Fun-Time Phonics! by The Critical Thinking Co. is a 320 page phonics book, with 100 lessons, for children that are ready to learn beginning phonics and reading skills. We were able to use and review this as part of the Review Crew for the past several weeks with Max, and as review and reinforcer for Lexie. I received the paperback book which retails for $39.99.
I have always heard great things about The Critical Thinking Company; this particular book allows for copying pages within your family for multiple students. I found it interesting that none of the activities require writing , making this a developmentally appropriate program for early learners (which is perfect when your child’s fine motor skills haven’t quite met up with their cognitive abilities). I did let Max circle some of his answers, because he is all into being like big sister right now.
About Fun-Time Phonics!
The book opens with suggestions for parents/teachers when helping their children with the activities. Most of these are practical and very useful.
I really like that the pages are colorful, but not distracting; engaging, but not confusing. Thr program itself focuses on vowel patterns and comprehension as opposed to memorizing rules of reading. The lessons are broken down into progressive sections:
- Phonemic Awareness
- beginning and ending sounds
- putting sounds together
- short vowel sounds
- Alphabetics (longest section)
- short vowel letters
- consonants and co-articulation
- Beginning to Read
- Words I can Read
As you can see, the lessons begin with beginning letter sounds- NOT the letters themselves. Lessons go on to use rhyme to enforce phonemic awareness, and advance into short vowel sounds, middle sounds, and eventually work into blending letter sounds for learning to read!
What We Think About & How We Use Fun-Time Phonics
The program is designed for children ages 4 years- grade 2; Max is 3 and Lexie is 5. Max is not yet proficient in all his letter sounds, he has two or three he needs to master. But Lexie is a proficient beginning reader; she was able to do most of the lessons with ease. Max was not yet ready for some of them, but as he continues to learn they will be a fun addition to his preschool days. This is a program he can grow into.
We aimed to do 3 lessons a week with Max, though sometimes we did a review instead of moving on to the next lesson. Because the lessons are done just pointing, not writing, we were able to review lessons as needed with no problems!
I will say, this is an open-and-go program. Sometimes other curricula say they are open-and-go, but really are not. Fun-Time Phonics! is no prep; no pre-reading for parents, no cutting out, no printing, absolutely NO prepping. So if that is something you are looking for, I would definitely add it to your considering list. The instructions are simple for parents to follow and there are teaching tips along the way.
As I mentioned before, we will use this as a supplement for Max as he learns to read, probably for Ila when she is at the right age, and as reinforcement for Lexie (because she loves stuff like this). But for now, we won’t use it as a stand alone reading program.
I find this program is simple but clear, concise, easy to teach, and pretty thorough for beginning reader skills. What I also like about it is I can identify many parts of it with what I learned in college about teaching literacy. We focused very heavily on phonemic awareness, and its importance in college (in a teacher’s program), and this program definitely meets that criteria.
Connect With The Critical Thinking Co.
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