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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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Here's a list of FREE homeschool resources that will come in handy. | Homeschool ResourcesThere are so many resources today that make teaching your kiddos very easy and cheap.  While there are great books that you can buy, many of us don’t have unlimited budgets to handle every book and gadget.  For all of you that are homeschooling or supplementing and helping your children in weak areas after school, I thought we would start to cover some of the best free teaching resources.  It’s always best to start at the beginning, so today we’ll cover tools to help teach reading.One personal note before we start this series: As any parent already knows, every child is different and some will pick things up faster than others or need more encouragement.  My twins basically taught themselves to read, my now 5 year old is happy and content to be read to.  Let them be themselves and try hard to meet their needs individually.

Free Reading Resources

Clifford Interactive Story Books -These interactive online books and games from Scholastic make reading exciting and fun. Who can resist a big red dog? There are English and Spanish options, making these books great for kids being raise in a bilingual home or who are learning English as a second language.

Colorin Colorado – This resource is great for children whose first language is Spanish and are just learning to read and write in English. There are guides for parents and teachers as well as an ELL starter kit which will give you an idea of what level to start teaching your child.

Starfall – This is a great place to find animated books about silly characters that your child will love to read along with. There are also coordinating games that test the skills being learned by reading each book. Their “word machine” has been a favorite among all of my girls.  Note: They have a paid membership part of the site, but it is not necessary with all of the great free content they offer.

Reading Bear – This site is a great resource for teaching your child to read using phonetic patterns found in English. The digital books are designed to help your child learn to how to sound out each word. Once I get my little one started on one of the Reading Bear word games she has so much fun she doesn’t even realize she is learning.  My 5 year old can work the site on her own and it shows me her progress when she is done.

Owl & Mouse – From ABC’s to learning the 100 most commonly used English words, this site is filled with printables, craft ideas, games and videos.

Between the Lions & Super Why!- This site allows your child to interact with characters from the popular PBS television shows Between the Lions and Super Why!. There are videos, games and stories that will keep them entertained and learning all at the same time!

Reading Is Fun – This is a great place for your big kids to do some reading! Once you open up one of the books they can easily click through and read at their own pace. There is also a game station and an activity lab where you can illustrate a story.

Other Resources

Though they may not be free, these are also some of my favorite teaching reading resources. Keep in mind you can always go to your local public library and check them out for free!

Bob Readers – These books are great for beginners, with a focus on particular sounds.  I love that the pictures are basic so that the new reader isn’t pretend reading from the pictures, but instead has to look at the words.

The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading – I’ve used this with all of my girls.  It is very simple with 100 lessons that each take maybe 10 minutes.  This was actually my first attempt at homeschooling and helped me realize just how easy it is!  This guide is great for all parents,  whether they are homeschooling their children or not.

Personal Tips

There are a few things that I’ve done that have worked great with our girls.  If you already have these around the house then it’s a perfect free activity!

  • Use Scrabble and Bananagram pieces to let them build their own words.  Pick out the consonants and vowels that you are working on that day so that they don’t have too many options in front of them (this helps them be more successful at building correct words and decreases frustration).
  • Buy a pack of index cards at the store to make your own sight words flash cards.  They cost 50¢ on sale versus paying a lot more for pre-printed cards.
  • In the summer grab the chalk and make words on the driveway!  We do school outside as often as possible.
  • Grab 2 sheets of printer paper, fold in half and let them make their own “book”.  Help them write the text and then let them color the pictures.


    • jessica

      the $ spot at target in july and aug is always AWESOME:)

    • R.Carman

      This post is awesome.. homeschooling 5 kids you are always looking for inexpensive helpful tools! Thanks!

    • Karen

      My daughter needs extra help with Reading. Thank you so much, Jenny.

      • Glad this post was so timely for your little one!

    • JJ

      Anyone have a suggestion for some good reading apps? I have 2 kindergarteners who are on the verge of taking off in reading. And they love any kind of app.

