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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Sing, Spell, Read and Write


Oh, how fun! My four-year-old son is just begging to "do school" each day. Four-year-olds will have such fun moving their sticker trolley car along the vinyl track as they learn.

First, "drive" down Readiness Lane as your child learns colors, shapes, opposites, directional concepts, how to classify objects into groups, story sequence, seasons, and more! Activities are age-appropriate and fun, involving coloring, cutting, pasting, drawing, listening to stories, role play, learning to tie shoes, singing, and lots of moving around. There are eight songs on Readiness Lane to teach colors, shapes, opposites, and directional concepts.

Next, your child will "drive" down Alphabet Lane as he learns all the letter names and sounds, counting to 10, counting backward from 10, about zero, and telling time to the hour. There are four activities per letter, and four Musical Math Houses. Activities include singing seven more songs, coloring, tracing, drawing, puzzles, following directions, and listening to stories.

Included in the Pre-Kindergarten kit are: a teacher's manual, a double-sided placemat with the A to Z Phonics Song on one side and the Jolly Trolley track on the other, a double-sided Sing Along and Point ABC's and 123's Strip, a clock manipulative with a moving hour hand, a shoe manipulative with a lace to tie, Popsicle sticks (for counting), award stickers, phonics flashcards, alphabet matching puzzles, five cassettes and one CD, and almost 150 pages of worksheets. The teacher's manual is full of directions for activities, story time literature suggestions, song lyrics, and encouragement. Only the award stickers and worksheet pages are consumable.

I would highly recommend this program to anyone looking for somewhere to start home schooling a four-year-old. It is really fun! It would also be great for a younger brother or sister who wants to "do school." I am using Sing, Spell, Read and Write Level 1 with my first grader, and my four-year-old feels so BIG getting to do "his" Sing, Spell, Read and Write, too. We even include my two-year-old in the fun, and he is learning his colors. This would be great preparation for any formal phonics program. I plan to go right into Sing, Spell, Read and Write Level 1 when we are finished with this program. For more information on SSRW, click Questions? E-mail me at
-- Product Review by: Heather Jackowitz, The Old Schoolhouseâ„¢ Magazine

Sing, Spell, Read and Write

Level 2

Calling all Sing, Spell, Read & Write fans! If you've finished Level 1 and don't know what to do next, this just might be the answer for you. Picking up where Level 1 leaves off, Level 2 covers phonics, spelling, vocabulary, reading and comprehension, grammar, cursive, proofreading, reference skills, and creative writing. The home school kit includes two student workbooks with answer keys, a guide to teaching cursive, and a dry erase marker and eraser to use with the back pages of the workbooks. Even if you did not use Sing, Spell, Read and Write Level 1 to teach your child to read, you could still use this program with your second grader. It is recommended that you review the songs and play the games from Level 1 throughout the first few weeks, however, other review activities could be substituted, if necessary.

Spelling is taught using phonics and spelling rules. Ten words are studied each day using fun activities such as word searches, crossword puzzles, secret codes, or riddles. Many of the spelling lists are incorporated into short stories that your child reads. Following the story, students answer comprehension questions, draw a picture, or do a writing assignment based on the story. Stories are wholesome and family-based. Manuscript writing is reviewed the first half of the year, and traditional cursive is taught the second half. Vocabulary is taught in context using spelling words. Reference skills, such as alphabetical order and dictionary use, are taught throughout the year using specific skill-building exercises. These skills are then reinforced in context when students have to alphabetize their spelling words or write a short encyclopedia report on something they read about in a story. Writing lessons progress logically from writing words, to writing good sentences, to writing a different ending to a story, to writing whole stories. Other types of writing assignments include personal narratives and short (one paragraph) reports. Proofreading using standard symbols is also covered.

I really like how all the language arts areas are tied together. While exercises are used to teach specific skills, they are never done completely in isolation. Spelling ties into reading, reading ties into writing, and writing ties into grammar. It is like having Explode the Code, Spelling Workout, Wordly Wise, reading worksheets, Daily Grams, Zaner-Bloser Cursive, and Writing Strands all pulled together into two comprehensive, correlated workbooks. (I say this from experience; these are all the things I pulled together on my own to cover second grade language arts!) Like many home schoolers, I prefer my children to read "real books" for reading time, but the short stories included in the program are cute stories and reinforce all the language arts, as well as give children practice at taking tests. Workbooks are colorful and inviting, and my second grader saw them and said, "Oooh! Can I do those?" Each workbook has 176 pages, so just one page, front and back, is all you need to do each day to cover all the second grade language arts skills in a year. (This is not counting time spent doing the writing assignments and any extra reading.) My second grader will surely like that, and so will I! Take a peek at Pearson Learning's new home school site at, and see what other great products they have to offer.
-- Product Review by: Heather Jackowitz, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouseâ„¢ Magazine

Kindergarten and Level 1 Combo Kit

What a marvelous way to teach a child to read! We are in the midst of using this program and my daughter is flourishing. We are excited with the results and are thrilled to see her so eager to learn. She has seen by her sister's example just how exciting reading can be and now that she has her very own program, she is beside herself. Every school day (and even those that are not!) she says, "Can we play the (phonics) bingo now?" SSRW is a unique, innovative, and exciting instructional system that coordinates the teaching of seven complete programs: reading, phonics, spelling, grammar, manuscript handwriting, comprehension, and creative writing. With Phonetic Storybook Readers; texts that are colorful, exciting, and consumable; games; sing-along phonics songs that are easy to learn and fun to sing; motivational prizes; and a step-by-step Instructor's Manual; this program is complete! SSRW states that in just 36 steps, independent reading ability is assured - and I have seen this in action. An exciting benefit for you and your younger children is that they pick up a lot that you are unaware of until they start telling you what small words are all on their own! It is exciting to see your four-year-old identifying things that you never taught him - that he learned by listening to an older brother learn! We think this is a top notch program that is truly interactive and one that your child will be sure to enjoy! For more information on the product see

-- Product Review by: Kate Kessler, Senior Correspondent, The Old Schoolhouseâ„¢ Magazine

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