Hooked on Phonics vs. Other Learn-to-Read Programs

Hooked on Phonics review vs others

What is Hooked on Phonics?

Hooked on Phonics is a learn-to-read program designed to help children build foundational literacy skills. A combination of online and offline resources (including games, music videos, ebooks, workbooks, and physical books) support children’s reading accuracy and fluency.

As its name suggests, Hooked on Phonics prioritizes phonics instruction, which teaches that there are predictable relationships between letters and sounds. Children learn these relationships and use them to decode, or read, books.

Hooked on Phonics history

Hooked on Phonics was founded in the 1980s, and their first product, ‘Learn to Read,’ was released by Gateway Educational Products in 1987. Upon intense advertising and using their catchy phrase, “Hooked on Phonics worked for me!” Done by kids on TV, the product made sales of over $100M per year and continued gaining much more popularity and success in the 90’s.

Today, it is claimed that more than five million families and thousands of schools have used Hooked on Phonics materials to help their young learners master their reading skills.

Is Hooked on Phonics research-based?

No, there are no formal testings done on Hooked on Phonics resources.

Does hooked on phonics work?

Yes, hooked on Phonics uses the concept of Phonics to train, which is a proven method of instruction also used by other educational products. As a testament to the program’s effectiveness, Gateway officials say they receive hundreds of heart rendering letters from satisfied customers, including teachers who have seen good results with their students.

In one interview, Gateway’s president, John M. Shanahan says, “This program works, we can do in 30 days what our educational system can’t do in 12 years.”

Apart from shining reviews by happy parents on various platforms, Hooked on Phonics has been awarded certificates by bodies such as the Teachers’ Choice Award for the Classroom (2009), National Parenting Seal of Approval (2009), iParenting Media Award (2008), and more. You can see all their awards here.

What does hooked on Phonics teach?

Hooked on Phonics has 12 steps; each teaches rimes and letter sounds to help the learner formulate words. For each step, fun videos with catchy songs introduce letter sounds and sight words. There are also games to help kids build words using onsets and rimes.

Kids start practicing immediately, starting with step one as they use the ebooks that correspond with each step and complete all the steps to master their reading skills. You can start at any level depending on your child’s age or area of need.

Hooked on phonics cost/hooked on phonics app cost/price

  • Free trial for one month at $1
  • Monthly subscription at $6.99
  • Lifetime subscription of $49.99

The prices above are just for the app; books and bundle resources cost extra. To learn more about their products and pricing, click this link.

Hooked on phonics download – where to download digital sets

The Hooked on Phonics app is available for iOS and Android devices, along with PCs and Amazon devices. When downloaded, you can use it offline.

You can download Hooked on Phonics from the following stores

  • App store
  • Google Play store
  • Amazon Apps
  • Microsoft app store

Where can i find Hooked on Phonics?

You can go to Hooked on Phonics through this link

What age is hooked on Phonics for?

Hooked on Phonics is designed for children just beginning to learn how to read (from ages 3/Pre-k) up to second grade. Adults who are having difficulties reading can also benefit.

Hooked on Phonics reviews 

Hooked on Phonics is a reading program for children from pre-k up to second grade. It teaches kids about letters and letter sounds and how they combine to form words.

To get this program, you pay monthly installments of $15, but they also offer you a 30 days trial for only $1. Once you purchase the trial, they send you workbooks, reading materials, and access to the smartphone app. This trial allows parents to evaluate the program, see if it will work for their child or need a different program.

Once you have subscribed, they will send you reading materials, a workbook to help you guide your child, two small beginner books, and a sticker sheet with stars and certificates to reward your child as they progress. Again you get access to their mobile app, which you can install on up to three devices for easy access wherever your child needs it. You could also register three kids, and their progress will be synched across the three devices with the app.

The other advantage is that although the app requires internet connection, all the activities or games that are opened become available offline. This means your child still continues learning away from home no matter where they are.

Kids love the program because the workbooks use fun images. There are also games, catchy videos, and fun activities on the app to keep them entertained and help them get the concept at the same time.


