I had a big misconception about teaching a child to read. I thought that a mom just had to buy a highly recommended book or curriculum and then follow the instructions.
It didn’t work for us. By pushing beginning readers on my child too early (which was age six for us), I completely shattered his confidence. Please only use these phonics readers after you have spent adequate time with your child on lots of pre-reading activities. (See the previous posts in this series for ideas.)
We tried multiple sets of phonics readers. Our favorite sets come from two very well-known reading programs. We received incomplete sets of the readers (and not all the rest of the programs) as donations to our community homeschool library. I’m not sure how much we were missing out on by just having the readers. You can probably find sets of these books cheaply through online classified sites or homeschool sales.
Our two favorite sets of readers
These were our favorites because my child liked the stories, I didn’t feel like new words or concepts were coming out of left field, and the pacing of new concepts worked for us.
Learning Dynamics — They claim that you can teach your child to read in four weeks. Ha. Maybe a neurotypical child. We got through the blue level books after about five months. With that said, we still really liked them. Particularly Hal’s Fat Bag. That’s a beginning phonics classic.
Hooked on Phonics — We were given some boxed sets of Hooked on Phonics from the late 90s or early 2000s. They originally had audio tapes, if that tells you anything. While incomplete, these sets include a great little set of readers. I checked eBay and these seem fairly easy to come by. Hooked on Phonics looks a lot different these days. You can get online subscriptions… I like the idea of the boxed sets better. Here are the boxes we have: