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Free Reading Instruction Resources

The Science of Reading has become super trendy recently, but I've been a huge fan of phonics-based reading instruction for years now. I think homeschoolers were way ahead of the curve in pushing phonics-based instruction, and when it turned out that my eldest is dyslexic, I was so happy that I'd used a phonics-based approach with her. Still, reading instruction doesn't begin and end with phonics. Here, find a selection or resources that help with pre-reading skills, reading instruction, and more advanced literary techniques.

Free Resources

Open Source Phonics include 120 lessons designed to systematically teach phonics. I really like that it's not too "young," meaning that it's a great option for older students who may need remedial support, and are discouraged by cutesy lessons clearly designed for 5 year olds.

Don't laugh, but this is the best systematic phonics program out there. The year after COVID, I had a class of 16 2nd graders, 3 of whom could read anything. I had no idea what to do with that... I'd taught my own kids to read, but a whole class of them? It was a severely underfunded school with minimal curricular resources. So I used McGuffey's. I went through each lesson with each student individually, 2 lessons a week, and by the end of the year, they could all read.

What's really brilliant about it is that they only introduce a handful of letters and sounds in each lesson. And no letters or sounds are used in each story unless they've already been introduced. I had students do each lesson until they could read it without any trouble. What I particularly like is that there aren't many pictures to let kids guess from. There are also some archaic words and sentence structure which means the kids actually do have to read each word carefully, and not guess based on context.

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