Phonics Pathways

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  • Reviewed on Sunday, March 13, 2016
  • Grades Used: Pre-K
  • Dates used: 2015-2016
I tried using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with my son, and it was a disaster. I switched him to Explode the Code, which worked, but I felt it wasn't clearly and systematically teaching him the phonics rules. So when my four year old daughter started asking if she could learn to read too, I decided to give Phonics Pathways a try. It was a good decision! She enjoys her lessons, and it is working.

What you need to realize about this program is #1, it is simple and straight-forward with no bells and whistles or even workbook pages. In my opinion, that is a good thing. Bells and whistles are unnecessary and just make a program expensive. Workbooks are not appropriate for 4 and 5 year olds who are supposed to be learning to read, not write.

#2, this program is meant to be worked through at the child's own pace. I can not stress this enough. I think a lot of the negative reviews come from people who did not read the material for the teacher at the front of the book. Because in it, the author stresses not to move on from a concept until the child has mastered it. Since my daughter is only four, we have worked VERY slowly. We spent months (yes, months) on the short vowel sounds. We played all the games (which are very simple) multiple times until she had the sounds down cold. We still review with her short vowel stick everyday. Now she is sounding out three letter words. We only do one half or one quarter of the words on a page at one time, never letting her get to the point of boredom or frustration. The next day, we play the train game (her favorite) with those same words. In a couple of weeks, I'm going to start making flashcards with the words as well

My biggest mistake with my son was pushing too hard and not letting his ability and his interest set the pace. I love this program because it is so flexible. You can go as slow or as fast as your child's needs require. There is no "lesson one: do x,y,z today" to make you feel pressured to finish.

I do agree with everyone that Dewey the bookworm and the cheesy quotes are pointless:)


  • Reviewed on Saturday, September 6, 2014
  • Grades Used: K
  • Dates used: 2013-2014
Phonics Pathways is a very thorough phonics manual. My daughter went from not being able to read anything to grade 2 chapter books by the end of her K year. We made it through about 3 quarters of the book before our school year ended and will pick up where we left off after some review this year. Cons: The Dewey the Book worm character was an unneeded distraction. The course is dry!! My daughter hated it until I figured out how to make some games out of it and then she was a more willing learner. This is not a fun and games program and even the games you can buy as a supplement were boring but the program is probably one of the best for providing a solid phonics foundation. I came to the conclusion for my daughter that maybe Phonics will be one of those subjects that is just not her favorite. Based upon what I see now from her reading ability in relation to her peers and similarly aged family members, I'm sold! One other note: I felt the need to provide additional reading material with Bob Books even though I had the supplemental book that came with the Phonics Pathways. Perfect!


  • Reviewed on Saturday, January 25, 2014
  • Grades Used: K
  • Dates used: 2009
Many people love Phonics Pathways and have used it successfully, however, it did not work at my house. I tried it with two of my sons who were learning to read and it didn't last long before we switched to something else.

My boys were overwhelmed by how much text there is on the pages. When one is just starting out reading and the going is slow, it is quite daunting. "I have to read ALL that?" is what I heard many times.

I bought The Reading Lesson, which isn't perfect, but has lots of white space on the pages and my boys have liked it much better.


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, May 21, 2013
  • Grades Used: K
  • Dates used: 2012-2013
A friend recommended this book to me, and I have to admit that I was skeptical. I was just ONE book (with b/w pictures)...and when purchased used was no more than $6.
However, I am super excited to admit that my skepticism was ill-placed.

Of all the products my Kindergartener tried this year, Phonics Pathways was the most rewarding!

She did SO well in the beginning that by mid-book she took off reading on her own ... on a low second grade level!

PP taught her to decode words so well that she is reading beyond where we are in the PP book. It worked faster than I thought, too. :)

I'm super pleased and recommend this book to anyone who asks.