Why Funnix Works:
How to Teach Your Kid to Read

Funnix is based on a method that has been used by tens of thousands of parents and teachers to teach millions of students around the world.

Funnix is a complete two-level reading program in computerized form that teaches all of the skills necessary for children to become successful readers. Based on the highly effective Direct Instruction (DI) reading programs designed and written by Siegfried “Zig” Engelmann, Funnix is simple and fun to use for parents who are homeschooling, as well as for teachers in a classroom setting.

The four main features of Direct Instruction ensure that children learn faster and more efficiently than with any other program or technique:

Why Funnix Works:
How to Teach Your Kid to Read

Funnix is based on a method that has been used by tens of thousands of parents and teachers to teach millions of students around the world.

Funnix is a complete two-level reading program in computerized form that teaches all of the skills necessary for children to become successful readers. Based on the highly effective Direct Instruction (DI) reading programs designed and written by Siegfried “Zig” Engelmann, Funnix is simple and fun to use for parents who are homeschooling, as well as for teachers in a classroom setting.

The four main features of Direct Instruction ensure that children learn faster and more efficiently than with any other program or technique:

Children are placed in instruction at their skill level.

Children are tested individually before beginning the program to find out which skills they have already mastered, and which ones they need to work on. Then, each child is grouped with other children needing to work on the same skills. These groups are organized by the level of the program that is appropriate for each child rather than by grade level.

The program’s structure is designed to ensure mastery of the content.

The program is organized so that skills are introduced gradually, giving children a chance to learn those skills and apply them before being required to learn another new set of skills. Only 10 percent of each lesson is new material. The remaining 90 percent of each lesson’s content is thorough review and application of skills children have already learned, providing the practice that is crucial to mastery.

Instruction is modified to accommodate each child’s rate of learning.

Students are retaught or accelerated at the rate at which they learn. If they need more practice with a specific skill, teachers can provide the additional instruction within the program to ensure mastery of that skill. Conversely, if a child is easily acquiring new skills and needs to advance to the next level, they can be moved to a new placement so that they may continue adding to the skills they already possess.

Programs are field tested and revised before publication.

DI programs are unique in the way they are written and revised before publication. All DI programs are field tested with real students and revised based on those tests before they are ever published. This means that the program your child receives has already been proven to work.

Subscribe Now

What Parents & Teachers Are Saying About Funnix

I have used Funnix Beginning Reading for years and have been impressed with progress my students have made in short periods of time. During remote learning, my students and I were able to be a part of beta testing for the web app. Having this opportunity, my students were able to continue right where they left off when school had to abruptly close last spring. The Funnix Beginning Reading app works extremely well with video conferencing platforms; in this case Google Meets. I am still able to see and hear my students clearly but they are also able to hear and see the computer animations and voice as well. Funnix allowed my students to have instructional consistency no matter what their current learning environment is. Whether they are at home or at school their reading progress is no longer hindered. They are happy and still learning. As their teacher, I am extremely thankful!!!

Jessica Vreeland

K-5 Special Education Teacher

As a long time user of Funnix, I wanted to reach out and say THANK YOU, and share my experience. Almost 15 years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom and the wife of an active duty U.S. Marine who was frequently deploying. We had three boys under the age of four, and my oldest son was beginning to show an interest in learning to read. Never knowing where we might be living and where my boys might be attending school, it was important to me that I get my boys on their way to reading proficiently as soon as possible.

After searching around for reading instruction materials that were affordable and designed for individual use, I discovered Funnix, which is a Direct Instruction program. As a former University of Oregon student in the College of Education, I was familiar with the Direct Instruction method and the long history of research ensuring its effectiveness. So I ordered the package including both levels.

A couple of years later, I had expanded my use of Funnix from my own boys to using it with some private tutoring students working from home. The first two students that I used Funnix with were two mid-year first graders who were English Language Learners and were being considered for retention. By the end of that school year, they were beginning to read well enough that their school was no longer recommending them for retention. They continued working with me that summer and by the fall, their parents reported to me that they were considered to be average readers in their classrooms. Fast forward another 13 years and a move across the country, and in addition to teaching my own three boys, I have now taught nearly 50 private tutoring students with great success and similar stories of moving from being recommended for retention to reading at grade level.

Funnix does a beautiful job of teaching the essential phonemic awareness skills including the sound-symbol relationship, segmenting syllables, segmenting sounds, blending sounds, and on into decoding words and reading sentences in a gradual way that eliminates guessing as a strategy for reading unfamiliar words. Instead, children are provided with the necessary tools and strategies, leaving them feeling confident with attacking an unfamiliar word. I know all 220 lessons so well that I have many of the stories nearly memorized. Funnix has literally changed my life and that of many of my students. It is because of Funnix that I sent my three boys to kindergarten with a strong foundation in the critical phonological awareness skills needed to become proficient readers and beginning to read simple sentences.

