Reading 1, fourth edition
With the fourth edition, BJU Press has separated phonics and reading into separate courses making it easier to choose BJU Press Reading 1 for its excellent content even if you want to use a different phonics program. However, the sequence of skills and concepts taught in Reading 1 correlates with that of BJU Press's Phonics and English 1, so using the two courses together makes a lot of sense. Phonetic elements that have been taught in the corresponding phonics lesson are shown in the teacher's edition since these elements will be practiced in the reading selection. This makes it easier to select appropriate reading selections if you should use a different phonics program.
While Reading 1 builds on phonics skills taught in Phonics and English 1, it focuses on reading comprehension, fluency, oral reading, and vocabulary development. Essential components are the set of student readers, the two-volume teacher's edition, and the student worktext.
Student readers are six softcover books that are heavily illustrated in full color. Reading selections range across many genres including fiction, realistic fiction, poetry, retellings of Bible stories, fables, biography, non-fiction, articles, and poetry; they offer more variety than do many other reading programs for first grade. Many reading selections have Christian content. Stories gradually move from short, choppy, vocabulary-controlled sentences to lengthier sentences with greatly expanded vocabulary.
Lessons are intended to be taught. The parent or teacher begins with an introduction from the two-volume teacher's edition that often involves some visual aid or object. Some of the visual aids are in an appendices of each volume of the teacher's edition. Before students begin silent reading, the parent or teacher introduces new characters or concepts or asks for predictions about the story to stimulate student interest and direct their attention. A brief silent reading is followed by guided discussion and oral reading. The entire lesson is scripted step-by-step in the teacher's edition, which explains why the teacher's editions are so lengthy. (You will be able to skip some of this material when teaching just one child.) A separate student worktext has activity worksheets that reinforce concepts. Worksheet instructions and answer keys are included in the lessons in the teacher's editions.
The first volume of the teacher's edition includes a Teacher's Toolkit CD-ROM. It has reproducible learning center activity pages that might be used as supplements, primarily to help with phonic skills. In addition, it has evaluation and record keeping forms, and a few instructional helps. Only a few of these are likely to be useful to most homeschoolers, so check through them to spot those you might use in advance or you will probably forget about them.
You might want to purchase the optional Reading 1 Service Word Cards, a set of flash cards with 121 of the most-frequently-used words. These cards have the word on one side and a context sentence on the reverse. These are used in lesson presentations and for review.
For second grade, student materials include two readers and a single worktext. Readers are titled If Skies Be Blue and When the Sun Rides High.
There is also a two-volume Teacher's Edition with reduced, full-color student reader pages. The Teacher's Edition correlates lesson presentation and use of readers and worktext. The Reading for Life video included in each kit shows how to adapt the program to meet the needs of your children. A Teacher's Edition of the worktext has answers overprinted on student pages, but instruction for worktext activities is in the primary Teacher's Editions.
A set of 108 Service Word Cards is used for teaching irregular words. Reading 2 Teaching Visuals Flip Chart helps with lesson presentation.
The program directs a significant amount of phonics review from the Teacher's Editions, while also working on comprehension, oral reading skills, and vocabulary development. Characters with personalities are introduced to help children learn relationships and functions of letters in words (similar in concept to Alphabet Island, but not as involved). Reading selections are a broad mix of genres, including some fantasy. Bible truths are incorporated throughout the lessons. The full-color illustrations are visually appealing. Activities for various learning styles are suggested in the Teacher's Edition. In addition, there are suggestions for supplementary activities (e.g, games, searching newspapers for examples), although most will require extra work to collect resources and/or prepare materials.
Three supplemental novels can be used for grade 2 enrichment: The Treasure of Pelican Cove, Carolina's Courage, and Pulling Together. BookLinks guides offer lesson plans for study of each of the three books. Sets of each book and its companion
The program is academically sound and thoughtfully put together. However, it does take more preparation and presentation time than do many other phonics programs, and you will have to select from among presentation activities those that are useful with your child.
The third grade program is similar in format to the second grade. Readers are titled Once Upon an Open Book and Not So Very Long Ago. The program includes "Skill Station" lessons that focus on particular phonic, comprehension, and analysis skills but need not be correlated with stories from the readers. You can use these whenever they are appropiate. The Reading for Life video included in the kit shows how to adapt the program to meet the needs of your children. Three supplemental novels can be used for enrichment: The Case of the Dognapped Cat, Jenny Wren, and These are My People.
The kit includes the two-volume teacher's edition, one hardbound 568-page student reader titled I Met You in a Story, a worktext, a worktext teacher's edition, and Teaching Visuals Flip Chart. A video that comes in the kit, A Message from Print, explains how to adapt the program for homeschooling situations.
Optional BookLinks for this level are for the novels Sheriff at Waterstop, Medallion, and Mountain Born.
The kit includes the two-volume teacher's edition, one hardbound 560-page student reader titled Pages in My Hand, a worktext, a worktext teacher's edition, and Teaching Visuals Flip Chart. A video that comes in the kit, A Message from Print, explains how to adapt the program for homeschooling situations.
Optional BookLinks for this level are for the novels The Secret of the Golden Cowrie, Derwood, Inc., and The Bridge.
The kit includes the two-volume teacher's edition, one hardbound 658-page student reader titled As Full as the World, a worktext, a worktext teacher's edition, and Teaching Visuals Flip Chart. A video that comes in the kit, A Message from Print, explains how to adapt the program for homeschooling situations.
Optional BookLinks for this level are for the novels Arby Jenkins, Mighty Mustang; Trouble at Silver Pines Inn; and A Father's Promise.