I have a child who has difficulty reading, and as time goes along, I’ve tried several things to try and help jump start her reading. So, when the opportunity came up to do a review for Alpha Omega Publications, I knew that I was going to to request the Horizons 2nd Grade Phonics & Reading Set to see if it could help her take her reading to the next level.
What We Received
We received the complete second grade phonics and reading curriculum set. This set includes:
- A teacher’s guide, giving a guideline for the flow of each lesson and instructions for each specific workbook and reader activity as well as answer keys for workbook pages and tests. There are also some general guidelines and information for the lessons in the front of the manual.
- A workbook (split into two volumes–one for each half of the year) that includes 160 double-sided lesson pages as well as pages for 16 tests
- Two readers–One for the first half of the year and the other for the second half of the year. The reading selections for the first half of the year average 3-4 pages long and are marked and color-coded for each lesson
How We Used This Material
We really just plowed into the material and did a lesson per day the whole time we were reviewing this material. The way we would set up our day was:
- Review of flashcards of words that Rose was having difficulty with drawn from either the reader or the workbook.
- New phonics lesson and workbook pages for the day out of the student workbook.
- Reading of correlating lesson in the reader.
Test days differed slightly in that we worked on our flashcards and then Rose would would work on her workbook pages for her test.
My Opinion on This Product
There were several things that I liked about this product. I liked that the workbook pages continually reviewed the work that your child has been doing. When we were introduced to a concept through the workbook, we worked on it several times, and then the workbook would occasionally revisit the concept for review. This makes it easy for you to keep going on to the next lesson without concern if the lesson material wasn’t mastered in previous lessons because you know your child will continue to review the concept as you go along.
I loved the reader. I loved that so many of the stories came from McGuffey readers. I loved the classic poems being a part of the reading. I loved the simply re-written version of Robinson Crusoe that we began. I love that the second reader for the level is an adaptation of A Little Princess. I feel good about knowing that my young child is encouraged to practice her reading with classic stories. I also loved that the segments in the reader are split off into clearly labeled, short and manageable sections of story. It was fun to cuddle up with my daughter and have her read to me as we went through the story.
The teacher’s manual is geared toward teachers who have a whole classroom of students, but it is easy enough to adapt the instructions for homeschool. It reminds you of all the materials you need and gives you instructions for review, completing the workbook activities and comprehension questions for the reader. I do wish there were more instructions or a script for teaching specific skills. That would have been handy to have as we made our way through our work.
Despite the things that I liked about this product, it quickly became obvious that this wasn’t going to work for our family. Rose struggles with reading and has several markers for dyslexia, so it was hard for her to remember the rules and to apply them. The program, as written, is very busy and the new rules come very fast. I’m sure that a portion of this is the review of rules from the first grade curriculum, but even with the review, the rules were too complex and fast moving for Rose. She has to be taught everything in very small, concrete steps, and despite the constant review in this curriculum, it’s not one that teaches in the small, sequential steps that she needs. Using this, she often felt frustrated, and even though I could see her progress, that wasn’t worth the frustration that she was feeling for our family.
Still, despite the fact that this isn’t the reading program we’re going to be sticking with, I feel that it’s a solid program and that it’s one that could be successful for many families. The reading passages are great. The workbook is colorful and easy for children to follow. We’re actually going to be sticking with the readers some because, even though they’re a struggle for her, she likes the readers well enough to keep working through them and to use them for daily reading practice. She also really wants to find out how Robinson Crusoe ends, and that’s a strong motivator for her to keep reading through the books.