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Phonics Museum Review by Heather Jackowitz

Veritas Press
http://www.veritaspress.com/

Veritas Press has outdone themselves with Phonics Museum! In many ways, this program is like Sing, Spell, Read & Write; however, it has some major advantages over that classic program. The main difference is in the content of the readers. Phonics Museum's readers contain Biblical and historical content that my seven-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter find fascinating! On the back of each book is information for parents regarding the historical context of the book, and I find it pretty fascinating myself! Different styles of illustration add interest as well.

Another highlight of the program is the use of fine art. What a visual feast for parents and children alike! Each letter and letter cluster has a corresponding work of art, such as King Tut's mummy for "M" and van Gogh's Starry Night for silent "gh." Altogether, there are 46 high-quality flashcards. There is a coloring page for each work of art with information about the artist and his work on the back. There are also smaller reproductions for sticky-tacking up in your child's "museum," a cardboard display included in the program. Suggested art activities reinforce the lessons, such as making an apple print for the letter "A."

Also included in the Phonics Museum are games and songs that make learning to read fun and memorable. The Archives Game is a board game in which players read word cards and, if successful, rolls the die and moves forward that many spaces. Percival's Pairs is a "Go Fish" style card game. Both games can be played at progressive levels of difficulty as new phonics rules are learned. The phonics songs offer a lot of variety; there is a lullaby, a Broadway-style song, old-time rock n' roll, jazz, and more. Words and music are at the back of the teacher's manuals. The other day, my children put the CD on so they could dance and sing because the tunes are so catchy and fun. The teacher's manual shows you when to introduce each new song to complement the lessons.

In my opinion, the only downside to this program is the choice of handwriting style - Modern Manuscript (D'Nealian). Personally, I do not like the look of it, but I know that many people do. Fortunately, most of the worksheets are in traditional type, so those parents who prefer something more traditional can just substitute their own handwritten words and sentences when copy work is involved. There are relatively few pages for which you would need to do this.

There are two teacher's manuals and two workbooks - one each for kindergarten and first grade. The teacher's manuals are very clear and easy to follow, and the student workbooks offer lots of practice and enrichment. Phonics Museum is easy-to-use, interesting, fun, and full of beautiful materials. I think it is the finest program on the market and encourage you to visit Veritas Press at www.VeritasPress.com.



-- Product Review by: Heather Jackowitz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

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