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The Keys to finding employment
General Infomation on Homeschooling
Homeschooling Laws
How to Get Started
Notes for Overseas Customers
Choosing A Career
The Highschool Years
Phonics/Reading & Writing
History of Homeschooling in Australia
Types of Tests
Entering TAFE
ACT Education Act
When to Read & Write
Slow Learners

When to Read & Write


Reading, Writing, When? How?



The following is intended as a guide. Children are unique individuals but the following general principles hold true.

When is a child ready to read?

Somewhere between three and seven a child is ready to read. I am convinced that it is already programmed into the child when it is born. While three and seven are both extremes they are still normal. When a child is ready to begin learning they have an eighteen-month learning spurt, similar to a growth spurt but related to learning, when they will gobble up material. They will never again learn as much as at this period of their life or be as receptive. This does not of course mean that all children will learn exactly the same amount during this period as all children are different and their ability to absorb material will vary. It is vital to catch a child during this time. If you do not they will loose interest and it will be hard to recapture this interest.


We are able to learn throughout our lives but it is easier for a child to learn than an adult. Those children who begin learning early usually reach an adult stage of learning earlier. Puberty for them may mark this peak. They continue to learn, but learning is not quite as effortless as previously. Those children, who start later, peak later. For slow learners, puberty may actually help the child.


Many, but not all, boys will be slower to develop the skills necessary to begin reading. This is not because they are not as clever as girls but rather because they are more physical beings and they simply have "better things to do." They often develop in other directions earlier. However in families where there are several children a boy may develop faster.


Younger children generally watch an older child and relate to them. Often in their own mind they either perceive themselves as being that age or realize that this is what they will learn when they grow a little older. This can be a great aid to the mother as they are disposed to learn and are partly trained when she comes to teach them to read.


Children may be ready to read before they are ready to write. If this is the case teach through the single sounds using the Phonics 1 and 2 and Activity & Craft Sheets 1 & 2 without teaching writing. This can take up to six months and by this time the child is generally ready to write. You can then repeat the Phonics 1 and 2 quickly teaching the child to write.


There are various theories about the size of writing the child should begin with. The truth is that some children write larger than others. Children who have smaller writing find it very hard to write an "a", for example, that takes up a page, but may write a beautiful "a" on 24mm lines. Other three-year-olds find it easier to stand in front of a blackboard and write large. Ignore theories and allow your child to be your guide. You either work with your child or fight his nature all the way and that is very hard.


What skills are necessary before learning to read and write?

Note that many of these skills are oral.

          Recognition of colours

          Touching and counting from at least one to ten.

          Alphabet song

          Positional concepts,

i.e. up, down, in, out, through, behind, besides, over, under, left, right

          Cutting and pasting (writing)

          Modelling play dough (writing)


          Colouring between lines (writing)

          Dressing skills


          Recognising basic patterns

Start with shapes, later recognising two letters are the same without knowing the


          Books-enjoy being read to, recognising that there are words on a page that tell mother what to say, desire to read for himself.

If you want your child to read, read to him and read yourself.

          Making things

          Carry out simple jobs.

          Jigsaw puzzles

          Physical skills, e.g. run, hop, skip, climb etc

          Speak fluently

          Try to write. This may only initially be small circles (writing) and asking Mum what it says.


If your child has not fully mastered these skills of if you are not confident of their abilities begin with Pre-Reading Activities 1, Pre-Reading Activities 2 and for some children, Beginning Maths.

Choosing a Phonics Programme

Put extremely simply, phonics is learning the single and double sounds rather than learning words by sight. If you learn words by sight you are limited by the number of words you know and by your memory. Those with a good memory will learn more words. But if you learn phonics, whether you know the word or not, you will be able to sound out the word. Further, if you learn the rules that go with the sound, you will know how to spell a range of words as well as read them.


What should you look for in phonics?

The Language Foundation of Australia in their newsletter in March 1999, suggest the following.


          Is it linguistically and factually sound?Has it stood the test of time?

          Do pictures take precedence over words, or better enhance the meaning of the text?

          Is it fully structured?Does it follow a logical progression, i.e. introduce firstly single letter phonograms before proceeding to double ones such as oa, ie, etc?Is it easy to follow?

          Does it teach short and long vowels before introducing such phonograms as ck or the doubling rule � both of which depend on this knowledge?

