Melted Homeschool-Mom Heart Moment #840: My kindergartner was recently recognizing and reading some words on her own with no help from pictures. When I congratulated her, she denied she was actually reading and said, almost in confession, "Mom, I wasn't reading, it's just, the letters helped me know what it said."
It really is moments like that which make passing up the temptation of the big yellow school bus completely worthwhile.
There are loads of Phonics programs out there, it's hard picking just one. No child is the same and you may want to try a few different things to see what your child likes the best. I figure mixing programs gives the benefits of learning from different angles while you find what works. We've tried out a few different programs and so far my daughter is enjoying the variety of several avenues. She really enjoys learning to read and write, she knows all her letter sounds, can write very well and is already reading some on her own. It comes naturally to her. Making grocery lists, asking me to how to spell words and writing letters to her friends are daily activities. We've worked some with the Hooked on Phonics Kindergarten program and with the highly-popular "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" book by Siegfried Engelmann, but currently she prefers the Scholastic Phonics Reading Program and the Starfall website, which is an AWESOME free phonics site for kids.