We are contemplating buying Hooked on Phonics for Brittany. I looked up the info. on the official web site and it is $299.99 + 27.50 shipping & handling. YIKES! Do you know of any other places we could buy it? If there was a store around that sold it at least we could save the shipping & handling. Also, do you know anyone who has used it?
Well, look at it this way. The ads make it look like it's fun for the kids. And it might be for a few kids. But how much are you willing to spend on a fun way to do something that will happen naturally and for free? How much would you have paid for a fun program to help her to walk?
I think I ended up paying about $5. $20 for the 100 Easy Lessons which I sold last year for about $15. (And it didn't work either because my daughter had 0 interest.)
What you're really buying is:
1) a sense of peace that she'll learn to read. This is preying on groundless fears. As an unschooler in an environment where reading is naturally fun and useful she will learn to read. It may be tomorrow. It may be 6 years from now. (Unless you put her in school where life isn't natural and there are major road blocks to learning to read. (Like expecting her to do something she isn't developmentally ready for yet.) So for parents with kids in school the fears aren't quite so groundless.)
2) Maybe early reading. Maybe. Though I'd be more inclined to believe the kids who read early with phonics programs are the ones who would have read early to begin with. And though being able to read before school starts gets cheered, what does it really mean? No one can tell the difference between an adult who read at 3 and an adult who read at 7. (I'd extend that to 13 for an unschooler but a later reader in school might be demoralized by the intervention and end up not liking to read or be convinced he can't. Sandra has been collecting stories of later readers (Sandra Dodd - Reading).)
I think the most important thing to realize in terms of calming fears is that a 13 yo new reader is not 7 years behind a child who began reading at 6. A later reader will be indistinguishable from their peers pretty quickly. Learning through reading is different not better than learning by doing or learning by watching. Unless you're in school where learning is only available through reading and listening. Then kids who learn better hands on or by watching are severely handicapped. That doesn't need to be true at home. We can adapt the environment to the kid rather than the kid to the environment.
If you still think you'd like it, first check your library or through interlibrary loan. Just ask your librarian to search. That should be free. (Or a nominal fee. I think one library in our system charges a quarter for each request.) Even if they don't have a regular system in place, most libraries will call around and try to locate what you want.
There's some Hooked on Phonics kits at Half.com and eBay. You'll need to read and ask questions of the sellers and perhaps search the internet to figure out what you're getting since some of the sets are a few years old. (And to make sure the seller has listed his item under the correct heading!)
If you go to Addall it will search 20 or so used book sites (including Half.com). It will be very helpful if you have the ISBN of the one or ones you want since there's 15 of them and they're not listed by publication date.
The full price one does have a 60 day money back guarantee. Not on the s&h though. But if you get to keep the National Geographics on CD that comes as a free gift, it might be worth it even if you never use it and just send it back! ;-) (It's way not worth it if you don't send it back. You're much better off getting it used and then reselling. You'll lose less money!)
Last updated: April 2009