Saxon Phonics and Spelling is part of one of the popular curriculum lines utilized by today's homeschooling families. While the Saxon Phonics program was not originally conceived for homeschool use, many families find they successfully help homeschoolers learn to read and write.
The Saxon Phonics Concept
Lorna Simmons created and authored the K-3 Saxon Phonics and Spelling program out of a personal need. She wanted to help her son manage his dyslexia so he could become a confident reader. The program is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and is now backed by years of research. Saxon Phonics does include all the elements of the Orton Gillingham language triangle and therefore uses the Orton Gillingham approach.
- The system combines explicit instruction with daily practice and ongoing assessments so you can make sure each step sticks with kids while they progress.
- It's based on the concept of learning new skills on an incremental basis.
- The variety of lessons and activities keeps learning exciting for kids.
- It's designed to be used alone or in conjunction with another reading program.
Skills Covered by Saxon Phonics and Spelling
This reading and writing program includes everything you need to help teach skills like:
- Recognizing letters
- Letter sounds
- Proper letter formation
- High-frequency words
- Phonemic awareness
Saxon Phonics and Spelling Materials for Students
This program is designed for kids learning at grade K-3 levels. There is a separate kit for each grade level that includes all the materials you need, or you can buy each element separately. You can look at their Components List to see what comes with each grade level kit. All the kits come with alphabet handwriting strips and decodable readers.
- All K-2 kits come with student worksheets and folders.
- The K and 1 kits come with letter tiles.
- The 1-3 kits come with a spelling dictionary and reference books.
Saxon Phonics and Spelling Materials for Teachers
Home teachers can feel confident about teaching reading and writing to kids because the system comes with everything you need and doesn't require expertise from you. Saxon Phonics and Spelling kits come with these teacher materials:
- Two or three volumes of teacher manual binders with lessons
- Scripted lessons
- Explicit instruction directions
- Leveled fluency reader books
- Review decks and kids cards in containers
- Wall cards
- A pronunciation guide compact disc
Pros of the Saxon Program
There are quite a few positive aspects of the Saxon Phonics and Spelling program. The Florida Center for Reading says that the program is founded on principles that have been repeatedly tested and proven effective in helping young readers.
- The repetition really helps struggling readers with decoding words.
- It's easy to plan lessons because a script is given for the parent/teacher to read.
- There are games and other activities to make learning fun for students.
- The program can be reused for other students by buying new workbooks.
- Each new grade level reviews the skills learned in the previous school year, keeping that previously acquired knowledge fresh in the minds of students.
- It was made to help children with special needs read.
Cons of the Saxon Program
Every program has some negative points. Some cons regarding the Saxon program include:
- The repetition can get boring for advanced readers.
- The pages in some editions are made from thin paper, which makes them rip easily and hard to reuse.
- Some levels rely heavily on the parent to explain the lesson the child.
- Kits and materials can be expensive.
Saxon Phonics Reviews
Saxon phonics programs have been used with success in a variety of educational environments, from the public and private school classrooms to homeschooling families. Suitable for a range of learning styles, Saxon Phonics has gained quite a following with its clear, user-friendly lesson plans and comprehensive language skills and reading instruction.
- Reviewer Cathy Duffy looked at the K, 1, and 2 versions and likes that Saxon Phonics "does allow for more leeway in offering children oral or hands-on options if they are not yet able to do the writing."
- Reviewer Jane on The Homeschool Mom says the program is thorough, but she wishes "the spelling list for the week went with the phonics lessons covered that week. Instead, they seemed very random."
- Reviewer bensonduck loves the Saxon program because "There is a good mix of hands on stuff, games, movement, review, and little readers."
Where to Buy Saxon Phonics and Spelling Program
If you're working with a homeschool co-op or you have a lot of kids in this age group at home, you can buy classroom kits that cover 24 students or 32 students. Kits and individual materials are available through Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Classroom sized kits cost around $800 to $1,000 for a 24-student kit. Prices for individual pieces vary. You can also find new and used versions of different Saxon Phonics materials on websites like Amazon.
Reading and Spelling With Saxon
Using the Saxon Phonics and Spelling program can help students learn how to read faster than many other programs. Take a look at the kit for your readers grade level to see if it fits with what you want him or her to learn.