Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rocket Phonics

Rocket Phonics is AWESOME!!! This is a reading program with "helpers" so kids can become confident readers without guessing. My "reluctant" reader is now asking to read and even picking up the book to re-read the lessons when I can't work with him!

Letters that follow the rules of phonics are in blue, others are in gray and have helpers underneath them, so the child doesn't have to guess when a word doesn't follow the rules.

The readings consist of riddles, games like Simon Says, and silly kid sayings.

I have an 6.5 year old (Tyler) who is reading at about a 1st grade level and an almost 4 year old, (Jeanisha) who has been wanting to learn to read very badly. She has just learned most of her sounds with Letter factory and bingo. We've been playing the bingo game regularly and she loves being the "caller."She has been SO excited as she's been able to read words. The first few times, she would jump up and down and give everyone in the room a high five when she figured it out. It was so much fun to watch. She asks constantly for more reading lessons and walks around the house with a book all day "practicing".

Rocket Phonics includes a supplement with over 20 games just for learning letters, sounds, and beginning blending. The games are fun enough that ALL the kids want to participate, but easy enough that my 8 year old can facilitate and they can keep playing long after school time is done for the day.

Reading for Tyler has been more of a struggle. He has many of the signs of dyslexia, his eyes "burn" after he strains to read (the blue and gray text used in Rocket Phonics seems to be easier). He is a very active, yellow personality---motivated by fun and silliness, but hard to keep focused--boy. We used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and additional books by the same author plus lots of other readers. He does fine when the words follow the rules, but struggles otherwise. He would read with me each day because it was just part of school and he would spend a lot of time looking at books making up his own stories, but didn't initiate reading lessons/practice very often. I introduced this book as a book of reading games. We started with the "new" sounds playing bingo and he enjoyed that.

For the thinking games in Section 1.4, I called them hidden pictures and he liked reading the word and finding it in the picture. The next group had sentences that were either true or false based on the picture. This was great because he couldn't just guess at the words based on the picture. I called these trickers and told him that they had hidden some wrong sentences and it was his job to be a detective and figure out which ones didn't match the picture. He loved this! He thought that was hilarious and that "the people who wrote this book are so silly."
We started section 2.1 which I had told him had jokes and games. And he kept asking to read more! Usually he is asking "how much more do I HAVE to read." Tonight he was saying, "Please, just one more, just one more."

I'm excited to see what the next few weeks bring, but I am extremely pleased so far! I will be posting follow-up reviews as I continue working through this program. The program sells for $160 at and is so much better than other phonics programs I've looked at for a struggling reader or an older reader who needs practice.

PS. If you are local, I'd be happy to meet you and show you the program.

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