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Burton Reading: Beginnings™ Review by Emilee Roberts

Carol Burton
Burton Reading

Burton Reading: Beginnings is a reading and language program created specifically for homeschoolers. The Beginnings program is Burton Reading’s first year program and is designed to be used for Kindergarten children beginning around age 5 or First Grade students. Carol Burton is a master teacher sharing her knowledge, expertise, and resources through instructional videos, lesson plans, printable materials, model lesson videos, goal sheets, and extension videos for children that may need more work.

Burton Reading: Beginnings is $149.99 and includes access to all of the videos and printables online through account access. This includes 24 units, which each contain the lesson plans, evaluations, training videos, and model lesson videos. You can use them as often as you wish during your subscription period and print the materials for multiple children in your family if you choose. Subscription periods vary. Current subscriptions continue through August 2014.

When you are first beginning the program you are instructed to put together a Teacher Kit, which includes additional materials you may have on hand or may need to purchase. Some of the materials she recommends are very specific and can only be purchased from a particular online store, so it is highly likely you will have to purchase those specific items to complete the Teacher Kit. If you are new to homeschooling you may have to purchase many of the other items as well.

Burton Reading: Beginnings takes a very positive approach to teaching children to read. It uses a lot of materials and hands-on, one-on-one in depth teaching. She uses the instruction videos to help teach you how to teach your children using positive reinforcement. Burton Reading takes a balanced reading approach rather than focusing specifically on one specific approach. With each Unit you print out a small reading book for each Lesson. There are five books and lessons with each Unit, and it is expected you will do one lesson five days a week.

Each day is broken down into basic parts that approach reading from the balanced approach. We work on recognizing letter names and sounds, reading sight words, presenting letters correctly, making words left to write, reviewing the books we learned, reading a new book, and writing.

If you use a one-room schoolhouse approach to homeschooling it would be necessary to set aside additional time for Burton Reading: Beginnings as she stressed the importance of the one-on-one teaching. Even though our oldest two are at the same academic level I had to find an activity for the one of our children and our preschooler while working with the other child and then switch. I found it particularly tedious as I personally prefer the one-room schoolhouse approach and doing as much together as possible, but I appreciate her reason in that children love that individual attention as well as the praise from the positive reinforcement! It was very difficult for our family, though, because we enjoy our learning time together. It was hard to not have the other two checking in to see how we were doing! I did feel our children would benefit from the one-on-one time, but it actually made them feel out of sorts due to the change in routine. I do feel it would be best suited for homeschool families that separate their children’s academics more clearly.

Overall, Burton Reading: Beginnings truly is a very well-rounded reading program, and Carol Burton truly shows her experience and knowledge in the countless videos and resources she provides for the program. I do feel the cost may be a concern for some particularly for those that have to purchase all the additional materials needed for the Teacher Kit. Even having many of the items on hand I still found the other materials that could only be purchased through the specific site to be rather expensive. Beginnings would be a great program for young children just starting out particularly those that don’t have a sibling learning alongside them or with older, independent siblings.

Product Review by Emilee Roberts, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, 2013