On the Trail (ALS Kindergarten Readers)
Many homeschoolers will recognize this program from Mile-Hi by Guyla Nelson. It has two basic components: Phonics & Reading and Spelling, Writing, & Vocabulary. These are designed to be used together, one reinforcing the other. This is a traditional, biblical, teacher-directed program with carefully laid out lessons. It covers all of language arts for kindergarten, including handwriting. Complete teacher materials, including Teacher Handbooks, lesson plans, and phonics songs are contained on a USB flash drive. Handbooks are in .pdf format and can be read and/or printed using Adobe Acrobat. The manuals are quite meaty at 268 pgs. (Spelling, Writing & Vocabulary), 420 pgs. (Phonics & Reading), and 510 pgs. (Phonics & Spelling). Song format is compatible with itunes or Quicktime. Software for playing these is available via free download from Adobe or Apple. Unless you can be at your computer while teaching, you will probably want to print out the lessons and download music to your mp3 music player. An abbreviated Phonics and Reading Guide (very abbreviated) is included also, but this is not enough to teach from. All of the student materials, however, are printed and in full-color. There are four worktexts - two for each component - and six paperback readers. Student materials are hefty as well; workbooks vary between 160 and 230 pages apiece; readers are thick with the first a mere 96 pages and the rest over 170 pages each. This is among the most comprehensive programs available both in terms of content and material.
Lesson plans are very detailed, telling you exactly what to do. They include a content overview, list of materials you'll need, teaching tips, and activities (step by step instructions for teaching the lesson). This will be a tremendous help to busy mothers or those without experience teaching reading. The coursework is fairly serious and rigorous, but student pages look inviting. Letters and their sounds are introduced in an order that allows students to begin reading and writing words almost immediately. By the second lesson, they are writing 'loll' and identifying words that begin with lo (short o) like 'lock' and 'lobster'. The rest of the letters are introduced in this order: i, d, a. c, t, e, f, u, v, w, s, h, n, r, m, b, j, x, g, y, p, q, k, z. Following this, consonant digraphs and blends are introduced, then consonant substitutes (silent letters), silent e, controlled-vowels, vowel digraphs and vowel digraph exceptions, diphthongs and diphthong exceptions. As sounds are learned, they are practiced and reinforced by reading, writing, spelling and handwriting. This program is very thorough and will give your child a solid foundation in language. Components are also available separately.
Programs in this section go beyond teaching children how to read, incorporating phonetic readers, spelling and writing as well. Arranged roughly by grade/age.