Skip to Content

Hooked on Phonics Review – Is it Right for You?

Hooked on Phonics Review – Is it Right for You?
Latest posts by Keith Lindner (see all)

One of the most important things your child can learn is how to read. It jump-starts their learning of almost everything else when they can find the information themselves.

While it’s something every child needs to learn, it can be one of the most difficult and frustrating things to teach. Tools and programs like Hooked on Phonics can make it easier and more fun for everyone.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Reading Product

toddler reading

Every child is different. They don’t all learn in the same way. Learning how to read can be very overwhelming for many children. All of the letters and the sounds they make can be confusing. Plus, there are upper and lower case letters and many letters make more than one sound.

When throwing children with learning disabilities or conditions like dyslexia into the mix, it gets even harder. It’s difficult to overcome these challenges. And as hard as it is for your child, it can be even more disheartening for you to watch them struggle.

Here are some things to consider before deciding which product to use.

Teaching method

Phonics has been proven to be the most effective way to teach a child to read. It lays the foundation for lifelong successful reading. It helps them understand how letters behave based on a lot of different factors.

Knowing how the letters sound and how this changes based on their location in the word helps them understand why a word sounds the way it does. Learning by sight may help your child memorize some key words and phrases, but it won’t help them advance.

Even when your child is an adult, they can apply these concepts to words they don’t know. It can help with emphasis and pronunciation, even when they don’t know a word.

Ultimately, your child will be a better reader, more able to understand lots of different types of reading, if they know how to sound words out early. This knowledge is a lifelong skill they can use to adapt.

There are other ways of learning to read, and they’re not all bad. Because every child is different, there may be something that works better for yours, and often, it’s a combination of different methods along with your involvement that helps the most.

Trial and Cost

There are plenty of free apps out there that can help you teach your child to read. However, they’re not going to offer the same comprehensive instruction as something you pay for. They’ll require some more hands-on guidance from you to see progress.

That’s not to say that they’re not really great solutions for a parent who is able to dedicate the time and energy to helping your child learn to read. But a solution like Hooked on Phonics offers stronger self guided practices.

Think about how much the trial costs and how much the monthly subscription is. The Hooked on Phonics trial is really cheap, while others are more expensive. Plus, the monthly subscription cost is affordable, whereas some are a one-time fee or a monthly membership, rather than subscription-based.

Hooked on Phonics is also one of the more affordable learning to read programs. The methods are proven to teach your child quickly, which means you won’t need it for very long. And there’s no obligation, so you can cancel at any time.


Learning never stops, nor should it. When choosing a program to help your child learn to read, think about where this instruction is going to take place and how you might need it to move with you.

Choose programs that have mobile apps you can download on multiple devices so you can take it with you when you leave the house. Also consider whether those mobile apps work offline, just in case you’re not connected to the internet.

Hard materials like books and worksheets are also portable solutions, but they take up more space, so evaluate where you might want to take them and how convenient it will be to do so.

How Hooked on Phonics Works

hooked on phonics

Hooked on Phonics helps children from pre-k through first grade learn to read. It’s designed with graphics, animations, and characters that are appealing to kids so that learning to read is fun. It teaches letter sounds and how these sounds work together to form words. Rather than teaching with memorization and sight words, kids will learn how letters behave in certain parts of the word so they can begin to sound things out.

Hooked on Phonics guarantees your child will be reading in 30 days. The 30-day trial is affordable and it comes with workbooks and other reading materials shipped right to your door. It also comes with access to the mobile app on up to three devices for up to three child profiles.

The concepts that Hooked on Phonics uses to teach have also been proven to help those who struggle with reading or learning disabilities. And while the animations appeal to children, the underlying methods are great for any age person who might need help learning to read or strengthening their skills.

Features and Benefits

If you’re homeschooling and need a reading curriculum for your child who doesn’t know the alphabet yet, or you simply want some extra reading support at home, Hooked on Phonics is a great way to supplement that learning. It’s affordable, easy to set up, and fun for kids.

Reading materials

When you sign up, Hooked on Phonics sends a packet to your door. It includes a workbook, stickers for monitoring progress and encouraging young readers, and a few small books.

Hooked on Phonics started out as a box of reading materials you could order and have delivered. While they’ve adapted well to the changing technology, they still like to send out a few little extras to every user.

While it’s not much, it can help build excitement for reading. If you want extra materials, you’ll have to purchase them separately.

Mobile app

Hooked on Phonics spent a lot of time adapting to modern technology. They started long before the internet was prevalent, but as the popularity of computers increased, they began developing CD ROM solutions for those who had computers at home.

Now, with the widespread use of smartphones, Hooked on Phonics has developed a mobile app to make it much easier and more convenient for families with kids who need to learn to read.

You get access to the mobile app when you subscribe, and you can log in on up to three devices. Once they open an activity, it’s made available offline so that you can take it anywhere with you, even if you don’t have internet.

The app allows for up to three profiles, so you can add three users to monitor progress and sync it across all of the places where the app is installed.

If you have more than three kids who need the app, it may not be the best solution for you. However, what I’ve found is that most reading apps limit you to three users, so this problem isn’t unique.

You may also choose to have two children share one profile, especially if you have two children who are currently at the same reading level.

Other than that, the app is a great tool for giving your child access to their learning tools, no matter where you are.

Trial and setup

hooked on phonics 1

The 30-day trial is something that gives Hooked on Phonics an edge up on the competition. It’s so cheap that it might as well be free. Unfortunately, it’s not free, but it’s hard to complain about how affordable it is.

