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Explode the Code Online?

Posted by on May. 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM
  • 9 Replies

My kids are currently in public school but I'm thinking of pulling the three youngest out and homeschooling for the next school year. My sons are finishing 3rd and 2nd grade and my daughter is finishing kindergarten. My boys are really struggling in reading, and my 3rd grader is a horrible speller. My daughter is doing fine.

Has anyone tried Explode the Code online? Did/Do you like it? Do you recommend it for struggling readers? Thanks.

by on May. 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM
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Replies (1-9):
krysxo
by Member on May. 22, 2013 at 9:57 AM
I have found not so good reviews online but the workbooks are great!
diane125
by Member on May. 22, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Really? Do you have a link or something so I can read what the reviewers don't like about it? Thanks.


Quoting krysxo:

I have found not so good reviews online but the workbooks are great!


mommy4lyf
by on May. 22, 2013 at 11:16 AM

I am not really sure about it but if you are willing to pay $65.00 for that, I would suggest with little difference in price the http://www.readinga-z.com/.

krysxo
by Member on May. 22, 2013 at 2:02 PM

I have to find it on my tablet, but I did send this copied from secular homeschool to a friend, so I can send this review. Im pretty sure I found alot of reviews thru the forums.welltrainedmind.com tho, but heres this lengthy one:


Explode the Code



Review from member farrarwilliams
Member Ranking - Neutral
Explode the Code has two options. First, an old-fashioned workbook approach. Second, an online program. We have used both. Our experience of the workbooks is mostly positive, but my experience of the online program was extremely negative.

THE WORKBOOK PROGRAM
The Explode the Code workbooks begin with a pre-reading set for children just learning their letter sounds (otherwise known as Get Ready for the Code), then advance through books 1-8. There are half level books as well. These books are used only for extra practice and most people will not use most of them. There is also a teacher's manual, but we have no used that, so I can't evaluate it.

The books are extremely thorough. Book 1 teaches CVC words, but by Book 4, children are learning 3 and 4 syllable words. By Book 7 and 8, children learn silent letters and prefixes and suffixes. Each lesson teaches one or two phonics rules. Only words in patterns already introduced are used. Students must circle words, write words, fill in the blanks in simple sentences, and mark which sentence describes a picture. Many of the pictures in Explode the Code are slightly puzzling. This can actually be useful though, as it forces children to think about the words. As students advance, the exercises get slightly harder, so that by books 7 and 8, students are reading paragraphs and answering questions, as well as doing crossword puzzles.

Because the program is thorough but also requires a great deal of writing for young students, it may move too slowly to be a primary phonics program. Some simple word patterns aren't introduced until book 5 and 6, by which time most children with the skills to have gotten through book 4 will have already learned those phonics patterns. We have found the books primarily useful for "sweeping up" phonics rules and reinforcing the rules.

One thing to note is that Book 4 is especially hard for some children. It jumps into longer words and concepts like open and closed syllables very quickly. Many parents end up needing the extra practice of the half level book for Book 4. Other parents do Book 4 out of order, after Book 5 or Book 6.

THE ONLINE PROGRAM
Explode the Code Online is a subscription service. It uses the same pictures, word bank and sequence as the workbook program, but puts variations of the workbook activities into computer based activities.

The computer decides the child's level according to their performance on the activities. While parents can change this, it's an onerous process of logging into and out of different accounts and will be overridden by the computer as soon as another activity is completed.

For some people, that will be a bonus to not have to be involved in the assessment. Our problem was that the computer values speed over accuracy. I consider myself a good, fast reader but even I, as an adult, had trouble getting the highest level on the computer. In addition, the writing activities in the workbook become typing activities on the computer. Most 5 and 6 year-olds can't type and there is even research to suggest they shouldn't until they're older. Plus, you have to remember they're not just typing, they're being timed for their typing. Finally, the images that seem quirky and amusing in the workbook become annoying on the computer when you're being timed to figure them out.

