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.
This is a good product for building very basic phonics skills. I was expecting something a little more involved, but the repetitive nature of Explode the Code is good to solidify any skills that were lagging.
I highly recommend the Explode the Code series for teaching phonics. There's LOTS of repetition and it goes slowly enough for students who struggle with learning reading. We're only on book 2 but I'll be using the entire series to continue teaching my son reading with our homeschooling.
I am very happy with this workbook. This is one of my first grade daughter's favorite things to do in school. Each page has a fun phonics activity with cute little drawings. My daughter views each page as a game and really enjoys it. I wouldn't use this as a stand alone phonics program as it is pretty simple and not too indepth about teaching concepts but it is nice to fill in with.