Top positive review
Simple. Colourful. Great starting point.
Reviewed in Canada on July 15, 2021
We gave this book a try with my 2.5 year old at first. It seemed too early then. We tried it again after her 3rd birthday, doing 2 units per week. (Each unit is 2 pages long.) Now we have surpassed 40 units. Once she has started to blend some simple words, she seemed intrinsically more motivated, and we can do 3-4 activities per week if we don't have other outdoor activities to take over that time.
Units on individual consonants are helpful. I like how there is a fun action to associate with a new sound, such as chomping your arms like an alligator to memorize the sound [a] [a] [alligator]. But the activities where the child needs to circle around or draw lines to connect certain pictures or sounds sometimes seemed very time-consuming at first, especially when a young child's grip on a pencil and fine motor skills are not yet well developed. That got better over time however.
Regarding vowels, I didn't feel that the book offers adequate material or practice, at least in the first parts that we have already gone through ourselves. We took a pause and provided my child with additional drills and practiced the short vowel sounds during meal times or through games outside of this book to strengthen her grasp. We then resumed when she has become more familiar.
I like the units for blending already known sounds. The presentation style with the big dots under individual vowels and consonants of each word along with the large colourful font is visually helpful.
I find the units on sight words, where a mixture of words and pictures is used to present sentences, to be very confusing. So I have been skipping over those units. I also generally don't like an picture above a letter as a hint to the child.
Overall, I think this book is resourceful. One doesn't need to follow every exercise to the tee. The book offers an easy starting point for parents and very young children to work on phonics. I like that it's easy to use. You can pick up where you left off with little to literally no preparation. The colourful pages help capture a child's short attention span. I looked into other more elaborate phonics teaching guides but came back to this one, at least for now, because it is simple enough for my child's age (3 years old) and easy enough to fit into our busy schedule.