I have used Reading Horizons for seven years in a computer lab setting. It has been an excellent tool to individualize phonics instruction for emerging readers. First graders can really grasp the association between seeing combinations of letters and putting the sounds that they represent together to form words. Each student can go at his or her own pace with the computer software without having to wait on other students who don't catch on as quickly or struggling to keep up with skills they're not ready for. In second grade, I can choose to have them review a few lessons or just continue from where they left off.
The reports that can be printed are very helpful in communicating with the classroom teacher exactly where each student is with independent phonetic development. The classroom activities allow teachers to see that information, as well, but the printed reports can be a more concrete aid to explain this development to parents. The format from which the students select their lessons is also a very visual way for them to see their own progress. They become excited and want the students around them to see many of the interesting things they come across in the lessons, as well as how many lessons they have completed successfully. I have very few problems with keeping children on task, and it is wonderful to see their smiling faces when they realize how much they have accomplished.
Grade Level: Elementary