"Get Ready for the Code" Review

Guess who is super proud of herself? Last Friday Zoey and I completed her very first workbook, Get Ready for the Code Book A! I say “we” because I took a very intentional approach to getting the most we could out of these lessons. I know some have used these more as a distraction tool when there are older children to teach, but I found a great foundation here to build a competent and confident reader.

This is the first of three in a series (Books A, B, and C) designed at the PreK level, which serves as the launching pad for the larger Explode the Code series. The series focuses on phonics and reading, with a lighter emphasis on handwriting as well. There is also a complementary Beyond the Code series of 3 books, designed to help with reading comprehension and critical thinking skills.

This book begins with teaching a single consonant sound through pictures, matching, and a bit of handwriting. It then progresses through a handful of additional consonant sounds, using a few different exercises that are repeated. The entire alphabet is covered by Book C. I had read many positive reviews about this series, and thought it would be a great way to combine learning different letter sounds with speech exercises to reproduce those sounds. As with most things, Zoey is comprehending the idea of phonics much quicker than she is able to speak them, but she is slowly and noticeably progressing. This workbook has helped me to see how often she will mark a correct answer, even if her verbal response sounds very little like the actual sound that is normally associated with a given letter. It has also helped me to discern which letters give her the most trouble, which understandably seem to be those which she also has the hardest time saying. As much as I know that Zoey is too active to appreciate learning every subject through a workbook, I see a lot of value in spending 15-20 minutes a day on this series. It has been a great start into our homeschooling adventure, both for her as an avid learner, and for me as I struggle to find better ways to teach and assess her.

I didn’t want to treat this one as a “playing school” resource, and as a result, Zoey took it more seriously as well. David may not need as much focus to complete this when it comes time for him to join the ranks, but I would still value this series for him as a way to consistently cover every letter over the course of a year or so. I highly recommend the series for anyone wanting step by step directions for teaching phonics in a simple and direct manner, or as an inexpensive resource for developing reading skills.

Need Some New PreK Math Motivation?

I’ve been struggling with a fun way to help Z learn her numbers. It’s not easy to figure out what she knows if she can’t clearly say it all the time, and it also gets tedious for her if I’m expecting her to focus on learning numbers and speech at the same time. She leans toward markers and drawing/coloring on her own time, so we found a fun (for her), semi-structured (for me) way to make math work. She asked for this activity again this morning, which is enough validation for me to keep it as our go-to method for now.

The 0-20 number poster printables are free at Primary Classroom Resources. I laminated them, and we use a dry erase marker to trace and add counters next to the numerals. Right now she likes circles. We started with manipulatives to count, but she likes drawing better. I like that these incorporate the number words as well, so we can include some letter/phonics practice at the same time.

Essentially it’s the easiest way we have found for Z to demonstrate comprehension and still express herself. I’m happy, she’s happy, and after only a few rounds of practice, we both understand that she can (almost) count to 10.

Letter Relays

After so many days of rain, we needed an activity to burn off some energy without destroying the house. This was an instant hit. I explained and jogged the circuit once, and was able to sit while they kept going for the rest of the time. They found the Oreos right before this, can you tell?

Writing Intros

It’s amazing how much I have taken the “instinct” of writing for granted. Years of practice with grip, control, muscle memory, letter recognition…it’s a lot in the beginning! I’ve been pretty relaxed with Z thus far as she gets used to the idea of writing with paint brushes, chalk, crayons, pencils etc. But she has great hand dexterity, turned 4 last month, and most importantly, she is very ready to sit down and follow some specific writing direction from me.

Yesterday we launched into the world of handwriting together with a few big lined spaces on a white board. I spent about 15 minutes trying to distract David with side activities while also introducing Aa and Cc in the writing lines. Zoey didn’t want anything to do with Bb, which might be because it is a worn out exercise letter for her speech therapy. Pretty sure I’m already learning more about teaching than she is about writing. On Monday, we’ll see how she takes to writing a few numbers. I’m also going to pull out a second little white board for my inquisitive toddler to do his own scribbling next to us. Lately I am more stressed about keeping him occupied than teaching Z because she is doing so well, and he is…his busy 2 year old self.


I am so proud of Z’s first attempts at her own letters! I have been slacking a bit with first trimester exhaustion, but I am jumping back in with more intentional letter recognition prep. It’s wonderful how we can combine speech sound practice as we learn each letter too. Feeling accomplished with a lesson and all 5 speech stars before 9:30. It’s a good day!