Phonogram Sounds App

How 2 Sticker Dots Helped Our Reading Lessons

Sticker dots for reading


In hindsight it seems so simple, but two tiny sticker dots have been a HUGE help to our reading lessons with our youngest (age 7). There are days when he gets overwhelmed when he sees his reading assignment for the day.

Mark it Dots for Reading-7

The reading fluency sheets from the All About Reading program are absolutely wonderful, but Kaleb’s hesitancy comes at having to read “all those words” (as he puts it). While there really isn’t a lot to read on the sheets, looking at two 8.5” x 11” pages can seem like a lot since they aren’t in typical story format like the hard cover readers from the program.

Mark it Dots for Reading-4

Usually we break up a reading lesson to complete over a few days, but that initial shock can wreak havoc on a little boy’s emotions (smiles). This past month we’ve been using some tiny little Mark-it Dots to show the stop/start point in his reading assignments and I cannot tell you the WORLD of difference that it has made.

Mark it Dots for Reading-10

The Mark-it Dots (found on Amazon) are reusable and lightly sticky, so you can put one dot at the starting point of the reading assignment and one at the end to show a definite end. Once the reading assignment is completed, the stickers can be peeled off and re-applied to the next day’s assignment.

Mark it Dots for Reading-16

We have the 1/4” Mark-it dots  (there are larger 3/4” dots too) that come in a pack with rainbow colors. We use a green dot for our start point and a red dot for our ending point, and it has worked so very well!


Does your child ever get overwhelmed reading? What tips have you found that help ease the anxiety?

Interested in learning more about All About Reading – click here!

All About Reading Activity Bundle

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My Reading Progress This Year

This year I have a series of goals set for myself: some personal, some family related, and a little bit of everything thrown in the mix. One of the things I shared with you all earlier was my reading list for 2014. There were thirteen books on the list, but wouldn’t you know that new books keep popping up that catch my eye.

I should really know better than creating a list so early in the year with new books releasing, eh?


One of the books that I added to my pile was Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine (author of While I’m not feeling like I’m in the survival-mode boat, the book was a great reminder (and a bit of a shove) to get a few things in life back in gear. That’s meant some conversations with my hubby (all good) and some more refined goal-setting.

Off my non-fiction list, I’ve managed to finish a few other books (One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voskamp and 10 Gifts of Wisdom by Sally Clarkson). There’s one other book – completely not on the list, of course – and there are a few other books waiting in my Amazon cart. But I have to finish off the ones on my shelf first!

If you’d like a peek at the books that I’m reading (by myself and with the kids), check out my Books Read in 2014 Pinterest board. Reading has become such a relaxing time for me and the kids, and I love that! It’s my winding down time at night and most nights I am literally nodding off holding a book.

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

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A Fun Reading Challenge Blackboard {Reader Idea}

Maybe you’ve seen an idea on a blog or Pinterest, wanted to use it, but it just didn’t seem to work for your family. Step-by-step directions are always nice, but there are times when finding a way to adapt an idea will make it more appealing to you and your family.

{And adapting is okay!}

Recently, Vanessa shared an idea on Instagram that she had adapted from the reading challenge charts I had shared in years past. I asked her to share her entire project with you all in a guest post, so keep reading and see what she put together!



“Mommy, can I please read one more chapter before bed?” These were the words of my girls last week after starting our new 2014 Winter Reading Challenge. Isn’t that super exciting? I know for me it is! Since the winter of 2012, I have adapted the (seasonal) reading challenge with my kids. It has encouraged and driven them to read beyond my expectations.

reading challenge blackboard

One of my newest projects was a blackboard for our reading corner. I purchased a 2’ x 4’ blackboard (and a handful of nails) from Home Depot for $9.97, these liquid chalk markers from Amazon, and I was on my way to create an amazing corner for our schoolroom.  After my hubby drilled it into the wall, it was all ready for me and I couldn’t help but think of all the ideas I could do with our new blackboard.

