Last year, J enjoying having Alpha Omega Publications Horizons Kindergarten math. She would often ask to complete more than one lesson at a time. Needless to say, we are using their math program again this year. When the opportunity came up to review an additional component of their curriculum, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to review Horizons 1st Grade Phonics & Reading Set. So far, so good with it!
Alpha Omega Publications, or AOP, is a company who has made it their mission to change education for the glory of God, educating and inspiring others. Their range of products is pretty broad and includes print, online, and computer-based products. They have curriculum choices, games, family entertainment, and distance learning programs. They have a lot to offer.
This review is focusing on Horizons 1st Grade Phonics and Reading Set. We have been working with it for several weeks now and J has been enjoying it, for the most part. This set comes with a Teacher’s Guide, two student workbooks, and two student reading books.
The Teacher’s Guide has the following features:
- Introduction – helps familiarize the teacher with the format of the program and suggestions for pacing
- Reading: The First Chapter in Education – an article to help understand the importance of reading
- Lessons – Each lesson includes an overview, materials & supplies, teaching tips/instructions, and answer keys which are copies of the student pages with answers
- Resources – alphabet cards and phonics rules cards
The student workbook is a comfortable book to work in but it also has perforated pages if you would like to remove them from the book for working. J prefers to keep the book intact. We work on one lesson a day and do this most days in a week, though summertime was a bit slower than our pace is now that was have gotten back into the swing of things. These lessons, if J works without distraction, take us about 20 minutes. This does not include the reading book. The activities run from copying words, to writing letter combinations and then reading the created words, to marking sounds, to matching words and pictures. The sound ladders early on were a really good review of phonics sounds and uses. There is a test every 10 lessons to check for comprehension of concepts.
The reading books are designed to go along with the lessons. There is one story to read for each lesson. It reinforces the practice or the rule that was introduced in the lesson. J is a fairly good reader and is able to read these almost independently. It is noted in the teacher’s guide, however, that this is not to be expected and that the first 40 or so stories are probably not going to be able to be read independently by the student.
- These are comfortably paced and thorough workbooks that have a good combination of color illustrations and activities.
- The Teacher’s Guide has enough information to help me through things I might not understand well but doesn’t give so much information that it is overwhelming or make me feel incapable.
- It is easy to break the lesson up into more than one session, which is actually suggested for the longer lessons, if your student needs the break in focus.
- The reading stories are not very interesting but they do a very good job of reinforcing the concept from the lesson. We did struggle a bit with attention span during the stories which is somewhat uncommon for J.
- While this is a Christian company, I have not seen anything in this particular set that indicates anything Christian or secular. It is fairly straightforward phonics learning.
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