She's hooked...on phonics

school-time-may-2009-71"Let's do SCHOOL TIME!

That's a common request from my 2 1/2-year-old daughter these days. 

And you should see her say it: Her whole face lights up and she squeezes her fists in excitement. She jumps up and down and runs into my office as soon as I give her the green light.

She loves everything related to learning: the flash cards, the DVDs, the songs, the books, the scissors and crayons and glue, the prospect of discovering something new.

At present, her current list of skills includes:

  • recognizing all of the letters A to Z, uppercase
  • recognizing almost all of the letters a to z, lowercase (those b's, d's, p's, and q's are confusing...they all look alike!)
  • counting from 1-10
  • singing the Alphabet song...with a few omissions 
  • recognizing colors: blue, green, red, black, purple, pink, white, orange, yellow, grey
  • recognizing shapes: circle, square, oval, triangle, heart, star
  • "reading" a few words (from memory or due to obvious picture associations) and using her finger to "trace" the words from left to write

In hopes of helping her get to the "next level," we're now using the Learn to Read program from Hooked on Phonics and I'm happy to share my thoughts about it with you:

hooked on phonics learn to read programHooked on Phonics Learn to Read Program, PreK Edition, Deluxe (on sale now for $54.95)

This kit is specifically designed to help 3 and 4 year olds master letter names, letter sounds, and phonetic awareness. 

hooked on phonics complete kit contents prek edition


The kit includes:

  • 2 CD-ROMs
  • 3 storybooks
  • 3 workbooks with lessons and activities
  • a My Hooked on Phonics dictionary
  • 2 sets of letter cards
  • 140 picture cards
  • 1 set of letter floor cards
  • 3 progress posters with stickers
  • parent's guide

Our favorite thing to use are the letter floor cards, an oversized set of alphabet cards with the uppercase letters on one side and the lowercase letters on the other. They're fantastic for a million purposes.

We also enjoy reading the books and using all of the flash cards...and, of course, what 2-year-old can resist stickers?

We haven't yet tried the CD-ROMs, in part because I'm not sure how I feel about my 2-year-old using my laptop. 

My recommendations for the next edition of Learn to Read PreK?

  1. Include more hand-outs, worksheets, and/or coloring pages for the child to complete.
  2. Include a packet/booklet for the parent that lists possible corresponding activities to help children learn letters in fun ways (for example, there could be a recipe for Alphabet soup or directions for how to make an "O"-shaped pinata...). 

Overall, the Learn to Read Program by Hooked on Phonics is a fun resource for parents. At 2, my daughter is still a little "young" for some of the activities, but she enjoys it nevertheless.


WIN IT! One winner will receive a Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read PreK Edition Deluxe program ($54.95).  To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Monday, May 25 at midnight (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).

*UPDATE* The winner is #14 Jenny N. Congratulations!

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144 comments on “She's hooked...on phonics”

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  2. The Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read PreK Edition Deluxe program sounds very useful! I will definitely recommend it to my friend.

  3. Have granchildren/twins entering the first grade this would be so positive to enhance the reading/language and verbal skills. Thanks Hooked on Phonics for all you do to help our children be the best that they can be.

  4. I have heard a lot of good things about Hooked On Phonics. Would love to see how the little one does with it

  5. We are ready to start trying to teach our 3 yr old to read and learn letters. This would help great.

  6. I think my 2 1/2 year old grandson would really learn alot. I heard this is a great educational tool for learning and alot of fun

  7. i have heard alot of good things about hooked on phonics my friends daughter has done this program and reads beautifully :)

  8. I'd love to have this for my son. He's struggling to want to keep up with his big sister who is in Kindergarten. I'd love to give him a little more confidence when it comes to phonics and reading. Thanks!

  9. I bought the original Hooked on Phonics for my boys when they were little and they both were reading & writing before Kindergarten. This would be a great prize for my grandson. Thanks for the chance.

  10. My daughter seems to sometimes know her letters but could definitely use help to understand them better and form them into words. This would be such a great tool to have!

  11. I remember having the Hooked on Phonics when me and my sister were younger. I don't think my mom still has it, but I would like to use it with my daughter.

