Sunday, July 06, 2008

Phonics material now available in PDF

I have now turned about two hundred and fifty pages worth of phonics material that I have written for teaching young children to read into a single PDF document. (I also have it on my own computer as a single Word Perfect document.) The single PDF is available here.

This material previously existed only in the form of over sixty separate Word Perfect files, because I have a separate file for each list or set of lists on a separate phonics concept, as well as separate files for the four short chapters of a book I had begun writing on how to teach your young child to read by phonics.

As I say repeatedly in the material itself, these lessons are for parents who want to teach their own children to read. If somebody takes them and republishes them under his own name, obviously, he's a louse. That's why I put the "copyright" symbol on the title page. (I've called the document, fairly unoriginally, A First Phonics Course for Young Children. Titles were never my strong point, as the name of this blog shows.) But I'm not out to make money on it, and I don't anticipate ever trying. For one thing, it has a very unfinished look about it. I broke off abruptly in Chapter 4 while describing how to teach your child to read blends, because at that point I got too involved in actually teaching my child to read blends. I try to make up for this sudden halt by including, as a separate item, several pages of notes on what it was like to teach Youngest Daughter to read the various phonics lists. These notes contain the same sorts of tips I was writing out at more length in the chapters before I stopped, and they also describe how my lessons are connected with the lists in the back of Rudolf Flesch's invaluable book Why Johnny Can't Read, and What You Can Do About It. But still, what I have written is more a bunch of materials than a book.

If you want to get the file as a zip file in Word Perfect for use with your children, you can e-mail me for it, and we should be able to do that. I have now successfully used the zip function at least once for sending a folder of these things when they were all in separate files. Perhaps this means I've joined the 21st century! The point of having a Word Perfect version is that you can make changes to it for use with your child. These might involve just adding more words at some point, but they also might involve changing the font size if it's too big or too small for your child, or putting the list into a different color.

One of the best things about having the materials in a single file is that I've included a Table of Contents. This allows you to see more or less at a glance what is there. I've also discussed what is there at greater length in a little introductory note at the very beginning. Some parents may want to pick and choose lists for types of words their children are having special trouble on, though the course is cumulative, so if your child hasn't had some of the earlier concepts, he may not be able to read the later lists if you simply jump forward. Still, feel free to browse and use what you find useful.

I would say that the course has a little bit of a "Christian" feel to it, but not strongly so. The words 'God', 'sin', and 'church' are all used, and several of the illustrative sentences when the student is learning the "ch" blend refer to going to church. All of these words are regular and phonetic, so they make excellent illustrations for phonics reading. But the majority of the materials have no special ideological "flavor" at all, that I can see, unless (in the later lessons) you consider "somewhat hard" to be an ideological flavor. :-)

I trust it will be of some value to parents.


Beth Impson said...

This looks great, Lydia! I will send the link to my children who are now beginning to teach their children to read. I think it will be very helpful to them.


Anonymous said...

"I'm not out to make money on it"

Why not?

Lydia McGrew said...

First, because I'm lazy. I would feel guilty about charging anybody money for the material in its present rather rough-around-the-edges state, but I have no inspirations about how to neaten the edges. Second, because I loathe red tape and am scared of it. For example, if I sold a physical book for a profit to somebody located in my own state, I would have to get a sales tax collection number, collect sales tax, and send it on with the appropriate forms to the state. This would also mean registering with the state as a physical-stuff-selling business, and I have no idea what the other implications of _that_ are...And so on. It appears that selling purely electronic materials does not have this consequence, but there are still the self-employment taxes to pay. I'd have to make much bigger profits than anything I would anticipate even to begin to make the red tape--and my nervousness over red tape--worth it. Third, because I don't need the sort of nickel-and-dime money I would anticipate making, if I made anything at all. Fourth, because in order to make money on it, I would have to stop doing what I'm doing right here-- offering it for free to as many people as can use it. That would serve principally to make sure that fewer people get it, which seems to me petty, un-civic, and betraying a lack of a love for the dissemination of knowledge, given 1-4. In short, I'm not going to forego the ability to get stuff out to people who might be able to use it and the pleasure of knowing that I've helped somebody just in order to make more hassles for myself and _maybe_ some pathetic little trickle of money.

Anonymous said...

That was certainly a thorough answer. All that stuff about government interference would be enough to scare me off.