“Hooked on Phonics worked for me!” You might remember this catchphrase from some old school commercials advertising this reading program. It got so much airplay it became a part of mainstream culture, and if you stuttered or showed signs of not being able to read, someone might have joked that you should order it. But can a learning product sold over the TV actually teach your children a basic life skill, or are they better off going the traditional way through the methods taught at school?
Learning to read is essential, and most schools are usually not the best places to learn how to do it. This is because they are using outdated methods, but also because a lot of the onus rests on the parents. By the time your child reaches first grade they should already have a basic knowledge of how to read. Some parents simply read to their children and do their best to help them sound out words and learn their meanings, but they don’t have a system in place. What ends up happening is your child memorizes certain words and then gets stuck when they come across a word they haven’t memorized.
Hooked on Phonics claims to use a unique method of teaching your children how to read than those that are used in most public schools. By teaching your children the sounds that letters and letter combinations make, they are learning how to be able to deconstruct an unfamiliar word and be able to pronounce it. From there they might be able to guess at its meeting from the context of the words surrounding it.
They also claim that by making reading fun, you are instilling a love of learning in your child that should last a lifetime. It may sound a little bit cheesy, but we tend to agree with them. Using things like rote memorization, and outdated reading drills makes studying and reading seem torturous.
The hype comes from all of the advertising that has been done for Hooked on Phonics, and the fact that just about everyone knows of its existence. Having a product be so familiar with the general public really adds some hype to it, but in this case almost too much as people have become skeptical that it actually works.
Hooked on Phonics ranges in price depending on which program you are interested in. Some of the basic programs are relatively inexpensive, but some of the more advanced programs can get up there and price. When you compare this to the cost of a tutor or watching your child struggle to learn in school, they don’t seem too outrageous. Complete kits by grade level range from about $40 to $50 and include everything you need to get through that academic year.
This program is not something that you can just park your kids in front of, like a Baby Einstein DVD. You’ll want to get involved with your child’s learning, and the system is most effective when you play a part in it. Of course, there will be activities and modules that your child can complete on their own, and they’ll be able to take the skills that they learn and read quietly by themselves at some point. But you want to ensure that you stay committed enough to see them through until they are self-sufficient.
Hooked on Phonics is not just for basic phonics learning, and it’s not just for children that have fallen behind their classmates at school. It can be used by children of every learning ability, and nearly every age. Since it is teaching reading from the ground up, it might seem a little remedial at first. However, getting a strong foundation in the building blocks of letters and sounds is important, and is something that your child will be able to use even if they go on to law or medical school, albeit on a subconscious level.
There are plenty of positive reviews for the different Hooked on Phonics products. Each one gets solid thumbs-up ratings from parents that have used it to teach their children how to read. For a product that is as recognizable as this, it’s clear to see that they are still doing just fine even after decades on the market. In fact, many of the children of yesteryear are now fully functional adults and learned how to read following the Hooked on Phonics system.
Final Hooked on Phonics Review
Hooked on Phonics is getting our nod of approval based on their comprehensive programs, and how effective their method is for teaching children how to read. By giving them the tools to break up words by the sounds the letters and letter combinations make, they basically decode our reading and writing system so that your child will never be able to run into a word they can’t crack. This allows for faster assimilation of new words, and the ability to increase their vocabulary more quickly.
It doesn’t matter whether your child is struggling to learn how to read or not, putting a system behind your efforts to teach them is a great idea. If you compare it to teaching your child to read based on how you were taught to read, it’s clear to see that it’s better to have a blueprint than to just go off-the-cuff. Our parents did the best they could with the knowledge they had at the time we were children, and you should do the same with the resources you have in today’s day and age.