I’ve used Explode the Code with all of my children. Although reading tended to come easy to my kids, I wanted them to have a strong phonics foundation.
The Explode the Code workbooks contain simple black and white drawings and require quite a bit of writing. These elements made me search out a different curriculum for my second child. I found Modern Curriculum Press Phonics workbook. It was colorful with varied activities, but it lacked the depth that I was used to in Explode the Code. So I switched my son to Explode the Code. Explode the Code lacks the excitement, but it works. It covers the same concept several ways with increasing difficulty.
I recorded a day where my son completed a lesson in book 1.
Here is the start of the lesson. On the first page the child is expected to cross out the item with the target sound. On the second page the child is supposed to cross out the matching word.
On the third page the child is expected to copy the word and then cross out the picture the word refers to. The fourth page has the child copying letters. It looks at the target letter as well as a letter from a previous lesson.
On the next page the child is expected to write the name of the item pictured, but he can choose from a list at the top of the page. Following this the child has to circle the correct letters for the item pictured and write the complete word.
On the next page the child is supposed to choose the correct word that describes the picture. Several words that are alike are listed together like sup, sip, and sub. Following this the child is presented with a silly picture and two sentences. The child must read the sentences and decide which sentence best fits the picture.
The final page of the lesson has the child writing the words that the pictures describe. As you can see this program does have a lot of writing, but my son enjoys writing. Also, doing a whole lesson in one day isn’t a normal pace. I wanted to start him at book one to make sure he had no gaps in his learning, but he was probably ready to start book two.
While Explode the Code has no bells and whistles, it gets the job done. Here is a video of a time a few years ago when I did a couple pages in book 1 with my youngest child. You will probably notice that I am not picky about handwriting when my child is completing the phonics exercises. I believe it is best to avoid overcomplicating things by requiring the child to do two things at once at this stage.
What have you used for phonics instruction?