Can anyone suggest a good phonics program?

I was looking for a good phonics program to work at home with my son. He knows a ton of sight words, but doesn't seem to have any "word attack" skills. I distinctly remember learning phonics in school and I really feel like it helped me all through out school. Our school district takes a different approach to reading that doesn't include phonics or phonemics or whatever it is people are calling it. I'm sure it is fine... but I feel like supplementing phonics at home could be helpful. I'd love to hear of any books you've found helpful. Something that is easy for non-teachers to use would be great. Thanks! Kay

Guest's picture

I have been a reading tutor. I have worked with children who have learning disabilites or have been taught with methods using many sight words. Check out I have been successful with every student using this phonics based program! Action Reading is AWESOME!

Kay W's picture

Thanks for all of your great suggestions. I checked over many of the programs and finally decided on Phonics Pathways. It cost me about $15 at the bookstore and I've been pleased with it. It is a "no frills" program... but my 6 yo doesn't seem to mind. He's not complained about having to do it and has even asked to do the lessons a few times. We've moved from short vowels, to consonants, to "ck" endings and the like.

I'm really glad we are doing this during our summer break. He took me aside some weeks ago and whispered, "Mom! I have a secret to tell you. I don't really know how to sound out words." I think he was getting tired of reading in front of adults who'd say, "Sound it out!" when he'd get to a word he didn't recognize. He had not learned any "sounding out" skills at school. It felt good to be able to say, "Don't worry, little man... Mom can help you out with this one!" Being able to address my childrens' "kid fears" has been a real joy for me. Makes me happy to be a Mom. I know... I'm rambling!

Keep the suggestions coming, I may invest in software or a more comprehensive program later!


michellepotter's picture

I used 100 EZ Lessons for my son, and he loved it. It is set up so that you pretty much just read the instructions aloud, so it's very easy to teach. Readers graduate very quickly to reading stories on their own. I got mine used for ~$10.

My daughter did NOT like 100 EZ Lessons,though, so I got her Alphaphonics. Alphaphonics seems daunting at first because it's just lists of words and sometimes lists of sentences. There are no stories. The words are arranged into groups by sound, and you basically say, "this letter makes this sound, now you try." There is an abbreviated teachers manual in the back, but it's difficult to flip back and forth. This book does take some getting used to, BUT it works SO MUCH BETTER for a reader who is having a difficult time. I really don't know what the magic is, but it works. I got mine used for ~$15.

prometheus's picture

There's a software program called Discover Intensive Phonics, which (like Lexia) is also pricy, but well worth it. The publisher's website is It is all voice narrated, and it teaches the kids how to sound out words by interacting with the words using special markings. My neighbor's kids absolutely loved the games included in the program.

Snork maiden's picture

I quite like 'Teach Your Child to Read: A Phonetic Reading Primer for Parents and Teachers to Use with Children' by Annis Garfield; it builds up in easy stages and the author has been a trouble shooter in schools so she knows her stuff.

witchiepoo's picture

Saxon Phonics and Spelling, but it is pricey.

I've heard people rave about Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

Andrea's picture

Kay -

Phonics are very important for many kids! Your son may be one of them. It seems like some schools haven't figured that out yet. I bought a compouterized program called Funnix - based on the 100 Lessons that Jo menetioned. I like it a lot - got it on ebay for half price.

heidic's picture


How old is your son?


Jilsyt's picture

I checked this out at our library. Zach is still 2, but knows A-G, and we just did it for fun, no drilling. Here's a link to the publisher's website:

Good luck!

Kay W's picture

years old. I had heard about the Teach your Child to read in 100 Easy Lesons, but I heard that it used the DISTAR system, not phonics. Maybe they are the same afterall?

Thanks for all of the suggestions. I have been checking what I can out from the library. Keep them coming! I was unable to find the Annis Garfield book at the library, but I'll keep looking.

Andrea's picture

Kay, it is very phonics based.

jennye's picture

I used the 100 easy lessons as well. Worked wonderful! With my oldest (who was barely 5 at the time), I didn't get past lesson 15 and she was off and running on her own with it. Didn't devote as much time with my other daughter. she didn't read quite as early as the other one, but she is 6 1/2 now and reads chapter books easily (working on an American Girl book and has read several Junie B. Jones books).

We will see in a year or so if it works on one of my boys as well.

pattychatty's picture

my daughter is using this program for her daughter.gets whatever she needs from ebay

plainandsimple227's picture


If you still need a phonics programme for your little one and he likes computers I recommend Lexia Foundation Reading. It is very well presented, interactive and records progress. It will also flag where he is failing to grasp a lesson. It takes 20 minutes a day to make progress and is easy to set up. I use it with the children I teach, the large majority of whom have not "got" phonics via mainstream teaching. I think the cost of a family package is around £50, which is quite pricey but it will take him through to reading skill on a year 7 level. I hope this helps.

jakls714's picture

I'm currently using a children's book series called the Quirkles.... It's great for phonics and it also introduces science concepts as well. It's a great way to teach phonics and sneak in science at the same time. I think the series is fairly new, I ordered mine off the website, it is the only place I've been able to find them so far... - my kids haven't been able to put them down since they arrived. Along with the phonemic focused stories there are two science experiments in the back of each book which are easy to do and don't require many materials (my kids really love getting to do this part after I read them the stories - it's hands on and they get to make things pop and fizz) - they just got to make there own volcano last night in the Vinnie Volcano book. They are 3 and 5 years old and going around talking about magma, density, and polymers! It is amazing how much we underestimate the minds of our kids.

The illustrations and characters are great, and I must say, have been pretty entertaining for myself as well - definitely worth checking into!

Jim's picture

My wife and I have been using this with the grandkids. It's an entire phonics curriculum: lessons, readers, charts, flashcards -- all for $9.97. It's a download and it makes it possible for you to save the program to your computer and print it as you go.

It's fantastic! It's step by step,easy to understand and thorough! The lessons and readers are in color and it will take your child from 4years old all the way through to a 4th grade reading level.

Here's the webpage we found it at:

What you get for $9.97 is unbelievable! It's a whole curriculum!

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