Most all public and private schools today teach primarily sight words (e.g. said, who, that, did) and then ask children to look at the first letter and use pictures and context clues to guess at words they don't know. While this approach works okay for some children, it leaves many children behind. They find themselves searching the picture desperately for clues as to what the unknown word could be. When that strategy fails them, they look at the first letter, or first couple of letters, and begin taking wild guesses. If they're lucky, they eventually land on the right word. Too often, they are not lucky. For these children, reading becomes a frustratingly hopeless endeavor that they would much rather avoid altogether.
Meanwhile, educators for more than half a century have had access to the same body of Scientifically Based Reading Research (SBRR), which shows conclusively that reading is NOT a guessing game. The vast majority of words in the English language follow a pattern. Children -- all children from all backgrounds -- do best when they are taught these patterns directly. Children should also receive explicit instruction in how to blend letter sounds together. Most schools today assume that blending is intuitive and offer little or no practical help to children who are struggling with this skill.
That's what phonics instruction is all about, teaching children the patterns that make up words and how to blend them.
Rhyme & Reason Online embraces the science of reading. We've designed a program with Phonics Pathways at the center. Published by Jossey-Bass, Phonics Pathways is a uniquely effective reading intervention that teaches children how to recognize and effortlessly blend letter sounds and patterns.
Rhyme & Reason Online combines Phonics Pathways with Superkids, a complete phonics-based language arts program, for our core Level 1- Level 6 program. Superkids consists of beautifully designed and illustrated storybooks, workbooks and high-interest magazines for both boys and girls. The program, from the creator of the American Girl books and dolls, uses a fully integrated, step-by-step approach to teach reading, writing, spelling and grammar. It is phonetically controlled so that children are explicitly taught each letter sound and pattern, along with sight words, before seeing them in print. There is no guessing!
Once our students have learned the basics, they graduate to more advanced texts. We use Highlights for Children, combined with rigorous standards-based Thunks exercises, to ensure continued growth in fluency and comprehension of both fiction and non-fiction texts. We also introduce our students to The Random House Book of Poetry for Children. Kids love learning classic poetry, and we love teaching it!
For our students with dyslexia and other special learning needs, we may also incorporate the MegaWords program, which provides direct, explicit instruction in more complex words and their component parts, including prefixes and suffixes.
With Phonics Pathways, Superkids, Highlights for Children, Thunks, the Random House Book of Poetry for Children, and Megawords, Rhyme & Reason Online guarantees its diverse student population a curriculum that's right for them.