Our family recently got the opportunity to review the Ultimate Phonics Reading Program from Spencer Learning. This is an online program designed to teach reading or enhance reading ability.
This program is a sturdy, no frills program, suitable for learners of any age. Older students who may need remedial help will appreciate the absence of cartoon characters and catchy jingles that make many phonics programs seem too babyish to use for remedial work.
Since Katie is still learning to read, I started her at the beginning of the program. She is able to sound out most of the words on the word lists so far, and when there is a word she gets wrong, I hover the mouse over the word, and the computer says it correctly.
There is also a Reading Test on the website, where you can determine the best place to start your student, if they're not at the beginning, like Katie is. I had Jack, who is 12, do the 3-4th grade page of the reading test, and he missed 14 words, indicating that he would also benefit from using this program.
We sit together when Katie works on Ultimate Phonics. There are no quizzes or tests, which can be helpful for students with test anxiety, so listening to and observing her efforts lets me know exactly how she is doing.
After the word list, the program breaks down each word into tiny pieces and helps students sound them out. I've been having Katie skip this part most of the time, since she's already able to sound out the words on her own. Next comes the sentences, like the one pictured above.
This is one of the times when sitting with Katie while she works on the program is especially helpful. She may be able to sound out each word, but after half a dozen words or so, cannot tell what the sentence she just read says. So we go over each sentence twice. Once to sound the words out aloud, then the second time, she reads the whole words. If she needs to, she can sound out a word in her head. By saying whole words, she is better able to grasp the meaning of the sentence.
Ultimate Phonics sells for $69.95. With this one time fee, you receive a download of the program to the computers in your household. You can use it for as long as you like, with as many students as you like, with no additional charges. Future updates to the program are free to you, as well. This may be a more cost effective option than consumable phonics workbooks over time for a large family.
I like that once you download the program, it does not require an internet connection. Our internet is slow, and having one more thing sucking up bandwidth in our household of multiple devices would not be popular.
You can try Ultimate Phonics free for 10 days and see if it would be a good fit for the learners in your house.
You can connect with Spencer Learning on Facebook or Twitter. To read what other Crew families thought of the Ultimate Phonics Reading Program, please click the box below.
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