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/.

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.
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!!
Children have problem in reading because they are not able to recognize the sounds of the letters of the alphabet in the words they read. Phonics reading will help children to recognize and associate sounds of the letters of the alphabet in the word they read. This will help them to improve in their reading skills and efficiency. In other words, it will be difficult for a child to improve in his reading skills if the teaching of phonics is removed from their curriculum.
Imagine going to work for a shipbuilding company. You go to work the first day and are schooled in all the different types of bolts, screws, and nails. You learn their names, the different sizes, and the different types, but you never learn that their purpose is to join pieces of metal and that those pieces of metal are used to build ships! Although this situation is clearly ridiculous, it is actually analogous to what we see in some prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms. Children are being taught to name letters or even identify the sounds that the letters represent, but they are unclear about why they are learning it. Letter-sound knowledge is being learned in a vacuum; the child has no context for how to use the information, no “big picture.”
Jolly Phonics is a comprehensive programme, based on the proven, fun and muliti-sensory synthetic phonics method that gets children reading and writing from an early age. This means that we teach letter sounds as opposed to the alphabet. These 42 letter sounds are phonic building blocks that children, with the right tools, use to decode the English language. When reading a word, they recognise the letters and blend together the respective sounds; when writing a word they identify the sounds and write down the corresponding letters. These skills are called blending and segmenting. These are two of the five skills that children need to master phonics:

Simplistic, broad generalizations or “rules” do not work. For example, if we say that silent e signals a long vowel sound all the time, then we have a lot of issues. But if the generalization is made more specific, it is more applicable. For example, the silent e pattern is consistent more than 75 percent of the time in a_e, i_e, o_e, and u_e, but only consistent 16 percent of the time with e_e.

Ask lots of questions while reading. Questions help keep your child actively engaged, and can help support learning phonics as well. For instance, while reading, point to the word “dog.” Ask “Do you know what word this is?” If they need a bit of help, say “Well, let’s start reading the sentence — “Joe walked his …” — Now what do you think the word might be?”
The review does address the question of why children's reading and writing (especially for boys) have not been meeting expectations. Paragraph 3.25 of the Final Report states "This suggests that it is far more often the nature of the teaching than the nature of the child which determines success or failure in learning the 'basic' skills of reading and writing. This is not to say, however, that there is any lack of willingness or capability on the part of primary teachers to develop the required expertise in the teaching of beginner readers once convinced of the benefits to children of doing so. Rather, the main obstacles have been long-standing systemic confusion and conflicting views, especially about the teaching of phonics.[36] As more research and practice now converge in strong support of high-quality, systematic phonic work, schools can be confident that their investment in good-quality phonics training for teachers and in good systematic phonic programmes, whether commercial or provided by the National Strategies, will yield high returns for children."[37]
Your child’s reception year is the time when they will learn a lot of phonics fast! Schools use lots of different phonics programmes and systems – some common ones are Jolly Phonics, Read Write Inc, Big Cat, Bug Club and Oxford Reading Tree. So the exact order in which different letter sounds are introduced may vary depending on the scheme your child’s school is using. But most of the phonic schemes used in school are based on the Government’s own guidance, which is called Letters and Sounds.
The key skill in phonics is to learn the letters and the sounds they make and how to put them together to make and read simple words.Our selection of phonics apps cover important phonics topics for a variety of ages and grade levels. From animal sounds to consonant blends to diphthongs to rhyming words, your child will find a variety of apps that fit his ability. 
This table depicts several different types of phonics instructional approaches that vary according to the unit of analysis or how letter-sound combinations are represented to the student. For example, in synthetic phonics approaches, students are taught to link an individual letter or letter combination with its appropriate sound and then blend the sounds to form words. In analytic phonics, students are first taught whole word units followed by systematic instruction linking the specific letters in the word with their respective sounds.

In 1997, Congress asked the Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to convene a national panel to assess the effectiveness of different approaches used to teach children to read. The National Reading Panel examined quantitative research studies on many areas of reading instruction, including phonics and whole language. The resulting report Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and its Implications for Reading Instruction was published in 2000 and provides a comprehensive review of what is known about best practices in reading instruction in the U.S.[23][24] The panel reported that several reading skills are critical to becoming good readers: phonemic awareness, phonics for word identification, fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension. With regard to phonics, their meta-analysis of hundreds of studies confirmed the findings of the National Research Council: teaching phonics (and related phonics skills, such as phonemic awareness) is a more effective way to teach children early reading skills than is embedded phonics or no phonics instruction.[25] The panel found that phonics instruction is an effective method of teaching reading for students from kindergarten through 6th grade, and for all children who are having difficulty learning to read. They also found that phonics instruction benefits all ages in learning to spell. They also reported that teachers need more education about effective reading instruction, both pre-service and in-service.