Kindergarten Phonics

If there was a curriculum junkies anonymous, the mantra would be "Just Choose One." Yeah, its true, it is impossible for me to use a program as is. After debating ad nauseum of whether to use ABeka Phonics or The Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading with C for K Phonics, I ultimately decided a combination with a splash of Explode the Code would be best. :)

Both programs are perfectly complete in and of themselves and produce great results, so Why Combine? 

1. Abeka Phonics Teacher's manuals drive me crazy. We only use the phonics, so sifting through the other language arts subjects is annoying. 
2. Abeka phonics moves S.L.O.W. There is too much extra, and as a perfectionist I fear if I move too quickly or skip something, I might miss something. 
3. OPGTR is straightforward, easy to use, and scripted (which I love!) And it is only one book instead of multiple levels. 
4. Cost. This wasn't so much a factor for me since I had all of the Abeka items. OPGTR is one book that gets you to a 4th grade reading level. 
5. Abeka is much more colorful and engaging. This is why I chose to use the Basic Flashcards and Handbook for Reading.
6.  Abeka has built in review. OPGTR does say to use the "1 New 2 Review" method, but I like constant review. Another reason for using the flashcards and Handbook for Reading. 
6. Abeka is too much writing for my current Ker. I didn't want to do the Letters and Sounds workbook, but the Explode the Code books will be less writing and more directed at just phonics and not the rest we don't need. 
7. I like to know when I am "done." I went through Abeka Phonics K and 1 with E, and felt we were ready to move on. We continued with All About Spelling and Sonlight Readers and I am very happy with the results. However, in the back of my perfectionist mind I still wonder if we missed something by not completing the Abeka phonics program. I don't think we have, but to be sure I have her working through the Explode the Code series. Probably unnecessary, but it is relatively painless independent work and it makes me feel better. :) 

Here is the document if you are interested:

We will be adding a lot of games for my little guy that is ALL boy. A few favorites so far: Great online reading/phonics games. 

Flashcard Hop: Choose several letters or phonogram cards you are working on, scatter them on the floor across the room. Call out a sound and an action (Hop, crawl, hop one one leg) and the child moves to the correct letter while completing the action.

Phonogram Toss: As you cover a phonogram (or just letters) write it on a beach ball in Sharpie. Toss the ball back and forth and the child has to read the phonogram closest to their thumb.

Reading Easter Eggs: I saw this on Pinterest and loved it! I also made a second batch/toddler version for J with the capital letter on one side and the lower case on the other (be sure to mix match eggs for different colors if you want to make it more challenging!) 

A few more phonics games I found on Pinterest that I plan to make and try out!


  1. Thank you for all your reviews. I am headed to a Abeka material display this morning to look at phonics and your review helped me.

  2. How did it go, introducing the phonogram cards with OPGTR?? My son is using the 2nd half of OPGTR this year for 1st grade (he did the first half in K), and he gets some of the phonograms mixed up. I'm thinking phonogram cards may help him... but I don't know how exactly to go about introducing them into our lessons. Any tips?


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