  12. My three year old princess is extremely verbal. I realize that I understand her completely but others do not. This program will be so valuable to help her learn! I have heard so many wonderful things about Hooked On Phonics! Hope we get to try it . Thanks!

    Barbara Rawe
    [email protected]

  13. My son loves to do school work. This is a perfect workbook for him!

    mercsmercado at yahoo dot com

  14. I think my two year old might be ready for hooked on phonics he is extremely bright. I got him a fish book when he was a baby and I found out it is for 5 or 6 year olds. I figured he could look at the pictures because he loves fish. So today he was looking at it and he said Baby fish and I thought it was a little fish because many little kids call little things baby such and such. Nope I looked over at the book and it was a fish that just hatched still all deformed! He is only 2 and a half! One of my friends thinks he could of possibly read where it says baby fish. No one ever told him what it was. [email protected]

  15. My daughter has the basics down, but honestly, tends to forget a lot when it comes right down to it. This would be great to help her remember the different elements and how to put them together.

  16. This would be great! I really want to start teaching my son early at home, but I have no idea where to start! Thanks so much for the chance!

  17. I looked at this online last month when my daughter seemed really interested in reading but seen it was out of our price range right now ( my husband just got laid off) so I attempted to make our own set which just isn't the same. I think this set makes it so fun to learn to read. My daughter would love and cherish this.

    Thanks for this wondeful giveaway!

    [email protected]

  18. I would love to win this for my daughter. I am adopting a 1-2 year old from China and this would be great in assisting her!

  19. I could really use this for my daughter - she will be entering Kindergarten this year and is really trying to read.

  20. My nephews would get a kick out of this, and it would help them learn. Win-win. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  21. I have heard such great things about Hooked on Phonics. I love how large the flashcards are, that is great!

  22. Education is so important and I believe the earlier you start the better! Many children have such a hard time learning to read and this would make it so much easier!

  23. My 2.5 year old is so ready for this! Would love to give it a try!! :) Hope your two little ones are doing well! xoxo

  24. I have 2 preschoolers that could really use some help on some of these things - lower case is a concern here. I would love to have this to help them along.

  25. I would love to try out this amazing package on our daughter! She seems to soak up everything we try to teach her now, so it would be fun to head right into pre-reading!

  26. I think that phonics are the BEST way to learn to read and spell! This would make a great learning tool for my nieces and nephews!

  27. This would be a great item to have for my niece who turns 2 in July. She speaks very few words at this point (more jibberish than anything else) so this would be very helpful :)

  28. I'd love to win this for my pre-schooler. My older son has difficulty with reading and I'd like to start as early as possible helping my younger son learn to read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  29. That's so neat! I'm so glad that she loves school time! Since I work in a school, I've noticed that not all kids love school so it is very encouraging to teach an eager child such as her. And I LOVE Phonics, too!

  30. I'm so impressed that she is recognizing all of her upper case letters! I love the look of the letter floor cards, I can see my daughter loving them too:)

  31. I feel Hooked on Phonics just continues to improve their programs. I feel this program would greatly help our daughter with early reading skills.

  32. I love the look of this program. We used Hooked on Phonics for our older kids, but now we have two toddlers who could both benefit from the Pre-K edition. I would love to try this with them!

  33. I worked seasonally at JCPenney last christmas and they had several of the hooked on... kits in super sale. with our employee discount they were only 19 dollars!!! They only had one of these and another worker got to it before me. I got the prek learn to write though. I would love this one too!

  34. This would be so great to have. My oldest is 3 and so smart, but super active. I need something like that will keep his attention for more than just two minutes. I think this would work for him because it has activities and pictures.

  35. I am considering the Horizon's curriculum. There is a preschool set that does not include the DVDs and CD Roms. It is a lot less expensive, around $100. Are the DVDs worth the extra cost?

  36. With both of my kids still preschool age next year, this would be fabulous! I might buy the kit even if I don't win! I've also heard of a book called "Teach your Child to Read in 100 Lessons" that is supposed to be really good for 4-5 year olds, FYI.

