Monday, February 16, 2009

Rocket Phonics -TOS Homeschool Product Reciew

Rocket Phonics is a program designed to teach - well - phonics - to your student! We have been using this with our E., who's six. The kit came with a set of review cards for sounds to learn ("Play and Read Cards,"}, along with ideas to use the cards not just for review, but for games. There are also a "treasure hunt," and bonus activities and supplements emailed with receipt of the kit. It also includes the two volumes of books to work through for reading success.

Rocket Phonics is designed by a medical doctor and former English teacher husband-wife team, who are homeschooling parents of a grown daugther, and they created the program "to eliminate confusion in learning to read." The guidebooks contain a step-by-step guide to learning to read, complete with color coded word and sound cues, and full-color pictures on each page. According to their website, Rocket Phonics, in an independent study, outperformed other phonics programs 4-to-1. They also feature an endorsement from John Taylor Gatto.

I think especially for a first-time teaching parent, this program could be a hit. Not having taught reading outside the homeschool-specific programs I have used, there were a couple of word cues I found confusing; I'm not sure if they were different only to what I have used, but may be common in other programs. (For example, the sound card for long-vowel-a pictures an ape and says "ay (ape)" with a picture of an ape, and s-sound as in treasure has a card with "zh (treasure)" with a picture of a chest. To me this is confusing as it creates an alternate spelling the child will now have to process in addition to the real spelling.)

I do appreciate the bright colors, and the books are well made with a spiral binding, and if I were beginning again with my first, this is a program I would research further. Cost would be a factor for us; with substantially valued bonus items, the program is around $160.

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