(Original) Open Court - Phonics Program

Open Court - Letters and Sounds of the Alphabet

The Wall Sound Cards were hung around the room for students to see at all times; all the sound cards were presented in a sequential manner, starting with the long vowels and major consonants (this was the Blue Book), and going on with short vowels and other consonants and digraphs (this was the Gold Book).

An excellent Analysis (by Don Potter) of the Open Court (Headway Program of the 70's and 80's) is found -- along with the sounds associated with each lesson in the Blue Book and Gold Book -- at Don Potter's webpage: Analysis of the Open Court: Headway Program
A link to Don Potter's "From Sounds to Letters" (based on the principles of Open Court phonics program):
From Sounds to Letters by Don Potter

The Story of Millie and the Cowboy from the Open Court Foundation Program was used as an introduction to each new sound-letter lesson. The students were able to associate a very interesting story with each new letter/sound. Activities were organized to supplement the story and to reinforce the sound-letter association.

Millie and the Cowboy

Millie & the Cowboy story - Phonics Record (with Videos)

Story of Millie and the Cowboy (Script & Videos)

Open Court - Headway Program (Blue Book) -- Entire workbook

Blue Book videos, produced by Teacher Wigowsky

Open Court - Headway Program (Blue Book) -- Thumbnail view of contents
The Blue Book was the workbook used to introduce the students to the basic sounds/letters of the English language. A story about Millie and the Cowboy was told to introduce each lesson; a corresponding wall sound card was used to emphasize the sound/letter (with a picture or image of something that made that sound). The principle of associating a picture with a sound/letter was basic to the program. The picture helped solidify the sound/letter in the "mind's eye" of the student. Thus, audio-visual (and tactile) techniques were used to teach the basics of the language. The student would trace and write the letters in the workbook, sounding out the letter as he/she wrote the letter. Dictation was given afterwards by the teacher to test the student's skill in remembering the letter/sound association.

Handwriting Chart used to practice writing letters and making strokes in sequential order

Open Court - Headway Program (Gold Book)

Open Court - Headway Program (Gold Book) -- table of contents
The Gold Book is a vast "Treasure-house" of Aesop's Fables, which are geared towards teaching lessons of life to little children. Each lesson introduces a new sound, allows the student to practice simple words with that sound, and provides multiple-choice comprehension sentences based on an Aesop's Fable.

Gold Book - Word Lists
Gold Book Word Lists were used after every four lessons had been learned (i.e. Les. 25-28, 29-32, 33-36, etc.). It was a method of checking to see if the student had learned how to decode the sounds and words presented in the four lessons.

Gold Book Worksheets (Les. 25 - Les. 53)
These worksheets were teacher-created (by me) for beginning students (remedial, and developmentally-appropriate students). It was a basic method to teach comprehension. More advanced worksheets were provided by the Open Court program.

Gold Book Fables - Listen & Read with the Teacher
These recordings were done by Teacher Paul J. Wigowsky for the benefit of students learning to read the fables from the Gold Book. This is a technique that is beneficial for students: listen to the teacher read the story first, then read along with the teacher at a slower pace. Afterwards, the student is encouraged to read the story on his/her own.

Gold Book Videos, produced by Teacher Paul J. Wigowsky

Gold Book - Bilingual (Spanish/English) stories (recordings)
These bilingual (Spanish/English) recordings of the Gold Book (Aesop's Fables) stories were done by Teacher Sarah Prasoloff for the benefit of Spanish (ESL, English as Second Language) students. The teacher reads the story in Spanish so the students can comprehend what the story is about, then she reads it in English, and afterwards the students read the story along with the teacher (at a slow pace).

Open Court Correlated Language Arts Program, Teacher's Guide to the Foundation Program

Open Court Correlated Language Arts Program, Teacher's Guide to the Foundation Program

Sessions - pages missing

The Open Court Correlated Language Arts Program has three main purposes: (1) to teach children to read and write independently by the end of first grade, (2) to provide selections of literary quality and rewarding content, and (3) to provide a meaningful correlation of all the language arts.
This program lays the foundation for independent reading by a sequential introduction to all the main sounds of the English language. Blending skills are also taught in a systematic way. In both reading and writing, the progression in each lesson is from sound to word to sentence.
The vocabulary in the two basic Reader-Workbooks (Learning to Read and Write/Blue Book, Reading and Writing/Gold Book) and in the 22 supplementary Storybooks is consistently phonetic so that the children can routinely sound out words they do not recognize.

Storybooks from the Headway Program - to be used as supplementary reading with Blue Book and Gold Book lessons


Reading Is Fun (Part 1)
Reading Is Fun (Part 2)

Wonderland (Part 1)
Wonderland (Part 2)

Our Country (Part 1)
Our Country (Part 2)

Magic World (Part 1)
Magic World (Part 2)
Magic World (Part 3)

World Trip (Part 1)
World Trip (Part 2)
World Trip (Part 3)

Part 1........ Part 2
Part 3........ Part 4
Part 5...... Part 6...... Part 7

[Note: When I became a teacher in 1976, I was taught to use the Open Court phonics program in the elementary (1-3) grades. I learned that I could even teach my 4-year-old child to learn how to read and write using the Open Court phonics system. Open Court had the excellent teaching tools of the phonics system: the sound cards, the Millie & the Cowboy story, the worksheets, the Blue Book and Gold Book -- all were interconnected to teach a child to read and write by the end of the first grade.
Therefore, I as a teacher present what I have preserved of the Open Court phonics program as an educational resource for teachers and parents who cannot find the same program anywhere else. From what I have learned, Open Court no longer offers the same phonics program anymore; it presently publishes a totally new program which is not as good -- in my professional opinion. The material presented is for educational purposes only. I will try to add more materials as I work on this expansive project to preserve one of the "Great Treasures of the Phonics Method of Learning."]

[Note: I received an encouraging letter from parents who were using the Open Court Foundation Program with their children. Here is the testimonial that encourages other parents to teach their children/students to read using the great phonics program:
Testimonial in support of the Open Court Foundation Program
Another Testimonial in support of the Open Court Foundation Program