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.