Hooked on Phonics review

Editor’s Note:-

Developed to give your child an edge over others, ‘Hooked on Phonics‘ is a smart program that uses phonemic or sound based learning.

It makes your child learn the art of reading English language, in most playful manner. Being a smart program, it combines the use of books, flashcards, and videos to enable efficient learning. Not only this, it also comes in a digital format! The digital learning program may enable you to use it from almost anywhere using your laptop, tablet or PC. Parents who have used it, have lots of positive things to say about it.

But it is very highly priced. Moreover, many people who may not be comfortable to teach their children via electronic media, over the internet and do not want to create a dependency for such things at a tender age, may not like it.

You may go in for programs like Jim and Elena’s Children Learning and Reading Program, that are a one time buy, affordable and use interactive and audio based learning for children, eliminating completely the use of videos, for sight learning confuses many kids.

We recommend, Jim and Elena’s Children Learning and Reading Program over ‘Hooked on phonics’ for the former one eliminates the use of TV , computer and tablets completely. It makes your child ready to go to school, OR may ease off all struggles that he might be facing at school.

Hooked on phonics may actually hook your child on to it, making you not stop but depend on it, level after level! No doubt that it is highly engaging and a playful approach but will reduce the amount of interaction between the parent and the child, causing the child to dependent on this video based methodology.

‘Children learning and reading program’ is the best choice, as it does not charge much for a simple task like teaching your kid to read.

It turns you into a skilled teacher with all assisting material at your disposal. It increases parent and child interaction.


‘Phonics’ or sound based learning has been proven via research to be a very effective method of  making kids learn to read. ‘Hooked on phonics’ as the name suggests, is a program that will help you utilize this methodology effectively, to transform your kid into a fluent reader.

It was founded in 1987 by a father whose son was struggling to read, and creates products that are easy to use as well as fun. The company claims that this program has been developed after a lot of research by leading educators.

About it:

‘Hooked on phonics’ is an extensive and comprehensive program, consisting of complete sets of books, flash cards , DVDs, developed to suit different levels, of kindergarten kids. It comes in packages starting from the most basic level, spanning over 8 different levels.

Each lesson is designed to take 20 minutes or less. The lessons can be broken down if you are limited on time one day or just want to do a quick review.

Not only this, it also has a digital domain, that is usable on tablets and laptops.


What is unique about it?

It combines both, the digital and print media, to provide you a most engaging program.

Simplified to the level that kids can understand and relate to, the makers have taken care of providing you instructions in the most enjoyable and interactive manner.

The COMPLETE program comes with books and flash cards, as well as videos that can be played via DVDs.

Let’s see, how it may work for your kid?

Every lesson starts with watching a DVD video where new sounds and letters are introduced.

After the video you and your child will use the workbook to learn and practice the new sounds and words introduced in the video. At the end of each unit there is a story to read that uses the words and sounds your child has just learned.

Along with the story are some comprehension questions you can discuss with your child.

It is based on the 3 step approach below:

1      Learn – By watching the DVD, your child will learn to recognize and read new words

2      Practice – By using the workbook, your child will be able to practice the new sound and word combinations

3      Read – Your child will get the chance to combine what they have learned by reading a fun story from the storybooks

To top it all, there is a reward sticker at the end to celebrate your child’s success.

The DIGITAL PROGRAM is a Multisensorial program.

Kids learn by watching (visual), listening (audio) and dragging letters around to build words and sentences (kinesthetic)

They have made it accessible to you from, devices like tablets, smartphones and even from a desktop computer Everything is synchronised between the devices so that you can use it as per your convenience!

The Hooked on Phonics Digital Learn to Read Program includes:

  • 12 steps designed for kindergarten reading level
  • 12 steps designed for 1st-grade reading level
  • 36 reading lessons
  • Over 100 games and activities
  • 28 music videos
  • 72 ebooks

It is not necessary for you to buy the complete kit, if any one wants the digital format only, it is available separately too. If you’re comfortable with this, you can buy this alone, and get access to the ease that it provides.

The official website features various testimonials, to keep you aware of the progress that kids have made using it.



  • The biggest advantage about this program, is the array of products that it offers.
  • You can buy any of them, that suits your needs. With the large choice of products it offers, there comes large variations in price too!

The flip side:

  • The biggest concern is that the complete package is highly expensive! If you buy each set only after your kid may finish one level, it becomes even more of a burden on your pocket.The digital program which gives access to all their material via app, is also not very reasonable, for it also demands price of 50$ for a lifetime registration.
  • It is important to think, if you cannot solely depend on the digital version, as kids do need some books and workbooks, making really expensive for you.
  • The money back guarantee, is limited only to 30 days.
  • Overall, we find that it is an engaging and playful approach to teach kids, the sound based reading. Your effort is minimised, but the time you will need to spend with your kid, still remains the same.


Lots of users have benefited from it. You can be one of them, if you’re ready to spend a lot on this drill.

