Phonics Pathways

February 6, 2011
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Phonics Pathways, 10th Edition

Content: Phonics
Grade(s): K – 3rd
Prep Time: Minimal
Teacher Manual: Yes
Teacher Involvement: Essential
Cost: $$ || ?
Pages: 288
Publication Date: 2011
Review Last Updated:

Common Core Aligned:

** From the Publisher’s Website: **

Clear step-by-step directions begin and end every lesson throughout the book – no prior experience or special training is needed. Extensive examples, word lists, and practice readings accompany each lesson – no other material is needed. Lessons are systematic, incremental, and progressive.

Only one letter is introduced at a time, beginning with short-vowel sounds. Every letter introduced is accompanied by multiple pictures beginning with that sound. A multisensory method addresses all learning styles. Reading and spelling are taught as an integrated unit. Sounds and spelling patterns are presented one at a time and in order of complexity, ranging from simple to complex. Sight words are introduced by pattern also, along with the sound being introduced. Accuracy in reading and spelling is taught from the very first lesson.

Wise, humorous proverbs offer great insight, encouragement, and inspiration. Promotes values such as patience, perseverance, honesty, compassion, courage, kindness, and loyalty.

About the Author:
Dolores G. Hiskes, the author, illustrator, and creator of all Dorbooks products, has been involved with education most of her adult life, ever since teaching her own children how to read. She has tutored reading for over thirty years with 100% success, and collected classic old reading and spelling books from English-speaking countries all over the world.

Because one opinion is never enough! Have you ever used Phonics Pathways? How did it work for your family? Share your review below.



  • Sharon J. May 8, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    I have taught 5 kids how to read with Phonics Pathways, and I admit, my copy is getting a little tattered looking. It is a very simple book to use, and it does a very good job of teaching and reinforcing phonics skills. I combine this with BOB books and other readers, some simple spelling and copywork, and that is about it. I like that the lessons are short, so that we don’t spend all day on each one.

  • kalanamak February 26, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I’m a fan of Phonics Pathway. I liked how unbusy the pages were, and how the print started out plenty large enough for littles. It starts as a syllabary, and moves systematically into blends. We “overlearned” it by re-drilling the “be-da-pu-hi” page before starting on the next lesson, and later would just start at the beginning and go right through to where we were. Kiddo was so pleased to see how he was progressing.

    The content is whimsical, but not distracting, and I like how sparse it is. If you are turned off by the odd lettering of 100 Easy Lessons, or the very scripted books like Ordinary Parents, this could be the book for you and yours. We liked the follow up one as well.

  • Regena February 25, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I used Phonics Pathways with my younger son in first grade because it was readily available through our library system. They had so many copies on hand that I could easily renew or request a different copy in order to keep the book out as long as I needed it. My son had attended a Montessori school through kindergarten, but was still not reading when he came home in first grade. There were no real problems, just a general lack of practice reading time which is typical in most school settings.

    Phonics Pathways is a simple program meant to be used by people of all ages. As such, it is no frills and not particularly geared toward young children. It is not colorful (unless there’s a new edition in color since we used it), does not include fun things such as songs and games, and does not include stories that are geared toward children. However, as a basic, solid phonics program, it is terrific. Unlike some phonics programs which include lots of sight words that don’t fit the rules from the very beginning, PP attempts to stay on course with words that truly do fit the rule that you are learning. Since there are seemingly more exceptions to the rule than words that fit it in English (especially in the mind of a young child just learning to read), I believe this is a very valuable point.

    The only readers I could find in my library system which also did a good job with following the rules of phonics were the Bob books series. I checked all of them out over the course of several months and my son’s reward for completing a page of PP reading (all work done orally; I did not ask such a young child to complete the writing they suggest in the book, which is really meant for older learners) was that he could then read a Bob book. I would cycle those so that he read through each one in the series twice before I returned them and checked out another series.

    I think I allowed him to complete about the first 20 pages or so of PP before I began the Bob books with him. I wanted him to have enough info under his belt to feel comfortable in reading those books. By the time he completed the Bob books, he was ready to go into other graded readers, sight words and all. I obtained many DK and other reader sets, beginning with the Level 1 books and moving on to Level 2 after he had read a dozen or so of those. Then I moved on to Level 3 books and so on, until he was reading comfortably.

    When first starting PP, I would reward his reading by reading aloud to him for a while after he finished his page. I also got out a timer and set it at one point to show him that although it seemed hard to him, he was really only spending about 5 minutes or less out of his entire day on it. That really seemed to help him see that the work was not endless and he could get through it.

  • Sarah MacLeod February 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Phonics Pathways (along with Explode the Code workbooks) was essential to teaching my younger son to read. We worked through the book slowly, often half a page at a time (visual tracking problems made reading tiring for several years), and progressed through the book over a period of a year and a half (which includes a long summer break). The book is simple to use for parents and child, with large font. There are quite a few words on a page, and using a separate strip of paper to mark the child’s space on the page while blocking words below (and above, if needed) can make the pages less overwhelming.

    I’d hesitate to use Phonics Pathways alone, as there is little repetition for kids who need more practice than given. It pairs well with Explode the Code workbooks, although some jumping around in Phonics Pathways was needed for us in order to continue straight through in Explode the Code.

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