Will Hooked on Phonics Work for You?
When I noticed my first grader was developing a negative attitude about reading an alarm went off in my head warning me his attitude may be based less on behavior and more on the difficulty he was having reading as things were quickly progressing in school. I am a special education teacher and a certified literacy specialist so as soon as I suspected there was an issue I jumped into action, staying up late reviewing all my text books, my Wilson’s Reading Program guide and every essay I had written during my Master’s program. My husband simply went to Amazon.com and ordered Hooked on Phonics.
At first I was offended thinking why would I need such a program, I was perfectly capable of helping my own child read. But then my husband pointed out he had just saved me hours of time creating supplemental materials including index cards, games, and finding the appropriate books for his instructional level. As much as it pained me to admit it, he was right.
The Hooked on Phonics program has proven to be a great supplement to my son’s reading program and it means I can spend more time helping him become a better reader and less time researching and creating materials.
The program fits perfectly with his needs which are to master the short vowel sounds and become more proficient at decoding words. Thanks to Hooked on Phonics I am able to help my son build more confidence in reading, target the sounds that are difficult for him, keep track of his progress, and best of all he actually enjoys using the program which makes life a lot easier for all of us.
Hooked On Phonics: What You Need To Know
“Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Programs are based on research, approved by the Children s Reading Foundation and designed in conjunction with leading educators, renowned authors and most important, parents.”(Amazon.com)
These reading programs are designed for children ages 3-8 as a supplemental program to help your child learn to read. The program is intended for children who are on grade level but are very useful for young children who may need extra help learning the fundamentals of reading.
If your child has fallen below his grade level, do not start with what your child needs to learn but rather enforce what your child all ready knows.
We ordered both the Kindergarten and First Grade programs thinking it would be a great program for both my pre-k daughter and my first grade son. The company is in the middle of changing the ‘Learn to Read’ program titles so they no longer are grouped by grade level but instead are grouped by skill level including All About Letters, Word Families, Beginning Phonics, and Intermediate Phonics.
I think this is a change in the right direction. When students enter Kindergarten they are coming from all kinds of educational experiences. Some have been in full day pre-K programs while others only attended school twice a week for a few hours, and others were homeschooled. It takes time for a child’s true academic skills to develop which is why up until about third grade there is a wide range of acceptable abilities within the classroom. Re-naming their reading program based on level rather than grade may make it less defeating for a child who may be in first grade but needs to begin with a more basic program.
Basing the program on skills rather than grade may help parents feel comfortable going back a level as well. It is crucial a child regain confidence in an area that has caused him to struggle. I started with the ‘word families’ level with my son because he needed to read at a level that was easy for him in order to no longer ‘hate’ reading. Plus it gives us a great foundation to build on and the opportunity to be sure he has mastered all of the basic reading skills needed to move forward. If ordering this program please do not be afraid to go back to the beginning. If you begin your child based on grade level and not skill level you may not be starting at the right point which will only cause frustration for you and your child.
Hooked On Phonics: The Lessons
Each lesson is designed to take 20 minutes or less. The lessons can be broken down if you are limited in time one day or just want to do a quick review. It is a very easy to follow program that does not require a lot of time to learn before using it with your child.
Every lesson starts with watching a DVD video where new sounds and letters are introduced. After the video you and your child will use the workbook to learn and practice the new sounds and words introduced in the video. At the end of each unit there is a story to read that uses the words and sounds your child has just learned. Along with the story are some comprehension questions you can discuss with your child.
The lessons build upon previous ones and includes a few sight words. There is no need to go back and review sounds since they are incorporated into the new lessons.
I have been able to use these lessons in conjunction with other reading strategies. My son is not as interested in the video portion which we skip for now since the sounds and words we are working on are for reviewing purposes. Once we reach his instructional level I will incorporate the videos into his instruction. For now we use the workbook and the provided stories. At the end of each unit I add a writing activity where I dictate five sentences that use the sounds and words from the lesson. Writing and reading go hand and hand and in my opinion the one thing missing from this program is the writing component but it is very easy to create your own.
Hooked On Phonics: Cost
We ordered the complete kindergarten and complete first grade sets (soon to be labeled levels 3-6) from Amazon.com using our Prime membership. The total cost for both sets was $113.33. The Hooked on Phonics website offers other options to buy, including a complete set of all the levels for $219.96 or the Kindergarten through 2nd grade (soon to be labeled levels 3-8) for $179.95.
The sets include workbooks, additional story books, the DVD’s and access to online materials including games, printables, additional videos, and songs. You can also access additional reading recommendations for your child’s level.
Hooked on Phonics is very easy to use and does not require a big time commitment. The lessons move along quickly and teach using different strategies, a great feature considering some strategies work better than others depending on the child. I like that the lessons are easily modified and broken down and the materials can be used to create your own program. If you are concerned about your early or emergent reader’s skills or you just want to provide additional instruction at home to help your child maintain her skills (especially during the summer), then I recommend trying Hooked on Phonics.
I bought Hooked on Phonics to help my children become better readers. I was not paid to write this review and I did not receive any discounts or free products from the company. I will not receive any compensation or future discounts if anyone reads this review and decides to purchase the product.