I love, love, love this program! It has EVERYTHING you need to teach your kiddos to write AND read: workbooks, practice making letters, games, reinforcements, songs, beginner readers, wall charts, and even rewards!
Two years of complete language arts & writing will cost $230 total for both K & 1st Grade (you can reuse 75% of it for a 2nd child!). It includes CD & Cassettes of all the songs, treasure box, games, 2 Kindergarten books (All Aboard and On Track), 6 Kindergarten readers, Level 1 books (Off we Go, Raceway Book, Teacher Guide, plus 2 Assessment Book) plus 17 readers. Remember that it will only be this expensive for the 1st child as most of the cost is in the readers, games & CD. Subsequent children would only need to buy workbooks (~$12 each)
Kindergarten – This program will thoroughly prepare your child to write letters (upper and lower case), sounds the letters make, practice fine motor skills (writing, coloring, cutting), and help your child begin to read with confidence. I LOVE this program and plan to use it for each and every one of my children!! The reader were perfect and if you didn’t want to, you wouldn’t need to buy any others! You can buy both books & readers from Pearson for $76)
- All Aboard - The first book will have practice writing letters on one side and then a coloring sheet on the back (so for practice making B’s it might have a bear on back) – My son looked forward to coloring when he finished making his letters. It will go through all letters upper and lower case using large ruled paper.
- On Track – Will help your child gain more confidence as he begins to read with the super full cut out/slide & read (as pictured below). They will also do other worksheets that help find beginning sound, rhyming, which came first, etc. Your child will also make their own story books – something my son looked forward to. You tear them out of the book, color them, fold them & read! Then there will be some worksheets to help with reading comprehension. My son was always so proud of his books! Finally, there are 6 color story books you will use. You will be told when to read them. They are sweet stories featuring animals. You will be amazed how much your kids can read because of how this series teaches kids.
- For the entire year there are fun songs to sing that will help teach letter sounds, blends, vowels, etc . PLUS there are games to reinforce the same concept. (NOTE: You will need to purchase them separately or purchase level 1 to have these on hand!) As much fun as they were, I wouldn’t buy the series just for the games.But don’t miss the 2 workbooks & readers – they are a MUST and your kids will be well on their way to writing & reading with confidence!
- I find Leap Frog Letter Factory to be superb at teaching letter sounds. (Buy talking words factory & Code Word Caper to work on reading & blends). We got a couple leap frog games like go fish that work beautifully. The songs are fun & catchy, but the Leapfrog songs are probably even more so. These DVD’s are a MUST in my book!
1st Grade (when your child has finished the Kindergarten books OR if your child can already read many sight words & knows how to make letters well) – Buy kit with all content in picture below: teacher book, Off We Go, Raceway Book, Assessment, 17 phonetic storybook readers, Cd & cassettes, treasure chest, raceway chart, phonics placemat, and 5 games at Amazon for $157. NOTE: You can reuse almost all of this with other children so the cost is really in the wonderful readers.
- Off We Go – This is pretty much review of the letters & what they say. I realize that a lot of children forget about 20% over the summer (sad!!) so this may be necessary. But we started Level 1 during the school year so found this to be completely unnecessary. This actually helped me make up my mind that we will not take summers 100% off – I don’t want to loose that much!!! YIKES! So for us, we skipped it entirely!
- Raceway Book – We are currently using & loving this book. There is a Raceway laminated chart to put on the wall so your child can visualize their process – 36 steps to independent reading. Goofy enjoys moving his car around the track! There is a teach book with instructions to go along with it & an Assessment book to use after each letter reader to help evaluate how your child is doing. After a couple lessons of singing songs about vowels & what letter says along with review worksheets and games you will get into the ‘meat’ of the program. Your child will then become comfortable blending words. Then the weeks continue in this format (encouraging you to GO AT YOUR CHILD’S PACE!!)
- List of new words (read, write, spell)
- Read from phonetic story book (in kit)
- Answer comprehension questions
- Do reinforcement fun worksheets
- Take assessment test
Again, all along they encourage you to learn through all your senses: sing, read, interact, write, etc. Like I said earlier – I LOVE THIS PROGRAM! I feel like it is really well thought through and that words are presented in a great order so that kids can start to read on their own & feel confident. After each lesson they encourage you to let your child pick something from the treasure chest as a reward (included in the kit). We found Goofy was great reading, but complained in other subjects…. so we incorporate the treasure chest into a system to encourage him in all subjects. But more on that in another post =-)