Hi everyone! Welcome to the homeschool curriculum forum post series! Today we’re discussing reading and phonics. Since my children will be in grades prek, 2nd, 4th, and 5th this post will be geared towards elementary students. However feel free to leave a comment for whatever ages you are working with as I know it will help other homeschoolers out there!


For the early years I like to stick with basics and use Abeka for phonics and language practice. I prefer the more traditional approach to teaching letter sounds and blends as well as the reinforcing worksheets provided by Abeka.


I also like the various readers that come with the program as well as the comprehension questions after each story. You’ll want to make sure to get the “text questions and answers key” for the readers. I also like the “Read & Think” skill sheets that Abeka has starting in grade 3. They are timed reading exercises with comprehension questions at the end. The skill sheets are graded so you can assess how well your student does with comprehension. They also help prepare students for standardized timed testing as well.


  • Uses traditional sound blending for phonics practice.
  • Material is grade level appropriate
  • Stories are interesting
  • Contains comprehension questions
  • Contains Read & Think Skill Sheets for upper grades.


  • Can be pricey unless purchased used.
  • Comprehension questions aren’t quite as in depth as the comprehension of BJU Press Reading program.

Another favorite is the All About Reading  program! We are totally loving this program, and it’s no surprise really since we absolutely adore All About Spelling!

AAR L1 wDeluxe_250_thumbaar1_thumb[1]

I already started Tinkerbell with All About Spelling Level 1 at the beginning of this year, so she was able to skip ahead a few lessons in the All About Reading Level 1 program, but I still like how the two complement each other.

The Level 1 of both AAS and AAR have a similar scope and sequence. All About Reading focuses on decoding skills, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary, and will include lots and lots of reading practice. All About Spelling focuses on the spelling side of things like how to know which letter to choose for a given sound. Both are complete phonics programs and use the same letter tiles which makes them easy to use together. We also love the workbook activities, the pages are hands-on and interactive which makes the learning more fun!


All About Reading also has several fluency exercises that will help strengthen reading skills. The student activity workbook comes with fun hands on worksheets to help your student practice reading more smoothly. We’re currently working through both programs together and doing great!


The kit comes with these wonderful reading books which your child will have read through by the time you are finished with the Level 1 program. You can see samples for all of the readers, including the Teacher’s Manual and Student Activity book on the All About Reading Level 1 website.


Tip from the trenches: If you have a reader who is just starting out, All About Reading might be a bit easier to do first because the letters are introduced more slowly.  All About Spelling assumes that a child is either already reading, or is very ready to begin reading. If a child is struggling with learning to read, I recommend doing AAR Level 1 first and then starting AAS Level 1 to reinforce the concepts learned in AAR Level 1, as well as to learn valuable spelling rules that will create the foundation for strong reading as well as accuracy in spelling.


What does the All About Reading Level 1 Kit come with? (Regularly $107.70, on sale now for $99.95)

  • Teacher’s Manual
  • Student Packet (Includes word cards, as well as Activity Book)
  • Run, Bug, Run! reader
  • The Runt Pig reader
  • Cobweb the Cat reader

AAR L1 wDeluxe_250_thumb

So, now comes the fun part!

What are your favorite Reading/Phonics curriculum, resources, websites, etc? Leave a comment below discussing your choices for this year and why.

Feel free to ask questions or reply to each other too!

It’s my way of doing a forum without actually doing a forum haha!

And hopefully, this will help us all as we start the process of researching curriculum, and trying to decide what will be the best fit for our homeschool.

Note: Please keep today’s conversations geared towards Reading & Phonics, I will be posting one for each subject separately so we can keep our comments organized.

Click here if you missed my previous Homeschool Curriculum Forum posts!

Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post, I may however be affiliated with one or more products mentioned. The opinions expressed in this post were not influenced by the company. They are products I have used and felt like sharing, cuz’ it’s my blog and I can if I want to.


  1. For Pre-K type stuff, we watched LeapFrog’s Letter Factory, worked through Get Ready, Get Set and Go for the Code (my son loved these) and did “Reading Raven” on the ipad (highly recommend).

