Reading Horizons for Struggling Readers

When I was teaching, we started a program called Reading Horizons. This program helps students learn to decode words. As they do this, they prove that they are reading, spelling and pronouncing the word correctly.

Ideally, you would start in kindergarten, but I taught my second graders these skills, and it really helped a lot of them become better readers. For younger students, the program starts with teaching the 42 sounds of the alphabet. Then you move on to 5 phonetic skills, and 2 decoding skills. Here's an example of what students will be able to do:
I know it probably doesn't make any sense to you now, but each marking helps in telling you how to decode the words.

These are the 5 phonetic skills that go along with the words above:

  • Phonetic Skill #1: When one guardian consonant — and nothing more — follows the vowel, the vowel will be short.
  • Phonetic Skill #2: When the vowel is followed by two guardian consonants and nothing more, the vowel will be short.
  • Phonetic Skill #3: When a vowel stands alone, it will be long.
  • Phonetic Skill #4: Silent E makes the first vowel long.
  • Phonetic Skill #5: When vowels are adjacent, the second vowel is silent, and the first vowel is long.
So for example, in Phonetic skill #1, you would mark the vowel and then mark the guardian consonant, like in the word sun above. Then you know that the vowel is short. 

If you want to learn more about this program, there is a free online workshop you can do. Just go to I actually started teaching my students these skills just from watching the workshop, and then later our principal decided to buy the entire program for us. I think if you just teach some of these basics to your kids, it could really help improve students' understanding of words. 

Hopefully this will be useful to you! I really enjoyed learning these skills myself and being able to show the students why a word is pronounced how it is.

March Blogger Match-Up Giveaway

I participated in this March Blogger Matchup that my friend Ashlyn at The Creative Classroom put together. This is so much fun! Each teacher-blogger is assigned an NCAA team, and in each round, the blogger whose team wins gets to move on to the next round. The loser sends them a free item from their Tpt store and also has to post a giveaway of that same item on their blog.

My team was North Eastern, and they played Notre Dame on day 1. Unfortunately, my team did not win. But congrats to Caitlin over at The Kinder Garden, who is rooting for Notre Dame. I will be sending her a free product from my Tpt store, and I am also giving one away on my blog!! 

I have decided to do a giveaway for my new Build-A-Monster Clipart set. Here it is: 

Enter below to win!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering and good luck!

Build A Monster Clipart

My friend Ashlyn over at The Creative Classroom had a great idea to do build your own monster for her reading incentive. She will start with a body, and then will earn eyes when they read 100 minutes, mouth for 200 minutes, etc. So much fun!

So I helped her out and created a Build A Monster clipart set. I think it turned out so cute, so be sure to go check it out!

I am also in the process of making an accessories set for the monsters, so be on the lookout for that.

Indoor Recess Lifesaver

Have you heard of Adventure to Fitness? If not, you have got to check it out! It is an educational fitness program that is so much fun. When I was teaching, I would turn it on during indoor recess. In the videos, the guide, Mr. Marc, takes the kids on expeditions to different places. The kids run, walk, jump, duck, etc, in place as they follow him on the adventure. My students really enjoyed doing these, and it is a great way to get their energy out.

There are only 5 episodes that you can watch for free, but there are also some mini episodes, and if you want, you can subscribe and have access to all the videos. I found that 5 episodes was enough. The kids don't mind watching the same episode more than once. Plus, they are each 30 minutes long, so you can watch half an episode at a time.

Sign up using your school e-mail, then log in, go to teachers, and then you can scroll down and click on episode library.

You can then choose your video. Each video also has activities you can download to go along with it.

Here are some screenshots from the episode about volcanoes:

Here the kids are jumping up the mountain with Marc.

I love that they also have educational content in them.
Hopefully you won't have too many indoor recess days left this year, but next time you get the chance, try out Adventure to Fitness. I think your students will really like it!