Curriculum Review: Rod and Staff Reading Program, Grades 1 – 4
Review by Dawnita F.
We have used Rod & Staff Reading since the beginning of our homeschooling journey. At first, it was simply the easiest choice. There was little available in the mid 1990’s and we borrowed from another homeschooling family. We have always loved the fact they teach Bible through fourth grade. The stories are simple and Biblicaly correct. The curriculum is Mennonite, so the pictures are sweet black and white drawings. We giggle at the concept of Adam and Eve in little Amish looking outfits, but it is modest and sweet. There are a few brief mentions of Sunday as the Sabbath and day of rest. These are easily edited and give great opportunities to discuss the differences in churches and the origin of Sunday worship.
The first year workbooks are a lot of fun. There are three workbooks; phonics, reading workbook, and worksheets with fun cut and paste projects. The phonics lessons are sound, simple, and easy to understand. They begin going through the alphabet, sound by sound, beginning with vowels then work through blends and beyond. The reading workbooks implement vocabulary, spelling, and reading comprehension. The children also learn their colors and begin learning to recognize similarities, differences, and sorting. The worksheets provide activities that can be displayed or shared with grandparents that help reinforce the Bible stories they are learning.
The second year workbooks make a big jump in demand in time, work, and attention. We’ve only had two of our six children that did well with them. Even then, we did a lot of it orally so as not to be spending too much time in seat-work. Since I do have the teacher’s books, I sometimes will go through and look at what they would be doing if we had the workbooks and implement some of the questions in our discussion or ideas into our notebook time. By the third year, we would rather our children be copying straight out of the Bible and looking up words directly from the dictionary.
All in all, we have used Rod & Staff reading books 1st through 4th grade with all six of our children. We do take breaks between books for Frog & Toad or little nature readers. It’s a nice feeling to know our children are “reading through the Bible” each year as they are learning to read and becoming more literate. By the time they finish the fourth grade book, they are prepared to read directly from the Bible with good comprehension and to read library books.
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