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Vo-Wac Publishing Company Review by Christine Field

PO Box 75
Faulkton, SD 57438

So many reading programs! How can we tell what's good?

VoWac provides grades K - 4 phonics and grades 1 - 4 spelling programs. It is based on the research of Orton-Gillingham and was written by Mary Gomer, a member of the Orton Dyslexia Society. It is currently used in over 2,000 school and has a unique program available for home schools.

VoWac stands for Vowel Orientated Word Attach Course.

What makes a reading program good? It must be multi-sensory, with auditory, visual and kinesthetic elements. It must be structured, sequential and cumulative. Review is built in until the learning is cemented. It must be cognitive in that students learn rules as well as generalizations in the language. It must be flexible, to meet individual learning and teaching needs and the student must experience some success in each lesson to encourage them to continue. Vo-Wac lessons have each of these components.

Let's take a look at Lesson 34 of Level 1. It contains these components:

A visual drill with flash cards
An auditory drill in which the child writes the dictated sound on a small lap board
Review of previous sight words
Introduction of new sight words
Introduction to writing and sound of short o
Show and learn picture cards with o sound
Write o sound words on the board, write o sound words in the air
Sing the vowel song from the tape
Write words on board to read
Do practice sheet

The teacher manual is clear and easy to use. The workbooks have a nice, clear, crisp feel to them. The activities include the usual writing an copying, but also have some fun cut and paste exercises, dot-to-dot puzzles and little cut-out folding books to use for review. These are very nicely done.

After Lesson 43 in Level 1, the Vo-Wac Spelling Program may be introduced. The same high standards apply to these lessons. They involve direct instruction, the structure of the language is taught in sequence, multi-sensory methods are used and students are given strategies for memorization.

Now for the good news for home schoolers. Instead of buying costly teacher's manuals (which you will only use once and then place on your bookshelf), home schoolers may lease the teacher materials and merely purchase the workbooks for their students. This is a considerable savings for this tested, effective program.

The Vo-Wac web site is full of information about the method and the materials available. If you are looking for an easy-to-use reading and spelling system, this approach has all the ingredients to be a great program!

-- Product Review by Christine Field, Senior Correspondent, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine