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Explode the Code or Handwriting Without Tears


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#1 jewel7123

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 02:35 PM

I would like to know which of these phonics programs is best and why, but it looks like a lot of people use them both from searching the forums. I guess I thought they both teach the same thing, handwriting, and I wouldn't need both. I'd love to hear your opinion! Specifically I'm referring to the Get Ready, Get Set, Go for the Code books from ETC and the Get Set for School workbook from HWT. Thanks!

ETA: I'd also love to hear opinions on the following to teach reading:

Reading Made Easy
The Reading Lesson
Phonics Pathways 9th edition

Edited by jewel7123, 05 December 2008 - 02:38 PM.


#2 pbandpickles

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 02:40 PM

Explode the Code is a phonics curc and Handwriting without Tears is a handwriting curc.

#3 pbandpickles

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 02:47 PM

We are really enjoying Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons with my ds who is 7. I also own and have went through The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and plan to start my 4 year old out with it in a few months. I have heard great things about Pathways but I haven't ever used it myself. It really helps to know what your child's learning style is before choosing one I think. I bought several before discoverying this. I HTH.

Oh and I know that some people use Explode the Code to supplement or go along with the primer.

#4 jewel7123

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 02:51 PM

Explode the Code is a phonics curc and Handwriting without Tears is a handwriting curc.


So would I use ETC along with one of the phonics programs I listed (Reading Made Easy, Reading Lesson, etc.) or would it be unnecessary? I'm just trying to figure out what I need and what is too much.

#5 jewel7123

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 02:53 PM

It really helps to know what your child's learning style is before choosing one I think. I bought several before discoverying this. I HTH.


My dd is 3 1/2 so I'm thinking ahead here, but how would I discover her learning style so young? We just started a preschool curriculum, Little Hands to Heaven, but I don't know what I should be looking for to determine what her style is...

#6 AnnetteB

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 02:57 PM

I used the Explode the Code series with one of the boys. He needed a different approach. It worked for him, but it cost a lot for the workbooks that he zipped through in a day or two each! Alphaphonics and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons are okay for some, but he needed visuals. We've used Veritas Press Phonics Museum with the last 4 children along with phonics worksheets and play. They each make a notebook of sounds and letters to call their own :)


There are several books on the topic of learning styles. "The Way They Learn" is one.

Edited by AnnetteB, 05 December 2008 - 03:04 PM.


#7 Penelope

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 03:18 PM

Those particular ETC books only teach letter sounds. They are easy to skip. We did. There are many other ways to learn letter sounds. My understanding of learning styles is that nearly all young children are largely tactile and kinesthetic learners. But then, I still can't figure out my oldest's predominant style and he's 6.5!

#8 Lady Q

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 03:18 PM

I used the ETC primers in the fall with my son (just turned 4) and thought that they required a lot of writing. My plan is to do Alphaphonics and ETC for phonics starting in January and hold off on a handwriting curriculum until he's at least 5. In the meantime, I'll just print handwriting practice sheets off the Internet or make some of my own. Right now he's doing the Kumon Uppercase Letters book and loving it.

#9 5Youngs

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 03:23 PM

We are finishing up with 100 easy lessons.
It is the easiest and quickest reading program I have ever used.
We started with third son when he was 4.5 yo and he will finish next week.
We did the early lessons several days in a row, when he wasn't ready to move on.
Honestly, he is reading as well right now as my oldest was in second grade.
We used saxon phonics with him, which is my least favorite program ever, due to the long lesson time and thousands of flashcards and 'pieces' used with it.
(I cannot handle clutter, it's an issue with me):D
I was skeptical about 110 easy lessons, but believe me, it does work.
We have used explode the code and I'm not sure if we'll use it again.
Reason: there are a lot of mistakes in the last two books, so you have to prescreen the lessons, and the company didn't care when I called them about it, nor did they care when our local Mardel called them about it.:confused:
That just rubs me wrong......
It does teach phonics thoroughly.
And it's inexpensive.
HTH~

#10 amsunshine

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 03:33 PM

there are a lot of mistakes in the last two books, so you have to prescreen the lessons, and the company didn't care when I called them about it, nor did they care when our local Mardel called them about it.:confused:


What kind of mistakes did you find in the last two books (I assume you mean 7 and 8)? I am considering purchasing these books, and hearing about mistakes is disheartening.

#11 fortheboys

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:19 PM

Both of my sons are going great with ETC. We love them. Fro my DS5 we do a page or two a day and then a page or two from phonics pathways. It works for us!

#12 5Youngs

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:41 PM

What kind of mistakes did you find in the last two books (I assume you mean 7 and 8)? I am considering purchasing these books, and hearing about mistakes is disheartening.


When it has the child separate the syllables of a word, there are MANY instances when they have the incorrect number of spaces for the word.
So, they would divide it incorrectly, because that's what the book is telling them to do.
It drove me nuts!
And was incredibly frustrating for my son, bc he was doing exactly what it told him to do, and I was telling him the book was wrong. :confused:
When I called the company, they didn't even want page numbers where there were mistakes!
They just said that the parent is responsible for teaching the lesson, so sorry.
I was livid!
Mardel was speechless, after hearing my story and then getting the exact same treatment when they called the company.
It was ridiculous!

#13 KathyBC

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 11:28 PM

I think the usual order for HWT is Get Set for School in pre-k, then Letters and Numbers for Me in K. I like to focus on letter and number formation with HWT, so that when we're doing anything else, we can just focus on content and I don't worry over-much about neatness or perfection.

We loved Get Ready, Get Set and Go for the Code from ETC to learn the consonant sounds at the beginning of K. If your child likes to circle and x things, they're great. As others have said, if you are already using a reading program, they're not absolutely necessary.

#14 amsunshine

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 09:02 AM

When it has the child separate the syllables of a word, there are MANY instances when they have the incorrect number of spaces for the word.
So, they would divide it incorrectly, because that's what the book is telling them to do.
It drove me nuts!
And was incredibly frustrating for my son, bc he was doing exactly what it told him to do, and I was telling him the book was wrong. :confused:
When I called the company, they didn't even want page numbers where there were mistakes!
They just said that the parent is responsible for teaching the lesson, so sorry.
I was livid!
Mardel was speechless, after hearing my story and then getting the exact same treatment when they called the company.
It was ridiculous!


That is really unfortunate. And I was so looking forward to using the added element of comprehension with those two books. I guess I need to look elsewhere. Maybe Beyond the Code? hmmmm....


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