Hooked On Phonics Review – Learn To Read Program

Hooked on Phonics Review, pic of boy reading

Hooked on Phonics Review – Learn How To Read

In this post, I share with you a Hooked on Phonics review, based on my experience using it, along with some information from others who also used it.

This post contains affiliate links.

What Is It?

Hooked on Phonics is a program that teaches kids to read by strategically building their reading skills. Children will learn both phonics and some high-frequency words, known as ‘helper words’ in the program. Wikipedia even has their own page about it here.

There are different levels in the program according to appropriate age group and level of difficulty. You can get them altogether in a bundle, two levels together for each age group (for example, the Kindergarten program), or purchase individual levels.

What Does Hooked On Phonics Include?

Each level of Hooked On Phonics Learn To Read series includes short online video lessons (or a CD option included,) a workbook, reward stickers, and little readers. The video lessons also includes some extra practice pages if desired.

I love the fact that the workbook is not consumable, meaning it is a reading text that could be used over and over again for various children. There is no need to re-purchase anything or make copies!

How Does It Work?

For each lesson, your child will watch a short, fun video to learn new words. Then, he or she practices reading those words in the workbook lesson page. Finally, your child will read a short story using the words learned. Stickers are used as a reward for reading the stories.

How Long Does It Take?

The video lessons are very short (under 5 minutes). The workbook lessons can take about 20-30 minutes depending on the child. There is nothing that says you have to complete a whole lesson per day. You can do half a lesson per day if that is all that your child could handle for the day.

The important thing is that they are consistently moving forward and progressing through the program. 

If you did one lesson per day, each level of Hooked on Phonics could be done in a few months. Keep in mind that each grade level is comprised of two Hooked on Phonics levels.

Our Experience Using It

 We have used the Hooked on Phonics Kindergarten Level 3 for homeschool. However, I had a chance to also look at the Pre-K, 1st grade, and 2nd grade levels too.

I used the Hooked On Phonics Level 3 with a neighbourhood Kindergartener I am homeschooling each day. 

To use the level 3, he had to know all his letter sounds first, which he learned working with me prior to starting the program.

This was such a simple and effective program to teach my student how to read.

Not only that, but he actually thought it was fun! The animated characters in the video lessons and the colorful workbook and individual readers made it enjoyable. The stickers after reading a mini-story in the workbook also made him feel confident in reading.

Here’s an example of a mini-story in the workbook after one of the lessons:

hooked on Phonics review level 3 Kindergarten workbook


There are other new and expensive programs out there teaching kids to read and I honestly feel they are too teacher-intensive and it is not necessary. 

Hooked on Phonics is simple and has been around for years because it works.

Is Hooked On Phonics Worth It?

It is surely worth it!

I will also be using this with my daughter when she is ready for it.

Hooked on Phonics Level 3, in my opinion, is the most valuable level (along with level 4), in teaching a beginner how to read.

It did wonders for my Kindergarten student. It was simple, fun, inexpensive, and it worked.

It was part of the curriculum I chose  which you can see in my Best Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Options article.

Hooked On Phonics Teaching Tips

1. It works for all learning styles. If you have more of a kinesthetic learner, you can easily add some letter magnets or letter tiles to accompany the video lessons and have your child make up the words learned. Everything else in the lessons can remain the same.

2. In the Kindergarten through Grade 2 Learn To Read Levels, there are ‘helper words’ included in the workbooks. These are what are better known in school as ‘frequently used words’.

I recommend, instead of just reading and trying to memorize them in the workbook, write the words on index cards for your child to practice. It is much more hands-on this way, and serves as a form of flashcards that your child can practice any time of day, on their own.

Hooked On Phonics Video Review

If you’d like to see a thorough Hooked on Phonics review in video format, below is a video of a homeschool mom that uses the Hooked on Phonics program. (Note that the covers of the material looks like different levels, but the content is still the same. The video was done right before they updated the way they name the levels.)


Hooked On Phonics Pre-K Review

The Level 1 and 2 is intended for Pre-Kindergarten.These levels are basically used to teach the letter sounds.

I honestly don’t believe the Pre-K levels are necessary. Not because they are not useful (because they are), but because you can easily teach your child the letter sounds using inexpensive flashcards (with lowercase letters only or both uppercase and lowercase together).

If you prefer something more formal and open and go, the Hooked on Phonics Level 1 and 2 (seen here), are still really good options and do come with flashcards. I’m just letting you know it is not what I used.

I taught both my Kindergarten student and my 2 year old their short letter sounds using flashcards. They must be used EVERY DAY until they have mastered their letter sounds. It only takes 1-2 minutes a day. Teach them in order and out of order.

Hooked On Phonics Kindergarten Review

The Hooked On Phonics Kindergarten Level 3 was fantastic as I’ve already expressed my positive experience with using it.

Be sure your child knows all their letter sounds before starting it. There is a quick review at the start of level 3 though!

If you have a Kindergartener, or a child in grade one struggling to read, I would start at this level.

It uses a very gentle and gradual approach to learning to read.

Once your child completes Level 3, you could go on to do Level 4, which is part of the complete set for Kindergarten.

Along with completing the Hooked on Phonics Kindergarten Levels, I recommend adding and supplementing with Bob Books reading sets

This way your child could get more reading practice and it changes thing up a little so you don’t get bored of doing the same workbook every day.

Overall, I believe that more than any other levels, the Hooked on Phonics for Kindergarten offers the most value for what your child will learn.

View the Complete Set (Levels 3 & 4) on Amazon.

Hooked On Phonics 1st and 2nd Grade Review

All the levels of Hooked on Phonics build on one another. If you have a child in first or second grade needing to increase their reading skills, then using the appropriate level will be beneficial. You can see the first grade level here and second grade level over here.

If however, you have a first or a child in second grade that is really struggling to read, I recommend you begin at the Kindergarten Level 3.

Even if some of the lessons are easy, it will be excellent review and help build confidence. 

You may even choose to work through a lower grade level quicker than normal and then slow down when you see it is picking up in difficulty for your child.

To provide this 1st and 2nd grade review, I have taken a look at these levels and they are in the same format as the Kindergarten level we used.

Final Thoughts

I had to write this Hooked On Phonics review to share our positive experience with it in our homeschool and hopefully help others find an excellent resource to help kids read. You don’t need the latest expensive reading programs that are out there.  I find a lot of them complicate the reading process with all the rules and lengthy teacher guides.

Hooked On Phonics is tried and true. It is not new, but it has helped and continues to help many families learn to read.

Related Curriculum Articles:

Hooked on Phonics Reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *