Reading Horizons' curriculum is easy to navigate even if you aren't a professional teacher. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of trying to teach your child to read and just feel like you can't do it or that you don't understand enough about phonics, Reading Horizons offers Parent Phonics Training on their website that can help ease some of your anxiety.
I was first introduced to Reading Horizons last year and was impressed by the amount of materials I received with the curriculum package. The Discovery materials are no less impressive. Included in the instruction kit are the textbooks you need to educate your child or students, as well as a list of milestones your child should be reaching, and flash cards to help your child or students learn sight words.
All of the materials come in a nice, durable tote bag. You can keep your books together in your tote bag for easy home schooling on-the-go or just as a way to keep your curriculum organized. I catually really love the tote and the fact that it has spots for everything I need, including a notebook and pens.
The milestones checklist included with the Discovery materials is a handy way to make sure your child is staying on track with how the curriculum is designed to teach. If you're a home school mom who needs a schedule and who needs to make sure everything is done within a certain time frame, you'll certainly appreciate the milestone list.
As with my previous Reading Horizons review, my kids and I love the visual aids that come with this set. Having a visual of different words, sounds, and letters is incredibly helpful for younger kids who may not be completely confident in their phonics abilities. Sometimes working on something verbally and then seeing it visually can really help.
The readers offer interesting stories for kids while reinforcing the ideas they're learning with Discovery at Home. The six stories we read were short, but long enough to challenge my son. At the end of each book is a set of questions for you to review with your child. The questions help gauge your child's understanding of the story but also his attention to certain details. Finally, there is a list of words at the end of each book to review and go over with your child.
The books are easy to navigate, but I did find myself becoming bored with the black-and-white pages. As a parent (and as a student, really) I definitely prefer colorful imagery in a book even if it's a book with lesson plans and instructions. I would love to see Reading Horizons offer something that's bold and bright, but the books are still fine to navigate and find what you're looking for.
Another thing I found to be a bit challenging with the books was that the worksheet pages are not included in the book. If you're teaching a large classroom, you'll probably enjoy being able to just print off the materials you need from your computer, but if you're home schooling just one or two children, having to run back and forth to the computer can become cumbersome. I found myself wishing that the worksheet pages were actually included in the book, but some parents may prefer the printing option since you can print off as many sheets as you need.
The books are set up for you to go through with your child and have a series of activities, lessons to talk about, and important points about phonics. I found that some of the lessons were a bit lengthy to work on with just one child, so we split ours up into two sessions and that seems to work better. Also, you'll need a whiteboard for some of the lessons, but you can pick one up at any Dollar Tree.
Pricing information for the Discovery at Home reading set is as follows:
Discovery Product Pricing
Discovery Online Software $ 199.00
Discovery Instructor Materials $ 299.00
Discovery Software and Instructor Material Bundle $ 439.00
Discovery Little Books Grades 1-3 $ 159.00
Discovery Little Books Kindergarten $ 29.99
The at-home online software runs $199.00 for two students and is $50 per year afterwards. There is an additional $25.00 fee for each additional student up to five students.
For parents concerned about the cost of Discovery, there is a payment plan available. Also, it's very easy to reuse these materials with multiple children so keep that in mind when making a decision about whether this set is right for your family.
From January 28th to February 25th, you can enter to win a prize from Reading Horizons. Do you have a child who struggles to read? Are you a teacher who wants to help your students improve their phonics skills? Could your home school co-op really use the products that Reading Horizons has to offer? Enter below to win! There are eleven prizes! Win a grand prize of the Discovery Bundle, which includes software subscription and instructor materials OR win one of 10 Discovery software subscriptions. Enter on the Rafflecoptor below starting January 28th.
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