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Practicing Phonics with Time4Learning

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Check out Time4Learning, this month’s sponsor. They have an affordable online homeschool program for all grades! 

Little Miss has been working on her reading skills- she’s coming along, and I am pretty excited to have another reader in the house. I love when the kids are finally able to really enjoy a good book- when they can curl up in bed and try and sneak books past bedtime, or want to tell me what is happening in their current favorite book. Little Miss isn’t quite there yet- she loves to carry around books and look at books and pretend to read them, but she is still very much in the stage where she is sounding out CVC words.

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She’s been using Time4Learning pretty consistently, which is awesome because the program gives her a chance to practice reading on a regular basis, no matter what else is going on in the house. I love that she can go back over lessons again and again to reinforce concepts and skills.

One thing we do to help make concepts stick is add a hands-on element to the lessons. Time4Learning is an amazing program, but I think many people don’t realize just how complete it is. Within the teacher’s portal, there are printable worksheets and activities you can use off-line with the kids too!

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For example, this week, Little Miss was learning the sights and sounds of the letters T and H. While I was at work, she worked on her online lessons. The program has videos and activities to cover everything from phonemic awareness, to letter formation, reading activities and games.

After she completed the online portion, I printed off the decodable reader, and had her join me at the dining table. The story in the reader was also a part of the online lessons, so she had been exposed to it earlier in the day, and was excited to read it to me.

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Once we read the story from the book, I had her look at the individual words, and we practiced sounding them out. When the story is presented as a whole, she tends to be the child that memorizes words. She’s a guesser too- so she’ll see the word cat on the page, look at the picture, and tell me the word is kitten, or she’ll see the word hat and look at the picture and tell me the word is cap.

She definitely needs encouragement and direction to actually read the word and to look closely at each letter to sound it out!

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In order to practice this, I had her pull out her letter blocks. For each word, she would grab the appropriate blocks, and build it. Then, I would have her sound out each letter and blend the word. Finally, I asked her to write the word on her dry erase board.

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We did this for each word within the decodable story, until finally, she had practiced them all. While we were working, we both noticed that many of the words followed a pattern- we were looking at word families! So, we used the blocks to practice word families- words that are the same save for the beginning or ending letters.

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It didn’t take long for us to expand the online activities – after twenty minutes or so of table work, we tried to read the story again, and this time, Little Miss pointed to each word on the page and was able to sound them all out on her own!

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We’ll be blogging about our experience with Time4Learning each month- if you haven’t yet checked them out, I suggest swinging by their website to see what they have to offer for your child. Their program is affordable, and high quality- hopefully, you’ll see through our posts how you can use it as a spine for your homeschool!

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