A few people have asked me of my opinion of Progressive Phonics. Let me state upfront that this post is not endorsed by Progressive Phonics in any way. I write it, because I really like this comprehensive reading program. I am not saying that every child is ready to learn to read before 3, but my daughter was definitely interested. We did starfall.com since she was under 1 year old, and it’s a wonderful site. But Smarty was getting bored with the same games, and I was looking for something a bit formal. Then I stumbled upon Progressive Phonics and immediately liked what I saw:
1. The program is completely free.
2. There are several starting points. Children that are not very solid on their alphabet yet can start with Alphabet Books. More advanced pre-readers can immediately jump to Phonics books. We started directly with Phonics.
3. I like how this program makes reading a truly joint effort between a parent and a child. Each book has many short stories with fun illustrations on each page. The child is expected to read red words, and the parent reads the rest to make up the full story. As the difficulty level increases, the number of “red words” increases until the child is expected to read the whole story. Smarty is not a big fan of those pages :)
4. Activity packs that come with each book have different things that appeal to different learning styles. There are memory games, handwriting exercises, etc.
5. The program can be used with any age, and you can go as fast or as slow as you want. My daughter just turned 3, and after about 5 months we are in the middle of intermediate section. Specific books can be used to help struggling older readers as well.
Cons: Printing the course consumes a lot of paper, and I don’t like sitting in front of the computer while learning to read. I read somewhere on the site that they plan to offer this program “in the box” for a fee, and in my mind it would be a good investment. The neat thing is that you can really “try this program” before you buy anything.
If you check out Progressive Phonics, please come back and tell me what you think. I hope to see other moms using it with the same success that we had here.