After  a couple hours of thought and creative thinking, I came up with a sketch and made it a reality. My inspiration came from Jolanthe’s reading challenge, Pinterest, and my home state of New York which had a blizzard a couple of weeks ago. It doesn’t snow here in Southeast Georgia… thank God!

Incentives for Reading


Once my kids complete their challenges, I reward them with something that will encourage them to come back for more. In the past the rewards were:

  • $10 towards a Target purchase
  • trips to Dunkin’ Donuts
  • sweets from a local bakery
  • frozen yogurt
  • my kids all time favorite, pizza from Pizza Hut

Every year I sign up for the Book It! Program through Pizza Hut, and they provide me with a booklets of free pizzas for the entire school year. As the teacher I make the decision on reading program and set the goals whether it be “x” amount of books or “x” amount of minutes in a month or season to redeem pizzas.

I’m already thinking forward and excited about summertime! I looooove summer reading! Usually I mix it up a bit and create fun reading challenges like reading under a tree, in your bathing suit, with a hat on, in the bathtub, on the kitchen floor… my kids love that kind of stuff!

You can view the original Reading Challenge Charts here. Thanks so much to Vanessa for sharing her idea with us all. Be sure to visit her on Instagram and get a peek at all their family’s homeschool fun!

imageMy name is Vanessa, and I am a homeschooling Mom to 4 amazing treasures ages 8, 7, 6 and 3. Homeschooling has been an adventure beyond words – especially since we have moved about 5 times in the last 2 years. I love the homeschooling community! I’m so grateful to all who contribute because even the slightest post whether on a blog or social media can encourage any family to press on towards the bright future ahead. My passion is to motivate and encourage others to fulfill their purpose in this calling -homeschooling.

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A Read-Aloud Update – a Wee Bit Offtrack

Back in September, I shared the 25 books we planned to read-aloud together during this school year. It’s something I’ve actually printed off so we can keep track of the progress {or lack thereof} that we are making in our reading endeavors.

25 Books We Plan to Read Aloud

A quick glance at the list may have sent me into a wee bit of a panic. It also made me realize there were quite more than 25 on my list – because I cannot count apparently.

Somehow I conveniently forgot how LONG a few of these books actually were {hello to the Mysterious Benedict books}. Also, in the past a few of these books literally put me into sleep mode within five minutes. There have been many moments of cuddling and reading though – and more will be read soon since there is a book reading challenge currently going on with a nearby library!

But, in the spirit of being honest and showing the lack of progress we are making, here’s a look at the book list and those that have been finished.

Books to Read with our Girls {ages 10 and 12}

Books to Read with our Boys {ages 6 and 8}

Books to Read Together

We’re about one-third of our way through our list and time is starting to wind down, so we’ll need to pick up the pace some. This is one of those lists we definitely want to finish!


What read-alouds have you been enjoying lately? Or have you fallen off the read-aloud wagon too?

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Free Phonogram Sounds App

It’s no secret that one of our favorite homeschool programs is All About Spelling from All About Learning Press. Both their spelling and reading programs are ones we recommend for any family.

Especially now that they have a FREE app that anyone can use to help with the pronunciation of some of those pesky phonogram blends!

phonogram sounds app for spelling

This week, All About Learning Press released a FREE phonogram sounds app for the iPad, iPhone/iPod, Windows, Android and Mac OSX  {don’t worry, a Kindle app is coming soon!}. Use it on your computer, tablet devices, iPod and more!

We are SO excited to use this during our reading and spelling time because it gives the pronunciation of 72 various phonograms that are taught in All About Reading and All About Spelling.

All About Spelling phonograms

Today we were working on the -ng sound and it was so handy to pull out the iPad. Kaleb found the appropriate tile to touch and then heard the pronunciation of the blend {he likes any excuse to use the iPad!}.

The colors of the buttons within the app even matches the Letter Tiles on our spelling board, so the learning is carried over from the app to the board. The phonogram buttons are also grouped according to the labels we use with the Letter Tiles.

Phonogram App

Don’t use All About Spelling or All About Reading? It’s ok! This free app will still be a help to you, so try it out today!

Other Helpful Links for Spelling and Reading

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