I would like to share an overall success story. My class has done an excellent job with the Reading Horizons Program, being I was a teacher at the beginning of the year who really didn't want to implement the program. At the beginning of the school year when it was brought to our campus I was not all for the program because of my past experience as a Computer Lab Facilitator. At the time, I was not familiar with the direct instruction part of the program when I voiced my opinion. As a Computer Lab Facilitator I had only observed the software portion of the Reading Horizon program (4th and 5th grade). One thing in particular I observed, was that the students were getting bored with the marking process and I really didn't see the importance of the markings. However, this year was my first year as a First Grade teacher implementing this explicit, systematic, research based phonics program and I will truly say this in one of the best programs that can and will provide students with the solid phonetic, decoding and encoding skills needed to build a good foundation for reading and pronunciation. When students are taught the 42 sounds systematically and explicitly including the when's and why certain letters make certain sounds they are able to sound out words with confidence. I have observed several of my students that will try to sound out unfamiliar words by using what they were taught during direct instruction versus just guessing. I can say over 50% of my students are sounding out words with confidence and are familiar with the the 5 Phonetic Skills, blends, special vowel combinations, digraphs and blend digraphs.