  37. i am about to have 3 kids 3 and under (and an 11 year old) so this would get LOTS of use. we are a homeschooling family and would really appreciate something like this.

  38. I don't have any PreSchool curriculum and I have not started any "school time." But I do love the idea and I want to do it more you, I think I will begin in the Fall.
    I do, however, know that our days are full of learning activities: cooking, kicking a ball, doing Play-Doh, coloring, playing "my letter game" on the computer (, etc.

  39. I would love to win this for my soon to be 3 year old. He knows his alphabet but does not recognize them. I would love to do some things with him this summer before he starts daycare in the fall.

  40. I think this set is great. All in one pretty much. I hate having to look for stuff one at a time just put it ALL in a box for one stop shopping and learing.

  41. My daughter is dying to create words. We know the letters, but the putting them together to sound them out is the new challenge. This would be perfectto help her master the sounds associated with letters!

  42. I would love to win this for my daughter she is very interested in learning and playing. I feel we should foster that fact not ignore it. We should keep it challenging yet at her level.

  43. My sons turned three in March and I'm really starting to get them into reading. This woul be a welcome addition towards helping us reach our goal, thanks!

  44. Although programs like this are geared towards parents as educational tools, they often give children the opportunity to display skills they already have. This is not to say parental reinforcement does not play a strong role in encouraging children. Learning is a social activity - the more you interact, the more you learn!

  45. It's so important to give your child a head start on reading, and this product looks great for the pre-k group.

  46. Wow, what a great set. We're working on our lowercase letters, too. You're right, some of those letters are tricky. Honestly, I will STILL occasionally write/type a b for a p, and vice versa, if I'm not paying attention. It's really weird, especially since I first noticed myself doing it not in kindergarten or one of the lower grades, but in high school. Go figure.

  47. I have been interested in beginning the Hooked On Phonics Programs for my 2 youngest. I want to make sure they get all the help possible for a great start in reading. Blessings.

  48. Great learning tool.I would like to give it to my granddaughter to give her a head start in school.

  49. This sounds like a great tool for parents who are interested in helping their child at home and need some guidance on how to do so. My 4 year old son would enjoy this, I'm sure!

  50. I have a couple of grandaughters that fit in the right age category. I'd like to win so they can get a head start on the joys of reading.

  51. We are thinking of putting our daughter in preschool a couple mornings a week, but I also want to work with her at home on reading. This would be great!

  52. My son is not yet old enough to really benifit from all of these items, but I sure do like the alphabet flash cards and think he would like them, too. We (meaning I sing to him) a song about how to spell his name because he has a name puzzle with letter and he loves that.

  53. My son just started preschool this year and I think this would really help him out for kindergarten

  54. I've been wanting to try one of these programs for my son! His preschool isn't super academic and I think he could use a little extra boost.

  55. This would be great for both of my boys, my 4 year old who was speech delayed but is catching up and showing a real interest in reading, and my 2 year old who is talking up a storm and also interested in books.

  56. My almost 2 yr old son rarely talks - but I have noticed when he watches DVDs with music he seems to want to talk then and tries to clap, sing. I believe this would be a fun resource to use with him

  57. What a great product- I have been trying hard to work with my two year old on letters and this would be the perfect tool to help him along!

  58. I would love to give these a try but I would also be a little worried about letting my 18 month old onto my computer. Thanks for the giveaway.

  59. I have a 4 year old and a 2 1/2 year old. I would love to have those alphabet cards for my 2 1/2 year old and my 4 year old has such a desire for knowledge that anything educational is exciting to her. I'm debating on the whole preschool thing, and these would definitely help me teach them myself.

  60. My niece and nephew would love this. They like the whole idea of school and learning. This would be one great way to get them going before the "real" school starts. Thank you for the giveaway.

  61. My mom taught both of my sisters to read with Hooked On Phonics, and it helped them so much! My almost 3yo is very interested in reading, but I have not been consistent in trying to teach her anything more than A, B, and C! It would be wonderful to have this for her:)


  62. My cousins that used this program turned out to be fantastic readers and spellers. I think it would be wise to use Hooked on Phonics with my little one.

