Horizons Phonics and Reading Review

Horizons Phonics and Reading

by contributing writer Angie

Phonics instruction in early elementary school can help to build a foundation for a future strong reader.  Two of my children spent their early grades in the public school system using a whole language approach and came out as struggling readers.  My youngest began her school career at home with a phonics approach and was able to read and write earlier.

This can, of course, also be explained simply by differences in children, but I believe a phonics approach definitely helped to make this possible.  One of the tools that we’ve used for phonics instruction is the Horizons Phonics and Reading books.

What We Like about Horizons Phonics and Reading Books

  • Repetition – Children will usually forget concepts that are introduced and worked on just once or twice, unless they are extremely interested in the concept.  Repetition is vital for internalizing concepts.
  • New Information is Introduced at the Beginning of a Lesson – When new concepts are taught, they typically happen at the very beginning of the lesson.  This helps to free up my time as a homeschool parent because I can help to teach the concept and then the student can work independently.
  • Directions are not Complicated – While using the level one set of the Phonics books, I have not needed to use a teacher’s guide in order to teach the lessons.  In fact, directions are so straight forward that my youngest often just reads them on her own before proceeding.
  • Tests are Integrated into the Phonics Workbook – After every tenth lesson, the student takes a test.  Since we don’t keep grades for younger children, we just use this as a chance to check the understanding of concepts that have been covered.
  • Visually Appealing – Unlike dull, colorless workbooks, Horizons has colorful workbooks that are full of fun graphics.

What I Would Change About Horizons Phonics and Reading Books

The only thing that I would change in the Horizons Phonics and Reading program is that the phonics books are so chock full of lessons and tests that it can be difficult to finish in one school year.  With the typical school year being 180 days, the 160 lessons and 16 tests of the phonics workbooks can be difficult to complete in a single year.

However, there a couple of easy fixes for this issue.  The first would be to make sure that the student works on phonics every single day.  Another option is to use the phonics books meant for one year over the course of more than one school year.  For instance, we opted to use the level one phonics books, since there are two actual phonics workbooks, spread out over both first and second grade.

Other Information about Horizons Phonics and Reading Books

  • Pricing – Pricing varies by grade level.  There is an option at each grade level to purchase all of the books together in a bundle or to buy them individually.
  • Grade Level Availability – Horizons, which is produced by Alpha Omega Publications, is available for kindergarten through third grade.
  • Length – The phonics books in the program have 160 lessons and 16 tests.  The first half of these are found in book one and the second half in book two.

We saw much growth in our daughter’s reading and writing abilities after we began using the phonics program from Horizons.  We will continue to use it, and I feel comfortable recommending it to others as a great addition to their early elementary curriculum.

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  1. We have used Horizons Reading & Phonics with all 3 of our kids. When we pulled the kids out of school and realized that our oldest had no phonics instruction we went back a grade and did Horizons Reading & Phonics Gr.2 with her. This program works. I honestly wish that it went beyond 2nd grade as I would have used it in older grades too!

  2. we are using horizons phonics and reading for level 1 and I feel like I have been pushing my lil one too far with the lessons. ive been stressing on getting them all done by the end of her 1st grade level, which has meant doubling up. so unrealistic, right!!!!! not to mention unenjoyable as well. I ordered the all about reading and all about spelling curriculums thinking it’d be the magic fix and I couldn’t have been more wrong. they are a totally different program and not nearly as advanced as horizons. I was rather shocked!!!! it is hard for me to get past the doing the level 1 book into 2nd grace but it is better to absorb it of course than to rush through it without having learned much. how well has this been working for you, to continue level 1 on into the 2nd grade year?

  3. So happy to see someone else using this program for 2 years versus one. It’s so in depth and involved and I love it but there is no way when we sometimes split the longer lessons into 2. I plan to get to where we get and finish next year and then start right into second grade.

  4. Mary Gallagher says:

    What do you ladies use after you have completed Horizon Reading and Phonics and Spelling for 3rd grade ? I love this curriculum but am hesitant to start something that ends in third grade? Thanks for your help!!!

  5. I’m just switching to thksfor my son’s second grade school year. He is a reluctant reader and I knew we needed to try a new approach. I was given the 1st grade set from a kind woman who was done with it and looked at each lesson and realized that there are about 35 lessons we need to do in the first grade book before we can move to second grade. I felt so much guilt for this until I read these reviews. Thank you for easing my mind.

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