The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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YesPhonics Review by Stephanie D. Scarborough

P.O. Box 121
Red Lodge, MT 59068

The opportunity to review the YesPhonics program was especially interesting to me as it is geared toward classrooms, one-on-one situations of K through college, and homeschools. As a former classroom teacher, currently a private tutor and a homeschool mom, I personally feel the need for such a versatile product.

The YesPhonics set includes: Phonics Express Deluxe Program Manual Phonics Codes for English Illustrated Phonogram Video VHS Phonics Codes for English Audio Cassette Flash Card Phonogram Pack (4 ¼" x 5 ½'') Teaching Guides, Carry Along Guides YesPhonics Bingo Game (Reproducible masters) Phonogram Sheets for Coloring/Handout/Wall Charts (Reproducible masters) Worksheets (Reproducible masters)

The program is "based on the Orton Phonograms (Explicit Phonics), Ayers' Spelling List, Spaldings 29 Spelling Rules and Multi-Sensory approach and Zier's concept of Phonogram Illustrations with Sound Sequence Keyword Captions." This is awesome as I'm always cautious to subscribe to one method in its entirety but the "YesPhonics programs are based on the work of four brilliant revolutionary educators."

Beautifully crafted, the work of combining the ideas of these masters has been done for you. One of the best things about YesPhonics is you don't have to wait till you research and understand the premise or reason you are doing certain things in the teaching process. You are able to jump in with both feet and YesPhonics will be your life preserver for teaching reading, spelling, and writing skills.

The manual provides detailed instructions for the teacher. The ease of use will relax a parent new to homeschooling, especially when feeling the pressure of teaching a critical building block such as reading. This formulated plan puts feet on the methods found in The Writing Road to Reading.

The phonograms in this program are introduced in an easy-to-remember method designed by Jean Zier, a teacher and curriculum director, who has given her stamp of approval to this program. Moreover, Dr. Samuel Orton, is credited with isolating the 72 primary codes, presented as flashcards in YesPhonics, which are used in speaking, spelling, and reading the English language. The English language has 45 sounds comprised from the 26 letters and a combination of those letters. "A phonogram is either one letter or a set combination of letters which represent one or more single 'voiced' sounds in a given word. The phonograms are the 26 alphabet letters and 46 multi-letter teams consisting of 2-4 letters. Each phonogram has 1-6 single sounds." These sounds are listed in rank order from most common to the least common usage.

Even the website is rich with information and definitions... priceless to the first time teacher and homeschool parent. It was even a great refresher for me.

One of the most impressive claims given is that your beginner will be reading in five weeks. Here's how, "The phonograms are taught first and fast, integrated with spelling words and spelling rules." Students will "learn 56 phonograms and the first 150 words of the Ayers spelling list of 1200 of the most commonly used words taught in the order of use frequency." Imagine the positive feelings that will fill your child toward reading and writing!

Another great thing is that you can buy a Streamline kit up to the Deluxe version. Keep in mind the kit is not consumable except for a few worksheets for which permission is granted to copy; thus, when figuring the cost and your needs be sure to consider that you may use it with more than one child.

-- Review By: Stephanie D. Scarborough, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine