4.0 out of 5 stars
Great as a stand alone book and EXCELLENT as a complete curriculum with the entire line of Spectrum language arts books.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 21, 2017
Spectrum has a complete series for Language Arts. This has been a great fit for our homeschooling family as a complete curriculum (more on that below). However, the series would also be immensely valuable as stand-alone books in different situations. As stand alone books they would be great for the child who is struggling with only one aspect of language arts to get some extra assistance, for summer review, or to help advance a child who is bored in school with a specific aspect of language arts. While the books together make a complete curriculum, they do not reference back-and-forth within each other, so each book can easily be used on its own.
Out of all the books in the Spectrum language arts series, this one seems to be the slowest (easiest, under grade level, least challenging, etc.) My child is in 1st grade and almost all of this 2nd grade phonics book are things he did in kindergarten - 2 full grade levels below. I knew my child had a firm grasp on phonics and was an advanced reader, which is why we went a grade level up. This is far too easy though. It starts out with a basic review of beginning and ending sounds, then short and long vowel sounds, hard and soft c and g, then a lot on blends. It does move into 3-letter consonant blends after that, which finally begins to feel a little more challenging, but that is not until about halfway through the book. The last several sections include things like ew, ou, ow, oo, oa, ee, ea, and vowels with r. The only thing that seems to make it 2nd grade and not earlier is the fact that the lines for writing aren't the double lines with the dashes in the middle, they are just lines to write on top of. Besides that, this really does seem to run under grade level. Make sure you look through the pages or find it in store somewhere to flip through so that you can get whichever grade level is most appropriate for your child. I would still recommend this book, but just caution on the grade level. The one star off is because it seems so out of sync with the grade levels of the other books.
In order to make a complete curriculum you will want to have the following books:
- Language Arts (instruction in parts of speech, grammar, and sentence structure)
- Reading (this is not helping a child learn to read, this is reading comprehension - reading short stories or passages and then answering questions related to what the child just read)
- Phonics (learning to read)
- Spelling (weekly spelling lists with different modalities to learn grade appropriate spelling words)
- Writing (a great progression in how to write - stories, letters, directions, informative, etc.)
For homeschooling purposes this has been wonderful as a complete curriculum. Many other language arts curriculums are an all-in-one deal. 1st grade language arts means 1st grade across the board. However, if your child is a more advanced reader, that means phonics, reading, and maybe spelling will be far too easy at a 1st grade level. Having all the parts in different books allows you to move up or down in grade level(s) to tailor the language arts to fit your child best (they are not connected so that you HAVE to do all on the same level). We do 1st grade language arts and writing, 2nd grade spelling, 3rd grade reading and phonics. I could never do this with an all-in-one without spending a fortune getting all the different levels and then mixing it up. Having separate books also seems to be easier on my child because they feel like they are doing something new when we pull another book out and it gives us the flexibility to do some in the morning, some after lunch, and some on another day without feeling like there are loose ends.
OVERALL, I highly recommend the entire Spectrum language arts series of books, and this Phonics book in particular is definitely worth the money and is very comprehensive for 1st grade.
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