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.
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.