How I Teach Reading (And How I Taught My Five Children To Read)

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that I get to be the one to teach my children how to read. Through the years I’ve been asked how I teach reading, so I’m sharing what has worked for us.
These methods have worked so well for teaching my children to read!

How I Teach Reading

Ten years ago, when my first child was nearing six years old, I tried a reading program with her that made teaching reading seem like a nightmare.

It was a fairly simple and very inexpensive program, but the way they taught reading was not simple, and my daughter and I both hated it. We were both almost in tears every time we sat down to do a lesson.

I wrote a dear friend who was an older, more experienced homeschooling mother, begging for advice.
She recommended Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I found a copy at our local library and tried it.
And it was so easy! My daughter was reading in no time, and we both looked forward to her lessons.

As soon as she was reading fairly well, we read some simple books with repetitive phrases, such as Have You Seen My Cat? and a few others.

After this, we moved into the first Pathway reader for reading practice. After finishing the first three Pathway readers, we used the Christian Light graded readers for practice.

how I teach reading

That’s all we did, and she has always been an excellent reader and speller.

My second child was a bit different. I followed the same plan with her, but she resisted the lessons because the said she already knew how to read! I think we did about fifteen of the 100 Easy Lessons, and she took off on her own.

My third child enjoyed 100 Easy Lessons, and I think we went through half of the book together. After that, our reading time mostly consisted of practicing his reading skills through the Pathway readers.

How I Teach Reading

My Struggling Reader

I’ve written before about how my fourth child had difficulty learning to read with 100 Easy Lessons.

She just wasn’t getting it. It was so discouraging for us both. I kind of had a fear in the back of my mind that she would never learn to read fluently.

But I never told her that. I just kept encouraging her that she could do it, and in the meantime I began looking into different methods that might help her.

I didn’t look long before I found All About Reading. And it really resonated with me. It was more expensive than 100 Easy Lessons, and it would take a bit longer (not much) to implement each day, but I was willing to do anything to help my daughter learn to read!

Shortly after starting the All About Reading program, she was really starting to get it! By the time she finished Level 1, she was reading fluently.

Now, everyone in the family is impressed when she reads portions of the Bible (which includes words she’s never come across before) during our family Bible time, and her reading is smooth, clear, and confident.
We’ve decided to continue with All About Reading Level 2, just to cement what she’s learned. She actually begged me to let her do Level 2 since she enjoyed Level 1 so much!
I did intersperse All About Reading with the Pathway readers, just for more read-aloud practice, and because she really loved them. And then, she moved into the Christian Light readers.

She’s also read through these books, which are always a hit with our kids. I got this set from Heart of Dakota a few years ago, and it’s such a great set!

A Special Reading Corner

I rearranged things in our basement and made a little school area where we now have a magnetic white board to use with All About Reading.

It’s not required (I share here how I used a magnetic cake pan at first!) but it does make using the letter tiles a lot easier. We got this mid-year and it has been such a huge help. And I have a place to hang the pre-reading poster, too!

I also love that we have all of our art supplies right at hand, so it’s easier to grab out any supplies we need for that day’s lesson. And I moved our daily calendar down here, too.

2017 Update:

All five of my children are now reading fluently! I hope this description of how I teach reading has been helpful to you! 🙂 With my fifth child, I didn’t even bother with 100 Easy Lessons, but we went straight from the AAR Pre-Reading Program to AAR Level 1. We followed that with AAR Level 2.

Related Posts (click the photo to be taken to the post):
This reading program is what finally made reading "click" for my struggling reader!
This is my absolute favorite preschool reading readiness program!

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  1. We have used Jolly Phonics with our children, which has been successful. Our youngest is six now, and she is progressing with reading, (not on her own yet). I really like the look of the readers in your photos though, so I will be having a look for some of them. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. As a teacher, who does some remedial reading with 8th-graders, I am so impressed by they way you went about teaching your children. You are a natural teacher! Really. Your post also made me think about why teaching a classroom is so difficult — kids really benefit from individualization. Your kids are very lucky!

  3. My daughter is six years old and in the early stages of learning to read, what books do you recommend? Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hi Sara!

      Do you mean books to use for reading practice? If so, then I would use the first three Pathway readers, then move into the first Christian Light reader as she's ready. I also used the emerging reader set from Heart of Dakota (the one I mentioned in the post above).

      When my youngest turns 6, I plan to use All About Reading Level 1 with him and then use the rest of the books I mentioned for reading practice. Is that helpful, or were you asking something else? 🙂

    2. Yes, this was very helpful! We're doing more read aloud practice right now, so I have been looking for some early reader books, and trying to figure out what works best. She is my first child to teach, so recommendations from seasoned teachers like you always help! Thanks again, Joy! 🙂

    3. Oh, good, I'm glad it was helpful! 🙂

      I meant to leave a link to the readers here, too. I'm not sure why I didn't include the links in my post. I'll add them now that I've thought of it.

      Here's another little set of beginning readers we also have:

      Here's a link to the Pathway readers:

      Here are the Christian Light readers:

      Have fun reading with your daughter! 🙂

  4. This is almost the same thing we used to teach reading here. It feels so cozy to visit your blog…I recognize most of the books and your schoolroom makes me smile…again familiar and heart-warming! Your children are so blessed, Joy! Sending love!
    I will share this on DRAH momentarily 🙂

    1. So glad you came for a visit, Jacque! That's neat that you used similar books and methods to teach reading.

      Thanks so much for the encouragement and for your friendship! And thank you so much for sharing! ♥

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