For us, the final straw came when my son who was struggling to read Frog and Toad surpassed my son who was reading chapter books for pleasure by gaming the online system better and memorizing the pictures as sight words. While some people may have had positive experiences with Explode the Code Online, I personally can't say enough against it. If you're interested in the program, go with the much more inexpensive workbooks instead.
Pros:


  • simple way to practice phonics skills
  • mostly independent for most children
  • creative and silly sentences and pictures
  • inexpensive workbooks


Cons:

  • the online program emphasizes time over accuracy
  • the online program requires young children to type
  • expensive online program
  • some children may find the art style unappealing
  • moves slowly, so may not be a good primary phonics program
  • heavy writing component in the workbooks may be a drawback for some children
Quoting diane125:

Really? Do you have a link or something so I can read what the reviewers don't like about it? Thanks.


Quoting krysxo:

I have found not so good reviews online but the workbooks are great!




diane125
by Member on May. 23, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Thanks. I searched for more reviews and they said pretty much the same thing. The main problem is the speed v. accuracy element. That's a big thing to consider.

I wonder, though, how my boys would do since they are a little older and comfortable with the computer. The website has a demo, so I'm going to have my boys try it when they come home from school today.


Quoting krysxo:

I have to find it on my tablet, but I did send this copied from secular homeschool to a friend, so I can send this review. Im pretty sure I found alot of reviews thru the forums.welltrainedmind.com tho, but heres this lengthy one:


Explode the Code



Review from member farrarwilliams
Member Ranking - Neutral
Explode the Code has two options. First, an old-fashioned workbook approach. Second, an online program. We have used both. Our experience of the workbooks is mostly positive, but my experience of the online program was extremely negative.

THE WORKBOOK PROGRAM
The Explode the Code workbooks begin with a pre-reading set for children just learning their letter sounds (otherwise known as Get Ready for the Code), then advance through books 1-8. There are half level books as well. These books are used only for extra practice and most people will not use most of them. There is also a teacher's manual, but we have no used that, so I can't evaluate it.

The books are extremely thorough. Book 1 teaches CVC words, but by Book 4, children are learning 3 and 4 syllable words. By Book 7 and 8, children learn silent letters and prefixes and suffixes. Each lesson teaches one or two phonics rules. Only words in patterns already introduced are used. Students must circle words, write words, fill in the blanks in simple sentences, and mark which sentence describes a picture. Many of the pictures in Explode the Code are slightly puzzling. This can actually be useful though, as it forces children to think about the words. As students advance, the exercises get slightly harder, so that by books 7 and 8, students are reading paragraphs and answering questions, as well as doing crossword puzzles.

Because the program is thorough but also requires a great deal of writing for young students, it may move too slowly to be a primary phonics program. Some simple word patterns aren't introduced until book 5 and 6, by which time most children with the skills to have gotten through book 4 will have already learned those phonics patterns. We have found the books primarily useful for "sweeping up" phonics rules and reinforcing the rules.

One thing to note is that Book 4 is especially hard for some children. It jumps into longer words and concepts like open and closed syllables very quickly. Many parents end up needing the extra practice of the half level book for Book 4. Other parents do Book 4 out of order, after Book 5 or Book 6.

THE ONLINE PROGRAM
Explode the Code Online is a subscription service. It uses the same pictures, word bank and sequence as the workbook program, but puts variations of the workbook activities into computer based activities.

The computer decides the child's level according to their performance on the activities. While parents can change this, it's an onerous process of logging into and out of different accounts and will be overridden by the computer as soon as another activity is completed.

For some people, that will be a bonus to not have to be involved in the assessment. Our problem was that the computer values speed over accuracy. I consider myself a good, fast reader but even I, as an adult, had trouble getting the highest level on the computer. In addition, the writing activities in the workbook become typing activities on the computer. Most 5 and 6 year-olds can't type and there is even research to suggest they shouldn't until they're older. Plus, you have to remember they're not just typing, they're being timed for their typing. Finally, the images that seem quirky and amusing in the workbook become annoying on the computer when you're being timed to figure them out.

