Shining Time Academy

Simply Phonics

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Charlotte Mason Kindergarten
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Pictures 2004

The New Simply Phonics

By Laurie Hicks

Price: $25 + $5s/h


The Book


If the Simply series appears to be unfamiliar within the general homeschool community it is only because of its humble beginnings.  It’s creator, Laurie Hicks of Shoelace Books, is a former teacher turned homeschool mom who wrote these programs for her own children and then subsequently published them for use by the rest of the homeschool world.  The Simply series consists of five subjects – Simply Phonics, Simply Numbers, Simply Spelling, Simply English and Simply Celebrations.  


Like the rest of the Simply series, Simply Phonics is presented as a simple 8 X 11 comb bound book with colored cardstock for the front and back covers.  The beginning pages familiarize the reader with Laurie’s approach to phonics as well as a short introduction on how to use the book.  The program then immediately jumps into the meat of the program, which consists of a four-page pictorial alphabet and 179 lessons to be done at the child’s own pace.  She concludes with a short phonics rule section and some general suggestions for teaching.


While Simply Phonics begins traditionally with the teaching of individual letter sounds the child also begins blending those sounds together in lesson two and the very first three-letter word – mom - is introduced by lesson eight.  What a wonderful first word for any child to read.  Each lesson begins with a single letter sound and a beautiful black and white photocopied picture.  To reinforce the sound a short story or passage is read to the child and questions are asked about the photo.  All lessons are done orally therefore no writing is necessary however; there are letters, words and passages at the end of each lesson for parents who wish to use this as a beginning handwriting course as well.  


No additional materials are needed to complete this program though a phonics CD such as Twin Sisters Phonics and Twin Sisters Advanced Phonics might be a welcome review for children who enjoy music or who are primarily auditory learners.


In my opinion, Simply Phonics is a breath of fresh air to the Charlotte Mason homeschool community.  It provides a clear and concise road to reading beginning with the simplest of letter sounds and moving straight through to reading complex paragraphs. 


Overall Grade: A 


~Crissy Fleetwood

Shining Time Academy


Character is who you are when no one but GOD is watching.