The Saxon Phonics and Reading program has been revised for use in schools, but it is most practical for homeschoolers to continue to use the first edition. However, the sets of Fluency Readers created for the revised version might be of interest to those using Saxon's Phonics and Reading as well as any other phonics-based reading program.
Saxon's Fluency Readers come in three sets per grade level, with 15 readers in each set for kindergarten and 26 readers per set for grades one and two. The three sets for each grade level are designated as “easy,” “average,” and "challenging." You can choose whichever set of readers is appropriate for your child, but you need not purchase all three sets for a grade level.
Interestingly, all three strands of readers for each level have similar themes with many of the same vocabulary words. For example, the first reader in all three strands for second grade level all have a “lunch” theme. All three include the vocabulary words “lunch, munch,” and “fish.” However, the easy reader has only one short sentence per page. The average reader has one or two sentences per page, and the challenging reader has two or three sentences per page. More sentences also means that more vocabulary words are used. Average or challenging readers often have more dialogue and lengthier sentences as well.
Kindergarten readers begin with short-vowel words and progress into some long-vowel words toward the end of the series. Readers progress through short-vowel and long-vowel words rather quickly compared to some other beginning readers such as the Bob Books and Phonics Practice Readers, but you can always set these readers aside for a while if children are not yet ready to advance to the next one.
These very-attractive readers are each eight pages in length and feature full color illustrations throughout. Topics for stories vary from nature to talking animals.
Many different authors and illustrators created the readers, even within any one set of readers, so styles of artwork differ. While most collections of readers that I've seen with various authors and illustrators have been a mixed bag in terms of quality, the Saxon Fluency Readers are more uniformly excellent.
Readers each show correlation with a lesson in Saxon Phonics and Reading in the bottom right corner of the back cover. Back covers of all readers also show which phonetic concepts, high-frequency words, and sight words are practiced in each reader. So it is easy enough to choose a reader that helps a child practice particular phonetic concepts if you are using another reading program.
Inside the back cover of each book are three comprehension questions (four in some of the second grade readers). Questions are to be read aloud by a parent or teacher, and suggested answers are printed upside down close to the questions.
I realize that some parents choose plain readers (black-and-white with no illustrations) so that children are not distracted by pictures and do not use them to help them guess rather than decode words. On the other hand, some children are more motivated to read by the colorful illustrations, and some parents don't mind if children use illustrations to help them guess at words. If you are of the latter persuasion, you might find these readers an excellent choice.