Teaching reading to my own children, without help from anyone else, was the one thing that seemed daunting to me about homeschooling.
I had gone on to get my teaching degree, so I had some background in how to teach, but I still felt anxious when it came time to teach my oldest child how to read.
Fortunately for me, she was a natural. In spite of the poor programs I had picked (they were so bad, I don't even remember their names!), she picked up reading very easily and began to devour books from that moment on.
My second daughter had a bit more difficulty in learning to read, so I had to come up with a different strategy than the hunt and peck method I'd tried with her older sister. I remember seeing the book "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" back with my eldest and thinking that it was one of the more ridiculous books I'd ever seen. However, faced with these new challenges, I decided to pick it up again and give it a try.
I can't even begin to tell you how glad I am that I did that. I was able to successfully teach my second daughter to read and have used it with all of my other children. Yes, there are 100 easy lessons in the book, but I don't think we've ever gotten past lesson 75 before the kids were ready to move on to other books.
Until, of course, my last child came along and it was time to teach him to read. In fact, I was so sure he would read like his older siblings that it threw me for a loop when he didn't even know his letters. That led me through a lot of trial and error, and a TON of hard work on both our parts, to get him to first learn his letters, then his sounds, then read simple words, then be able to string them together.
Unfortunately, formal testing wasn't an option for us due to finances,
but I did a lot of research and tried a lot of things. He was slowly
moving forward and then someone told me about the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs.
I can tell you two things: 1. Friends that have used these programs love them just as much as I do and 2. My son's reading took a big jump once we started hitting the Spelling program every day.
Even if you don't have a struggling reader, this is a very thorough program that will get your kids reading fluently, so if you are just starting out, it's a great program to invest in.
I have to say that one of the best ways to get your kids excited about reading is to read out loud to them from a very early age. We reintroduced read aloud time in our family a few years ago and EVERYONE loves it. I'll pick out a classic fiction book and all seven children will gather around while I read for about a 1/2 hour every (oh, okay, almost every) day.
We have really enjoyed every single one of these books. If someone made a movie out of the book, we would watch it after we were done reading and I can say that the majority of time everyone preferred the book to the movie! Doing this is a fun way to get into analyzing literature because you can pick apart where the movie went wrong and the book got it right.
Overall, using the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and then finding the All About Reading program has turned something I dreaded with my first student into something I looked forward to with each new one. I just love watching the light bulb go on in the little one's head when they get it and really began to love teaching reading to my kids.