For us, the final straw came when my son who was struggling to read Frog and Toad surpassed my son who was reading chapter books for pleasure by gaming the online system better and memorizing the pictures as sight words. While some people may have had positive experiences with Explode the Code Online, I personally can't say enough against it. If you're interested in the program, go with the much more inexpensive workbooks instead.
Pros:


  • simple way to practice phonics skills
  • mostly independent for most children
  • creative and silly sentences and pictures
  • inexpensive workbooks


Cons:

  • the online program emphasizes time over accuracy
  • the online program requires young children to type
  • expensive online program
  • some children may find the art style unappealing
  • moves slowly, so may not be a good primary phonics program
  • heavy writing component in the workbooks may be a drawback for some children
Quoting diane125:

Really? Do you have a link or something so I can read what the reviewers don't like about it? Thanks.


Quoting krysxo:

I have found not so good reviews online but the workbooks are great!





diane125
by Member on May. 23, 2013 at 8:51 AM

My boys have tried this. Their school uses this in their AIS program. My boys have been in this program since kindergarten and are still behind.

Quoting mommy4lyf:

I am not really sure about it but if you are willing to pay $65.00 for that, I would suggest with little difference in price the http://www.readinga-z.com/.


haskins46563
by Member on May. 23, 2013 at 8:58 AM

It was a flop here.  My daughter was pretty proficient with the computer, and struggled with the speed/accuracy thing.  It wouldn't level her up even if she got all of them right, if it took to long.  Or if she went faster and missed one, it was considered low as well.  It was a constant source of frustration.  I could manually level her up, but could not change the speed issue.  I also found she actually knew quite a bit of what was being tested (she was beginning first grade) even after I put her at a much higher level.  We dropped it, chalked it up as a mistake, and went onto Logic of English textbook curriculum and haven't looked back.  

mommy4lyf
by on May. 23, 2013 at 10:11 AM

 

I am sorry it didn't work out for your boys. I don't stick to one website so I am sharing some of the sites that are useful.

http://succeedtoread.com/

http://www.esl-kids.com/flashcards

http://www.education.com/workbooks/?subject=reading I use this a lot.

 

 


 

Quoting diane125:

My boys have tried this. Their school uses this in their AIS program. My boys have been in this program since kindergarten and are still behind.

Quoting mommy4lyf:

I am not really sure about it but if you are willing to pay $65.00 for that, I would suggest with little difference in price the http://www.readinga-z.com/.



 

"If the child cannot learn in the way we teach...we must teach in the way the child can learn."reading

Mommy2Phenley
by Member on May. 23, 2013 at 1:40 PM
Etc online was horrible IMO. It was "touchy" and accepted a double click as the answer for the current page and the next. So if you double clicked you'd almost surely miss the next problem.

If you fail an activity, it drops you back two activities...which makes no sense. Activity a focused on concept a, passed easily, activity b focused on concept b, passed easily, activity c focused on concept c, barely failed (sometimes due to a double click) and it sends you back to a. What good is that? Redo the level the kid couldn't pass, not earlier levels they passed easily! Or present concept c in a new way. But it doesn't. No new info is provided they are simply punished by bland repetition then faced with the same thing they failed in exactly the same format.

Some of the pictures didn't make sense right away so there was a lot of memorizing going on. Not the good kind, the "oh this picture goes with this answer" kind without knowing why.

DD didn't care for it. She said it was boring. And she loves things like that usually.

I had lots of minor irritations with it along the way but those were the main things. We gave it up long before our subscription expired.

Oh and the emphasis on speed. DD's fine motor is well behind her reading level. She could not score the top marks no matter how well she grasped something because it took her a minute to manipulate the mouse to do as she wanted. I watched her do a level perfectly and for her, it was even great speed. She wasn't flying but there was no stumbling around or pausing to think, she was going directly to the next answer at a calm even pace. She did not get the top symbol. That was one of the last times we used it.
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