My son is entering the 1st grade this year – how did that happen? He is SO excited to be a 1st grader and was even more excited when I placed the Horizon’s 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set from Alpha Omega Publications in front of him and showed him we were starting 1st grade work. This is one review he was excited to get started on! Having the opportunity to review this product from Alpha Omega Publications was a great opportunity to get our school year off to a good start!
For this review we were provided the Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set, which is comprised of two consumable student workbooks, two student readers, and a teacher’s guide. Between the two student workbooks, there are 160 lessons covering topics such as consonant and vowel sounds, consonant and vowel blends, vowel pairs, prefixes and suffixes, and syllables, to name a few.
Each lesson works on penmanship, vocabulary, phonics, phonemic awareness, text comprehension and fluency. The lessons are presented in a spiral method meaning that what is learned will be reviewed throughout the lessons, ‘spiraled’ through with new material throughout the year. Each lesson is 2 pages long, brightly colored with engaging illustrations and varying activities and exercises. The lesson activities include fill in the blanks, word searches, letter and sound recognition exercise, and picture matching. My son completed his first cross word puzzle in lesson 7 and was amazed that he could complete such a puzzle.
The lessons move along at a good pace, so a lot of material is covered; but, as I mentioned, the new material and old material are spiraled together so some review is intermingled with new concepts being presented. The student readers are fun, easy to read stories with comprehension questions at the end of the story. These questions help the student recall what they have read and allow the parent to see if they are comprehending the story rather than just reading words.
The Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set also includes a thorough Teacher’s Guide which includes daily lesson plans with clearly defined goals, supplies and activities to help the parent make teaching phonics fun for the student. Teaching tips, duplication masters, answer keys and review worksheets are included in the teacher’s guide.
My 5 year old will turn 6 in September and will be entering his 1st grade year. However, he is a boy and his attention span is still short. The 2 full pages, front and back, of the lesson takes him anywhere between 15-30 minutes, depending upon the exercise and his attention span abilities that day. We used it 3 days a week for the period of this review and found that completing a full lesson on most days was difficult. We decided to do 2 pages each day (1/2 a lesson). This seemed to work much better for him. We found that forcing completion of the lesson made it take even longer and for him to lose interest. We began doing 2 pages of the lesson and then reading a story in the reader. I am hopeful that as we continue to use this curriculum, his attention span will improve and we will be able to get through the entire lesson. However, for now we intend to continue to 2 pages per day and increase usage to each school day – 4-5 days a week. Obviously this would drag out the year a little; however, we do tend to do school into the summer month and we also take breaks as needed and do extra weekend school at times. This would be something we would use to work through even on light days therefore hopefully completing the entire program at least by the summer even with the slower pace.
I am certain that as he matures and his attention to the lessons and reading improves, as well as his writing skills improving, we will be able to complete more of the lesson in the 15-20 minutes we take for these lessons. I look forward to seeing him progress as the year moves forward.
One thing we struggled with was understanding what some of the pictures were indicating. For instance, a picture of a girls face, he says “girl” but the exercise is hard and soft “c” sounds so the picture is supposed to make the student think of the word “face.” This happened several times and I had to search myself forward in the lesson of the teachers manual to figure out what word to which the picture was referring. But usually we just skipped these and moved on so as not to draw out the lesson any further. There is usually plenty of practice that skipping one example is not detrimental to the lesson.Overall, we liked the lessons, the readers’ stories, and the pace of the lessons. The colorful illustrations, fun and varied games, and interesting stories make this is a good curriiclum for my son. He is not reluctant to work on his reading, which is something he has had confidence issues with. The curriculum is easy for him to use and easy for me, as the teacher, to teach. I think it’s a good and solid program that will make teaching phonics and reading fun and easy for teacher and student. I would recommend this program.Be sure to check it out for yourself on their website. You can even see sample pages of the workbooks and readers here.
You can purchase the Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set for $106.95 on the Alpha Omega Publications website. If you are interested in what the rest of the TOS Review Crew through of Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set or some of the other Alpha Omega Publications curriculum sets, click the banner below. And be sure to check out Alpha Omega Publications on social media:
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