Fun-Time Phonics! from Critical Thinking Co. {Review}

Fun-Time Phonics! from Critical Thinking Co. {Review}

Fun-Time Phonics! from Critical Thinking Co. {Review}Fun-Time Phonics!™ Learning to Read by Robert Femiano

ISBN: 1601445784
Genres: Educational Resources, Language Arts, English Language, Phonics
Published by The Critical Thinking Co. on July 1st 2015
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback, 8x11" paperback
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Fun-Time Phonics! Learning to Read will help students develop their pre-reading knowledge of phonemes and know they're transcribed into print via the alphabet. The first fourteen lessons help students increase student understanding around individual sounds in words, in particularly the vowel sound in the middle of the word. The remaining majority of lessons focus on introducing the alphabet, beginning with five vowels and then consonants in order. The final six activities cover reading three-letter words. 314 full-color pages, softcover. Reproducible in limited quantities for classroom use. Age 4/PreK-Grade 2.

Throughout the last few years as I’ve learned more and more about the various options of homeschool companies I have often had my eye on products from The Critical Thinking Co. ~ ( placing many things on my wishlist. Through the TOS Crew I was blessed with an opportunity to check out one of their newest products in the physical book Fun-Time Phonics!  (Gr. PreK-2). We were all very excited and the intent was to refresh with AppleBlossom (age 6) and start the basics with OrangeBlossom (age 4). Creative Madness Mama reviews Fun-Time Phonics! We spent time in the book about 3-4 times per week. Fun-Time Phonics! is an 8×11″ non-consumable full-color 320-page book. It not like any other phonics book that we have been exposed to and was a different experience. I love how I can look down and find the book easily in my bag as even the edges of the pages are a pale blue that make the book stand out very obviously. 🙂 

Based on research from the National Reading Commission, Fun-Time Phonics! is a program designed to focus on vowel patterns and isolating vowel sounds. While it would be easy to make this multi-sensory by adding in writing, my girls worked with me and this program solely as read aloud and point and so on as necessary. The lessons are broken down into building sections including the following topics:

  • Phonemic Awareness
    • beginning and ending sounds
    • rhyming*
    • putting sounds together
    • short vowel sounds
  • Alphabetics (longest section)
    • short vowel letters
    • consonants and co-articulation
  • Beginning to Read
  • Words I Can Read*

For us, coming into this curriculum from one where we were labeling the phonetic markers it was an extremely different feeling and my opinion is that it just was not enough for us. We need a little, more. It is simple, it is no-prep, and it will guide you toward CVS (consonant-vowel-consonant) reading. However, it was not exciting for my budding reader and my non-reader found it frustrating. I think that this is a great supplement to a phonics program, but I do not fully trust it as a stand alone program. But let’s not throw out that bath-water quite yet! It spirals, and reinforces and teaches things in an advanced fashion.

*I found that the section of rhyming is really useful and incredible for my children to learn with. This is something that both my girls needed a little more work to fully grasp and in my experience not all phonics programs cover rhyming. I was glad to see this one did. Also the Words I Can Read section was a good review and assessment for AppleBlossom as well.

Instead of where most phonics programs might have a child choose between words that were completely different, Fun-Time Phonics! actually uses words that are a bit easy to confuse if you do not fully grasp the concept. At first I thought this was too difficult, but then I realized that it is advanced and I quite like challenging my children. It is my understanding that this book is part one and that perhaps the series will be continued. I do not have any information on future books at this point, but I do find that to be hopeful as it is not quite a full program in my opinion with this one book.

Creative Madness Mama reviews Fun-Time Phonics!

I apologize, I couldn’t seem to take very clear pictures today. There were some things that confused me from the standpoint of my previous experiences with phonics. Instead of it being the sound, it was more along the lines of the letter that we were pointing out. This took me aback, but for my beginning reader that has limited experience I felt that it was a neat way to go about things. As you see in the image above, /oh/ /n/ is meant to be the word on. Perhaps it is my locale, but we say /uh/ /n/ or more /ah/ /n/ rather than /oh/ /n/. Maybe if we were more properly anglicized?

Creative Madness Mama reviews Fun-Time Phonics!

Again in this image above, see /sh/ /oh/ /p/. I would read this in another program more as /sh/ /ah/ /p/. Perhaps it is the same issue, but when we’ve as a teacher I have previously been taught as the letter o having multiple sounds, it was different to only see it represented as /oh/ in what I came across in the book so far. From a spelling context of picking out the right letter, I can see the merit. And as I said, perhaps I have a misguided understanding of phonics. We’re all in the beginning stages here.

Usually, I’m not a fan of materials that use clip art for illustrations. However, I found the images chosen for Fun-Time Phonics! are clear and attractive. All in all, I can see the financial value that is in this quality book. I think in the end it might make a good series and then be a full program. It is different from what we’re used to, but it might actually be the better way to teach my more outgoing child. It is challenging for her and right now frustrating, but at the same time. She is looking at words and images with a more discerning mind than before! – and is that not progress?!

Fun-Time Phonics Review

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About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.