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Much as I dislike electronics for children, I have to second the Starfall recommendation. I have two girls who are visual learners, picked up sight words early, and tackled phonics later using computer software programs (one of the Jumpstart programs for the eldest, Starfall for the youngest). Both girls are perfectionists and introverts who like to be in charge of their own learning. Computer-based learning allowed them to feel emotionally safe as they learned by trial and error. Both began reading very young and needed the grounding in phonetics they got via the computer just as a springboard. After that it began falling into place on its own, just through daily exposure to print in their environments. (I'm a little premature in predicting the springboard effect with my youngest, but she seems to be starting to take off just this week -- she's still very young and has only been busy with Starfall for a month or so.) My middle two kids followed a similar course, but without the computer programs. The only difference was that they got the most basic phonetic stuff through questions and answers with real-life people. This was a slower process. For the kids who are eager to get on with it now, but don't really want to be taught, I think the computer is a great option.

Miranda
 
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