Hooked on Phonics has been around for a good long while, and for good reason- it actually works and kids certainly enjoy the program. After all, mastering phonics is the key to learning how to read fluently.
Many of the Hooked on Phonics reviews that you’ll come across are very positive. Everywhere you turn, it seems parents, caregivers, and teachers have nothing but good things to say about the program.
But nothing is perfect, and in this review, we are going to take a look at all sides of this program and also discuss a personal experience I had with the program. This way you can make an informed decision about whether or not to buy.
What To Think About Before Buying This (Or Any Reading Assistance Program)
No two kids learn the same way. Reading is hard for kids because they become overwhelmed by all the letter combinations, upper and lowercase letters, and the way that some letters sound different when pronounced. For example, the word “jalapeno” features a J that is pronounced like a soft “H.”
This is why phonics becomes such a game-changer when it comes to teaching your child how to read. This is the practice of teaching kids the basics of letters’ sounds and how they work in various parts of phrases and words.
By laying this foundation with your child, they become better readers, fluent readers, and people who read for fun and relaxation. This is why we so strongly recommend Hooked on Phonics.
My Personal Story
I had a nephew who was struggling terribly in reading. His kindergarten teacher was having a hard time with him. The kid enjoyed books and was a good student otherwise, but reading and language arts were hard for him. I decided to take the leap and purchase the program for him, promptly sending it to my brother (the boy’s father).
The two of them worked on it together, and before we knew it, Teddy was slowly but surely reading words here and there. He would sound out words on road signs as the family waited in traffic at stoplights. He would try to read the names of cars (he’s the typical boy who loves fast cars, toy cars, and anything that goes) out loud.
For Teddy, this was a big deal. Granted, he was not perfect in the pronunciation of his words, but he was trying and not shying away from the challenge. We purchased him those classic Dick and Jane books to read, and it was a real joy to see him slowly but surely reading those simple texts.
All in all, Teddy did the program twice over, once to learn and once to reinforce the skills he learned. Today Teddy is in 2nd grade and reading at grade level, and I believe Hooked on Phonics plus practicing the skills constantly helped him.
How The Hooked On Phonics Program Works
This is a program designed for pre-K to first-grade students, and its goal is to teach kids their letter sounds and how they work in tandem with one another instead of just memorizing them by sight.
The program states that your child will be reading in 30 days, and they guarantee it. You can do a trial program which is $1 for 30 days. The program comes right to your door- workbooks, reading material, and access to the program’s app which you can access on your smartphone, tablet, or another electronic device.
You can register it on three devices and set up registration for up to three kids.
The games and images found on the app are designed to entertain and occupy kids, but the concepts contained within them are what teach the youngsters how to read.
It’s honestly a great program for teaching youths how to read, but could also be helpful for adults that never learned how to read fluently. The concept of phonics is not limited to young children- phonics is the study of how sounds and letters work together and create words we use.
Benefits and Features of Hooked on Phonics
- Hooked on Phonics is great for kids of many walks of life- for instance, some of you might just want your child to get a head start on reading. Others may be homeschooled. Others might need extra help to avoid remedial reading classes in school. No matter your reasoning for using the program, the benefits are numerous.
- The Literature Is Fun: All the materials for the program get delivered to your door, and your kids are going to love it. You will get a workbook, two beginner children’s books, and a sticker tracker to mark progress and provide a tangible reward for your little one.
- The stickers are a good motivator, and the workbook is a lot of fun. That being said, you will need additional supplemental items to keep your student engaged and excited about the lessons.
- The Mobile App Is a Hit: Kids today love tablets, phones, and other tech that lets them play games and watch videos. Hooked on Phonics knows this and capitalized on it. You can add it on three separate devices, so whether your child enjoys using a phone or tablet better, you’re covered. The app is also usable offline, so there’s no need to be connected to the internet. It’s perfect for use on airplanes, long car trips, or while waiting at a restaurant.
- Generous Trial Period: The trial period, which lasts 30 days, is great. You will want to pay for it because it’s that good. However, the fact that they let you try it is awesome. The trial is just a dollar and the monthly subscription is $15.
- You will still get all beginner materials. And it takes just 10 minutes a day of dedicated instruction to see results.The trial lets everyone afford it, and lets parents see how great this program truly is. If you find that you don’t like this program, you can cancel it with no hassle.
- Setup of the program takes just 10 minutes or so, and your child can be learning that same day.
- Ad-Free: There are no ads at all on the website or the app. The Hooked on Phonics website is professionally constructed and is packed with details about why the program works. It gives parents the confidence they are buying a great program. Your child can use the app without fear of a silly ad popping up in the middle of a game. It’s great for kids who are easily distracted by these pop-up ads.
- Plus, the app has offline availability. Every time your child opens up an activity or game on the app, the game is downloaded so they can play offline. And once they are back online, their progress is synced and they can pick right up where they stopped, no Wi-Fi or internet needed.
Pros and Cons
Let’s round up the pros and cons of Hooked on Phonics:
- Lays a great foundation for kids to become fluent readers
- Monthly subscription is easy to afford and cancel
- App is available offline
- 30-day trial costs just $1
- App is ad-free
- App supports up to three profiles only
- The app is not free
You are likely going to love this program and you will want your child to experience the full course. You’ll want to know which products are the best out of what they offer. At this time, we’d like to take a moment and go over two popular packages for Hooked On Phonics. This will help you decide which is right for your family.
