4 Key Elements of an Effective Homeschool Curriculum for Struggling Readers

Do you have a struggling reader? If you're seeking help for your struggling reader, here are four important elements of an effective homeschool curriculum for struggling readers.

I sighed, trying not to show her my concern as we finished our little informal test. She stood up and headed off, blissfully unaware of my doubts.

My youngest daughter was seven. If she had been in traditional school, she would be starting second grade. But she couldn't reliably identify all the letter sounds. 

I had learned by this time to be a little more flexible, a little more laid back. By the time she was seven, I had almost fifteen years of teaching experience – in classrooms and homeschool co-ops, as well as homeschooling her three older siblings. I knew enough to be able to take a deep breath and realize that she just wasn't quite ready to read. Even so… all the others had begun reading earlier. Could there be a problem?

Because I so often focus on literature and reading, I often get this question from other homeschooling mamas: “My child isn't reading yet. What should I do?”

homeschool curriculum for struggling readers

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post. All opinions are always my own.

Is my child a struggling reader?

I first caution moms not to stress over the fact that their child isn't reading yet. The fact is that, although we seem to expect kids in traditional schools to read fluently by the age of five or six, experts have said that some kids just aren't developmentally ready to read at that age. The developmental age for reading can vary. And when we as moms start to worry over a child being “behind” the child easily picks up on that worry and begins to view themselves as “behind” too.

If your child is a late reader, chances are that, given more time, they will begin to read independently when they are developmentally ready. And all you need to do is be patient. And, meanwhile, focus on reading aloud or using audiobooks so that your child can still get all the great benefits of reading, like building comprehension skills and increasing vocabulary.

So, when is late reading a problem? If your child is becoming frustrated by their inability to read independently or if not being able to read is hindering their overall learning, it might be time to intervene.

An Effective Homeschool Curriculum for Struggling Readers

The Orton-Gillingham approach is a systematic, sequential, multisensory approach to teaching reading that focuses on the association with letters and letter combinations and their sounds.

I’ve had the opportunity to review the PRIDE Reading Program. The PRIDE Reading Program is an easy-to-use, structured literacy, Orton-Gillingham curriculum for children of all ages. This homeschool curriculum uses engaging, multisensory methods to teach reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension. I've been really impressed by this program and how it incorporates what, I think, are  four key elements of an effective homeschool curriculum for struggling readers.

You can watch my video review of the PRIDE Reading Program below. And keep reading to learn the four key elements of an effective homeschool curriculum for struggling readers.

It's a multisensory approach.

Many kids who are struggling with dyslexia, auditory or visual processing disorders, speech disorders, or other learning difference can benefit from a multisensory approach to learning. When it comes to reading instruction, a multisensory approach means that kids have the opportunity to hear sounds, to see letters and letters and letter patterns and to use manipulatives to show how words and syllables break apart into sounds.

The PRIDE Reading Program uses a multisensory approach to teaching reading. As students use the program, they'll have the opportunity to hear parents introduce sounds. They'll see picture pages that introduce new sounds and concepts visually. They'll learn to write the letters and letter patterns that make up sounds. And they will have the opportunity to manipulate sound cards and letter tiles to form words with letters and letter patterns.

It's structured and sequential.

An effective homeschool curriculum for struggling readers introduces new sounds and concepts to students in a very structured and sequential way. New sounds and concepts are presents in a very direct and explicit way. Students begin by learning basic sounds and concepts and then building on those skills they've learned to progress to more advanced concepts with practice and review.

The PRIDE Reading Program provides parents with detailed online lesson plans that will allow them to present concepts and skills to their students in a very structured, specific way. The program takes students from basic sounds and concepts to more advanced, always building on previous concepts. Students review the material they've already learned in each lesson, and then build on that knowledge with the new sounds and concepts they are learning.

It's flexible.

When students are struggling, an effective reading curriculum is going to provide the flexibility for them to move on when they are ready. It will include assessments that can test whether kids have mastered the material they've covered before they are ready to go on to the next concept.

