Sifting through the various educational options can be confusing as parents try to find the best fit for their child and budget. Time4Learning shares Hooked On Phonics® belief in the importance of engaging children and the significance of phonics. Many families like Time4Learning’s convenience, appeal to the children, and educational effectiveness. Time4Learning’s approach integrates phonics into a broad language arts (and math) curriculum. Parents can decide how much of the extensive program to use since Time4Learning is student-paced.
The result is that English spelling patterns vary considerably in the degree to which they follow rules. For example, the letters ee almost always represent /iː/, but the sound can also be represented by the letters i and y. Similarly, the letter cluster ough represents /ʌf/ as in enough, /oʊ/ as in though, /uː/ as in through, /ɒf/ as in cough, /aʊ/ as in bough, /ɔː/ as in bought, and /ʌp/ as in hiccough, while in slough and lough, the pronunciation varies.
Some educators feel there are words that do not follow these phonics rules, such as were, who, and you.[12] They are often called "sight words" because they are memorized by sight with the whole language approach. These words should not be placed on a Word Wall to avoid confusion for a student learning beginning sounds. However, teachers of Synthetic phonics believe that most words are decodable and do not need to be memorized. For example, they point out that the word "were" is decodable because it contains two sounds, /w/-/er/. It is only necessary for the student to learn the various ways of spelling the sounds.[13]
HOP helped my son so much!! The leg up it gave him in school was indescribable!! I was a poor reader and hated to be called on in class but he excelled in reading and comprehension!! He was able to bypass all the pitfalls I fell in... self doubt, embarrassment, dread... that I suffered thru!! It's pricey, it was back then too, but I would do it again if I had the chance!! In a heartbeat!! I want my grandchildren to excell!! I will do whatever I have to to insure that they have the leg up that I so wish I had had all those years ago!!
Let’s back up and talk about terminology. A sight word actually refers to any word that can be read by sight. Differentiation is a sight word for us—we recognize it essentially instantly when we see it. What many teachers call sight words are actually high-frequency words. Because a small number of high-frequency words have less regular patterns (e.g., was, the), some people call all high-frequency words sight words and think that they must be learned visually and holistically by sight.
The step-by-step approach, with reviews built in via songs and ebooks, is very effective for teaching reading. Teachers will appreciate the mix of phonics and sight words, and kids will enjoy the variety of delivery -- songs, games, and books -- and the predictability of how each step advances. Though $8.99 per month (or $49.99 for a lifetime subscription) might seem expensive, teachers get a step-by-step curriculum for an entire class of students, which can be reset every year and reused for a new class of students. Differentiation is easy as well, as teachers can unlock all content for students who can already read, allowing them to review at their own pace. Kids can also practice writing using the words in the writing section.
Once they’ve learned to read words with the most common letter-sound combinations, in year or primary 1 children move on to learn lots alternative combinations. They practise reading increasingly complex words. By the time they finish their first year, most children will be well on the way to reading pretty much any familiar word in English! In their second year, children develop their skills still further, practising using phonics to read and spell words that are less familiar and more challenging.
Short vowels are the five single letter vowels, a, e, i, o, and u, when they produce the sounds /æ/ as in cat, /ɛ/ as in bet, /ɪ/ as in sit, /ɒ/ or /ɑ/ as in hot, and /ʌ/ as in cup. The term "short vowel" is historical, and meant that at one time (in Middle English) these vowels were pronounced for a particularly short period of time; currently, it means just that they are not diphthongs like the long vowels.
abc PocketPhonics app covers all the sounds and children have the opportunity to practise blending and segmenting to read and write words. It teaches students the sounds of different letters and basic words. This app uses the Phonics method (phoneme-centered approach), as taught in UK schools, to develop reading skills. It also closely matches the order in which schools will usually teach the different sounds, as defined in the National Curriculum. 

I bought this for my GrandPrincess who will be turning 2 in 18 days!! She's brilliant!! She can count past 10 and knows her ABC's all the way thru!! She can sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and pretty much tell you anything you want to know!! I started my son on HOP when he turned 3 but I believe my Granddaughter is so ready for This program NOW!! Like I said... she's brilliant!!
Short vowels are the five single letter vowels, a, e, i, o, and u, when they produce the sounds /æ/ as in cat, /ɛ/ as in bet, /ɪ/ as in sit, /ɒ/ or /ɑ/ as in hot, and /ʌ/ as in cup. The term "short vowel" is historical, and meant that at one time (in Middle English) these vowels were pronounced for a particularly short period of time; currently, it means just that they are not diphthongs like the long vowels.

