Cathy Duffy Reviews home > Phonics/Reading/Literature

Phonics, Reading and Literature Curriculum

Reading Readiness and Movable Alphabets

Many reading readiness programs fail to include or suggest one of the most valuable tools for helping children learn letters and sounds--movable alphabets. A movable alphabet consists of letters of the alphabet —plastic, wooden, posterboard, magnetic, sandpaper, felt, etc. It is very helpful to have vowels in a different color than consonants to demonstrate the special role vowels play. Following are reviews of two movable alphabets.

Phonics/Reading Programs

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Featured resource

Teach a Child to Read with Children's Books

As I read through Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books, I felt like I was reading a description of my own experience. One of the most important recommendations in this book is that we read lots and lots of books to our children from the time they are little. Children develop a love of books, and they learn what reading is all about and how it works by watching and interacting with someone else who reads to them. This is so foundational that the authors point to a study that tells us that, “Children who entered school with a large bank of vocabulary words they had heard and used consistently scored higher on vocabulary and comprehension tests at ages 9 and 10 than those whose vocabulary was limited” ( p. 14). But it’s not just about good test scores. Rather it’s about developing a love for reading. Read full review

Beginning Readers

Phonics Workbooks

Readers and Literature for grades 1-8

Literature for High School

Reading Comprehension and Skills Supplements

Reading comprehension skills are best handled with oral questions to ensure comprehension at early levels. Until a child is reading about 100 words a minute, his comprehension is usually not very good, so do not be overly concerned if a younger child is concentrating on decoding and not doing very well on comprehension.

If you choose not to use a complete reading program (with readers and workbooks), but use either real books or readers without companion workbooks, you might wish to supplement reading with comprehension activities by using one or more of the following books.

Novel and Play Study Guides

Games, Supplements and Other Helps

  • Blackstone Audio Books
  • Books on Tape
  • Graphite is a site that hosts teacher reviews and ratings for online games and websites as well as apps. Free and no registration required.
  • KinderTown - website that reviews apps for iPads and iPhones, providing an easy interface for finding useful educational apps for ages 3 to 8

How to Choose Literature/Reading Books and Booklists