Availing the digital program only can be an asset, if your kid is very much comfortable with learning via tablets or laptop. It may not work for you, if you do not want your child to be hooked on to a phone or tablet at such a tender age.

It may suit you if it fits in your kid’s unique needs.

Editor’s Note:  Why we recommend ‘Children learning and reading program’ by Jim Yang over ‘Hooked on phonics’?


As, a parent, there are loads of responsibilities to shoulder. Despite everything, teaching remains the most critical of all!

If you’re naive of the struggles that parents and kids have  faced, or you are struggling currently with teaching your child to read, this program is an apt solution for you. It uses the science of PHONICS or sound based learning, in most practically usable and simple manner to give your kid an early advantage or to turn a struggler into a fluent reader!

Jim Yang, a successful and innovative parent and reading teacher, has already won the battle for you! 

About the author:

Jim Yang, a father, a reading teacher, and the creator of the Children Learning Reading program. He and his wife have taught their children, to read, via the same methodology. He delivers to you what has experimented personally!

According to Jim Yang, the most crucial years in a child’s development are the first seven – with cognitive function reaching its peak at 2 – 3 years of age. It is this crucial period that must be taken advantage of to cultivate healthy brain growth and academic development.

Early readers tend to become lifelong readers and also lifelong learners.

Phonemic learning (1), (2) is a better approach and gives an edge to children learning via this approach. It is well experimented, tested and their are case studies to prove the fact.

What he claims?

Make kids smart by making them learn to read early!

He claims his program is not a quick fix, but has a lasting approach to give you life long advantage over others. It takes a decent amount of 12 weeks time to make your child learn.

No fake promises, where in a bunch of days you may see results!

What’s different?

It does not start with making your child struggle, with sighting the words and memorizing them and them learn the sound it produces! Turn the table around by making them learn the sound first!

NO VIDEOS are used, minimizing the use of sight words and their memorisation!

Only some words in this methodology will be considered as words, those which cannot be decoded easily by little kid. Rather than dumping all the alphabets and words for memorisation on a small brain!

That’s why you need, to learn from an expert, who has taught many, himself and has struggled with the most critical of cases!

Why go in for this program?

‘A practical approach!’ makes all the difference!’

  • Being high on the practical aspect, this approach is really effective! Being a reading teacher, the author knows the issues children face, and where the conventional system of teaching English lacks!
  • On the other hand being a father who has taught his little kids to read efficiently, he knows how it should be delivered!

You, get a dual advantage where, you will face all hurdles with ease, such that you will know, how to aptly teach a little curious mind!

That’s ease and happiness knocking at your door.

Who should use it?

It is universally applicable for all!

The program can be for a toddler , to a 2,3 or 4 year kid, who is unexposed to any formal teaching. Even a struggling child as as big as a 4th grader can benefit from it. The author claims it to be of use to adults too!

They don’t trap you in a program that charges you every time time your kid advances from one level to another. Buy it, only once at a very affordable price.

The program consists of 50 lessons. It has been divided as:


  • Stage 1: The first stage of the program contains 28 lessons. It introduces a basic level of phonetics to the children so that they can understand the different letters of the alphabet, the sounds of the letters and the technique of reading. During this stage, they will learn how to decode a word and then blend the parts together, so that they can read the entire word clearly.
  • Stage 2: The second stage of the program consists of 22 lessons and will learn them how to use the skills they learned in the first stage and improve their reading skills even further. They will be reading more complex stories and rhymes and understanding longer and more difficult words.


The program requires short practice sessions with your child of only 10-15 minutes per day.

It is important for you to know, that the program does not come in any physical book format. It is a ready to download program, which consists of pdf files, mp3 audios and assisting material, all that you need, but in a digital form!

The cost:

It is available in two forms:

The standard package costs around 50$ while the premium package, with added workshops etc amounts to 70$. The price is affordable, for the ease this program will deliver.


  • Sound/symbol (phonics)-based. They break words down into their smallest visual components: letters and the sounds associated with them. The method that Jim uses can even help children with reading disorders!
  • Apt for the limited attention span of children. It has been taken care, not to make the lessons tiresome. Each session may last for 3 to 5 minutes as claimed by the author.
  • Makes teaching a playful and interactive session between the parent and child eliminating the use of physical books, computer programs or TV! It is for you, if you do not want your child hooked on to a computer or tablet at a young age.
  • Supported By Real Testimonials. The official website and many forums online show, satisfied parents who have tested its efficiency.
  • Private e mail counseling with the makers of this program for a span of 12 weeks. Your issues will be solved instantly.
  • Additional bonuses, to aid you in this program which include stage 1 and 2 stories, nursery rhymes, MP3 additional clips, and lifetime upgrades made to the program.


The flip side:

Reconsidering every aspect, we found no downsides to this program. One concern it poses, is the time that you will have to invest as a parent.

Since, the program is highly interactive and activity based, it requires a lot of effort on the part of the parent. Those of you who are extremely busy would not be able to use this program efficiently!