          Does it offer full-structured reading matter that introduces phonograms and rules in the same order as they are taught in spelling?

          Does the programme lend itself to being reinforced by other material already in use?

          Does the programme progress to offering more than just the recognition of sounds, by generating an interest in words by reflecting their cultural connections?

          Is the programme limited to use with specific target groups or individuals or is it widely applicable?

          Is it gimmicky and bright coloured but lacks substance?

          Does a range of suitable resources support it?

          Is it economically viable in light of all the above criteria?Is it really value for money?

Recommended Materials

          Phonics Books 1-5 with step by step directions teaching:

          Single sounds: a, b, c etc.

          Combining single sounds so that within thirteensounds the child can read a simple paragraph and at the end oftwenty six single sounds the child can read a whole page.

          Multiple sounds: many sounds like a, e or ou have more than one sound. These are introduced in a logical sequence.

          Double sounds: ee, ea, th, ow, etc

          Spelling rules: e.g. f, l, s, z is doubled after a short vowel.

          Clear instructions on what to say and what to use.


          Reading is including in book.


          Writing Exercises for Phonics 1-5

          Guided writing exercises that mirror those in the Phonics book

          Includes both capital and lower case letters.


          Supplementary Sheets

          that mirror extra work in the Phonics 1-5.


          Activity & Craft Sheets

          Approximately one hundred activities for each Phonic Workbook.

����� These provide craft and extra extension sheets. Activity & Craft Sheets include:


          Sheet with sound and picture to associate with the sound. Small children are very visual. They find it easier to remember the sounds if there are pictures.


          Craftwork associated with the sound. In the first two packs there are more craft sheets than in later packs.

          Worksheets: extra practise is given in using the sounds. These also include word searches and crossword puzzles in kits 4 and 5.

          Revision sheets in addition to the work in the book.

          Test: revision test at the end of each pack to ensure all sounds have been mastered. In set 5 a revision test is included for all sounds previously used.


          Optional Art Packs

����� Two art packs contain all the art and craft material needed for Activity & Craft Sheets 1-5.


          Optional Extra Readers

����� Five packs of readers are available for those children who require extra reading. These readers are keyed to the sounds already learnt. There are ten readers in each pack. There are simple illustrations that do not assist children in guessing the reading.


Complete details of all these books may be found in our catalogue. All items may be bought individually, or in kits. The complete programme takes twelve to fifteen months to complete.



Kit 1

Phonics 1

Activity & Craft Sheets 1

Art Pack 1

Signpost 1 maths book (national edition)

Supplementary Sheets for Phonics 1

Writing Exercises



Kit 2

Phonics Workbook 2

Activity & Craft Sheets 2

Writing Exercise 2

Supplementary Sheets 2


Kit 3

Phonics 3

Activity & Craft Sheets 3

Art Pack 2

Supplementary Sheets for Phonics 3

Writing Exercises


Kit 4

Phonics Workbook 4

Craft & Activity Sheets 4

Peanut Readers


Kit 5

Phonics Workbook 5

Craft & Activity Sheets 5

Due June 2003




Pre-Reading Activities 1+Pre-Reading Art PackPre-Reading Activities 2�������������������


Beginning Maths First Maths or Signpost 1




Learning to Read

NSW�������������������� - Kinder

Victoria������ ����������- Prep

Tasmania�������������� - Prep

South Australia����� � Reception

Northern territory� Reception

Queensland���������� � Grade 1

Western Australia � Grade 1


Average and brighter children

Kit 1 Phonics Kit 2 Phonics Kit 3 Phonics Kit 4 Phonics Kit 5 Phonics���������


Beginning Maths (if needed) First Maths or Signpost 1 Easy Learn 1A Easy Learn 1B Excellence in Maths 1 or Practise & Improve Your Maths K-1


Slow learners

Kit 1 Phonics


Kit 2 Phonics Step by Step Phonics 1 Step by Step Phonics Reading 1



Kit 3 Phonics


Kit 4 Phonics Step by Step Phonics 2 Step By Step Phonics Reading 2



Kit 5 Phonics


Beginning Maths (if needed) First Maths or Signpost 1 Easy Learn 1A Easy Learn 1B

Homework Helpers Addition 1 Homework Helpers Subtraction 1 Excellence in Maths 1 or Practise & Improve Your Maths K-1



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