Happy Phonics

Happy Phonics

# 039229

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Retail: $64.99
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Item #: 039229
Grades: PK-3

Product Description:

From one homeschool mom to another. Everything in this program is designed to communicate "I'm a homeschool mom that taught my kids to read. It's easy. It's fun! You can do it, too. Have a great time." And I'm sure if you follow Diane Hopkins' step by step approach wrapped with loving teacher-student interaction, that's exactly the result you'll get. After going through the just-the-right-size (25 pages) Teacher's Guidebook and looking through the brightly colored cardstock that makes up the program, I'm happy with the appearance of the product and really, really impressed with the content.

Starting at the very beginning, Mrs. Hopkins has boiled the entire process down into eight steps. And even if step seven (teach phonics units containing two or more letters) has seventeen parts, she's still managed to make a homeschool mom's most fearful task into something that seems remarkably ordinary and doable.

The package contains the Happy Phonics Guidebook, "My Big Book" (an almost-to-the-end-of-the-program-reader) and lots of printed, brightly colored paper and cardstock flashcards, game components, first little readers and spelling lists. The Guidebook contains the Eight Steps along with specific how-to instructions for each step. The essence of the program is to introduce the phonics concepts a few at a time and then play games for retention. The author suggests that lesson time be about 10 minutes a day, but you may want to factor in more time to play the games over and over just because the student wants to.

The Guidebook is extremely user-friendly and written in first-person, mom-to-mom form. The step-by-step instructions are straight-forward and easy to follow. All references to the games and other supplementary material are coded with little symbols found on the colored sheets. Practically foolproof! But just to be sure, there's a chart that lists which games/components are used with each teaching step. There's also a chart clearly laying out those seventeen phonics units that make up step seven. And, of course, the teaching aids are clearly marked for each unit.

The teaching progression is common sense. Alphabet song; capital letters match lowercase letters; the main sound for each letter; blend letter sounds to form a word; teach common non-phonetic (sight) words; teach vowels that can make a second sound; teach through the phonic units; READ. Although she doesn't consider them absolutely necessary, the author does mention supplementary material that she likes and that her children have enjoyed Lauri perception puzzles, Leap Frog Phonics Library, and the Explode the Code books. In fact, she changed her original letter presentation order (used with her older children) to conform to the Explode the Code books for her younger children and in this program. She also suggests various supplementary readers.

The games and other reinforcement activities are obviously a central component of this program. Some preparation is involved, usually just cutting cards apart. I would be inclined to laminate (or cover with clear contact paper) some of the frequently-used cards and game layouts if I thought it likely I'd be using the program with a number of children. The games include some adapted favorites like Phonics Bingo and a number of creative originals like the Y Not? Game. The line art of the game components is not high tech graphics but still communicates the concept and looks inviting. Components of the games are color coded, with the little symbols marked on each game piece, so that you can easily unscramble things if they don't always get put away neatly.

This program fits into the "complete program" category of phonics instruction, as it includes systematic phonics, reinforcement, and reading practice. The program gets your student reading on his own in an enjoyable way. Please note that it does not cover advanced syllabication, prefixes, and suffixes that tend to be found in second/third grade levels of some phonics programs. But it is an enjoyable program that will build the confidence of a newbie and provide ease of instruction for busy homeschooling mothers. All for a very reasonable price! - Janice

Category Description for Other Programs:

Programs in this section focus primarily on teaching children to read, and may not provide comprehensive instruction in reading comprehension, spelling, writing, or other language skills. Arranged roughly by grade.

Category Description for PHONICS PROGRAMS:

Category Description for PHONICS:

Primary Subject
Grade Start
Grade End
Brand Name
Love to Learn
3.85 (lbs.)
11.0" x 9.0" x 2.0"
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Why did you choose this?
Rainbow Resource Center Store
I have used this curriculum in the past to homeschool my son and it was fun for him. Now I want to use some of the fun elements from this curriculum in a classroom setting.
Amy K on Oct 8, 2022
Homeschool resource for my kinder
Gina H on Jul 19, 2020
I have used this curriculum in the past to homeschool my son and it was fun for him. Now I want to use some of the fun elements from this curriculum in a classroom setting.
Amy K on Oct 8, 2022
This is a practical, fun easy way that guides you, step-by-step on how to get your kids reading through incredible education games. I highly recommend it. The guide that comes with it easily directs you on how to succeed, with each step.
Becky L on Oct 1, 2020
Homeschool resource for my kinder
Gina H on Jul 19, 2020
Recommended by Happy Home School Mom blog
Debbie D on Mar 26, 2020
I'd like some games to play with my new reader and you had the best price.
Lisa G on Feb 22, 2019
A friend recommended it as a low pressure, fun curriculum for my 6 year old this year who already thinks school is boring even though this is his first year of homeschooling.
Michaela O on Aug 21, 2018
My kids love games. I picked this to hopefully supplement our current language arts/phonics curriculum. This program was highly recommended on several homeschool moms websites.
Hannah W on Aug 13, 2018
Many great reviews on this product. I will try this as a supplement for fun with my abeka K5 reading curriculum. I have a wiggly boy and he loves games so we will use this for fun while learning to read.
Tiffany W on Oct 9, 2017
My friend recommended this reading program. She taught 9 of her kids to read with this and they all loved it, I'm going to give it a try!
Christy B on Nov 2, 2016
I've read great reviews about Happy Phonics and I've been searching for a program that would tailor to all 3 of my children. I am hopeful that this will work for all of us!
Maryann G on Sep 14, 2016
I was looking for a phonics program that would fit with our other curriculum. Something fun, but too time consuming.
Amanda C on Aug 13, 2016
My son has a short attention span and after reviewing many reading programs, I thought this one would be the best suited to him.
Jana L on Aug 8, 2016
Affordable fun learning
Megan L on May 7, 2016
I am looking for a program that is easy to use while I homeschool multiple children from high school to grade K.
Jessica K on Feb 5, 2016
My girls love doing phonics with the games in Happy Phonics. It makes learning to read really fun for them.
Katherine K on Dec 26, 2015
This is a practical, fun easy way that guides you, step-by-step on how to get your kids reading through incredible education games. I highly recommend it. The guide that comes with it easily directs you on how to succeed, with each step.
Becky L on Oct 1, 2020
Recommended by Happy Home School Mom blog
Debbie D on Mar 26, 2020
Does the cardstock say which game they're for somewhere. I don't see it on the cardstock pieces, so I do I tell what is for what game? Am I missing something, or not seeing something?
A shopper on Jan 10, 2021
BEST ANSWER: Components of the games are color coded, with the little symbols marked on each game piece, so that you can easily unscramble things if they don't always get put away neatly.
Do you have to get the explode the code books or can I use it without them?
Shantel on Jan 24, 2020
BEST ANSWER: Happy Phonics can be used without the Explode the Code books or can be used in conjunction with other phonics workbooks or programs.
Is there just a teachers guide for this?
A shopper on Oct 2, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Yes. There is a simple and straight forward manual. I absolutely love this program and so do my kids. The games are simple but engaging and the manual breaks it down step by step.
What levels of Explode the Code does this correspond with? My son is in th 3rd book (long vowels) right now and I'm wondering if this program would still have enough new material for him to learn.
User on Sep 4, 2018
BEST ANSWER: I haven’t ever used the explode the code books, but as I am cutting out and starting to use the Happy Phonics program I am noticing that it goes up to about 2nd or 3rd grade skills!! So I would say that he would most likely still benefit from the program!
Does This Happy Phonics package come with Explode the Code? Or do I need to purchase that separately?
Elyse M on Feb 17, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Greetings!
You will need to purchase Explode the Code Books separately. I have the whole set and it works well for my 6 and 8 year old. :)
What reading/language arts program did you use following Happy Phonics?
Marsha E on May 18, 2017
BEST ANSWER: We use the McGuffey Readers and what we call 'Required Reading' after phonics. I also read aloud to my girls or we listen to audiobooks from the library. The required reading is just a list of books at their reading level that they read to themselves every day through the year. It has really helped with reading fluency.
4.7 / 5.0
10 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Rated 5 out of 5
Great set!
So good! My favorite parts: the Flip Book and Muffin Match. I’ve used parts of this set with 2 children so far and will start using it with my 4 year old in a year-ish. I recommend taking time when it arrives to cut and assemble the books. They seem daunting until you get going with them. My 9 year old cut them and I put them together using the symbol and page numbers on each page. I’d put the flip book together ASAP too.
September 11, 2021
1 year ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Good curriculum
Two thumbs up, works well for my son
September 4, 2020
over 2 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
laminating info
I couldn't find this info anywhere before I ordered so here you go. For anyone who wants to laminate this to make it last longer: I laminated mine and it was about 70 ft of laminating to do pretty much everything that comes with this program. I have several more kiddos I want to use this for so I thought it was worth the extra expense.
September 27, 2018
over 4 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
Fun and learning
We just got started with happy phonics and my 4yr old son enjoys it so far. We are using it with some abeka k5 books. I like that it is pretty simple to implement. There are a lot of games and that is why I chose it. My son has a short attention span and this extends that time through fun activities. It doesn't feel like school but more like fun.
November 9, 2017
over 5 years ago
Rated 3 out of 5
Good curriculum
Happy Phonics is a good curriculum, but there are some drawbacks. It takes a fair amount of time to assemble the various activities, and in some cases, the instructions are not clear.
July 29, 2017
over 5 years ago
Rated 4 out of 5
Happy Phonics Could Be More User Friendly
I realize that this set is made the way it is to keep cost down, but more instructions, and better organization would go a long way with this program.