One strong word of caution: The teacher/parent who is implementing the program MUST read and follow the procedures in the teacher’s manual, which is not hard. It’s all very straightforward and not very long, but without that, the effectiveness of the program may not be as powerful. Take the time to read the manual and follow the Funnix lessons a day at a time and you’ll have strong, confident readers.

Rachelle Berry-Bissessar

Ashburn, Virginia

I used Funnix with my next-door-neighbor, a girl who was repeating first grade. It worked very well. She moved away after six months, but not before she jumped into the top reading group in her school.

Shepard Barbash

North Carolina

Just want to thank you for your wonderful Funnix reading program. We have used it now with all three of our children, with remarkable success. What I found amazing is how the program can be used with children of all abilities. Our eldest daughter, now 8, worked through Funnix 1 & 2 in kindergarten and remains a strong and passionate reader. Our three-year-old son, a precocious learner, is on Lesson 118 and will start Funnix 2 soon. And our six-year-old daughter, who has learning disabilities resulting from a genetic disorder called Prader Willi Syndrome, is now on Lesson 30 of Funnix 1. (Her special ed teachers are astonished at her progress).

We recommend your program to all of our friends.

Andrew Harman & Liyang Zhou

California

I just wanted to write and say thank you for this wonderful program. My son is starting first grade this fall and we are on Lesson 74 of Funnix 2. He is reading up a storm and I couldn’t be happier! I just started my five year old on the program and he’s so excited because he sees his older brother reading everything and he wants to join in! Thank you for making this program so affordable and easy to use!

Dee Dean

Michigan

Funnix is the reason my son will enter his kindergarten year of homeschooling already reading! We are on Lesson 33 at the moment and will continue with Funnix three days a week until the end!

It is highly appropriate and effective. It isn’t a “fun game” but I sit with him and make sure he listens and participates. At first he looked at the “big, too long, too hard” worksheets with fear and trembling. Now he looks at them in confidence and it is all I can do to hold him back a tiny bit to do it with the program!

Thank you, Funnix! You have made teaching reading very, very easy. I can’t wait to start with my daughter when she is 4.5.

Tracy Turissini

Virginia

I started my new job in January at an inner-city Sydney K- 6 school. Only 130 students but very significant academic and behavioural issues. As the Learning Support teacher, I run 40-minute sessions throughout the day and have been using various levels of Funnix on an interactive whiteboard for the K, Year 1, 2, 3, and 4 groups. It has been FANTASTIC!!! The students are highly motivated and making excellent progress that has transferred to the general class setting, according to the homeroom teachers. I’m looking forward to doing the standardised testing next month to measure gains. I bought some extra discs to put on laptops for pre-teaching or firming up. The ‘toaster’ game has been a big hit for those who need it. A HUGE thank you to the Funnix people for providing this resource.

Margaret

Australia

I have homeschooled for eight years, and have taught four of my children to read. I wish I’d had this program from the beginning! I always got stuck on how to teach vowel blends, but this program starts teaching them right away in an understandable way. My son, age six, who was very frustrated trying to learn to read, has blossomed handsomely with this program.

It’s fun, but not cartoony. Not flashy, but very nicely done. My son looks forward to his “computer” class, and it’s a relief to me to have someone else teach him this way. Thank you!

Sara G.

Virginia

I started looking at Direct Instruction programs after I read “Super Crunchers.” It’s the first I had heard of Direct Instruction, and I wanted to learn more, so I did a lot of research.

At the time, my five-year-old son was in kindergarten. He had been assessed as “gifted” when he was younger, but it was clear that he wasn’t going to get reading anytime soon. And I feared that he would be diagnosed with dyslexia or some other malady. So we hit the books in November of kindergarten.

I tried Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but it just didn’t click for us. I’m a stay-at-home dad and I hadn’t taught anything before, and it was clear that it would be a battle. And I didn’t like the orthography because he was also going to school, and I was afraid it would confuse him (although it probably wouldn’t have).

Then I found Funnix. It was much, much better. I didn’t have to learn pacing and pronunciation. And the stories were very fun.

My son couldn’t read the first passage, but he knew his letters quite well, so we started on the accelerated track. And it worked! I set an accelerated schedule, and eventually skipped the workbook work as I assumed he would learn to write at his school. And I wanted him to get to the point where he liked to read on his own.

We finished Funnix Beginning Reading in record time because of these shortcuts. But then I realized we weren’t ready for Funnix 2 because he wasn’t fluent enough. So we went back and did some fluency exercises with the words in Funnix Beginning Reading. Eventually, it was clear that he was ready for Funnix 2, and we’ve been doing it ever since (he’s on lesson 76).

