You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, September 12, 2009

TOS Review Rocket Phonics

Jake went to public school pre-K through 5th grade so when I began schooling him he already knew how to read. When it was time to teach Hank, I used a lesser known classical phonics curriculum for K and 1st grade, and he'd progress in spurts but never really take off. It has been frustrating for both of us because he really enjoys books and will sit and look at them for long periods of time, but he was really having a hard time gaining reading fluency.

I used the same program for Ella for K, and while she made more progress than Hank at the same level, she also didn't take off and begin reading independently.

Early in the summer, I began looking at different phonics programs and praying for wisdom - and provision. The budget is really tight so I couldn't just buy a bunch of curriculum and experiment to see what would work for them both! Once again the Lord has provided through the TOS Crew. A handful of us have the opportunity to review Rocket Phonics .

Rocket Phonics is different from other phonics programs because it teaches that one letter creates one sound. This has really helped Hank who had a hard time keeping track of all the 'rule breaker' sounds his previous program introduced.

Rocket Phonics gives your child helpers. The helpers show your child how to pronounce each word so your child can read all the words in his or her spoken vocabulary! As your child learns, and no longer needs the helpers, we gradually remove them.

We color-code each word. The blue letters keep their sound. If the letter doesn't keep its color (blue) it doesn't keep its sound and the true sound is underneath. The child sees the word correctly spelled and decodes the word every time.

Each Rocket Phonics kit comes with:

  • 2 big Rocket Phonics readers
  • Two sets of Play & Read symbol cards
  • Bingo chips
  • Rocket Peeker
  • Bingo sheets and Word lists for testing
  • New! Big-movement games for preschoolers and active learners

As a special gift with your purchase you will receive three free bonuses valued at over $100

Free Bonus Gift #1: Free 28 bonus gifts: With your purchase, you’ll receive by email free each week for 28 weeks a bonus gift to your kit. New! Now incuded: Spelling Strategy— multi-sensory, developed by spelling specialists, and nearly foolproof! Also, 12 Writing Lessons, perfect for kindergarten or first grade. You and your child will be thrilled with each week’s additional stories, riddles, games, beginning reading tips and more. There's extra practice for each grade level! ($69.95 value)

Free Bonus Gift #2: Two Rocket Phonics Treasure Hunts: The rhyming clues are written both with and without Rocket Phonics’ unique helpers, so very early readers can read beyond their grade levels to figure out clues and find the treasure. Your children will love these. Prizes, such as sticky hands, kazoos, etc., are all included and ready for fun. ($16.95 value)

Free Bonus Gift #3: Rocket Phonics Word-Find Treasure Hunt and the Rocket Phonics phrase Game: Your child will delight in finding and reading one word or phrase at a time with these games emailed to you. ($19.95 value)

How are we using Rocket Phonics...

We begin by going through the Play and Read cards which teach the Initial Teaching Alphabet; these cards are sturdy and the pictures are a nice quality.

I was worried that I would need to un-teach and then re-teach my kids the phonics sounds, but that hasn't been the case. They are both doing really well with it. An example of the cards is a picture of an ape; under that is 'ay', and then under that is the word 'ape.' So I hold the card up and we say, " 'A' (long A) as in ape." I am also using these with Shane separately, and he's doing a great job with them, too.

We've played Bingo with me calling out the sounds. Once we had a winner, I had both kids go back and read the sounds out loud that they had chips on. They both want to continue playing Bingo after several games. It's strange for me to have to make them stop doing school. :)

One of the Bonus Gifts includes riddles which they've gotten a big kick out of. It's a lot of fun to watch them work to read the riddle and then they realize that what they've just read is a joke and both start cracking up.

They also play Simon Says by taking turns being Simon by reading what Simon Says to do.

Go Fish is a favorite of ours, too. They ask for cards by saying the letter sound.

What I've noticed is that Hank is more willing to try to read. Before I'd have to insist that he read for school, but now he's willing to give it a try, and he's doing a good job at it. We're going to continue using Rocket Phonics during the year, and I'll post updates from time to time. I'm excited to see how Ella and Hank do!

Rocket Phonics costs $160, and you can divide that into 3 easy payments of $53.34.

You can order Rocket Phonics here. And you can read what other TOS Crew members have to say about it here.

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