In 1984, the National Academy of Education commissioned a report on the status of research and instructional practices in reading education, Becoming a Nation of Readers.[20] Among other results, the report includes the finding that phonics instruction improves children's ability to identify words. It reports that useful phonics strategies include teaching children the sounds of letters in isolation and in words, and teaching them to blend the sounds of letters together to produce approximate pronunciations of words. It also states that phonics instruction should occur in conjunction with opportunities to identify words in meaningful sentences and stories.
Phonics instruction must be informed by our ongoing observation and assessment of children’s phonics knowledge and word-reading skills. We should respond when we notice that a child is confused, is insecure with a particular skill, or has had a major breakthrough. If we are not responsive to our students, some students are likely to be left behind in their word-reading development.
Simply put, phonics is the connection between graphemes (letter symbols) and sounds. Because we have been readers for a good portion of our lives this relationship seems apparent and common sense. However, in reality there is no natural connection between words and their meanings. For example, there is nothing innately “cup-like” about the word “cup”. Even more, the written letters making up the word “cup” do not reflect anything about an actual cup. The word and its written form are agreed upon by English speakers and thus must be learned in order to communicate.

A final point about letter-name knowledge: it is often noted that letter-name knowledge in preschool and kindergarten is a strong predictor of children’s later literacy achievement. This is true, but it is not because letter-name knowledge is an even-close-to-sufficient contributor to actual reading or writing. It is helpful, but some children learn to read knowing only letter sounds—no letter names. The predictive power of letter names lies largely in the fact that it is a proxy for other things. Children who know letter names early are more likely to have experienced a substantial emphasis on print literacy in the home and to have attended a strong preschool, for example, which in turn increase the likelihood of higher later reading and writing achievement. Naming letters is only one facet of letter knowledge, and probably not even the most important one. It is the application of letter-sound knowledge that advances children’s reading and spelling.
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As phonics is an absolute essential component of any effective reading program, when you work with your child on these sheets, make sure to teach both the letter names and letter sounds. Often times, parents will focus on and teaching only the letter names, neglecting the associated letter sounds. As you read through some of the articles on our site, you'll learn that learning the letter sounds is a far more important aspect of teaching a child to read. So please keep that in mind! Learn more here with the Children Learning Reading program.
Phonics instruction may be provided systematically or incidentally. The hallmark of a systematic phonics approach or program is that a sequential set of phonics elements is delineated and these elements are taught along a dimension of explicitness depending on the type of phonics method employed. Conversely, with incidental phonics instruction, the teacher does not follow a planned sequence of phonics elements to guide instruction but highlights particular elements opportunistically when they appear in text.
Phonics is one of the primary building blocks of reading. Without an understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds, reading cannot occur. This multifaceted connection between print and pronunciation is an important component of any instructional program in reading because it provides readers with tools for discovering new written words.

Reading Rockets is a national multimedia project that offers a wealth of research-based reading strategies, lessons, and activities designed to help young children learn how to read and read better. Our reading resources assist parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.
Phonics is the relationships between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language. Children's reading development is dependent on their understanding of the alphabetic principle — the idea that letters and letter patterns represent the sounds of spoken language. Learning that there are predictable relationships between sounds and letters allows children to apply these relationships to both familiar and unfamiliar words, and to begin to read with fluency. 									

The spelling structures for some alphabetic languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese and specially Italian, are comparatively orthographically transparent, or orthographically shallow, because there is nearly a one-to-one correspondence between sounds and the letter patterns that represent them. English spelling is more complex, a deep orthography, partly because it attempts to represent the 40+ phonemes of the spoken language with an alphabet composed of only 26 letters (and no diacritics). As a result, two letters are often used together to represent distinct sounds, referred to as digraphs. For example, t and h placed side by side to represent either /θ/ or /ð/.

This principle was first presented by John Hart in 1570[1]. Prior to that children learned to read through the ABC method, by which they recited the letters used in each word, from a familiar piece of text such as Genesis. It was John Hart who first suggested that the focus should be on the relationship between what are now referred to as graphemes and phonemes.


