Explode the Code

Return to Categories


  • Reviewed on Monday, March 6, 2017
  • Grades Used: K-3
  • Dates used: 2005- present
We are wrapping up ETC book 4 with my 8 year old. This is my 7th child to use these.

It just doesn't come much easier, cheaper, or better.

He is reading at about 2nd grade level now.

I already purchased the set I need for my upcoming 5 year old. As with the others, he will start with books A, B, and C.


  • Reviewed on Thursday, December 4, 2014
  • Grades Used: All
  • Dates used: 2007-present
This is the only phonics program I have ever used, and I absolutely love it. It is so simple and straightforward. In my personal experience, teaching kids to read does not have to be a complicated process. It's actually quite simple, and that's how ETC goes about it. They just progress step by step, and should things move a little too quickly, you can always buy the 1/2 books for extra review. All 4 of our kids were reading before they turned 4, and by the time they were 5, we had worked through all the books (except book 8, which is more about suffixes and such) and could read just about anything. We did not do the writing in the book, as my main goal was to teach my kids to read and read well. I have never used the teacher's manual, as I didn't even know there was one. So for about $8 per book/level, you can't beat the price either. And our kids have really enjoyed it. The reading parts always have silly questions, or you have to read the sentences that match with a silly picture. So, if you're looking for a simple, inexpensive, effective way to teach your children to read, I highly recommend this program.


  • Reviewed on Saturday, November 10, 2012
  • Grades Used: prek-k
  • Dates used: 2011-2012
I started using ETC with my four year old daughter (Book 1). We switched after using another program that just was no working for us as it was too long and had the nonsense sounds.
ETC the code was much cheaper and my daughter enjoyed it. She was reading actual words, which excited her. THe teachers manuals have a lot of activities that we did not use with the first book but we did with the second. I love the activities and find them very helpful.
We have also used the ETC online. While it is a good program, I used it because I thought it would take some of the weight off of my shoulders. However, you still need to teach the material and I find that young children make a lot of mistakes in typing, making them miss the word when they do actually know how to spell it. You must sit and help them with the typing. IF your child is older, this may not be an issue for you. However, since I've already paid for it it is helpful with review if i dont have time to teach a lesson than day. I will not be purchasing it again, though. If your interested in the online program I would perhaps buy the teachers manual with it to help with teaching the lesson and let the online portion be their review.
That being said, we love ETC. Very affordable, good quality. I plan on using ETC with all of my children.


  • Reviewed on Thursday, March 22, 2012
  • Grades Used: k, 1st, 2nd
  • Dates used: 2010*-present
Love it.

Organized so you can give pages which correlate to a particular phonetic lesson you're working.

Pages have a very logical progressive pattern which repeats each new lesson.
-I don't have it in front of me, but from memory:
look at the word and match it to the word
look and write the word
write the word next to the picture

Both of my children absolutely love these and are definitely benefitted from doing them.

One of my children is very artistic and loves to color all of the black line handdrawn illustrations when she's done.

They're very inexpensive and So very worth it.