The Hooked on Phonics brand of learning products were among the first early learning purchases I made for my now nearly six year old daughter. I still remember finding the activity books in a local Barnes & Noble and the surprise I felt when I discovered HOP Math, HOP Enrichment activities, HOP Numbers workbooks. It was then that I learned that Hooked on Phonics is about so much more than the Learn to Read kits some of us grew up with and surely all of us have heard of prior to becoming parents.
With that said, the Learn to Read kits are still the cornerstone of what Hooked on Phonics provides parents and children, and they take the business of learning to read very seriously. I have had the privilege of speaking with the folks at HOP from time to time over the last few months, and they are not only interested in what research shows but also in what parents have to say. My children, ages 3 and 5, were able to preview the current Learn to Read kits in both the pre-K and kindergarten editions, and I continue to be impressed with what the kits provide. I am not suggesting that phonics alone is the way to teach a child to read. In fact, I have been impressed with the way my daughter’s kindergarten teaches her words in context and asks that she learn familiar sight words. However, surely phonics are a keystone for future reading, and I feel confident that the time I spend with my kids on these activities will pay dividends in not only their reading success in the future, but also their love of reading.
My son, in particular, has really taken to this current Hooked on Phonics kit. He enjoys following the workbook suggested lesson plan, but he also asks to play matching games with the provided flashcards and read the original books included with the kit. He has begun to recognize dozens of sight words based, embarrassingly, almost exclusively on television show titles, so I know that light bulbs are going off left and right in his pre-reading world. This is the perfect time for the activities in the Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read kit because the desire to learn about words and sounds is already there, and the tools provided are fun and interesting to him.
Each kit contains story books, workbooks, DVD’s, flashcards, and stickers, but we do not always follow the prescribed program when we use the kit. Regardless of whether the kids and I follow exactly what Hooked on Phonics suggests or just use one component in isolation, I feel as though it is precious one on one time that is has been well spent.
This is for you if…you have been looking for a comprehensive and fun learning kit to either begin your child’s reading journey or reinforce skills they are already learning. The kits for older children are also a valuable resource for parents hoping to supplement their child’s learning or provide extra work to fill in learning gaps.
This is not for you if…your child is not yet interested in sitting down with you and engaging in learning for the sake of learning. While the kits really are enjoyable, this is not a method of learning that is embedded in every day activities. For children to enjoy these kits, they must be ready to engage in a learning activity for at least several minutes at a time.