We highly, recommend, Jim and Elena’s Children Learning and Reading Program over ‘Hooked on phonics’ for this one eliminates the use of TV , computer and tablets completely. It makes your child ready to go to school, OR may ease off all struggles that he might be facing at school.

Hooked on phonics may actually hook your child on to it, making you not stop but depend on it, level after level! No doubt that it is highly engaging and a playful approach but will reduce the amount of interaction between the parent and the child, causing the child to dependent on this video based methodology.

‘Children learning and reading program’ is the best choice, as it does not charge much for a simple task like teaching your kid to read.

It turns you into a skilled teacher with all assisting material at your disposal. It increases parent and child interaction. Your child may learn while you are around him doing any of your household chores.



Positive customer reviews of “Hooked on Phonics”


  • We are in our 9th year of homeschooling. I have taught several children to read using other curriculums. I just decided to try HOP this year with my daughter (K) and am kicking myself for not using this sooner!! It is awesome! I don’t know why I never considered at as reading curriculum before. I guess I just thought it was more of a game. I bought the newest version of K from christianbook. It has DVDs in it, colorful readers, and the layout of the workbooks are more interesting. I liked it so much, and my daughter started reading right away.
  • I used these with my daughter, starting when she was 3 years old. She is now in the 5th grade and reading at the college level.I started my son at the same age. He is now 5 1/2 years old and has completed levels 1-5. He is now working through the Master Reader series.The Hooked on Phonics series has been amazing. My children are reading far, far beyond grade level and parents jaws actually drop when they hear my children read.


  • I have taught 2 of my children to read using this program. It was easy to use, truly open-and-go, and the kids loved it!
  • It is not a complete LA program, and I think maybe that is why it gets some bad reviews. Perhaps those disappointed with it were expecting a complete program? Anyway, HOP only teaches reading, so if you’re looking for a complete program, this isn’t for you. However, if you want a gentle and effective approach to teach your child to read, you may want to check this out.


  • One of the things I loved most about HOP was how quickly my children were reading “real” books. They were very simple, with sentences like, “Cat sat,” but what a morale booster for the kids! They were so excited when they were able to read a book for the first time. Some reviews have complained about the CDs included with the program, and I must confess, my kids hated going through the CDs. However, there is no hard and fast rule that says you must follow along with the CDs. We just simply quit using them and went with just the workbooks and flashcards.
  • Kids love this learning material
  • This is a great set! I use it to complement our original Phonics curriculum. It comes with a DVD that my kids love!!
  • After trying two different phonics program with my son we switched to Hooked on Phonics, and we are loving it. He started with the first grade level, and he was finished with it in about 5 months, so we started him on second grade level. He is flying through that even faster than first grade. Before we started Hooked on phonics, my son did not like reading, but it didn’t take long before he enjoyed reading. We needed something that was simple to understand and that made reading relaxed and fun.
  • There is no writing included in this program. It is strictly a learning to read program, so you will need something else for handwriting. I’ve seen some people complain that it’s just a supplemental program but we’ve been able to use it one it’s own successfully

Negative customer reviews of Hooked on Phonics


  • Not interactive. My daughter got bored easily.
  • I’ve yet to start using the program, but while going through the Quick Start Guide, I found spelling errors. I’m a bit disappointed already. If your instruction guide wasn’t proof read, what makes me believe the program has valid information.
  • Videos did not capture my 7 yr old’s attention.
  • Old software… Doesn’t work on mac ox, unless you have a 10 years-old computer. Waste of money.
  • After looking through it these programs are missing alot of things they should be learning on grade level. It isn’t a complete curriculum. There are so many programs which are much more complete for this price. This program cost way to much to use as a supplement and not a very good one a that. I purchased it after reading so many good reviews. I am just sorry I don’t agree with them.


  • My daughter really disliked this program. We would try to listen to the songs and she would say, “Mom, this is really annoying.” The music was so repetitive that the songs were VERY annoying, but I did not want to influence her experience, so I left it up to her to voice her opinion after a trial period. HOP is now collecting dust on a shelf in the closet. We will keep it just in case it proves to be a better fit for one of our other children, but I highly doubt that any of them will tolerate it well.
  • I was disappointed with level One for a number of reasons. First of all, none of the pictures are in color. However, Level 2 is partly in color and the pictures and stories are great. The only reason I can see for making it black and white is saving on printing costs, which is not acceptable. Color activates the right hand side of the brain, which is very beneficial. And motivates children to be more interested.
  • Hooked on Phonics Level One did a number of things wrong. First off – they had exclamation marks and words that were all capitals on the FIRST BOOK!!!! This is VERY confusing. Try explaining to a 3YO what an exclamation mark is. All that is needed in the first books is plain full stops.
  • The hooked on phonics free app is basically in intro to the app that wants to you buy more stuff. It is a waste of time. Expect to pay plenty if you want any full features.
  • My son loves this app so I purchased unit 2 & 3 however they will not open!!! I paid for something that doesn’t work! I will not buy anymore and will be calling for a refund!




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