Explode the Code is a phonics program designed for students being taught to read at home. The program can stand alone for complete phonics understanding over a period of years, or it can be used as a support program for other phonics programs.
It is designed to be comprehensive and expansive, so children can learn for many years through the use of one book series or online program.
The biggest pro to working with this phonics system is the versatility. Parents can choose to purchase the books and work through them along with their children, or to buy a yearly subscription to the online version of the program. Many parents prefer the online version for two primary reasons:
The program monitors their mastery of different concepts, grades them, and awards colored buttons that tell parents instantly how well the child is doing on different lessons. The lessons are customized to work on lessons a child has not mastered, eliminating skills as they are mastered.
Homeschooling families without reliable Internet connections can still benefit from using the book series, but that form of the program lacks the structure and personalized help that comes with the intuitive online version.
Another pro to working with the Explode the Code program is the fun, lighthearted language used throughout the books. Students will get a giggle out of the fun cartoons and pictures. Emerging readers learn that reading can be fun with the super silly wording used for sample sentences in the books. This is one perk to using the book version of the program. Children can actually read the books, enjoy them, and grow to love reading as a result.
Many parents also love that Explode the Code offers "1/2" books that fall between different levels. These books are used as extra help for students struggling with the book that came before. This is an extra resource for struggling learners that many other phonics programs fail to offer.
One final pro is the price tag. Explode the Code books sell for much lower prices than many other phonics instruction books, so they are perfect for home schools on a budget. Most are available at Amazon.com.
You cannot save money by not buying the teacher's guide that comes with this program. Students receive very little instruction on what they should do inside the workbooks, so parents will need to use their guide to introduce concepts and get students started on their book work. This may mean a bit more parent interaction than some parents want to invest, but it is an essential part of homeschooling.
While many students are able to work independently with Explode the Code books and online lessons, you should be ready to work with your children on concepts they do not master on their own. When using the books, you will need to grade the work throughout the book and give a test at the end of each book. Since the workbooks give limited directions to students, you should be ready to introduce lessons from the books before your child can work independently. Using the half books for lessons that your children struggle with is an excellent idea as well.
Many parents report extreme excitement from their children when these books are introduced. The lighthearted, silly nature of the books make them entertaining, so kids actually want to learn from them.