I ordered the sample DVD on their site and watched it 3 times. The only thing holding me back was the price. It is really an investment to buy this program ($215 for Level 1). So, when I got in touch with them about doing a review, I was thrilled at the though that they would allow me to review it here. When she responded to me, she said she only wanted to do a review if I was serious about using the curriculum. So... the long wait in doing my review was due to the fact that I wanted to really get in and use it before sharing it here. I wanted to be able to be knowledgeable about it so I could give a good review.
Description from the site:
The PHONICS Road to Spelling and Reading provides an enjoyable and fun presentation of the material, learning to build the English language in the same way a carpenter learns to build a house.
Throughout the study, the parent/teacher is the Foreman, guiding the student through various skill levels. The student is an Apprentice for the first three years, then becomes a Journeyman in the 4th year as he prepares for The LATIN Road to English Grammar.
The Apprentice begins by learning the tools of his trade - single vowels and consonants, vowel teams and consonant teams. After these tools are mastered, the Apprentice uses them to build words according to the Blueprints (spelling list). Along the way the Foreman shows that words are formed according to Building Codes (spelling rules). Rules are set to songs - Rule Tunes - for easy memorization.
There are several things that you get with the program:
Foreman's Construction Guide the teacher’s 3-ring binder containing The Brief History of English.
Plot Plan - the teacher’s complete video text on 10 DVDs.Blueprints - completed spelling list for the year with Rule Tunes
Building Codes- completed charts illustrating various spelling rules.
Tool Drill Cards - 72 color-coded drill cards with extra large print for easy oral drills.
The Student book has included:
Apprentice’s Building Manual: the student’s 3-ring binder containing...Blueprints - customized paper for recording all spelling words.
Building codes - blank custom charts for recording various illustrations of spelling rules.
Composition - place for recording original sentences and final composition projects.
First Readers - 23 beginning readers for the student to illustrate.
Clipboard - custom trace and erase clipboard for writing practice.
Student Tool Cards - his own set of color-coded cards for use in various activities.
Pencils and Wet-Erase Pen
How it works:
You begin by learning all of the phonics sounds. You start with the letters of the alphabet, learning the sounds and proper formation. Then you move into vowel & consonant teams. This should take about 4 weeks- but we worked through that a bit more slowly.
The lessons are all on the DVD's. You watch the DVD and it explains how to teach for the week. I learned so much watching these movies. I never learned phonics, so this has been so helpful to me. In the teacher's manual, you have instructions, game ideas, rules & tunes to teach them, and all of the weekly spelling lists. As you learn the spelling words, you are reminded of the phonics sounds and rules along the way. This helps the kids remember the words, but also helps them understand the WHY of it.
My kids are at kindergarten and 2nd grade levels (5 & 8). My second grade son is reading at a 6th grade (or higher) level but is about the WORST speller ever. My daughter in kindergarten is just barely starting to pick up reading. We are slowly working through this program together with both of them. My daughter is learning the phonics sounds while my son is slowly learning how to spell with this program. We moved through the first 4 weeks very slowly because I wanted both kids to understand & learn the phonics sounds well. It is a little too advanced for my daughter, but she is not quite reading, so I have given her a little break and continued with just letters & sounds for a few months. My son and I are continuing on without her now.
As you get further into the program, there are some fun readers for the kids. There are no pictures, though. I really like this a lot. They get to draw the picture themselves after they read the words. This makes them actually read it instead of guessing.
I love having a program that is all encompassing. It has been a huge help to us to not have to jump around to different programs for spelling, phonics and reading. This program really can be your only language arts curriculum, making it well worth the price.
I love the rules tunes! My kids & I enjoy learning the little songs to help us remember the words. Songs always help me remember things!!
I love seeing the progress my children have made as they have used this curriculum. I am so impressed with the high quality of the materials.
I love how much I am learning along the way!! The teacher's manual has a history of English language & I love learning where our words originated from!!
There are NO frills. It is very straight forward & organized.
This program is very teacher-intensive. You have to spend a lot of time preparing by watching the DVD's each week. I like the movies, because she really teaches a lot in them. However, if you are not prepared ahead, you can't jump in and do it anyway. You really have to have done the prep work for it. This is not a curriculum that your kids will do independantly either. You need to be right there teaching and working through the lessons with your kids.
Another con is the price. It is an expensive program! However, if you are only purchasing one program for all of you language arts, it is definitely worth it. I believe this program is a great investment that we will continue to use down the road with our other children. The teacher's edition for each level needs to be purchased once, and then only student packs added each. I would think that purchasing Phonics Road would certainly be cheaper than purchasing four different programs.
We will be doing this the rest of the year...we will also be trying level 2 next year. It is an incredible program, and VERY well researched!
Disclaimer: I received the Phonics Road for free in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way.