He is now a rock solid decoder (he can decode multisyllabic words he has seen before), and has measured reading speeds from 90-130 WPM on the Funnix 2 passages. I have purchased Reading Mastery III and I’m sure he’s ready for it, but he said that he just loves the stories in Funnix 2, and wants to finish it.

So, to summarize, I like Funnix because it was easier for me to do, the stories are a ton of fun, and it has made my son a terrific reader.

I have learned a lot about reading instruction since this experience, and I’m a much better teacher now. But I would still pick Funnix over Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons because I don’t have to work as hard and the stories are a TON of fun.

I recommended Funnix to a couple families and they are using it.

Joel Hylen

Colorado

Our site, Vallivue School District in Caldwell, Idaho, was fortunate to hear about Funnix from one of the Reading First consultants. Funnix has been a perfect intervention tool with the reading series Journeys & Horizons. Funnix allows the student to manipulate the same stories through computer technology. It is a very friendly program for teachers to use and learn. Students thrive on the fact the characters in the worksheets and stories are the very ones they read in their stories. It is a perfect fit for a child’s second dose to skills and strategies.

Earnie Lewis, Principal

Idaho

My seven-year-old son was barely reading the summer after first grade. I live in Eugene and a friend of mine, who is a reading specialist, tested our son and recommended Funnix. We were able to start on Lesson 40 of Funnix 1 in August and by Lesson 80 he was more than ready to accelerate. He is now on Lesson 40 of Funnix 2 and tells me he loves to read. His second grade teacher cannot believe how far he has progressed in such a short period. He could not spell at all when we began the program and in the last two weeks he has received a 100% on both his spelling tests!

The best part is that he would have told you this summer that he is dumb and that he hates to read. His confidence is soaring, he loves to read and just told me that he didn’t know what he was missing out on when he couldn’t!

Thank you so much for providing a program that any parent can use and any child can succeed in!

Shauna Dyer

Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the Funnix program. Our son is considered highly functional autistic. He is six.Like many children on the spectrum he learns more by sight than by any other means. This program fulfills that need for him, but the great thing about this is that it is also teaching him to listen! The questions in each lesson require a response from him without any visual clues and he has really started to understand that. One of his weakest points is not being able to comprehend what is being asked of him. I truly believe this program is helping him in this area.

We have found this program naturally provides him with practice in word pronunciations, as well.

I am sure he would have eventually learned to read without this program, but the program has provided so much more than just phonics. In less than 20 Lessons, he was expected to write some of the words he was learning by sounding them out. Not a problem!

Thank you so much.

Virginia

First of all, I must give you a huge THANK YOU! Thank you so much for this reading program! My story may be like many you’ve heard: A year ago, I was feeling so discouraged. I’d homeschooled for almost two years and nothing I had tried for my son as far as reading went worked. He was nine then and really could not read.

I saw an email on a homeschoolers’ email list about reading tutoring at UCCS (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs) and both of my children began the program. I had no idea that the program being used was your program though, and it wasn’t until this summer that I began to see that it WORKED! The children have continued the program with a private tutor all summer, but she was quitting, and I just couldn’t find a replacement to continue the Horizons or Reading Mastery, so I began to think it was time I taught the children this program myself.

When I found out what the Horizons and Reading Mastery textbooks cost, I began researching alternatives. I began doing research on exactly what the children were doing, and discovered Funnix! When I heard about Funnix 2, I jumped for joy! I tried the sample lessons and the kids loved it since it was so close to what they were doing with the tutors. It is so much of an honor to write the authors of this wonderful program directly! I really do not believe anything else can work.

Best and THANK YOU.

JoAnn Schneider Farris

I ordered from the Philippines and my son and I are in Lesson 42. My son has autism and is already 12 years old. I have tried a lot of reading programs and softwares but so far, yours is the most effective.

Sheila de Torres

We got this for our son and it is the only way he has been able to learn to read. Today he wrote two sentences all by himself! We have tried EVERY other program but nothing has worked except this! Thank you so much for making this available.

Nanci Duncan

My shy little girl beams when she reads. Now, she is better able to read math story problems and every aspect of her life has been enriched. I teach my daughter at home, with a great deal of outside resistance from family and others, as this is our first year. With our success, I intend to gently prove them wrong.

Lori De Vault

I just wanted to comment on your program, Funnix. I tried several reading programs with my son without success. I can’t tell you how proud Jacob was when he started reading all by himself. By Lesson 48, he was reading “Little Bear” books and the old and improved “Dick and Jane” and he can’t wait to pick up another book and just read, read, read.

Your program is such that it is not a continual, monotonous, frustrating review of past learned things. It does a lovely job of reviewing and at the same time adding a new element so as to review in that lesson, only they don’t realize it..

Thank you, thank you, thank you. My son won’t be walking down the aisle not reading.

Brooke Milligan