A Peek Inside: Sound Beginnings

in 2GRD, Language Arts, Peek Inside, Phonics/Reading, Sound Beginnings, Spelling

Thank you for visiting Little Schoolhouse in the Suburbs. Please subscribe and you'll get great homeschool tips sent to your inbox for free!

SB Manual


Like Writing Road to Reading, this is one of the more controversial book in the curriculum, if you can really call anything 2GRD “controversial.”  It’s expensive.  It’s strange.  Some of the lessons plans are really uneven.  It is a FIRST GRADE learn-to-read program being used as a 2GRD spelling program…AND it’s a different marking system from what you will use next year. ACK!  But in spite of all that, IT IS STILL FANTASTIC.

1)  If you tried to cobble together another program this complete, you’d lose your mind.  If you use it as written, it’s phonogram drill, spelling instruction, age appropriate grammar, handwriting assignments, dictation, copywork, and a hole-filler for any phonograms the child missed last year.  It doesn’t have daily reading practice assigned until late in the year (remember it thinks your kid is in 1GRD, not 2GRD), and it doesn’t have your cursive lessons (same reason).  That’s it, though.  Find something appropriate for daily reading (I used the $7 1GRD or 2GRD Sonlight guide for daily reading assignments) and do the syllabus handwriting assignments starting mid-year from the syllabus to catch cursive.  (You don’t need to do the ones from the first half, if you do all of the writing in the Sound Beginning assignments.)

2) It’s so clear, that it sets you up to really understand WRTR for 3GRD.  Also, most important to me, it gives very specific scripts for “dictating” phonograms, words, and sentences, something Writing Road to Reading expects you to do a lot of, but has scant instructions.  Going through this program ensures that YOU are prepared for WRTR next year. 

3)  The changes in the marking system for next year aren’t that big of a deal.  After a few days, they’ll have it.  AND, you’ll be glad to have picked up the “y” and “i” and “ing” phonograms, since WRTR is really weird about those.  It will keep you from yelling at that book. 

In the front of the manual are the daily assignments.  Until week 18 of the year, the MODG syllabus follows this in order.  Starting Week 18, there are additional assignments from Harp and Laurel Wreath.


The book is divided into several sections.  The first section is phonics lessons, numbered 1-25.  They are sprinkled throughout the year and do not correspond to week number.  You can see that there is a summary at the top, a list of supplies, and a scripted example of the presentation.  AWESOME.


The middle section of the book is phonogram dictation.  That basically means you call out the sound and they write the phonogram that matches it.  This is also manuscript practice since they are to fill the line with that phonogram when the quiz is done.  There are four of each quiz for every phonogram lesson.  I take this to mean that this program was originally set to work on a five-day schedule.  Since ours is four days, it often straddles weeks.


The third section of the book is spelling lessons.  These are about spelling RULES rather than phonograms.  They do use them eventually, but it’s weeks after the phonogram has been introduced.  Again, it’s scripted. (Hurray) And if you ever wanted to give a spelling quiz without having to do it orally, the worksheets are completely pictorial!  Look at the grid on the right hand page.  The worksheet looks just like that with blanks for the child to fill in instead of words.  Love it.


The last part of the book we use is the sentence dictation.  About halfway or more through the year, the child writes the same simple group of sentences a few days in a row.

In the very back, there are resources for several other scheduled exercises, and a few things we don’t use…an alternative method for contructing a spelling notebook in future years, and a spelling list using the marking system.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole June 24, 2016

I know this is an old post, but I am so torn about this program. It is SO expensive! Do you feel it is worth the cost? Also, how does Emma Serl’s Language Lessons fit in, if you have used it? Thank you for any help you are able to give me! This will be my 2nd year homeschooling and I am bit confused by the many options.


2 admin June 25, 2016

You ONLY need the teacher’s manual. Nothing else. Does that help? SB is both spelling and Language Arts, but next year they divide. Writing Road to Reading is spelling and Emma’s books are the Language Arts.


3 Molly December 7, 2015

So, I know this is an older post, but hopefully this will be relevant for others, which is why I’m commenting (actually questioning/seeking advice).

I am a new-to-homeschooling mom. My curriculum, from the lovely friend who got me homeschooling, is a mishmash MODG/Seton. This is my first time teaching a kid to read (old kids learned by probably some non-phonics method in Catholic schools). I started SB with my third kid, a K-level child. We made it through Lesson 30 beautifully, practically perfectly actually. It’s like magic watching her successfully sound out words.

However we hit Day 31 (Lesson 16, her early nurse works early), and it’s been tough since. Specifically, spelling dictation seems beyond her level. So I guess – delay? But what to do in interim while waiting to start up again? My expertise is minimal, so I’m uncertain where in SB the “basic” phonics instruction ends and more complicated phonics begins.

Any thoughts?


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: