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Phonics is the key to Explode the Code!

Updated on October 28, 2014

Explode the Code

Explode the Code Book 8
Explode the Code Book 8 | Source

Teaching Phonics with Explode the Code!

Are you ready to teach your children phonics? Teaching phonics or the rules used to spell words is essential to learning how to read and spell. There are many different books for teaching phonics but I have never found a series that is as creative, fun and thorough as Explode the Code.

Begin teaching your child letters with their letter sounds and how to write each letter while associating it with either the beginning or ending of a word in the Get Ready for the Code books.

Starting with Explode the Code Book 1, this phonics series teaches each of the short vowels, going on to the long vowels, r-controlled vowels, etc.

There are silly pictures such as The cub in the Tub when you are teaching the phonics for the short vowel u or The cat is on the pin after teaching both the short a and short i sounds.

You will enjoy teaching phonics with Explode the Code and your children will enjoy learning. So hold onto your hats. It's time to explode the code...!

Beginning to Read

Learning the Sounds of Letters
Learning the Sounds of Letters | Source

Explode the Code - Teaching Phonics Workbooks

Many teachers, parents, children and homeschoolers find phonics to be boring. When I was beginning to teach my oldest how to read, write and spell I began a search for ways to make learning letters, letter sounds and word attack skills in a fun, engaging way. We read lots of books, looked for letters and pointed out various spellings of those sounds in the words we were reading.

We rearranged Scrabble Letters to form words and had lots of fun but I was looking for something a bit more thorough. I wanted something that would help with the spelling rules. I found all that in the Explode the Code Series and more.

Most phonics books had colored pictures that were associated with the letter sounds being taught as you see in the picture to the right.

Explode the Code uses line drawings that invite the children to color the pictures, thus encouraging more interaction between the pictures, letter sounds and the letters associated with them.

Teaching phonics with Explode the Code was fun for both of us.

Explode the Code 1
Explode the Code 1

Fun, engaging workbook for learning phonics, spelling and reading. Book one of the Explode the code series assumes that your child knows all of the consonant sounds as it begins to teach the short vowel sounds. When you are teaching phonics you will want to start with the consonants which are begun in the Ready for the Code workbooks.


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Literacy Stations: Handwriting
Literacy Stations: Handwriting | Source

Before the Code - Learning the Letters of the Alphabet

When teaching phonics, the Get Ready for the Code books could be used in Kindergarten but if you are homeschooling you might just want to wait until your child is interested in learning letters and how to read.

By waiting until your children are ready, they will breeze through the books and be reading and writing in no time. The Get Ready for the Code are the books in the Explode the Code Series that teach the consonant sounds.

You will notice in the photo to the right that this child is learning to write the letter M. There are many workbooks set up to help your child practice writing their letters but what I especially like about the Explode the Code books is that the format is constantly changing.

There are pictures of things beginning with the letter M with spaces for the child to write the associated letter. Some pages ask the child to draw a line from a picture to the letter it begins with. Other pages have lines to help the child write the beginning, middle and ending sounds of a word in the correct order.

Once the child is learning the short vowels, there are humorous illustrations and accompanying text that the children must read in order to discover which sentence or which drawing best illustrates the text.

Children love variety. They love coloring the silly pictures. Because of this they are encouraged to write the letters they are learning over and over again.

Explode the Code 1 1/2
Explode the Code 1 1/2

Product Description

Explode The Code provides a sequential, systematic approach to phonics in which students blend sounds to build vocabulary and read words, phrases, sentences, and stories. Frequent review of previously


Extra Practice in Exploding the Code - Teaching Phonics with Exploding the Code

If you find that your child still needs more practice, Nancy Hall has written 1/2 books for teaching phonics. These 1/2 books are optional books in the series that offer more practice in learning the phonics and spelling rules taught in the book before.

Most phonics books seem to maintain a set format from book to book that becomes tedious for children, but Nancy Hall created new activities with these books that keep children hooked on the phonics being taught even when they need a little more practice.

For teaching more phonics or offering more practice in the skills being taught, the 1/2 Explode the Code books are just what you are looking for.