  • Uses Phonics to teach
  • Mobile app can be installed on up to three devices
  • Available offline for easy learning on the go
  • No distracting ads
  • 30 days trial with all the materials at $1
  • Relatively affordable monthly subscription


  • Not free like some other learning apps
  • May require the parent to be involved in monitoring progress
  • Allows only three child profiles; others allow more kids

Hooked on Phonics Vs Others

If you are looking for an educational app to support your child, Hooked on Phonics is a great choice. But, you may also be wondering about other alternatives out there and wondering which one might work for you best. We will be comparing Hooked on Phonics to other popular programs to help you make an informed decision.

Hooked on Phonics Vs AbcMouse

AbcMouse is a digital-only learning platform for kids. It has a lot more content with more than 850 lessons divided across ten levels and more than 9000 individual activities. The app is very colorful and appealing and has so many fun activities, books, a calendar, songs, and games like visiting the farm, zoo and feeding fish, and more. It is designed for kids ages 2 to 8.

It covers four main areas:

  • Reading and Language Arts
  • Maths
  • The World Around Us 
  • Art and Colors


  • Both are designed for kids aged 2 to 8 years.
  • Both apps can be installed on Apple, Android, Amazon devices as well as on desktops.
  • Both have entertaining and engaging fun games
  • Both have lessons organized in various levels for kids of different age, and ability
  • Both work on multiple devices and allow up to three kids to use one account.


  • While Hooked on Phonics uses digital and works books, AbcMouse is digital-only, but there are printable worksheets.
  • While Hooked on Phonics only focuses on teaching Phonics and reading, ABCMouse is a broader curriculum that teaches Phonics and reading, math, art, and the wider world.
  • Hooked on Phonics’ interface is easier and simpler to use, whereas ABCMouse interface has many extra features, which makes it cluttered and harder for kids to navigate.
  • Hooked on Phonics doesn’t allow much customization, whereas ABCMouse lets your child change their avatar, virtual bedroom, and more.
  • Hooked on Phonics is cheaper, whereas ABCMouse is more expensive. $6.99/ month vs $9.95 /month.


Go with Hooked on Phonics if you are looking for a less complicated and easy-to-use app. It also gives you a better deal in terms of pricing. But, if you want more content, AbcMouse covers more subjects and has lots more games and activities, with understandably higher pricing.

Hooked on Phonics Vs Homer

Homer is an early literacy learning platform designed for kids 2 to 8 years of age. It has two apps, Reading and Stories, and more than 1000 games. Homer stands out from the rest by its modern graphics and interactive games aimed at capturing your child’s interest for an optimum learning experience. The illustrations, animations, and stories have varying styles and content to keep things interesting.

Stories are divided into different categories like Princesses, Animals, vehicles, etc, so your child can choose what topic interests them. The Reading app provides more active learning through lessons and games, which are grouped by level. Each level has a combination of sight words, letter tracing, and games, and at the end, it has a practice mode so kids can revisit what they have already learned to reinforce what they have learned already.

Homer provides a customized learning plan by combining the child’s reading needs with their favorite topics, resulting in an enjoyable experience. Homer Learn and Grow app is compatible with Apple and Android devices and can be downloaded from AppStore, Google Play Store, and Amazon.


  • Both are focused on teaching kids to read through Phonics
  • Both are designed for kids ages 2 to 8
  • Both apps are fun and engaging
  • Both are mainly digital and compatible across Android and iOS devices


  • Hooked on Phonics allows very little customization while Homer allows kids to choose topics they are interested in.
  • Hooked on Phonics allows kids to learn on the move, but you can only download a few sections on the Homer app for offline use, and even then, they are only accessible so long as the app is running in the background.
  • Hooked on Phonics costs $6.99/ month and $199 per year, while Homer goes for $9.99/month and up to $59.99 for a year.


Both programs are fantastic and fun.