  63. My 4 year-old grandson is just the right age for Hooked On Phonics! This would be a great learning tool for him.

    Thanks for a great giveaway!

  64. I would love to try this program I've always thought it sounded great and have heard great things about it. My son is 14 mo and ready to start!

  65. This looks like aawesome set !!! Id practice this with my grand babies 8 months & 4 years old. 1st thru 9th grade is so hard now!!! All the extra help for them in sets like this is mandatory for todays life...Thanks for the contest.. Its a nicce one.. Keep on the Sunnyside all : )

  66. My son LOVES to do his alphabet flash cards and I'd love to take it to the next level! The workbooks sound great, he loves a workbook! Thanks for the chance to win!

  67. My daughter will be turning three in September and she LOVES to learn new things! She knows all of her colors, her numbers up to 20, and she loves when we read her books! This would be a wonderful treat!
    Thank you for the opportunity!

  68. I've been looking for simple letter flash cards just like this! It's actually been hard to find flash cards with just the letter on them! Thanks for the review and chance to win!

  69. I have been looking for a program to use with my daughter that was fun and seemed like play instead of prompting or pushing her without it being fun.This sounds great and something she could enjoy and not feel pressured.

  70. My 20 month old is already learning to count - we can get up to "6" and how to spell her name, we've started working on colors and shapes too. Something a little more structured would be a lot of fun once she is older!

  71. My just turned 2 year old is starting to understand reading letters and numbers. We don't watch tv, but the two things we do watch on DVD are Letter Factory by Leap Frog and My Baby Can Read series. He likes them both and it certainly isn't hurting him and maybe he is soaking up something at the same time. I would be interested in trying this program since he is showing an interest.

  72. I would love to win this for my preK classroom. My kids learn all their letters and sounds but I would like to kick it up another notch.

  73. I went to Montessori as did all my brothers and sisters. I helped to teach one of my brothers to read and write. I'd love for my nieces and nephews to have an advantage to learn and get ahead as my brothers and sisters and I did.

  74. I would LOVE to check this out. We plan to do Letter Of the Week starting at age 3....another popular homeschool pre-school curriculum at age 4..and Kindergarten at age 5. So I'd love to see if I could incorporate this program.

  75. I have such a hard time wiht what to do for schooling. We are planning on sending our children to the Catholic School that is with the church we attend. I have only heard good things about it. However my son should go to pre-school this fall and they have the pre-pre-school that he could have gone to last fall. We are opting out of pre-schooling, but Kindergarten is soon to be here. I was home schooled my entire life and my husband public school his entire life so it's weird for me to think to send me son. I would like to try this - it looks great! =)

  76. My three year old knows some of his letters and watches all of his older brothers read and wants to learn, but I don't really know how to teach him.

  77. I didn't realize that that had this type of program out there. I think it would help my son continue learning his alphabet. Right now I think he recognizes the letter with the picture.

  78. It's unfortunate that my God-daughter is behind for her age - she's five. She could really use the help to prepare her for Kindergarten.

  79. I am intrigued. My 4 year old is not too interested in reading, though she loves books and can memorize them.

  80. I'd love to have this for my granddaughter. She has some developmental delays so anything to help her 'catch up' to where she needs to be, would be great. Thanks.

    kport207 at gmail dot com

  81. I am interested in this because I spend a lot of time on computers, and our little ones will have to become computer savvy to succeed, so starting them young with this nice product is a good introduction.

  82. I'd love to give this a try. My son loves preschool and is pretty disappointed that tomorrow is his last day. This would be great to break out in the summer months...Plus perfect for his sister who needs a translator for everything she says!
    PS. I can't wait to hear how Home Preschool goes. Will you set aside a certain time each week, or just incorporate it into play?

  83. We love the HOP program! We've been using outdated stuff, purchased at a closeout sale a few years, we would be delighted to win the new package! My son is 4 and a half and he LOVES Pop Fox! LOL

  84. I'd love to win this one. I've gotten my 5yo doing pretty well, but I've got to say, I think it would be much easier for the next 2 kids with this program. Looks like fun!

