Easy to decode pictures help students work independently and repletion helps children remember. These book is what helped my ,slow reader, oldest child to finally get it. Twelve kids later I pull them out whenever a child is having trouble. WARNING: Just like it is normal for some children to walk at 8 month and some at 18 months, some children's brains are developed enough to read at 4 years and other not until 9 or 10. " It is not wise to compare our selves with ourselves."
I used Explode the Code for K & 1st when I taught in a K-4 school in NV. I was amazed at how quickly the kids progressed with it! With Kindergarten, after doing a letter a week through 'd'. we added the E the C book 1 and letter 'e'. I still introduced the letters each week in ABC order, but they also picked up 's', 't', & 'r' easily in the book. (bad, dad, sad, bat, rat, sat) The repetition aids with the words essentially becoming 'sight words'. The books provided a firm foundation - ALL were able to continue on with the 2nd grade reading series. The strong phonics component provides the skill needed to progress. When they transferred to 5th grade in the next town, their teachers commented on how well they all read and tested. They always knew that our kids would arrive being strong readers.
I have used this on three boys. I use it has a supplement to First Language Lessons, All About Spelling, and Christian Liberty Press Phonics A, B, & C. I think they get more out of it when I use the exercises in the Teacher's Guide, but I do not always get to them, and I do not do all of the TG exercises-- LOL ! Sometimes they finish three lessons and THEN we do a "crash course" of some the exercises from the Teacher's Guide as a sort of review, quiz, or "test". I only do this delay, because they finish faster than I have the time to do the lessons and I don't want them waiting on me. I have not used the second edition.
After trying a few different approaches to learning how to read...I decided to try this product. At first I was hesitant because it looked very poorly done...but after getting the books, and looking at them....having my son work with them....I LOVE them! Within 4 lessons he was reading! I highly recommend them!!
We started out Explode the Code with the books A, B and C. This was a great follow on to those books. If your child doesn't do well with recognizing the alphabet or pronouncing, I'd suggest starting with the A, B and C books. We did use this book at a kindergarten level, though the book does not make you feel it has to be attached to a specific grade. In book one vowels are introduced as well as learning to read and spell three letter words. There is a comprehension element to the book where the student looks at a picture and decides which sentence is describing the picture. There is also a "post-test" located at the back of the book.
We worked on 2 pages a day to keep a steady pace which would give about 47 days of work. We also used the 1 1/2 book following along side this book. (see that book for separate review)
I suggest this book for anyone who is homeschooling young ones, but also to anyone who has a child AT a school and needs some additional phonics assistance at home.
We do have the teacher guide to go with this (it is very inexpensive) however you can use this book totally independent. I would say the price is a little high because we would use Book 1 and 2 and the 1/2 books in one school year.
We do use other products to reinforce what is learned with the Explode the Code.