Yesterday, Sami was working on syllabication. I have my children go through all 8 books of Explode the Code and the 1/2 books as well. In many ways, Autumn is a very easy student to teach. But, some of her strengths lead to weaknesses in me. She needs very little correction on her assignments, especially Explode the Code. It clicks for her. So, I never went over the instruction from the book on all of the syllibication rules.
Sami is a different learner. She is a kinesthetic learner, so although she does well when learning visually and auditorily, what she's learning doesn't click as quickly as it does for Autumn in the Explode the Code books. Sami is at the end of book 4 and I sat down with her to make a chart of the syllabication rules so we could both figure out together how to divide the words at the end of her book. I have to admit that I never memorized the rules of syllabication, though I don't have any difficulty reading. So, I needed learn them with her. I did search online and found this site with the rules on it. I printed them off, combined them on 4 pages, copied them, and put them in Sami's binder for her and I to refer to when we need them.
After going over the rules, I wondered why? Why does she need to learn these rules? Well, there are two schools of thought. 1) Kids don't need to learn them. 2) Kids need to learn them because it makes it easier for them to break down, read, and comprehend longer words. The theory is that this leads to better fluency and reading comprehension.
When my children finish How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, we continue on with Phonics Pathways. I like this second book a lot, because it gives extra practice sounding out syllables that 100 Easy Lessons is just beginning with at the end of that book. My child reads 2 pages aloud to me each day until we've finished the book. If they read more than 1 or 2 words incorrectly on a page, I correct their reading and we repeat those 2 pages the next day.
Explode the Code does an interesting after it introduces syllabication in book 4 (and reinforces it in book 4 1/2), it reinforces it implicitly in the spelling exercises in all the books which follow. For example, in book 6, the word birdbath is split into two parts: bird and bath, which students must then combine to write the complete word. Lantern is split into lan and tern. Students must choose between tern and torn and then write the complete word.
I remember the first time I was given the hand me downs from a former homeschooler of a few Explode the Code books. I thought they looked so boring! The book didn't make sense to me because I had never taught reading from start to finish with one child before and seen the progression of how children develop phonemic awareness and become fluent readers. I think a lot of people pass Explode the Code by like me, because it is black and white--and the pictures look a bit old fashioned. It was first published in 1976! But, in reality, it is an amazing series. It teaches and reinforces spelling, phonics, syllabication, reading comprehension, and the importance of paying attention to details and careful reading. I also let it count for our spelling in first grade. I have my children complete 3 pages a day in kindergarten and first grade and 2 pages a day each year through fourth grade after that.