While other apps are completely free, Hooked on Phonics offers more comprehensive instruction and you’ll feel more confident with how your child is learning to read. The monthly subscription is also a great bargain for something that’s guaranteed to have your child reading in a matter of weeks.

You can cancel anytime, which means you may not ever need to subscribe monthly, especially if you’re very hands-on with helping your child to learn quickly. The trial gives you an opportunity to try it before subscribing. Registering and setting up the app takes about five or ten minutes online. Go to their website, enter email, address, and payment information, and you’re done.

With a good internet connection, you can download the app and sign in using your email and the temporary password provided by Hooked on Phonics. Then set up your child’s profile and pick their reading level. It only takes about five or ten minutes a day to see how quickly your child will pick up the concept and take off reading on their own.

With a 30-day trial and a guarantee that your child will be reading in the first 30 days, it’s a no brainer. It’ll give them the jump start they need and build confidence in their abilities.


A lot of free apps make money by displaying ads, which is not only distracting, but it can be dangerous for kids. The website looks professional and gives a lot of detail about the program and how it works. It can give you the confidence you need to purchase a quality program for your child. It’s not spammy and it doesn’t give any indication that you’ll have to deal with annoying popups when you download the app.

As I got my child started, I enjoyed clean, fun animations with no distracting ads or anything else. He could get started on his lessons right away without worrying about clickbait.

Most children will blindly click on apps or buy things without realizing it, especially when they can’t read yet. Hooked on Phonics offers a great solution to this problem because you won’t have to worry about them navigating away from the app.

The trade-off is that you have to pay for the app, and with other free learning apps out there, it may not be a sacrifice you’re willing to make. However, these apps make money by displaying ads, so you’ll need to be careful.

Availability offline

When your child opens the activities on the Hooked on Phonics app, they are synced offline so they can still play on the go. It syncs their progress when they’re online so that the offline availability allows them to pick up where they left off.

This is a great way to keep your child’s education running smoothly, even when you have a busy schedule full of vacations, errands, and doctor’s appointments.


Hooked on Phonics certainly isn’t the only reading program out there for kids. There are a lot more. Parents are a huge market for companies who want to sell things for kids, so there are more learning apps than you could probably count.

Not all of them can compete with Hooked on Phonics, because HOP is probably the most recognizable name out there for learning to read. However, if Hooked on Phonics doesn’t seem right for you, here are a few others you could try.

ABC Mouse

abc mouse

This app-based learning tool isn’t just for reading. It offers a full curriculum for language arts, science and social studies, math, and art. It’s created by teachers, so you can trust the content if you want to use it at home.

The online classroom is open to teachers and parents. While there are no hard materials shipped to you, you can download the app on as many devices as you want so you have access to it anywhere.

There’s a free 30-day trial, so you can try it out to see if it’s right for you. It’s a great solution for homeschool families who have young kids, but they also only allow three child profiles, so your kids may have to share.

It offers content for kids from preschool through kindergarten for a low monthly cost and plenty of printables if you want some hands-on activities to break up the monotony or get them away from the screen.



Starfall is another full curriculum education program, but it’s for kids from kindergarten through third grade. You could easily transition from using ABC Mouse to Starfall when you’re kids are ready.

They offer their product as a yearly subscription with home, teacher, classroom, and school memberships. While the prices are affordable, there’s no free trial, so when you sign up, you’ll pay for your first year in full.

They offer reading tools and other subjects as well. It’s great for homeschooling, teachers, parents, and schools. There’s an online program that you can use on your mobile devices, but you can also order supplemental materials from their online store.

Children Learning Reading

children learning reading

If you’d rather stick to reading, this program also guarantees your child will be reading in four weeks. However, it’s a bit harder on parents, so it’s ideal for the homeschool parent who is already more involved and has the time to interact with their child as they learn.

Children Learning Reading doesn’t have an app like Hooked on Phonics does. Upon purchase of the program, which involves a one-time fee, you’ll receive access to their e-books that contain lessons for you to walk through with your child.

The good news is they also use phonics as the method of teaching, so you can count on it working. They have a trial that you can sign up for before you buy, but it’s a bit more expensive than Hooked on Phonics.

FAQs About Hooked on Phonics

Does Hooked on Phonics work for children with learning disabilities?

Although it wasn’t specifically designed this way, many families indicate that the program works really well for engaging and teaching children with a variety of challenges including dyslexia or autism.

Does Hooked on Phonics work for adults?

While the characters and animation appeal more to children, the phonics concepts are an effective way to teach reading to anyone who has trouble and needs to learn.
However, if you know an adult who needs help, there are adult reading programs that use phonics. SightPhonics is a proven program with words, lessons, and stories that appeal to adults instead.

How long does Hooked on Phonics take?

Hooked on Phonics guarantees your child will be reading in 30 days. However, that all depends on how much time they spend in the app every day, how much you help them, and their aptitude for learning.
Each lesson takes about 20 minutes to complete, so ensuring they dedicate enough time to complete a lesson a day will advance them more quickly than you may think.

The Verdict

Jumpstart your child’s reading doesn’t take much, especially with an app that uses phonics. Hooked on Phonics is one of the most recognizable solutions and it’s highly effective. It’s affordable and fun for your child.

It’s great for parents who homeschool or who want to supplement their child’s education at home. If your child needs a little extra encouragement and support or has a learning disability, this program is awesome.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *