Reading Horizons Review: Penny Burtless
I am thrilled to share my enthusiasm for Charlotte Lockhart’s Reading Horizons program. I have been using the program to teach first graders since 1989. Our school reading specialist had attended a workshop for Reading Horizons and was so excited about the program that she had my class pilot the program with her for half-hours daily. As I observed, took notes, and participated, I realized that this program provided me with all of the tools I had lacked to teach phonetic skills in an organized, understandable, concrete manner. Suddenly, phonics came alive and (was) meaningful! What made the difference? The total hands-on approach which took phonics to a new visual level of understanding.
I have been teaching Reading Horizons to first graders for 13 years now. I have also used it as a tool for tutoring students through fifth grade. It is successful for the simple reason that it gives students a very visual word attack skill. They know how to proceed to decode a new word or recheck their spelling of a word. The active participation in the lessons makes it a popular favorite subject. I know it has worked well when, at the end of the year, my students often choose phonics as their most favorite subject!
I have tutored many children using Reading Horizons. One summer, I worked three days a week for one hour with a fifth-grade special-education student who was reading at a first-grade level. I was so pleased when his special-education teacher shared with me that his reading level had increased by one full year in that short time! I KNOW this program has made a difference for my students! I see it in their classroom performance and on their standardized test results.
I now teach Reading Horizons in-service workshops in my school district. Many teachers and aides have commented that they are grateful to now have the concrete tools to teach phonics. I am proud to share this program because it does bring success to beginning readers. They are learning the reasons for letter sounds that even their parents don’t know AND they are able to explain it with ease and pride in their knowledge.
I honestly cannot imagine teaching reading successfully without Char L.’s program!
Grade Level: Elementary