Rainbow Price: $224.95
Considering the approach, ease of use, content, child-appeal, benefits, effectiveness and cost of all the phonics programs we were familiar with, Sing, Spell, Read & Write was our choice for personal use. We have used several programs and read about many others. Although we didn't use this program in total with our children (because we extended the spelling, used italic handwriting instead of ball and stick, etc.) we did find it the most used and useful of those we tried. AND the results were wonderful! If you're looking for something to really lay it all out for you, something that works, is easy to use, and will have your child singing the letter sounds in days, followed closely by actually reading...this is what we recommend! Here are some of our reasons:
The "raceway" theme is very appealing and motivating to children, who love tracking their success via race car around a track as they complete the 36 steps to independent reading.
The songs are unquestionably contagious - children will sing and sing and sing and learn their letter sounds, long and short vowel sounds, blending vowels and consonants, and digraphs almost effortlessly - and enjoy it! That is, if you can bear to listen to it sung over and over, multiplied by x times the number of children using it throughout the years.
The 17 phonetic, full-color storybooks cover all 36 steps, providing immediate, rewarding reinforcement for the decoding skill just learned. This makes good sense.
The games are not just fluff, but real fortification of phonetic skills. They are more fun, however, if you can play with more than one child.
The teacher training videos included in the set will greatly aid you in understanding/teaching the phonics program - and give you the confidence to do it!
Included is a complete, phonetic spelling program dove-tailing with the phonetic constructs being learned and a complete handwriting program (if you use ball and stick manuscript).
thick, four-color workbooks include grammar and creative writing
phonics songs are contained in both cassette and CD formats
The two workbooks and the assessment book included in the set are the only consumables in the program. Replacements must be ordered from the publisher.
To be honest, we have just a few quibbles :
1. Some of the tapes/voices are not as clear or distinct as a perfectionist might demand. Some may go a little too "fast" for your taste - notably the ferris wheel song used to practice blending sounds smoothly. For us, this was a plus, since we kept at it until we could keep up with the song, resulting in perfect blending!
2. The "prizes" included are...well...rather cheesy at best and who needs 4 or 5 yo- yos, several plastic magnifiers, multiple thin plastic bracelets, and numerous plastic sack puppets? When using with one child, one of each would do nicely. To alleviate this, see our special offer below.