I have always know that Explode the Code was great curriculum for phonics and word building skills. Years ago I worked at a small private school, and this is what they used in their classrooms. I have always been eager to try it at home, but was leery of using yet ANOTHER workbook. Not long ago, I saw someone post a question on a discussion board, asking if anyone had used Explode the Code online. I didn’t know they even HAD such a thing…….. so off I went to look at the website. I was intrigued by the way that it worked, and how interactive it was in the demos. Then came the price. It was $60 to be able to access it for a whole year. So I decided to pray about using it….. and talk it over with my husband. We talked later that night, and decided that if nothing else, we could try it, and see if it helped Hunter improve his reading skills. The next day, came the answer to prayer part. Another homeschooler posted on a discussion board that Homeschool Buyers Co-op** had Explode the Code on a group buy. So I went there, and it was half price. I miss out on a couple of months of the “year” but for the price it was worth it.
We had been using TATRAS (Teach America to Read and Spell ), here at home with Hunter for the begining skills and word blends. This is a WONDERFUL program, and I will still wholeheartedly recommend it. It teaches ALL the sounds that letters make, teaches the student to decode their words through these sound combinations. It has great lists of words, to use as spelling words for K-6th grade, and it teaches writing skills as well. The only drawback was the lack of interaction. This is were Explode the Code excels. It re-enforces the blends that are at the begining and endings of words. It also helps to strengthen the “hearing” of difficult vowels to assist in common “e”, “i”, and “o”, “u” spelling and pronunciation errors.
The other benefit to Explode the Code Online is the instant assesments it gives the parent. You are able to see exactly which areas your child is having difficulty in. It gives you suggestions to work on when you are away from the computer, to help your child better learn a concept. We have worked on the suggestions while we are running errands around town…. it has made car time more productive.
I feel that this has improved his reading skills. He has been a slow reader, and that is fine, I am not expecting him to pick up a copy of War and Peace anytime soon. My goal with the program was to help him begin to see past each individual letter as a sound, and get a better grasp on what we call “two letter teams” , so that his speed and comprehension would begin to improve. After 10 or so days working online, we have seen him start to pick books up on his own and read to his younger brother. He no longer rolls his eyes at me and huffs and puffs, if I ask him to read something. He has read 2 entire library books, on his OWN, with help sounding out some of the words…. I believe the program has improved his confidence with reading, and the instant feedback it gives him is the key to his success.
Head on over to Explode the Code online, and see if it would be a fit for your young reader ( K- 4th grade). The demos on the website are great.
** Homeschool Buyers Co-op is a business that seeks to serve the homeschooling community find curriculum at a discount price. It works on the premise that when a school district purchases it’s curriculum, it recieves a discount for it’s quantity order. The Co-op provides that same service to single homeschooling families, allowing us to band together under their “umbrella” to get the better price. To check them out, click here. It is free to join and recieve the information about what they are offering, and often the deals they get are extrordinary.