Students using the PRIDE Reading Program will be assessed regularly. The program frequently tests students fluency in reading words. And, at the end of each lesson, students will have assessments to determine their mastery of the new concepts they've learned. They should have at least 80% mastery to move on. If they aren't there yet, the program will have suggestions for continuing to practice before they progress to the next lesson.

It's language-based.

Over all of my years of teaching reading to my kids and others, I've learned that a good reading program – especially one for struggling readers – is language-based. It begins with the basic building blocks of language – the sound/symbol relationships. And then it progresses on to more difficult sound pattern combinations and ultimately to more complex spelling and grammar rules.

The PRIDE Reading Program is a language-based approach to teaching reading. The program begins with basic letter recognition and phonemic awareness. Then students progress to learning blends and consonant and vowel digraphs. In each lesson, they practice the previous sounds and concepts they've learned before building on that to learn new sounds and concepts. Throughout their learning, students will learn all the spelling rules in the English language, and they'll encounter grammar lessons throughout the program.

PRIDE Reading Program

More About the PRIDE Reading Program: Homeschool Curriculum for Struggling Readers

The PRIDE Reading Program is a 100% scripted, open-and-go program developed for parents who want to teach reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension in the most effective and easiest way possible. One of the concerns I often hear from homeschool moms whose kids are struggling with reading is, “I’m not sure where to start. I don’t have any training in helping a struggling reader. “ The PRIDE Reading Program doesn’t require long training sessions, and you don’t have to develop your own lesson plans. Everything is laid out for you step-by-step. And with your purchase of the program, you get a short course that explains to you exactly how the program works and how to use it effectively.

There are several important parts of the resources you’ll receive when you use the PRIDE Reading program:
  • The Online Teaching Guide will tell you which skills to teach, when and how to teach them, as well as give you all the words, sentences, and activities you need to do with your student. 
  • The Student Workbook includes decodable word lists, sentences, and stories that allow the student to apply, reinforce and master new concepts.
  • PRIDE Sound Cards are used throughout the program to introduce letters, sounds, and reviewing skills.
  • PRIDE Letter tiles are color-coded for each letter sound concept and are used throughout the program to learn sounds, blending, and word building. The cards are color-coded similarly to the Sound Cards.
  • The PRIDE Activity Kit includes a dry-erase board with black and red pens, a whiteboard eraser, a reading tracker, and a game die. These items are used for instruction and review games. 

The PRIDE Reading Program has multiple levels so that you can choose the best one for your child. I've been looking at the Pride Reading Program: Level 1. This book, the Yellow Book, is designed to help your student learn their short vowels, FLOSS spelling rules, consonant digraphs, blends, and sight words. You can find a placement test on the site to help you decide which level your student needs to start with.

PRIDE Reading Program

There are a few features of the PRIDE Reading Program that I particularly love and that, I think, will make it a great choice for your struggling reader:
  • Everything you need to teach this program is laid out for you and is easily accessible. When you purchase, you'll get a short training program that details for you the components of the PRIDE Reading Program and how to teach it, complete with videos of a lesson.
  • You don't have to have knowledge of the Orton-Gillingham method to pick up this curriculum and go. The materials you receive will show you exactly what you need to teach and how to teach it. If you're interested in learning more about the approach before you decide on the PRIDE Reading Program, you can access a free Orton-Gillingham Introduction Course here.
  • This truly is an open-and-go curriculum. The online lesson plans tell you what to teach for each lesson in a very detailed step-by-step way. 

Homeschool curriculum for struggling readers

Get the PRIDE Reading Program for your struggling reader!

Through May 30, 2023, you can get 10% off any PRIDE Reading Program with the code TRYPRIDE. 

PRIDE Reading Program

My daughter did begin reading fluently during what would have been her second grade year, and I didn't need to intervene. But I've worked with many kids over the years who did need that extra bit of help to succeed in reading independently. I know that the method used by the PRIDE Reading Program works. And this is a program that brings that method to you in an affordable, easy-to-use way that will be effective in helping your struggling reader.

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