Saxon Phonics & Spelling

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  • Reviewed on Thursday, March 21, 2013
  • Grades Used: K and 1st
  • Dates used: 2012-2013
Love it! Saxon K is mostly learning letters, key words to remember the letter sounds, and letter sounds along with breaking words apart.
I started k with my son at 4 yrs and I'm glad I did. Also, 2nd grade saxon phonics is the review in a little different order of the 1st grade. So because we completed first grade with near perfect scores we will be skipping 2nd grade. If he needs review I'll leave out the nice rule charts that are in 1st grade. We will start grammar and reading better books next year. Lastly, I found my son hating the readers in both K and 1st. We supplemented with Pathway readers 1, red book, because it's repeating style gave him confidence that he could do it.
I'm glad we used it, glad we started early, glad I had a sup reader, and glad I looked ahead and didn't waste money on phonics 2.

Thrice Blessed

  • Reviewed on Monday, March 15, 2010
  • Grades Used: 1-2
  • Dates used: 2007-2010
For my son, Saxon Phonics is a godsend, my son is dyslexic and needs the review of the deck cards. We did Saxon 1 with him, and he learned to read very accurately, although not quickly. Then we tried to switch to just reading good books. He spent the next two years struggling and regressing. So this year we started Saxon 2, even though he is in fourth grade. Once again he is making steady progress, and reading accurately. Even his reading speed is improving.

When we finish Saxon 2 in a couple of months, I plan to once again go with good literature, but this time I will continue to show my son the Picture card deck and use the spelling sound deck, for as long as he needs the review. I also take comfort in the fact that if he *does* regress again, we can purchase Saxon Phonics Intervention and catch him back up.

Some of the card decks are less helpful than others. I find the alphabet accent deck to not be too helpful. The Letter cards were helpful for learning the actual individual letters, but when it came to "letter teams" it has some difficulties. As another reviewer mentioned, it really doesn't make that much difference if a letter team is called a digraph, diphthong, or combination, as long as you know what sound or sounds the team makes. However, my son DOES seem to know most of them pretty well, and it doesn't hurt him at all to learn them.

The coding is helpful when my son comes across a word that is too big for him to read easily. Using the coding rules, he goes through the word, dividing the syllables, coding the digraphs and vowels, etc. Afterward he is able to read the word. It is good to have a method that he can use if he needs too, so I plan to continue having him code vocabulary words from his literature studies.

I found out today that a well known private school for children with Dyslexia uses the Orton Gillingham method that Saxon Phonics is based on, this brings additional confirmation for me that I am doing what is best for my son.

My daughter is in second grade, and is doing the program with my son. It is good for her, but not really necessary. She often knows the sight words before they are introduced, and has figured out from reading books what sounds some of the teams make. She would probably learn to read with just about any program.

Would I recommend it? Yes, especially if you have a Dyslexic child or a struggling reader. If your child is more like my daughter, you may find all of the review to be tedious and redundant, but if you have a child who is struggling, who is Learning Disabled and discouraged, feeling like he'll never learn how to read, then this program is probably exactly what you need.

Joy K.

  • Reviewed on Friday, November 7, 2008
  • Grades Used: 1st
  • Dates used: 2008
I purchased the Saxon Phonics 1 kit in its entirety. It was costly, but fortunately for me, our charter school paid for it. I found it to be very poor quality and a frustrating program. My son is a quick learner and we found the busyness in the teacher's manual was really geared for classrooms, not homes. It covers extremely basic principles that may be useful for slow learners, but the average student would find it really annoying.

We ended up just using the workbooks and I made up the instructions using my common sense. The workbooks, however, were poorly made. They don't use lines like most programs use, where the child has an upper line, a slashed line and a lower solid line. It is just one solid line...not good for beginners.

The worst thing about this program are the readers. They were creepy stories, the pictures are worse, and they are to be made yourself and stapled together. The paper is thick, so the books never stapled properly, and the staples kept poking us.

I am giving up on this program and will go with our lovely Abeka readers (which are really well-written and good quality). I will also use Rod and Staff readers (also really good quality) and Rod and Staff workbooks. I examined some today and was really impressed by them!! By the way, Rod and Staff is significantly less expensive than this program. I don't even need the charter school to pay for it!


  • Reviewed on Sunday, August 10, 2008
  • Grades Used: k-2
  • Dates used: 2000-2006
I have home schooled for 10 years and tutored children for over 15 years. I have a degree in elementary and special education; emphasis in learning disabilities. All of this to say that I have seen many curricula over the years.
Saxon Phonics is based on the Orton Gillingham method of instruction. It is very intense, structured and multisensory. Parents may feel overwhelmed with the very structured format. However, if you have a struggling learner I encourage you to stick with it. Struggling learners need the structure and repetition Saxon provides. A parent can feel free to slow down as needed and bring in supplemental resources. There are no gaps with Saxon. It is very thorough. If you opt not to use it, I would advise tutoring for your child in a multisensory method in order to ease the learning process. A recommended website: