June 1, 2007
We have done Explode the Code book 3 and 4 this year for second grade. We also did Book 1 and part of Book 2 for Grade K with Ciaran. We chose to skip the 1/2 books and move right into the next level as theyhad no difficulty at all with level 3 and were ready to move onto the next levels.
We will begin next year with level 5 for Rhiannon and pick up Level 2 where we left off for Ciaran. Both children really enjoyed these books. We typically did a lesson a week and they were very independent in this subject. I would introduce the topic Rhia would be studying and then she worked through the lesson at her pace. Most frequently she would do the whole lesson on Monday because she enjoyed this text and found it pretty easy. The only topic she struggled with even remotely was syllables and even those were pretty easy for her once we reviewed the concept.
As for Ciaran I read the directions to him each day and he typically did 1-3 pages at a time depending how much handwriting was involved on the particular pages. In the beginning we worked on them together but by the end he was reading more independently and was working on them at his pace and on his own.
I recommend these resources as they are pretty cheap 5.00 a book and easy to do. Easy to give the child freedom with to do at their own pace. They are workbook format though so if your child or you hates workbook style they may not be the resource for you.
We find them useful mostly because Rhiannon did not continue with a formal phonics program once she was reading well and these books review some of the phonics concepts that we want to be sure she has a foundation in. As for Ciaran they are a nice review of concepts we are doing and provide simple worksheets that let him work on phonics rules, reading and handwriting all in one place.
The books are simple and easy enough that both my kids enjoy them at their level. They also like the feeling that they finish school quickly as each worksheet does not take much time to do. The writing starts gently and increases at the higher levels but there is still quite a few circle or x pages. A simple easy to use foundational book. We will continue with the series next year for both kids.