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.
my 1st grade son does so well with explode the code. this year, we started him off with 1.5, then he did 2, and now we are on 3. i suspect we will be able to finish 4 by the end of the year. he gets so excited to start each new book. they are silly and the directions are simple enough for him to pick up and do all by himself. the books are so great with teaching phonics and teaching him to sound words out as he reads. he is beginning to really love reading and i believe these books have given him a lot of confidence.
This is the best Phonics curriculum for my daughter. It truly makes learning phonics fun and easy for her. The lessons are easy to follow and teach. I don't really see us using anything else for our Phonics curriculum. It's helped make reading so much easier for her.
I'm using this for my 4th child and it has worked well. He eagerly completed two of the pre-k books and is now doing the first K book. He was very excited to read his first words. It came easily and early in the year.