Thursday, July 27, 2017

Finding Our Kindergarten Reading Feet

When I started homeschooling Madison in kindergarten, we began with a first grade reading curriculum since she was already reading on her own. While that was great, it means that I didn't have a reading curriculum to pull out for my NEW kindergartener, and I am lucky that I get to review one! We were lucky enough to try the Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook (36-week Curriculum) *and* R.E.A.D. Review Pack (28 Early Readers that Correspond with R.E.A.D. Notebook) from The Crafty Classroom. My five year old new kindergarten homeschooler got to be the guinea pig for this one, and she was excited!

Crafty Classroom

The Crafty Classroom is a website full of homeschool resources and printables that are produced by homeschooling mother of 4 kids, Valerie Mcclintick. These are designed to make homeschooling easier. The Crafty Classroom produces high quality homeschooling curriculum and educational resources. Since being introduced to this site over the course of this review, I have purchased and downloaded many pieces to use with both girls, and I think I'll be frequenting the site often in our elementary school years.

The Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook is a 4 day per week over 36 week curriculum that gives you everything needed to teach your child to read. R.E.A.D. is an acronym meaning: Ready, Eager, Able & Determined to READ! It comes as a downloadable and printable PDF eBook that has 785 pages filled with hands-on activities. This covers phonics, digraphs, blends, sight words, grammar, and writing. There are 30 word families, 64 sight words, and 24 blends & digraphs.

READ Curriculum Notebook

The R.E.A.D. Review Pack is a 92 page downloadable and printable PDF eBook that has 28 Early Readers which correspond with the Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook. This can also be used as a stand-alone product, if you are not wanting a full curriculum and just want something for review or extra practice. These cover 30 plus Word Families and 70 sight words. These are great to build fluency and reinforce concepts. These early readers progressively build onto the learning as they go. These had fun graphics and an easy to read font. The little phonics readers are super cute. Since they are put together in pages of threes they are also simple to assemble. Just stack the three pages of each book in order of printing (first on top, last on bottom) and cut out the books pages along the dotted lines. Put the first stack on top of the next pages cut out and so on until all pages are in correct order (they are numbered just in case you get them mixed up), then staple together There are 4 books per a five week period. I printed the first 4 books to use with the curriculum notebook and weeks 1-5.

Review Pack READ

This is a complete reading curriculum for a kindergartener. As someone who has a master's in teaching reading, I can say that I would recommend this to anyone. It's engaging, it's thorough, and it's organized very well. For my kindergartener, who knows her letters and sounds but is nowhere close to reading on her own, it was perfect. It didn't feel like a "baby" curriculum to her, where she traces letters over and over, but it also didn't overwhelm her by expecting too much.

Crafty Classroom

We, generally speaking, school four days a week, so this layout worked well. It's expected that you will use it four days a week and complete the curriculum in about nine months - perfect for a traditional school year.

The only drawback is a big one. The downloaded file is huge. Huge. And nearly eight hundred pages for just the R.E.A.D. curriculum is a lot of printing. I generally print in black and white, but some of these pages really do need color. I would absolutely recommend not printing it all at once unless you have a really heavy duty printer and ample ink.

So can you outsource the printing if you don't want to wear your printer out? I looked at it a couple of ways:

Printing at the library: Our library prints for .10/black and white page and .50/color. Printing the full curriculum in black and white would be about $80 - reasonable for a complete, year long reading curriculum, but still a big financial hit. I printed the first seventy pages in black and white for $7.00 and added my own color with markers to get the effect. Using this as a yearly curriculum, printing a week or two at a time would be reasonable.

Printing at an office store: I priced a few different options at Staples, since that's the most convenient. At first I was excited to find that I could print the entire curriculum - with binding - in black and white for between $50-60. However, the PDF includes pages in both portrait and landscape, and for some reason, Staples didn't recognize this. It wanted to print everything in portrait, or everything in landscape, and pages were getting cut off. I couldn't get it to recognize the difference and adjust online. I'm sure that I could go in and troubleshoot with a printing tech, but  it was a big drawback.

Drawback of double sided printing/binding would be all the cutting and pasting.

I could NOT figure this part out. Not worth the frustration.
Ultimately, I chose to print two weeks at a time. I selected the pages that I thought needed color, and printed them at home with color ink. I printed the other pages at the library in black and white.

Despite this printing drawback, I loved this curriculum. This was one of those reviews that was dangerous, because I spent ages on the site, choosing more and more to download and purchase for both my kids.

New readers are so exciting!

I love to hear what other have to say!

Crafty Classroom {Reviews}

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