Explode the Code

Homeschool Phonics Curriculum

Explode the Code Series is one of my picks for elementary phonics curriculum. Simple, straight forward and effective. I've used them with three of my boys when they were learning to read.

Remember, the book numbers do not correspond with grade level. Complete about 2 books per year. The 8 book series covers grades 1-4th grade skills. Most importantly! Start where your child is and progress from there. At this age each child will be at different levels and may move quicker or slower than another boy. That is perfectly normal!

explode the code

This series is formatted in a simple black and white style1. Simple line drawings and child like pictures adds to the non-cluttered pages. I especially like the repetitive nature. Each sound or letter combination is taught with similar style1d activities.

Some pages will require more writing, some copying words. Others will have sentences to read and pick a picture that matches.

I like the pages where your boy will sound out a word, and then circle the correct spelling before finally writing the word themselves.

The books have teachers guides and extra activities that are helpful but not required. I've used the workbooks alone with success.

Ready Set, Go!

The series starts with 3 Primers for those little guys just learning their letters. These Teach letter recognition and sounds.

Get Ready for the Code,

Get Set for the Code

Go for the Code

Explode the Code

Then there are the main workbooks in the Series; Explode the Code Books 1-8. There are also review books to go along with them. Book 1 1/2, book 2 1/2 etc. These books reinforce the concepts in the book preceding it. Use these for children who need extra practice.

146060: Explode the Code, Book 1

Book 1

Consonant review,Short vowel sounds

146161: Explode the Code, Book 2

Book 2

Initial and final consonant blends


146262: Explode the Code, Book 3

Book 3

Long vowels including silent -e
Digraphs (sh, th, wh, ch, ng, ck)
Trigraphs (-tch), Vowel digraphs (ee-ea, ai-ay, oa-ow)

146363: Explode the Code, Book 4

Book 4

Compound words Common endings (-ful, -ing, -est, -ed, -ness) Syllable types (open, closed, ending in -y and -le, diphthong, and three-syllable words


146464: Explode the Code, Book 5

Book 5

Word families (all-alk, old-olt-oll, ild-ind, qu words) 3-letter blends (thr, shr, scr, str, spr, spi) Diphthong -ey Three sounds of -ed

161010: Explode the Code, Book 6

Book 6

r-controlled vowels (ar, or, er, ir, ur) Diphthongs (oo, oi-oy, ou-ow, au-aw, ew-ui-ue-ou) Vowel digraphs (ea, ie, igh)


164646: Explode the Code, Book 7

Book 7

Soft c and g Silent consonants Word patterns (ear, ei, eigh) Digraph ph

164747: Explode the Code, Book 8

Book 8

Advanced suffixes and endings

Parent/teacher books

These provide extra activity, writing ideas and teaching tips. For example. The teachers book will suggest sounds to review from past lessons, tell what to discuss to introduce the current lesson, and discuss vocabulary. It may give several partial sentences to write on the board (or on paper for your homeschooled student) then have the student finish each sentence using the vocabulary words from that lesson.

These would be a fairly inexpensive purchase if you would like the extra tips and help. Each teacher book covers 2 Explode the Code books.

Beyond the Code

These supplemental workbooks have more worksheets teaching Comprehension and Thinking Skills. These books go along with the ETC books and also cover grades 1-4. They contain stories to read with exercises that follow the same phonetic structure as ETC. Spelling and reading practice with stories and writing activities. 

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