reading decodable readers match lessons without any surprising sight words outside the scope and sequence. Children enjoy reading them because of well-detailed illustrations of charming animals and children at play. The pictures tie nicely in with the text and have a “feel” of a typical picture book or read aloud. The pictures, however, may deter students looking for a more mature book covers, and if so, SPIRE might be a better option for them. The pictures also provide context clues for readers to guess the words in the text. Keep in mind that we want students to use their cognitive skills to decode words opposed to guessing. The pictures are great for motivating students to read, but if they become too much of a distraction, try another series of decodable readers from the library’s collection.
Most OG reading programs include a handwriting component, since teaching handwriting enhances reading instruction and vise-versa. AAR does not include handwriting instruction within their curriculum. Supplemental programs—such as Preventing Academic Failure (PAF)’s—are excellent teaching materials and can be found in the library’s collection.
Great Read Alouds
In addition to reading curriculum, the Richland Library’s Children’s Room has an extensive collection of children’s books—on every topic. Our staff is happy to help you select books for you to read together at home. Visit the Get Personalized Recommendations, fill out a quick questionnaire, and voila! books will be selected per your specifications.