Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading
During my twenty-plus years in homeschooling, the phonics instruction method associated with Romalda Spalding has been synonymous with words like "comprehensive," "intensive," and "painstaking detail." It's also been associated with "difficult to do." There are several Spalding-based programs out there that are more manageable and more homeschool-friendly. However, Phonics Road adds something else; it makes it fun! All aspects of instruction - phonics, reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and composition - are tied together with a construction theme. The parent/teacher is the Foreman who guides the student through the various skill levels. The student, an Apprentice for the first years, a Journeyman in the later years, begins by learning the tools of his trade: single vowels and consonants, vowel teams, and consonant teams. After these tools are mastered, the Apprentice uses them to build words according to the Blueprints (spelling lists). Along the way, the Foreman shows that words are formed according to Building Codes (spelling rules). Rules are set to songs - Rule Tunes - for easy memorization. In later levels, Framing is done according to Framing Codes (parts of speech) taught with Grammar Tunes. The third and fourth levels start teaching some of the Designing Codes (prefixes, roots, suffixes) leading into the study of Latin. As one would expect, there is complete preparation for and movement into the Latin Road to English Grammar which is by the same author, Barbara Beers.
Did I mention this was a homeschool-friendly program? Accordingly, there are two products for each level - a complete Curriculum Set (everything you need for the teacher plus one student) and an Extra Student Package (all the parts you need to use the program with a second student). Lessons are laid out well with clear learning objectives. Each level is considered a year of study. While Level One focuses on phonics instruction, by Level Two there are three sections of study: spelling, grammar, and reading/composition each taking about 20-30 minutes a day. Levels Three and Four have four sections of study - spelling, grammar, Latin roots, and reading/composition. The levels are expensive for the first student, but all of the language arts are being covered thoroughly and completely. All of the "Foreman" material is non-consumable. Also, for the student, everything is provided including a nifty clipboard and wet erase marker.
Level One sets the foundations for five of the seven language arts skills: spelling, handwriting, reading, English grammar and composition, incorporating music, art and history. Specifically they'll learn sounds and formation of single vowels, consonants, and 44 common vowel teams and consonant teams, formation of numbers 0-9, analysis of over 300 new words, basic sentence construction with punctuation, reading 20 beginning readers, abbreviations, contractions, compound words, word families, and three composition projects. In Level One, there is over 23 hours of explicit teacher training. The video content is the core of the curriculum and allows even a new teacher to begin teaching this method with very little preparation time. The Curriculum set includes the physical pieces for both teacher and student as well as information on setting up your online streaming account for video content. Curriculum Set includes: Teacher's Blueprints (manual), Teacher's Drill Cards, Student's Workbook, Student Tool Cards, My First Readers (twenty 4-page stories for your student to read and illustrate) and eco-friendly Practice Clipboard with wet erase pen. Extra Student Package contains: Student's Workbook, Student Tool Cards, My First Readers booklet and the Practice Clipboard with wet erase pen.
Level Two starts with a comprehensive review of Level One words, charts, and readers, analysis and spelling of over 350 new words, days of the week, introduces nouns, adjectives, articles, pronouns, verbs, helping verbs, object pronouns, linking verbs, prepositions and prepositional phrases, possessive nouns, adverbs, irregular verbs and verb tenses, conjunctions, reading and composition studies with Little House in the Big Woods covering character comparisons, plot, setting, figures of speech, simile, metaphor, outlining, and vocabulary. The Curriculum Set includes: Foreman's Construction Guide with 10 DVDs, Apprentice's Building Manual, Reading and Composition Guide for Little House in the Big Woods, and Little House reader. Extra Student Package includes: Apprentice's Building Manual, Composition Pages for Little House in the Big Woods, and Little House Reader.
Level Three reviews phonics, reading, and grammar content from first two levels, covers over 300 new words, dictating and marking sentences (grammar), reading and composition studies including character studies, vocabulary, essay construction, and 35 Latin base words. Curriculum Set includes: Foreman's Construction Guide with 10 DVDs, Journeyman's Log, Designing Tool Cards, Verb Memory Game, Reading and Composition Guide for Robert Fulton Boy Craftsman with reader, and Reading and Composition Guide for Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin with reader. Extra Student Package includes: Composition Pages for Robert Fulton Boy Craftsman with reader, and Composition pages for Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin.
Level Four covers customized review of spelling and base words, over 600 new spelling words, 54 Latin base words, sentence types with punctuation, independent and dependent clauses, dictated sentences to analyze, parts of sentence, sentence scaffolding (diagramming), appositives, reflexive and intensive pronouns, progressive tenses, adverb clauses, simple, compound, and complex sentences, sentence variety, reading and composition studies with Carry On Mr. Bowditch including paragraphs, note-taking, vocabulary, character studies and comparison, and paraphrasing. Curriculum Set includes: Foreman's Construction Guide with 10 DVDs, Journeyman's Log, Designing Tool Cards, Reading and Composition Guide for Carry On Mr. Bowditch. Extra Student Package includes: Composition Pages for Carry On Mr. Bowditch with reader. ~ Janice