The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading

We’ve worked through the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise and Susan Buffington twice! I didn’t use this curriculum with my oldest child, but I used it with my second and third child and am undecided on whether I’ll use it with my fourth one. ┬áSince we use a Waldorf curriculum, I want to clarify that the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading is not a Waldorf or Waldorf inspired curriculum. In fact it’s quite the opposite of how a Waldorf curriculum teaches reading. In a Waldorf curriculum reading is taught through writing in a holistic imaginative way in which the words are born within the child and written on paper. Then the child reads what she has written and in this way, readers are made by the child. As beautiful as this process is, it didn’t work as I imagined.

Enter the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Reading (OPGR). This curriculum is very complete, easy to use and yields results. You child will know how to decode words, learn how to read and establish a good foundation for spelling. Written is a scripted manner, the OPGR takes the guesswork out of how to teach reading. It’s written in an authentic voice so that anyone who reads sounds natural. I changed very little of the script, finding it easy to read as it was written. This is an oral curriculum; there is nothing the child needs to write down.

There are 230 lessons beginning very easy with each letter of the alphabet and its sound taking one lesson. The lessons quickly accelerate and become longer, or at least more time consuming, and increase in difficulty disproportionately. Each lesson comes with a built-in review of the previous lesson, but it is advised to review previous lessons before moving forward. This curriculum takes two years to complete if you do four lessons a week. I wouldn’t advise doubling up on lessons to progress faster, but on one occasion, we simply didn’t finish the book because midway through my child learned to read on his own and accelerated very quickly in his reading ability. I do think the curriculum is extremely valuable in laying a good foundation for spelling, so even if your child has already learned to read or learns in the course of doing this curriculum, it’s still of value to complete the course.

The only things you’ll need to supplement this curriculum with are some index cards and a pen to write the letters of the alphabet for the first several lessons. You may write the two-letter blends as well. I chose to write directly in the book.

Have you used this curriculum? Did you like it? Let me know below!

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2 thoughts on “The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading

  1. I am using this right now and it is really helping my youngest with learning how to read. I used a pure Waldorf approach for my other four children, but my last one has a neurological disorder that makes it hard for her to learn certain things. I think it is a great book. I am also using their First Language Lessons, and again, they are working well for this particular child.

    1. That’s wonderful that you found a program that works for your child. This is the essence of homeschooling, finding something that works for each child uniquely. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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