Hooked on Phonics Vs All About Reading

All About Reading is an education program that mainly uses a series of parent/teacher books, reading books, and student workbooks, stickers and apps to teach kids to read. It is targeted at kids aged 2 to 8. It has five levels each containing different resources to suit your child’s age and ability. It has very comprehensive lessons for kids, hence, a great option for homeschooling parents.


  • Both use Phonics to teach kids to read
  • Both programs are aimed at same age group, kids ages 2 to 8 years
  • Both teach using cute animal characters, which kids love
  • Both are designed to teach lessons based on your kids age and ability
  • Both have workbooks, stickers, and certificates which make things much more fun and interesting for kids. 


  • Hooked on Phonics relies mainly on an app with works books as supplementary, while All About Reading uses hardcopy books and worksheets with the app as supplementary.
  • Hooked on Phonics’s app is very colorful, and engaging while All About Reading’s apps are outdated and not all that appealing.
  • Hooked on Phonics can be used anytime, whenever is convenient, while All About Reading takes time for a parent to present each lesson.
  • Hooked on Phonics lets you purchase lifetime access to the app for all levels, while All About Reading is divided into different levels.
  • Hooked on Phonics has three pricing ranges starting with $6.99 for the monthly app subscription, $39.99 for a year, and $79.99 for a lifetime access to the app. Workbooks and bundles come at an extra cost. All About Reading pricing is different for each stage and level. Their Basic package goes for $79.95, while their Deluxe package is at $119.95.


The two programs are very different; it really depends on your family’s lifestyle. Hooked on Phonics would be great for reinforcing what your kids are already learning in school and more convenient for busy parents while All About Reading is better for homeschooling parents- the lessons are very well organized and clear, and there are tests at every stage, but you really need to commit your time.

Hooked on Phonics Vs Bobs Books

Bobs books are a series of children’s books designed to teach reading skills. They come in 5 sets across three levels, with each set having 8 to 12 books to read.

If your child is easily distracted, Bobs Books might be great for them as they have a simple and clean layout, and decodable words without distracting pictures and illustrations. The series teaches kids to read through simple phonetics and short sight words.

These books may not work out for some children, as they might appear somewhat not very intriguing or entertaining. But, they are great at introducing young kids and reinforcing phonetics, which are the foundation of reading.

Books for each level cost about $15, and the complete set going for about $155.


  • Both programs use phonetics to teach
  • Both are good for beginners
  • Both require parental engagement
  • Both are used for homeschooling and in schools
  • Both programs have physical books


  • Hooked on Phonics mainly uses on an app while Bob books are physical books
  • Hooked on Phonics delivers more value as it also has multi-sensory experience with songs and fun videos and games whereas Bob Books exposes your child to letter and sound lessons only.


Hooked on Phonics is a better deal; provides a good foundation for Phonics and is fun and entertaining for kids at the same time.

Hooked on Phonics Vs Learning Dynamics

Learning Dynamics program, Four Weeks to Read, is super comprehensive, combining over 50 color books, multi-sensory lessons, flashcards, parent’s app, and a teaching manual and songs for each lesson.

The program is designed for beginner readers from age 4 to7. Lessons are just 15 minutes long; hence, easy for parents to get their kids interested and engaged and not overwhelming. Plus, they feature only letters and sounds.


  • Both are great at teaching Phonics to beginners
  • Both have simple timed lessons
  • Both provide reading skills and are fun
  • Both have physical books and apps
  • Both require parental guidance


  • Hooked on Phonics has not been tested formally, although they have great reviews, but Learning dynamics has university backing after years of testing with real kids.
  • Hooked on phonics is recommended for kids ages 2 to 8, while Learning Dynamics is aimed at those aged from 3 to 6.
  • Hooked on Phonics is pricey than Learning Dynamics- $199 vs $70, plus learning dynamics have a 30 day money-back guarantee.


Both are great programs for laying foundational work on Phonics through lessons and songs in the apps, but Hooked on Phonics offers a better deal as it has games and activities that are important and are a nice addition to the curriculum.

Leave a Reply

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