Six years ago our elementary school purchased Reading Horizons for Kindergarten through fourth grade. This program superseded our highest expectation.
One of the reasons for our success is that we have every teacher committed to effectively teach the program as it is outlined. What a difference it makes to have children start out in Kindergarten with a good phonics background. Often first-grade teachers are the only teachers teaching a complete phonics program. When this happens, students move on to other grades and soon forget some of what they have learned. In our school, every teacher continues reviewing and teaching Reading Horizons. As the students enter middle school, they know it extremely well and use it automatically.
Reading Horizons is structured in such a way that learning is systematic and natural. Having students writing at the board all at the same time gives the teacher immediate feedback.
Reading Horizons not only improves reading scores but it has also had a major impact on our spelling and language art scores. Handwriting improves because the teacher is right there to recognize a problem and is able to immediately help the student make the necessary changes.
I really love teaching Reading Horizons. My students are eager for the instruction every day. The reason they like it is because they experience the joy of success.
Parents have come in to see our first-grade students demonstrate their skills in the spring of the year. They are amazed to see first graders confidently discuss such things as Murmur Diphthongs, Digraphs, Special Vowel Combinations, (and) Blends and (are) even more amazed to see them use them in their writing. I invite parents to challenge the students in reading a multiple-syllable word. Students show them their strategies in attacking and then reading that word; the harder the word the greater the thrill of reading it.
My only regret is that I did not have this program earlier in my teaching career. I really believe it would make a major improvement in education.