We had started our reading journey using the Original McGuffey Readers off and on as requested, but then we took the plunge and purchased All About Reading Pre-Reading. We did this mainly because we hadn’t nailed ALL of our letter sounds. Now they are second nature! My daughter LOVED it. Especially Zig Zag Zebra helping her along with her phonics practice. “Ziggy” still comes out to help us when we get stuck with level 1. I’m using Level 1 a bit different than you would think. In homeschooling we have decided to use the Charlotte Mason method with our kids. So in doing Level 1 I set a timer, like I do for all our lessons. Charlotte believed in short, rapid fire lessons. She would start reading a passage or a lesson and if time ran out, the lesson was done for the day. This spread a lesson out over a longer period of time but allowed the student to sit with a subject for a bit longer. It also produced the skill of rapt attention in the student.
Level 1 is taking much longer than Pre-reading, which she breezed through, but that’s ok! Slow and steady wins the race. Everyone starts to read on their own time, from age 4-8. It’s really a continuum and a developmental milestone vs forced learning. (my opinion after reading a bunch of pedagogy in my spare time. And trying to get my kids, well any kids, to do things…Patience is the winner winner chicken dinner. Everyone thinks different.) We love it though! I will be buying the extra file folder games with Ziggy because we LOVE games! Every night before we go to bed we review the word cards with Dad, just to show him what we can do, teach him what a leap word is ;).
I plan to use both curriculums with my son, because it is so gentle, fun and adaptable to the student’s level.
I think it is WELL worth the cost if you can swing it. It’s like hitting the easy button. I like that being as busy as we are.