  85. This looks like a fun program to try! My daughter will be 3 in summer and we've decided not to have her enter preschool this fall, but likely next year. In the meantime, I want to make sure I'm doing as much as I can to foster her love of learning!

  86. My daughter is just 2 and this would be great! We are working on letters, numbers and colors. On to shapes!

  87. ohh..this is a must need for my niece..she will really appreciate this aunt! :)and me ..u. cant wait to get this. you really have some thoughtful things to give to ur readers! thanks.

  88. I too have always wondered about this program. My sister teaches Kindergarden - so I've been taking advantage of her stash of goodies. My daughter also loves to "read" the words/books that she has memorized. This sounds like something worth investing in...Thanks for the great review!

  89. This would be great for our son that is three and wants to learn everything his big sister knows. My daughter taught him his ABC's, how to count to 16 and even count to 5 in Spanish. It is amazing how younger siblings learn so much from their older siblings. With our daughter starting 1st grade soon, I will have more one on one time with my son. This would be a great tool to get him ready for school:)

  90. My son, Caleb who will turn 3 in July is a letter addict. He would simply LOVE the large cards in this set. I have been looking for something on cd-rom to advance him to the next level as he loves playing on my computer too. Thanks for the opportunity to win this!

  91. I"ve never heard of this looks great! I'm trying to teach my son his letters right now. He can recognize a few, but I think this would really help him out a lot. Thanks for the review!

  92. Does your daughter also have her favorite books memorized? My son does this a lot. We barely have to read anymore...just flip the pages for him and follow along. My friend has her master's in el ed with a specialty in reading and she said memorization is the first step to becoming a great reader. Here's hoping!

  93. My daughter knew could recognize nearly all the capital letters before she was two. I think it was all the Sesame Street and Super Why I let her watch while my son was a newborn. Now we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and she's learning lower-case letters. I'm continually amazed at how quickly she picks up on these things, and I think if she enjoyed the Hooked on Phonics exercises, it would be a fantastic way for her to learn to read.

  94. my son is at the prereading level...these would be great for him. I have been looking for items that would help me promote his reading skills. He can memorize words by sight...but we have to work on the letter sounds.

  95. Roo is already starting to read but I could see her still enjoying this sort of program and helping to teach Jasper phonics, too.

  96. Wow! Sounds like your daughter is doing great. It looks like she's having so much fun with the activities too. My son (will be 3 in June) is getting a lot of this in his daycare. I love that they do a lot of educational things, but in a level that's appropriate for each child. It's very individualized. I'm hoping to continue his learning by doing various activities over the summer when we are together (I'm a teacher). I've been looking into a hooked on phonics program to use. Looks like this would be perfect. In your "school time" a great site that I used when I taught in the younger grades is: Your daughter might enjoy some of the activities there.

  97. I was just telling my husband last night we need to get Lucy started on phonics so she doesn't end up like me in special reading class. Luckily that class helped me. :)

  98. Though my daughter is only a year and a half, I've already been looking at some of these. I'm starting now, but would love to have the whole phonics package. Thanks!

  99. This would be so great for my 3 year old grandson. What a fantastic way to get him to learn his letters and prepare him to read. What a great opportunity! Thank you!

  100. My 3 year old watches Martha Speaks, World World,Word Girl, and Super Why all of which are great shows to learn new words and learn letters. He is getting there with learning the letters and his numbers. It would be nice to try this to see if it would be an even bigger improvement.

  101. My oldest is in preschool, but I will most likely do preschool here at home for my three youngest... too great an expense X3 at the same time! I have often wondered how this program would work, so it would be awesome to give it a try!

  102. My 3.5 year old daughter is absolutely loving the process of forming words as she sounds them out. Her favorite show is Word World...this Hooked on Phonics program would be such an amazing way to help nurture her already existing love for language (also exhibited by her non-stop talking!) :)

  103. I've always been very curious about this program. I feel that if your child is interested in learning than this is a great tool to have and use. You never know what will interest your child unless you present them with opportunities!

  104. My son is 2, not even talking yet, we're hoping for a language break through real soon though. I'd love to win! I facebook'd this post so my friends would have a chance to win too.

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