This is a great synopsis of the Alphabetic portion of the NRP report on Teaching Children to Read. For those willing to slog through the full report itself, there are many additional interesting nuggets discovered in this meta-analysis, such as the use of mnemonics for teaching letter-sound relations to kindergartners is supported by evidence, plus the portions devoted to reading fluency and comprehension.
Let’s back up and talk about terminology. A sight word actually refers to any word that can be read by sight. Differentiation is a sight word for us—we recognize it essentially instantly when we see it. What many teachers call sight words are actually high-frequency words. Because a small number of high-frequency words have less regular patterns (e.g., was, the), some people call all high-frequency words sight words and think that they must be learned visually and holistically by sight.
Some people think that teaching letter names is essentially teaching their sounds, but unfortunately that is not the case in English. Some letter names don’t have a sound commonly associated with the letter at all. Neither Hh, Ww, nor Yy has its commonly associated sound in its name (e.g., there is no /h/, as in happy, in the name of the letter Hh (“aych”)). Knowing these letters’ names definitely does not lead children to know their associated sounds. Some other letters’ names contain one of the sounds commonly associated with the name but not the other. For example, Cc has one of its common sounds in its name (/s/) but not the other (/k/).
Phonics instruction can also vary with respect to the explicitness by which the phonic elements are taught and practiced in the reading of text. For example, many synthetic phonics approaches use direct instruction in teaching phonics components and provide opportunities for applying these skills in decodable text formats characterized by a controlled vocabulary. On the other hand, embedded phonics approaches are typically less explicit and use decodable text for practice less frequently, although the phonics concepts to be learned can still be presented systematically.
Our field has long had a problem with teachers devoting an inadequate amount of time to phonics instruction. Although some children will pick up word reading with little instructional effort, many require considerable instruction to master the complex task of looking at a series of lines and curves to ascertain the spoken word they represent. In languages in which there is a relatively simple relationship between letters and sounds, such as Finnish and Spanish, by the middle of first grade, children are able to read real words and pseudo-words in the language accurately almost 100 percent of the time.* In languages in which the relationships are somewhat more complex, such as Danish and French, children are about 70 percent accurate by that time point. In English, in which the relationship between letters and sounds is extremely complex, children are about 40 percent accurate at that point.2 Put another way, English word reading requires a lot more effort to teach and learn than many other languages.
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Students can use the app individually, with each student totally engaged and working at his or her own pace, freeing the teacher to pull students for individual reading instruction. The videos could be shown to the whole class, introducing letter sounds or reviewing sight words. The ebooks are frustration-free read-alouds to show kids that they can read. Students can work at their own pace, allowing advanced readers to move more quickly, or teachers could build a semester-long curriculum, covering one step per week.
The step-by-step approach, with reviews built in via songs and ebooks, is very effective for teaching reading. Teachers will appreciate the mix of phonics and sight words, and kids will enjoy the variety of delivery -- songs, games, and books -- and the predictability of how each step advances. Though $8.99 per month (or $49.99 for a lifetime subscription) might seem expensive, teachers get a step-by-step curriculum for an entire class of students, which can be reset every year and reused for a new class of students. Differentiation is easy as well, as teachers can unlock all content for students who can already read, allowing them to review at their own pace. Kids can also practice writing using the words in the writing section.

Students can use the app individually, with each student totally engaged and working at his or her own pace, freeing the teacher to pull students for individual reading instruction. The videos could be shown to the whole class, introducing letter sounds or reviewing sight words. The ebooks are frustration-free read-alouds to show kids that they can read. Students can work at their own pace, allowing advanced readers to move more quickly, or teachers could build a semester-long curriculum, covering one step per week.
I remember growing up with HOP and it is and has always been a great learning tool to teach kids how to read--and read well. My son is a first grader and they don't use HOP to teach reading in his school, but I wanted my preschool daughter to get a head start by using this program. I wish I would have used it with my son. I was skeptical about the DVD at first, but the music and graphics are actually really fun and entertaining. As parents, we all know how cheesy kids' learning tools can be, but this is not one of them. My daughter likes the book as well and it is pretty good at reinforcing what the letters look like. I do wish the DVD was broken down a bit more and focused on one letter thoroughly before moving onto the next. Fortunately, my daughter was in my son's kindergarten class a lot last year because I was a volunteer in there so she picked up on a lot the letter sounds and letter recognition from that. But again, the video and songs are fun and do offer a quick visual and auditory glimpse at the letters and their sounds.
Thus, the results of the analysis are indicative of what can be accomplished when explicit, systematic phonics programs are implemented in today's classrooms. Systematic phonics instruction has been used widely over a long period of time with positive results, and a variety of systematic phonics programs have proven effective with children of different ages, abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Your child will probably learn phonics in kindergarten through second grade. In kindergarten, children usually learn the sounds of the consonant letters (all letters except the vowels a, e, i, o, and u). First- and second-graders typically learn all the sounds of letters, letter combinations, and word parts (such as “ing” and “ed”). They practice reading and spelling words containing those letters and patterns. Second-graders typically review and practice the phonics skills they have learned to make spelling and reading smooth and automatic.
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