    For K we worked through Explode the Code 1 and 2 (and some of 1.5 and 2.5 with one son) as well as used some Bob Books and Fun Tales readers (Sonlight). Also worked through Evan Moor’s Daily Six Trait Writing Grade 1 (in K) which both boys have enjoyed.

    When we started our 1st grade curriculum this year with my one son (Reading Street), we were just where we needed to be. I have been very pleased with all we have used for this category. And I read tons of chapter books to them. Thankful for kids who love to be read to!

  2. We use Teach Your Child To Read in 10 Minutes A Day. I LOVE that book! My child reads extremely well now. She is in 3rd grade. I used a different approach for my 2nd child. She is doing mostly sight words. She just didn’t seem to like phonics but everyone is unique. I just wrote about that today…don’t get married to your curriculum or your teaching style!

  3. Need help! I have a 5 yr old finishing kindergarten. He was in public kinder until 2 months ago. We now homeschool. He reads cvc words pretty fluently. We use explode the code, bob bks, sight word practice and have tried SSRW (it wasn’t a good fit). I’m finding he doesn’t have a solid phonics foundation though. He doesn’t read blends. I’m wondering if I should go back and teach a full phonics program now so he will be more successful in school (we plan on continuing to homeschool) or do kids just kind of pick them up in first grade? Was considering All About Reading level 1. Any feedback would be much appreciated!!!!

    Teri h
    1. I think you might have to go back and teach him the phonics program. My son is just finishing kindergarten and we used Abeka, and is still learning some of the blends. I do think it takes boys a bit longer to learn all of the blends(my son does well on some, but then again we do have a month and a half to go) Sorry, I cannot help on the All About Reading,as I plan to stay with Abeka and have not researched others.

      AMY O.
    2. Yes, that’s what the creator of the program recommends. One of the strengths of the program is that it helps fill in learning gaps. You start with level one and you’ll breeze through the sections your son already knows. You should be able to easily identify which sounds or phonemic awareness skills he’s missing. You may find you can complete level in a few months and are able to move onto level 2. I highly recommend the program. You want to make sure you fill in the gaps because it can affect his writing/spelling later. Hope this helps.

    3. My daughter had gaps in phonics also. I used Explode the Code, Beyond the Code and Reading Eggs. It was perfect for her and didn’t seem at all remedial or boring at all. Gave her the confidence and skills she needed to become a solid independent reader.

  4. I have a question – what are “cvc words”? I have twin 5yr olds and they have been reading for two years thanks to watching the leapfrog dvd’s LOL! I am trying explode the code level 1 with them this year, but they basically look at it like fun work since they know it all.

  5. I lean towards a Classical Method of teaching but use Pathway Readers and workbooks. (I really like these books!!! great stories, life lessons about living on a farm. I bought Hooked on Phonics ($25) at a yard sale, not really happy with it , but its all I was able to afford at the time. Just bought Primary Arts of Language (PAL) and All About Spelling Level 1. OF course we use LOTW by Ms Erica. and Raising Rock Stars by 1+1+1=1 , I am looking to buy new readers this year. I have 4 girls at various levels so I know I am not wasting my money buying something else. LOL 🙂 In case your wondering. For reinforcement I use various file folder games , computer games and printables I find online.

  6. I have used the “Go Phonics” curriculum and love it!
    It is a K – 2nd grade Language Arts curriculum including phonics, phonemics, reading, spelling, grammar, punctuation. The complete curriculum set, while expensive, includes student workbooks, games, and readers and is wonderfully comprehensive. In addition, the customer service I was received has been helpful and encouraging too!

    See more here

  7. We love Phonics Road to Spelling and Grammar by Schola Publications. It is not for the faint of heart – tough and deep – but we are getting two great spellers and readers out of it. We are finishing up year 3 with the 9yo and about a third of the way through year 1 with the 5yo. I did have to rearrange the schedule of words for our attention spans. But going at our pace, we are all getting a great foundation. I am learning a LOT about why words are spelled the way they are.


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