This program is designed to help beginning and struggling readers of all ages. It helps improve reading grade level, comprehension, and spelling. So that your children are not simply memorizing words or guessing and skipping over the ones they don't know. This program can be used in one of two ways. First you can use it as a stand alone reading program. The second way is to use it as a supplement to help your existing reading program work better. We used it as a supplement since both my girls are already decent readers.
Downloading and installing is just like any other program its easy. I created a little icon on my desk top so it's easy to find when its time to practice. You can start out with the free 30 day trial to test drive the program then you simply enter your license once you have purchased the program.
Since both the girls are fairly good readers it took a little adjusting to decide where to start them. The girls are using it to pick up on some of the more difficult phonics patterns that our other program seemed to have skipped over. A few days a week they sit down with one of the upper lessons and just run through it. Its fairly simple to use, there are arrows at the top to go forward to the next part of the lesson or double arrows to skip to the next lesson. Below the arrows is where you will see the lesson. There is a little speaker that you can click to have it read to you. You will also see a bigger version of the phonics pattern or letter you can simply hover your mouse over it and it will play the sound for you. An older child could probably navigate it on there own but I think a younger one would need a little help.
There are six types of lesson pages in the program.
- Idea- pages tell you about important phonics ideas and concepts.
- Pattern- pages tell about letter patterns that represent sounds
- Word list- pages will show you the list of words that are used for a lesson
- Word- pages will break down the words from the list and sound them out for you
- Sight Word- pages display words like the, and, is was etc. These are commonly used words.
- Sentence- pages will provide important reading practice and review of the lesson.
There are 262 phonics lessons, 4,400 words and 2,100 sentences in the program. You can download a scope and sequence for the program if you should happen to need it, and there is a free tracking sheet that you can also download. I don't see this as a program that a child could use on there own. I feel like a child that is having difficulty reading will need an adult to lead the lessons. How ever a child that is already fairly fluent in reading may be able to navigate the lessons with out too much direction from an adult. Since it had the read it button (aka the little clickable speaker I mentioned above) to help them through the things they are having trouble reading.
The girls felt OK about the program, a little board at times since some of it is review for them but over all it was a well rounded program and covered an amazing amount of phonics lessons. The voice that the program uses is easy to understand and was more human sounding than some of the other programs than I have heard. I liked that there were no dancing characters or games to distract them from the task at hand. It is just straight forward phonics program. I like that it works independent from the internet. More than one child can use the program at a time so its nice for a family that has a couple of kids close together.
Don't forget to click the banner to read how the other Homeschool Review Crew families used Ultimate Phonics Reading Program.
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