    • Holly

      As a homeschool mom, I appreciate this post for our families with youngsters just beginning to read. I’ll share a funny story from my own experience. When my son was about 2 1/2, he would sit and read his little chunky books out loud and I was so thrilled that my baby was READING! That is until I realized he had memorized everything I said for each page and was looking at the pictures and repeating exactly what had been read to him. I got a laugh at myself for that one. Reading to him from infancy helped to establish a love of reading that is still applicable today with my teenager who is very active and loves the outdoors, but never turns his nose up at the opportunity to read. Teach them to love books at a young age and you’ll never have to make them read.

    • danabird22

      Education.com is a great resource for worksheets for any subject, including reading. You have to register to print, but it’s free.

      • Anna

        Speaking of education.com, there is a homeschool page on facebook that is giving away a one-year subscription to the paid version of education.com. You can enter to win here: http://www.facebook.com/TheHelpfulHomeschool and checking out the pinned post on their wall. I love education.com! :)

    • shoney

      I have four boys. My oldest reads fairly well. My middle 2 boys are struggling with reading. My youngest is too young. I do not home school. My boys are in public school and the middle two are in resource for reading. I try to help them at home but it’s a struggle. Does anyone have suggestions for helping wiggly little boys who don’t want to sit still to read?

      • Toni Woodbury

        Not every child is ready to read at the same age as others, even though they will catch up in their own time and at their own pace. This is natural and normal. Age-segregated schools are harmful to children’s development by using a cookie-cutter approach. Some children are held back and others are left behind. It is hard for wiggly little boys who have been in school all day to come home and do more school. It is also hard for them when they aren’t quite ready for something at school because they then get left behind in the dust and the teachers go on to more difficult things before your child has the rudimentary ones down. That can set the child up for continued failure. I would homeschool, but in the meantime while you are preparing to do that, get something that has quick 10 minute lessons like one of the recommended products above and keep it light and positive.

      • Guest

        My brother was like that, its hard for active boys and he did read later than I did but the best thing was to let him play outside as soon as he got home from school and get some of that energy out, then he’d come in for dinner and so once he got energy out and was full and happy, then it was a little easier to hold his attention, but he had a time limit so we’d work with him for short spans at a time and always try to end the lesson on a good note. He did learn to read and he’s very smart but definitely better at math and hands on activities. Now that he’s grown up he’s had jobs as an activities coordinator for a kids camp, a mechanic, and a contractor. All jobs that keep him constantly busy.

    • Xio

      I do not have small children. Mine is in 5th grade, however, I appreciate this series. I know you’ll get to my kid’s level soon. Thanks for doing this.

    • CJ

      Thanks! I just bookmarked the sites so I can go back to them with my son. I look forward to more of these posts!

    • Sarah

      As a first grade teacher I have to take the chance to tell you NOT to teach your child to read by sounding out words!!!!! Teach them to read for meaning and use their picture clues. For example if you only teach them to sound out…..think what will happen when they come to words like “watch, light, what, could, etc” These words would never be read by sounding them out. So beware of any website that focuses solely on phonics or sounding out! It is a very hard habit to break once they enter school and all my struggling readers in my class are struggling bc someone in their life told them to sound out words when reading. Just thought I would share with all of you!

      • Toni Woodbury

        There definitely is debate about these kinds of things. If you teach phonics rules, then the child will have no trouble sounding out words like “watch, light, what, could,etc.,” according to the phonics rules. With either the help of pictures on the page or else simply with Mom’s help, they generally learn quickly to determine correctly for themselves the right way to pronounce such words. They simply pause and mentally or verbally run through the couple of possible ways to pronounce such a combinatinon of letters (according to the phonics rules they have learned to apply), and then choose the way which makes sense–the pronounciation which makes a real word. They don’t need pictures if they have mom right there to help, and that way they won’t rely on the pictures as a crutch, but rather will use the phonics rules. The problem comes when the child is taught to sound out words but is not taught all of the phonics rules including the various ways some combinations of letters can be pronounced.

    • Laurie

      Sarah – I can appreciate you being a teacher and all…..however one day those children won’t be reading picture books to determine what the writer is conveying. I am a strong believer in teaching phonics….HOWEVER….spelling must be just as important. One without the other is of no value.