This has got to be just about the cheapest resource for teaching phonics and beginning reading! It does a very adequate job, which should not be surprising since it’s an updated version of Webster’s original Blue-Backed Speller that was used to teach thousands (at least!) of children in past centuries.
It follows a fairly standard progression, introducing short vowels first then using consonant-vowel practice to help beginning readers learn to blend. Next, long vowels are taught, followed by consonant blends and digraphs, vowel blends (diphthongs), the various sounds of the vowel "o," modified vowels ("ar, er, ir, or, ur"), suffixes ("ing, er"), and silent letters.
Practice words and sentences are included on each page as soon as is appropriate. Lengthier reading selections (Bible-based) are at the back of the book. Rules are presented in boxes at the bottom of pages, but this program does not teach very many rules compared to programs such as All About Reading and others based on Orton-Gillingham methodology. A few pages of technical information are at the back of the book for parents who want to better understand the functions of the alphabet and sounds.
No frills, no confusion, straight-to-the-point phonics, and there seems to be little missing other than more work on sight words, complete treatment of the “ough” sounds, and the extra practice and review students need to really master reading skills.
Add this to your list of possibilities if you’re looking for a simple, uncluttered approach for teaching basic phonics. This book also suits remedial learners of all ages who need to learn phonics. If using it with kindergartners or first graders, consider using Christian Liberty Press’s Adventures in Phonics series for written practice and reinforcement.