On the plus side, my struggling readers likes it. For the first time when i say it is time to do reading, and i pull this out she is happy and excited to play games with mom instead of slogging through a book. This combined with Teach Your Monster To Read, and comic books are finally beginning to unlock the world of reading for my daughter in a stress free, no more tears way.
November 10, 2015
over 7 years ago
Rated 5 out of 5
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this program! I used it to teach phonics to my two older kids (now 7 and 6) It is extremely easy to use and it builds on previous skills as you move ahead My kids love the games and they often ask to play again or to play another game They know all of the phonics rules and have become fluent readers When they come across a word that they don't know they use phonics to decode the word And since it's so fun for them my kids pushed ahead to lessons that I never thought they would understand so early We used the program with ETC books (another favorite) which reinforced the phonics rules and gave them ample opportunity to decode words This program is inexpensive easy to use and fun! The only downfall is that it takes some initial preparation work as you have to cut up the cardstock for each game It's not difficult but is somewhat arduous I took the extra step of laminating everything and I organized it all in an expandable file box That whole process took a couple of weeks to get it all ready Even with the initial prep work I highly recommend Happy Phonics I'll be using it with my 2 yr old when she's ready
February 24, 2010
Rated 5 out of 5
I was looking for a program to teach my second child to read knowing that the rule-based highly structured program that worked with my oldest would not be a good fit My son fit Cathy Duffy's definition of the "Wiggly Willy" type to a T--very active a kinesthetic learner with a seriously limited attention span Happy Phonics was her highest rated pick for this category of learner so I bought it My son loves it! The first lesson we did together was a game called "Muffin Match" matching upper and lower-case letters He was jumping back and forth over the "muffin" bottoms and tops spread out on the floor as he found the matches and put them together When we finished that game he said "lets do another one!" He now asks me for reading lessons an entirely new experience with this child There is a fair amount of preparation work in getting the program set up There are a lot of games (matching bingo etc) with pieces that need to be cut out of cardstock I chose to do most of the cutting/organizing up front putting individual games in ziploc bags You could choose to just cut them out as they are introduced in the program Once this initial prep work is done however individual lessons require little preparation The program seems quite thorough and everything you need is included (the only thing I had to come up with was a paper brad for one activity)
February 14, 2010
Rated 5 out of 5
I used this program many years ago (when my oldest of three children was little and he is now 19!)Now many years later I'm breaking out my old HAPPY PHONICS and using it as a supplement for review for my elementary child and we love it!!! Wish I had used it waaaaaay sooner and I wouldn't have to be reviewingThis is a very user friendly program with lots of games and super easy to teach! Very multi-age friendly as well The newer version seems much nicer too! Maybe I will have to get it after all ; ) Believe me I've tried numerous programs and this one I highly recommend!!! YOU CAN'T GO WRONG =)
November 16, 2009
Rated 5 out of 5
My second son needed a different curriculum to learn to read I tried blends and word families but he always made them into a word Happy Phonics teaches them their sounds and the next step is to put them together as words and read The many activities and games are great fun He doesn't realize he is "doing school" In the beginning there is a lot of prep work because you have to cut all the games and activities up Once that is done there really isn't much to do but pull the activity out you want to use for the day The program is a step by step with a lot of room for you to do what you want when She doesn't tell you exactly what to do like others She explains that when your child has mastered the step you then move to the next step She also recommends making your own books This is a great idea for students who are a little reluctant It gives them the feeling of ownership and they can be proud of what they accomplished The games and activities in the later steps I am going to use with my oldest son to reinforce what he knows Therefore I think this would be great for multi-age students I feel the $50 investment is well worth it I have two more children to teach to read and I will definitely use Happy Phonics with them too There are not any workbooks with it but she does recommend Explode the Code if you feel the need to use something I am very happy with this purchase and have recommended it others who are very happy with it as well
June 14, 2007

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