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Anyone have experience with Saxon Phonics??


Mrs. W

Our school recently adopted Saxon phonics and many of us are having a hard time learning to use it successfully. One of our teachers has used it in the past and really loves it. The rest of us are struggling with making it work for us and our kids. One of the main problems I am having is that the kids seem to hate saxon time. I have about 3 students who are already reading on 2nd grade level and they are really bored with it. I am having a lot of discipline problems during the hour it takes to teach the concepts and review. I have tried cutting the time down to 45 min but I am not sure what I should leave out. (What if I skip something that is really useful later on in the year?) I am also concerned about the lack of instructions or explainations on the worksheets and assessments. I feel that this is confusing for parents. If a child does poorly on an assessment, how will a parent know what to help him on?

Does anyone have any tips on how they make Saxon phonics work in their classroom? Thanks for any help!


Senior Member

I taught saxon phonics for several years and while at times it was boring it is very effective. Personally, I cut out a lot of stuff and just retty much taught the new learning. About once a week we did the sound worksheet rather than every day. I did the sound cards at least 3 times per week. After the new learing I wrote the words that are on the worksheet on the board while they tried to code them on their own. Then we did it together. I know this make it sound choppy and someone that loves saxon is probably cursing me for not doing it by the scripted form. But, I like you could not stand to look out and see their eyes glazed over any longer. My lessons were about 20 minutes. I just had too much more to teach to devotte all that time to it. This is my first year without SAxon. I have to admit that after 6 years I am glad to be done with it, but I still rely on the format used to introduce sounds (repeat these words after me....)


Full Member
Saxon is effective for certain students

If you have ESL students, low-level learners or inexperienced readers, Saxon is a great tool for them. Although many loathe the scripted teaching and doing each lesson in its entirety can be monotonous, I use Saxon for Whole-Group instruction. I like how each phoneme is taught in isolation, because it gives students practice reading and writing the words, which is necessary for fluency. I also like how I can integrate Saxon with other Language Arts curriculums, such as SRA/Open Court (which I absolutely loathe), and Hampton-Brown Avenues (which has great reading, comprehension, and writing activities). In fact, I find that Saxon and SRA follow the same sequence when introducing letters/sounds. It's great practice for my students.

When doing Saxon, I only do the Worksheet and Boardwork activities. You can get it done a lot faster. Then, I ask the students to flip over their worksheets to discuss their homework. I will begin each lesson on the floor with the Boardwork activity to give them a focus for the day's lesson, then students return to their desks for the review portion on the worksheet. The last portion of each worksheet is guided practice. The homework is to be done independently.

It's a joy when my students are reading and I hear them say "Oh! There's suffix -s!" or "there's the k, c, and -ck rule!" They can code, read, and that's a good foundation to build upon. Once they can code, blend, and read, I can work in small groups on fine-tuning (i.e., using diffrentiated instruction to increase fluency, vocabulary and comprehension).


New Member
Saxon Phonics

This is my 4th year teaching Saxon Phonics to 1st graders. I thought I was going to hate it & it was over whelming at first. But you have to make it your own. You have to think of ways to make it fun. My class always looks forward to Phonics. After the first few weeks, I don't do the beginning stuff anymore. We do it on the overhead. We take turns coding the words. Sometimes I give boys - odd numbers / girls - even numbers, etc..
As we go down the list of sounds as it gets harder & harder - I make
this a little fun contest - take a deep breath, this is the long one, I don't think anyone really remembers all the sound that go "K". Of course everyone wants to be the one that remembers.
Also we use the 3 new words usually #14,15,& 16 as a mini spelling test. We use our letter tiles for making words and then when we get to the spelling test, everyone covers up their papers with their hand and we do them like a test. They get a small treat for each one that is correct.( I use skittles, m&m's, pretzels, gold fish, gummy bears, teddy grahams, stickers, stamps, etc.. parents take turn sendin them in) We say you get what you get and you don't throw a fit. Everyone knows that if you don't like that particular candy you just say "No thank-you".
We also do little things when we get something right or learn a new sound. Their favorite is to stand on their chair and do a "silent scream".
We do the homework side in class, usually independantly - they bring it to the table with me. I check it quickly, they have to go back and correct. They also have to read all the words in the dotted box to me for one piece of candy.
We just try to move around alot, use silly voices and of course eat. It usually takes us about 35-45 minutes depending on the lesson.
On Bingo days we don't do the first 10 sounds - we get to x them out.
Sometimes we x them out on other days too. We use "smarties" for their bingo markers because they are a "Smartie" when it comes to Phonics.
Those are just a few of the things I do to keep it interesting.