Struggling readers who have difficulty with letter/sound correspondence, segmenting, blending, rhyming skills, and decoding text.
Using a Direct Instructional approach, Funnix is a computer based reading program designed to teach phonics explicitly to struggling readers. Though this program is delivered via computer, it is not designed to be used independently. Rather, it is designed for an educator to use with the students. There are workbooks available (either as a free download or for purchase) to accompany the program.
Funnix is a small-step, carefully sequenced series of lessons. Each lesson introduces a few things that are new and weaves them into applications that involve familiar words and skills. Around 10 % of each lesson is new, while the rest is made up of familiar parts. There is a new story in every lesson and sometimes there are new activities, but only 10% of these stories and applications involve words or skills that have not been introduced in earlier lessons. The stories review words that have been taught. The words review sounds that have been taught.
The Funnix program is sequenced and builds upon knowledge gained in previous sessions. Sounds are taught and practiced before they appear in words. Words are taught and practiced in lists before they appear in stories. Initially, all words are made up of sounds that have been taught. All stories are made up of words that have been taught. The texts are designed to be read to discourage guessing. Stories are presented first, with no pictures. Afterwards, the student reads the story again with pictures. Once the beginning lessons are mastered, subsequent lessons consists of sounds and letters, words, a story, spelling, and other workbook activities.
Stockard, J., (2010). Promoting early literacy of preschool children: A study of the effectiveness of Funnix beginning reading. Journal of Direct Instruction, 10, 29-48.
Watson, T., & Hempenstall, K. (2008). Effects of a computer based beginning reading program on young children. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(3), 258-274.