River Rock Spelling

Spelling with River Rocks
Spelling with River Rocks | Source

Hands-on Phonics

Last year I taught a small group of kindergarteners who were having difficulty sitting down to learn their letters. Instead of having them sit down in chairs, I had them stand up so that it was easier for them to wiggle around while they practiced associating letters with sounds.

Here are some of the activities we did to learn the letters:

  • sing the alphabet while pointing to the letters
  • clap when we got to the first letter in our name
  • Jump when we got to the letter of the day
  • Write two or three things in Getting Ready for the Code
  • Dump a bowl of letters out on the floor, find the letter of the day, and put it in a tin bucket
  • Do another two or three things in our workbooks
  • Crawl under the table and write the letter of the day with our fingers on the underside of the table
  • Do another two or three things in the books
  • Make the letter with play dough, glitter and glue or trace and cut it out

When we were learning the letter R we took a trip out to the playground to collect rocks. We washed the rocks under running water, dried them and glued letters on them. The next day we began forming words using the letters on our spelling rocks.

In previously years I had been asked to use other phonics books but the lack of variety, page by page bored the kids. Having used these books with my own kids I quickly realized that these were the perfect books for these kids.

Oh, what fun they all had! Not only that, but they are all now happily reading and writing.

Phonics Workbooks

There are many different phonics workbooks to choose from.
There are many different phonics workbooks to choose from. | Source

Explode The Code Overview

Explode The Code is a systematic, sequential, and explicit phonics program. Break through the code with direct phonics instruction-now accessible in two ways: print & online.

Continuing to Explode the Code - More Phonics, Spelling, Writing and Reading Instruction

When I was first looking for a way to teach phonics, spelling and how to read, I started looking in the phone book. You must remember that the Internet basically didn't exist when my children were beginning to read. I was living outside of Boston at the time and stumbled across a store called Educator's Publishing Service.

Expecting to find a fancy Teacher's Store, I was quite surprised to find that the building was basically a warehouse in an industrial section of Cambridge.

I went inside to find a couple of large desks where people were dealing with mail orders and a few wire racks with very basic looking workbooks. I decided to take a look inside the covers and that is when the Code began to Explode for my children.

Delightful line drawings and a wide variety of activities from listening and responding to the sounds of the pictures to reading and decoding words to match to crazy picture combinations.

My daughter was able to Explode the Code and read the first page right there in the store.

I bought Explode the Code 1, 2, and 3 and we blasted off into reading.

If you have used Explode the Code for teaching phonics, please rate it:

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Explode the Code is wonderful for Homeschoolers - Homeschoolers use Explode the Code for Teaching Phonics

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    • evelynsaenz1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelyn Saenz 

      4 years ago from Royalton

      @CherylsArt: Thank you so much! Explode the Code is my favorite workbook for helping children take the first steps to reading and writing.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      Cool lens Evelyn. Shared on Pinterest and on my LiteracyIdeas page on Facebook.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      i am a single father having two kids. your lens is very informative. my elder son has learn to read in early age n my younger daughter is in process. Homeschooling is important for enhancing positivity and creativity in kids.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This looks great! My kids were subjected to the experimental ZooPhonics. What a nightmare.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Phonics is the way to go. My grandmother, who was a 2nd grade teacher, taught me with phonics thus I was reading new books that I hadn't seen before in the first grade. My wife and I have been doing the same with my son who is now four. Great lens.

    • traveller27 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens on this important subject. Blessed by a passing angel.

    • hsschulte profile image


      7 years ago

      It's by far my favorite phonics program!

    • Asinka profile image

      Asinka Fields 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      This is something new for me, but nicely done ::).

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      7 years ago from Vermont

      I'm new to this series and I love it. My girls taught themselves to read by 5 but they had lots of exposure to books and words. I'm saving/faving this for my grandkids! *blessed

    • RobininColorado profile image


      8 years ago

      I have long recommended the Explode the Code books to friends. Even the ones who don't homeschool. Great lens! Thanks!


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