And here is one of a later lesson, for comparison.
You can see the similarities that lead to a cohesive lesson format. I like how you can see what lesson you are on at the bottom, as well as what page. You can also see what subsection you are on within the lesson, and the page count for that, as well. This was great for Mr. B so he could see how much more he had to do. At the top are the navigation controls. You can choose a lesson, move between the pages and subtopics, etc.
Each lesson has 6 different pages that include:
Each page as pages within, that you can move through.
As you move over a word with your cursor, that word is read to you. Mr. B didn't like that part because it was choppy and robotic. I didn't like it because kids with echolalia could start repeating what they hear, in the same robotic manner. A more natural choice would be great. A way to click on an icon and have the entire word/sentence read, while highlighting each part, with proper inflection and emotion would be best for those with autism or speech delays.
Overall, this isn't your average phonics program at all. Once you purchase your license, you have access to ALL lessons. That's good if your student moves quickly (like Mr. B has done,) or if you need to start somewhere other than the beginning (again, like Mr. B.) I can see how this would be GREAT to teach reading to a beginner or struggling reader. This would have been great for Mr. B during his early phonics time, and it helped me to identify his reading issue. This would also be a great addition to a speech therapy program. His issue isn't a lack of weak phonics necessarily, but more of a lack of attention to detail, so I am better able now to address the problem and help him. It's a really nice program for those who need help with phonics-which is the great majority if students with poor reading skills. Our situation is just an anomaly in that his problem isn't with the phonics, but with sloppy style. I will continue using the program to reinforce the more advanced lessons-like silent letters, and double consonants, as I think this will help his spelling issues, and perhaps overtime it will also help him to stop and identify the words before just auto-assuming he is reading the correct word.
Does Spencer Learning Ultimate Phonics Reading Program Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?
1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?
It is VERY easy to customize and start where you need. You can follow your own schedule, and take breaks as needed. It is not streamed online, so you are in full control. On the flip side, it's not streamed online, so you must download and install it on a computer. So if you need to take it on the go, you have to take that computer with you. I think it would be GREAT to be able to stream online on a laptop or tablet. This would have been very convenient for us.
2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?
There are NO hidden fees. This will help students who are just learning to read all the way up to adults. It is not flashy, cartoon'ish, or childish at all. The total focus is on education. You have access to all lessons. I think a little flash would appeal to younger students, so if there would ever be a way to maybe add optional rewards after so many lessons are done, that'd be a great addition!
Lessons are short and sweet, but it's not that varied. The lessons are all the same, they just increase in difficulty. There are various subtopics in each lesson, but it's repetitive in nature. This is both good and bad for those with ADHD. Structure is good, but the monotonous robotic voice as you move over the words could lead to boredom. It could lead to distraction or stimming in ADHD and autism because you can accidentally move the cursor and hear it. I could see an ASD student getting stuck in an auditory stim loop moving the cursor back and forth over a specific sound or word. Like I mentioned before, a way to disable that feature and just have the entire sentence read with normal inflection, and the words or word parts highlighted, would be better for special needs learners. Mr. B did not like the robotic sounding voice, and I personally think that could be a negative for those with echolalia, also.
4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.