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Over the last 20 years, I’ve used Phonics Pathways to teach my children how to read.
And it was super easy to use!
The trick to using Phonics Pathways to teach your child to read is to go through the book one page at a time.
It takes time and dedication, but when you’re finished, your child will be a fluent reader.
Teaching children always requires a few adaptations to get the most out of the book. So let me share my best tips and tricks!
When to Start Phonics Pathways
Phonics Pathways does teach letter sounds. And by this, I mean that A says /a/ as in apple. B says /b/ as in ball.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve always found it easier to begin after the children know their basic letter sounds. It allows us to move more quickly through the beginning and gives my kids confidence.
That being said, ideally, I like to begin reading lessons when the kids are 4. We start by working on letter sounds, playing magnetic letters, and reading alphabet books.
Sometimes it takes a while for a child to learn their letter sounds. So don’t try to rush it. Just keep gently working on it.
They will get there!
How to Use Phonics Pathways
When your child knows their letter sounds, it’s time to start Phonics Pathways. This is going to sound so simple that it’s too simple.
I open up the first page that begins teaching and we read through the page.
This takes 1-5 minutes as my child already knows the sound /a/. The next day I turn to the next page and we work on the sound /e/.
As the pages get longer, I have my child read across the page. s – sa – sad. Remember, these are to build confidence and to get your child into the flow. And then we read the lists of words.
I simply have the child read across and down the page. Remember we’re only going for one page at a time.
Not two pages.
Not three pages.
Just read one page at a time.
And the pages include all the instructions you need. So read through one page a day and keep on moving.
What About Spelling
I’m going to be perfectly frank, I separate spelling and reading.
So as my children and I are reading through Phonics Pathways, I do not have them spell the words. We only work on reading.
Often young kids are ready to read before their handwriting is up to spelling.
Trying to combine the two can be frustrating for both mom and child. The kids don’t have the fine motor skills to write. And mom is frustrated trying to decide if she should move on or wait until her child’s spelling is ready.
I’m telling you to move on!
Later you can go back through Phonics Pathways or another spelling program and teach spelling.
For now, concentrate on teaching your child to read.
What to Do When You Get Stuck
Periodically kids get stuck.
Many pages introduce new concepts, although some do a review. I’ve found that sometimes there isn’t enough review.
The lessons get harder and harder. And eventually, a page is too hard.
When this happens, I turn back 20-30 pages to a point where the reading is easy.
Don’t get me wrong; it hurts to turn back so far. But it gives my child time to solidify their foundation of skills.
To gain confidence.
And to master the words.
When we read the original sticking point, they move right through it without slowing down.
What if Your Child Doesn’t Want to Read
Often kids look at the page of reading and think, this is hard. I don’t want to work. Let me play!
And they’re right. It is hard. It is work.
But it also needs to be done. Sometimes people will invent games. But that’s not my strong point.
I take the other option which is to work on Phonics Pathways right before something fun or motivating.
I scheduled Phonics Pathways before snack time for one child, and it worked beautifully! He happily completed his page of Phonics Pathways.
And that’s the secret: Always follow up Phonics Pathways with a fun activity that can be started as soon as phonics is completed.
How Long Will It Take
The length of time it takes changes from child to child and age to age.
My little 4yos who started Phonics Pathways finished the book when they were 6. But they could read anything at 6!
Now this time included a few breaks, and quite a few times, we backed up to review material or used other phonics books for kids to add some variety.
An older child will not take two years, especially if they already have some reading practice under their belt.
Then it may take as little as 3-6 months or perhaps a year or so.
Phonics Pathways is my all-time favorite program for teaching children to read. It’s systematic, complete, and super easy to use.
And when my kids finish Phonics Pathways, they read extremely well.
Which is better: Phonics Pathways or Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Reading?