Phonics Programs

Using a phonics reading program can have many advantages. A research-based, systematic reading program is more effective than a hit-or-miss program. Phonics-based reading programs have been proven to be better at reaching struggling readers than any other method. Here is a list I have compiled of some of the best programs out there.

Chall-Popp Phonics (grades K-3)

Continental Press


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Chall-Popp Phonics is research-based and is a direct, systematic phonics instruction program that was developed by reading experts Dr. Jeanne S. Chall and Dr. Helen M. Popp. In addition to a unit structure that simplifies management, it includes photographs, lively illustrations, poetry, take-home stories, and nonfiction reading. The exceptional Teacher's Editions feature strategies for phonemic awareness, practical intervention plans for every student, suggestions for related reading, and charts and games right where you need them. The Teacher's Editions for Levels A and B also include alphabet cards that feature the characters introduced in the Student Book.

Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself (grades K-3)

HEC Reading Horizons


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Discover Intensive Phonics is designed for young students and makes reading automatic, fluent, meaningful, and, best of all, enjoyable. The Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself method is a revolutionary approach to teaching phonics. This time-tested combination of direct instruction at a chalkboard or whiteboard and their unique marking system gives struggling readers the ability to decode even unfamiliar words quickly and accurately.

Language Tune-Up Kit (ages 6+)

JWor Enterprises


The Language Tune-Up Kit is a research-based remedial reading multimedia phonics software program for children 6 and older, teenagers and adults. It is designed for students whose current reading skill level approximates preschool to 4th grade.

The basis for instructional delivery within the program is the renowned Orton-Gillingham approach that has been highly successful for those with learning disabilities. The techniques have been in use since the 1930's and have been proven with thousands of students around the world.

This intensive, systemic, sequential phonics method of teaching language is highly effective for those who have not been able to acquire basic skills through other more traditional methods.

Lexia Reading (ages 5-8)

Lexia Learning Systems

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Lexia’s structured approach to developing cognitive skills is helpful for mainstream students as well as those with cognitive difficulties. The software helps to strengthen students' thinking, memory, and problem-solving skills, thereby improving performance in varied subjects such as reading, math, science, and social studies.

Lexia’s curriculum and assessment software helps teachers and administrators to respond quickly to student needs with appropriate research-based teaching strategies and easily managed performance data.




READ 180 is a comprehensive reading intervention program designed to meet the needs of students in elementary through high school whose reading achievement is below the proficient level. These struggling readers have deficits in their understanding of the reading process and gaps in their foundational skills. READ 180 is built to address these gaps by directly addressing individual needs through instructional software, high-interest literature, and direct instruction in reading skills.

Reading A-Z (grades K-6)

Reading A-Z

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A balanced reading program includes direct and explicit instructional strategies for teaching phonemic awareness and phonics. The Reading A-Z program provides instructional resources for teaching the sounds and symbols of language and their relationships to one other. Sounds and their corresponding symbols are taught in a series of lesson plans using various strategies and aided by flashcards and worksheets. Students are given an opportunity to practice what they have been taught in a series of decodable books that are aligned to each lesson.

Reading Horizons (grades 4-Adult)

HEC Reading Horizons


A screen shot of the Reading Horizons software.

Few phonics programs are appropriate for teaching older students, but Reading Horizons, based on the Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself approach, has proven an invaluable tool for youth and adults. It can be taught through direct classroom instruction, tutoring, or independent use of interactive computer courseware developed especially for low-level and non-reading adults.

Saxon Phonics and Spelling (grades K-12)

Saxon Publishers


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Like other Saxon programs, the phonics series builds on prior learning. New learning is presented in increments, and each increment is reviewed throughout the year, providing every child with the exposure needed to achieve reading goals.

Results prove that schools using phonics programs from Saxon in combination with quality literature continue to realize classroom success year after year.

Sing, Spell, Read, & Write (grades K-3)

Sing, Spell, Read, & Write


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Sing, Spell, Read & Write is research-based for effective classroom instruction. SSRW combines the best teaching methods supported by current research on brain function, language acquisition, and reading.

A unique 36-step learning-to-read curriculum, Sing, Spell, Read & Write utilizes carefully sequenced systematic, explicit phonics instructional strategies to build fluent, independent readers. It integrates the most current research on brain function, language acquisition, and reading to quickly and effectively reach all types of learners.

Spalding (grades K-5)

Spalding Education International


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The Writing Road to Reading, the text for The Spalding Method, provides the highest quality literacy instruction for public, private, and home educators and ultimately, all students. Because success in life requires accurate spelling, accomplished writing and skilled reading, the purpose of Spalding Education International, home of The Spalding Method, is to bring literacy to students of all ages, regardless of economic status, ethnic diversity, disability or geography.

Wilson Reading System

Wilson Language Training


The Wilson Reading System is a research-based reading and writing program. It is a complete curriculum for teaching decoding and encoding (spelling) beginning with phoneme segmentation. WRS directly teaches the structure of words in the English language so that students master the coding system for reading and spelling. Unlike other programs that overwhelm the student with rules, the language system of English is presented in a systematic and cumulative manner so that it is manageable. It provides an organized, sequential system with extensive controlled text to help teachers implement a multisensory structured language program.

The basic purpose of the Wilson Reading System is to teach students fluent decoding and encoding skills to the level of mastery. From the beginning steps of the program, it also includes sight word instruction, fluency, vocabulary, oral expressive language development and comprehension. Throughout the program, a ten part lesson plan, designed to be very interactive between teacher and student, is followed. The lessons progress from easier to more challenging tasks for decoding and then spelling.

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