Ever since I learned that one of the Ambleside Schools used an Orton-Gillingham reading program for struggling readers, it has been on my radar. I often hear many parents stuck in reading instruction, not knowing what to do to propel their developing reader forward, and my answer is most often phonics instruction.
This is a sponsored post, but as usual, all of the ideas presented here are my own.
PRIDE Reading Program uses the phonics-based Orton-Gillingham approach to reading and it is perfect for homeschoolers. H and I had the chance to try out this reading program recently. Although she is a great reader, I knew there were some gaps in her phonics instruction that we needed to fill. Additionally, I really wanted to scout this program out for E, who is currently 5 and not doing any reading instruction yet. I know that he might need a structured approach like this when he begins reading instruction next fall.
What is PRIDE Reading Program?
PRIDE Reading is a phonics focused approach to reading instruction. There are 6 levels of this program, plus a pre-reading level for children who don't yet know their letters. Each level has a color name, and to choose where to start, there is an efficient online quiz to take.
The curriculum comes with lots of colorful and engaging resources: a workbook, sound cards, a white board, and dry erase markers. Looking at the workbook will probably seem like a foreign language and you won't know what to do with it- that's okay! This program is online-based, meaning the directions that you need to teach it are online. Have a tablet or computer handy, and then you don't have to do any planning or prepping. You have all the materials on hand!
How It Works
Each lesson is scripted and focuses on reviewing phonics patterns, reading words, writing words, fluency practice, and experimenting with sounds. Students learn a variety of techniques that help connect their phonics knowledge with movements, like pointing to each word as they read, or writing words in the air with their fingers. Students also connect the sounds to a picture, giving them a deep, well-built foundation in phonics. These multi-sensory activities are hallmarks of the Orton-Gillingham approach.
The levels cover selected phonics skills intensely, but also circles back to previous skills so your child can maintain them.
Using This Homeschool Reading Curriculum
When I took the quiz, I decided that Miss H might be capable of moving beyond the Red level in which she was placed. However, I soon learned that the Red level or below is recommended for beginning this program, since it takes some skill in implementing. A quick conversation with a super helpful representative allowed me to start with the Purple level. If we choose to use this program with Mr. E, who at this point seems like he is not going to take to reading as easily as his sister did, then I will definitely not wait until the purple level to get started!
Before beginning these lessons, I did the training course offered through the PRIDE Reading online portal. This was so helpful because it described all of the activities we would be doing together, and helped explain what the expectations were for my daughter. This training course didn't take very long and after taking it I felt excited and prepared to move forward.
Miss H enjoyed doing these phonics lessons, often asking if we could do them together at random times throughout the day. The very first activity of the very first lesson revealed to me some of the gaps in her phonics knowledge, some that were surprising and left me feeling grateful that we are using this program! (I specifically noticed that welded sounds like -ink, -ild, and -ost gave her a hard time.)
When it came to learning the new phonics patterns, Miss H soon realized that there are more to these lessons than just knowing the sounds a phonics pattern makes. Introducing the phonics pattern involves a process, and it took her a bit to get it down. Once she did, though, she felt confident and I could see how these processes helped ingrain the pattern into her mind.
My daughter LOVES workbooks and she couldn't wait to write in the pretty Purple level one. She had opportunities to write words involving the phonics pattern that we studied, review sounds, and complete sentences. She loved that part! The PRIDE Reading workbook also includes various reading fluency practices. It surprised me a bit to notice the words that she missed. It seems like out-of-context word practice is slightly more difficult for her than reading words in context. This also showed me what gaps we have in phonics that need to be filled.
Is Orton-Gillingham the Way To Go?
Current reading research shows the systematic, intense phonics instruction is the best way to teach reading. Since this research was conducted in a classroom setting with groups of diverse students, I haven't quite decided if I think this applies to one-on-one instruction in a homeschool setting. Charlotte Mason's approach is much different, and I definitely think that some children might require a more systematic approach filled with phonics instruction. In our case, PRIDE Reading has been so helpful in filling in knowledge gaps for Miss H, and will most likely be what I use for her differently-wired little brother, too. Take a look to see if PRIDE Reading is the way to go for your family.