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Literature based Curriculum: Where to start with Sonlight or choose a reading list

So Sonlight’s Literature-based curricula provide an excellent resource for reading material, whether grade level reading or read-alouds for the whole family.Number 3

When we were starting out, Sonlight was a great fit for my little family.  Aaron was around 5 years, and Emily was 2 years.  We did read-alouds every night before bed.  In addition, Aaron was picking up reading like the genius he is. (Only a mom-brag.  Just ignore me.)  When we started, we used an old Sonlight schedule for a One-Year Intro to World History, now called Core B+C.  In order to get all the books, my lists are divided by the individual Core lists.  You can see my Intro to World History Part 1 list here.

So what I wanted to discuss, is the change in the grade level of the Sonlight reading.  So originally, the Intro to World Cultures (Core A) was Kinder, and is now listed for 1st Grade.  World History Part 1 (Core B) was 1st grade, and is now listed as 2nd grade.

SSRWIn addition, they have changed the reading level of their suggested reading books.  I have to say, I’m not a fan (just a personal opinion.)  As a pre-kinder and Kinder, we used Sing, Spell, Read, and Write.  Amazon’s prices are outrageous, so I recommend buying the Kinder/Level 1 Combo Kit from either or  Aaron was reading their 1st Grade list in Kinder, and then we moved through the Sonlight 2nd grade reading levels (regular, advanced, beginning chapter books, and longer chapter books).  These have been swapped across the 2nd and 3rd grade lists over the years.  I’ll have a future post about those reading books in the near future.

Teaching phonics will be another post entirely.  Teaching phonics completely relies on the student.  In my opinion, each child is so vastly different, I always recommend changing curricula from student to student.  SSRW did not work for my daughter, or as well as it had for my son.  My own stubbornness and determination did not make for a happy learning experience for my daughter.  So don’t be afraid to try something different.

So with all that in mind, without making an entirely new chart on books and their past grade levels, I’m including my personal preference for completing the reading material within Sonlight.  If you’re not sure where to start, send me an e-mail, and I will be happy to help!

  1. Kinder          Intro to World Cultures
  2. 1st Grade     Intro to World History Part 1
  3. 2nd Grade   Intro to World History Part 2
  4. 3rd Grade    Intro to American History Part 1
  5. 4th Grade    Intro to American History Part 2

There are so many great books, but if you feel you cannot spend 2 years on World History, I recommend using one of the One-Year combinations.

  1. Kinder         NEW Exploring American History
  2. 1st Grade    Intro to World Cultures
  3. 2nd Grade  One-Year Intro to World History

I have not researched the entire New Exploring American History.  However, many of the read-alouds have been on the World Cultures list.  All great books, highly recommend.  As the list is brand new for 2020, I have not reviewed all the books.  If you choose to do this new study, please let me know what you think!  I would love to hear from you!

Lastly, Sonlight’s literature-based curricula contain plethora of books.  Don’t be afraid to make your own list.  I always recommend doing what is right for your family.  And during these times, if you just want to spend more time reading books, or supplement your child’s history lessons, you can choose from any number of books.  If you need help, please contact me!  I would be happy to help!

Thanks so much for your time!




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Literature-based Curriculum: Sonlight Intro to World History Part 1

So, I have to confess, as a homeschool bookstore manager, I’ve become familiar with many of the homeschool curriculum titles.  I wish I could say ALL, but let’s be honest, there are so many new offerings every year, it’s impossible to keep up!  Regardless of the offerings, my favorite type is literature-based curricula, and the books they group together to make thorough, well rounded educational experiences.

In 2006, when we first started out, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a homeschooler.  However, we had a love of read aloud time at the end of the day.  We had been reading books with my son since he was 6 months old.  Every night.  Even on vacation.  Even when camping.  We always had books to read with us.  We fell, quite naturally, into Sonlight Intro to World History (now called Core B).

I’d like to share with you the books we read and enjoyed (the list is from 2002, but very similar), and demonstrate how the list has changed over the years. 

*An interesting observation about the old lists: the readers list, and the advanced readers list were included in the same schedule (2002).  That was great when combining multiple ages.  Also, the intended grade levels of the reading lists changed over the years. They are no longer included, the reader schedule must be purchased separately for each grade level.

If you see a book you’d like to comment on, please click the link, and give the book a review.  I would love to read your comments.

Thanks for reading!


The following tables are best viewed in tablet or desktop form.

Bible and History

Unless otherwise stated, book list is derived from the 5-Day list.

Leading Little Ones to GodYYYY
Sing the Word: A New Commandment CD YYY
Usborne Peoples of the WorldYY  
Missionary Stories with the MillersYY  
From Akebu to ZapotecYY  
Usborne Houses and HomesYY  
Archaeologists Dig for CluesYYY Y
Usborne World History (original) (revised)YYYY
A Child’s History of the WorldYYYY
Tut’s Mummy: Lost…and FoundYYYY
Usborne Time TravelerYYYY
Greek NewsYY  
The Great Wall of ChinaYYY Y
George Muller (Christian Heroes)YYYY
Roman Diary Y  
Around the World with Kate and Mack  YY
Catching Their Talk in a Box  YY
Wonderful Houses around the World  Y Y

Read Alouds

Read Alouds2002201220162020
Favorite Poems of ChildhoodYY  
Charlotte’s WebYYYY
“Mother Goose Rhymes” Y  
Homer PriceYYYY
Owls in the Family YYY
Mr. Popper’s PenguinsYYY Y
Mountain BornYYY Y
It Could Always Be Worse Y  
Henry HugginsYYYY
Understood BetsyYYYY
Greek Myths (original) (updated)YYYY
The Year of Miss AgnesYYYY
Gooney Bird Greene YYY
Follow My LeaderY   
Mrs. Piggle-WiggleYY  
Little PearYYYY
The Wheel on the SchoolYY  
Detectives in TogasYYYY
Case of the Gasping Garbage Y  
Babe the Gallant Pig  Y Y
Happy Times in Noisy Village  YY
Kildee House  Y Y
NG Book of Animal Poetry  YY
The Year of the Baby  YY


ReadersLA 1Grade 1Grade 1
I Can Read It!YYYY
The Best Trick YetYYYY
Green Eggs and HamYYYY
Little BearYYY Y
Put Me in the ZooYYYY
The Cat in the HatYYYY
One Fish, Two Fish, Red FishYYYY
A Big Ball of StringYYYY
The Bravest Dog Ever: Story of BaltoYYY Y
A Fly Went By YYY
Advanced ReadersGrade 2Grade 2
The Beginner’s BibleY Y Y
SurprisesY Y  Y
Pompeii: Buried AliveY Y Y
Owl at HomeY Y Y
Frog and Toad are FriendsY Y Y
Mouse TalesY Y Y
Greg’s MicroscopeY Y Y
Hill of FireY Y  Y
Frog and Toad All YearY Y Y
Daniel’s DuckY Y  Y
Amelia BedeliaY Y Y
Nate the GreatY Y Y
Frog and Toad TogetherY Y Y
The Big Balloon RaceY Y  Y
The Fire CatY Y  Y
The Sword in the TreeY Y  Y
Wagons WheelsY Y  Y
Titanic: Lost and FoundY Y Y