Hooked On Phonics Complete Learn To Read Kit
This program is $200 and is the original award-winning learn-to-read program that has helped millions of children become confident in their ability to read.
The program itself is based on research from the Children’s Reading Foundation. It is created using input from educators, teachers, authors, and other experts to provide your child with a well-rounded foundation they will use to become great readers.
A Complete Program
This program has all your child needs to excel in reading from their Pre-K years up to 2nd Grade.
The program is broken down into 8 levels, ranging from Early Emergent Readers (Levels 1 and 2) to Emergent Readers (Levels 3 and 4) to Transitional Readers (Levels 5 and 6) up to Fluent Readers (Levels 7 and 8).
Offers Varying Instruction Methods
The program offers multi-sensory learning methods that open young kids up to new experiences and cater to the many learning styles of children. There are hands-on experiences, visual lessons, and auditory lessons.
Young readers will learn sounds and letters, how to put letters together so words are formed, and how to put it all into practice and read short stories and books. Every lesson is just 20 minutes long, so it’s great for busy parents and children.
Every lesson is based on the same four steps: Learn, Practice, Read and Celebrate.
Learn, Practice, Read, Celebrate
Learn: Your child will learn how to read a new word. They will watch an instructional video and then read the words from their corresponding workbook page.
Practice: Using the workbook, your child will practice their newfound skill. It’s a tangible way to practice what they’ve learned.
Read: Your child will now read a fun, easy story made of words they’ve learned to read so far.
Celebrate: Now is the time to say “Good job” and put a sticker on the sticker tracker. It also shows how far you’ve come and where to start next time.
What You Get
In this kit you will get:
- MyHOP online access: all bonus content and lessons will be found here
- 2 sets of picture flashcards and letters that will help reinforce letter sounds and names
- Streaming videos of all DVD content for watching on laptops, tablets, computers, or phones
- 8 workbooks that guide your child and you through all activities and lessons
- 36 original storybooks that are designed to bolster the skills learned in the program, including real books for kids written by award-winning authors
The Essential Learn To Read Bundle with Reading Fun Pack & 1 Year App Access
This is another member of the Hooked On Phonics family of products designed to help young children learn at their best.
You will find that this program has everything included inside that you get with the Complete Learn To Read kit, and that it follows the same instructional methods of Learn, Practice, Read, Celebrate.
It is designed to give your child a rolling start as they begin and progress through school by fostering age-appropriate reading skills.
So What’s The Difference?
Indeed, you get everything that you’d get with the Hooked on Phonics Complete Learn To Read program.
But the main differences lie in the year-long access to the Learn To Read Digital Edition, and the Reading Fun pack.
Let’s discuss these in greater detail.
Learn To Read Digital Edition
This is the desktop and mobile-enabled app that you get a year’s access to. This is a wonderful add-on to the in-home reading kit and offers your child letter games, interactive word games, and videos to keep them learning and entertained.
There are also 100 ebooks included as well, so your child will always have something fun to read and stay engaged in the learning process.
Some highlights about this app:
- You can register up to three kids per account and keep individual track of their progress.
- Your reader will earn awards and trophies for the successful completion of lessons and books.
- The app has hundreds of songs, ebooks, lessons, and games your child is going to love.
- You can sync the app across all devices so it’s easy to pick up and play wherever you left off, no matter if you’re at home or out and about.
- It’s available as a web-based application on desktop PCs.
- Can be downloaded as an iOS or Android app. Also available on Kindle.
About The Reading Fun Pack
- The Reading Fun Pack features an Activity Pad with over 90 activities designed to get your young reader thinking creatively. A Make-a-Book kit is also included. Your child will become the author of their very own book, an activity that facilitates higher-level thinking skills and shows children how creative they really are.
- FUNdamentals Activity Pad: This Hooked on Phonics product is loaded with enjoyable activities that go over elementary concepts such as shapes, numbers, and the alphabet, plus other useful topics. It’s loaded with activities that set your child up for success by helping them hone their fine motor skills.
- They will draw with crayons and write with pencils, cut and trace, and so much more. It’s designed to help kids become comfortable with writing numbers and letters.
- Make-a-Book Kit: Your child will enjoy making their own book in this 16-page hardcover blank book. It also comes with stickers, pictures, and phrases that help get the creativity flowing.
The Ultimate Learn To Read Bundle
This is just one tier above the product discussed above, the Essential Learn To Read Bundle with a Year of App Access and Reading Fun Pack.
You will get everything you get in the previous bundle with the added bonus of a Spelling Practice pack.
Hooked On Spelling
We all know how important it is to be a good speller- not only do you have to pass those weekly spelling tests in grade school, but you also want to present yourself well to others in your written communications!
The Hooked On Speling program is fun and gets kids excited about spelling. Workbook 1 is a way to reinforce kids’ skills. Kids will use pencil and paper to master short vowel sounds, beginning and ending consonants, diagraphs, and much more.
Workbook 2 offers kids mastery of long vowels, soft g and c sounds, vowel pairs, and much more.
Lastly, there is an Activity Book that offers additional enrichment activities and includes spelling cards to engage your young learner with Hooked On Spelling.
Hooked on Phonics is a stellar way to get your child ahead when it comes to reading, or simply have them catch up. It’s a great program to have around to keep them learning over the summer or school breaks, too.
The lessons are easy to implement, and your child is going to love how they progress a little each day. I highly recommend this if you have a reader needing some extra help!
I gifted my nephew Teddy a personalized book from Playstories to mark his success as a reader. Check it out here: