I haven't been on here in awhile, but I was on last night reading some of the past posts on reading instruction, and I wanted to chime in and say that we just started using Alpha Phonics, and I am surprised at how well it is going with my 9 yo ds. The fact that the words are not always words is really good for him, because he has to read each and every letter. That is something that we have been working on (accuracy). He tends to be a little sloppy in his reading, and not apply the rules that he knows when he's reading. Reading the lists of word in Alpha Phonics makes him concentrate and not just read the words based on the context or the picture. He is currently reading the 3rd grade Pathway books, but we are starting Alpha Phonics from the beginning, and I am hoping that it will help strengthen his reading accuracy.
I am also using Alpha Phonics with my 6 yo ds, but we are also doing other things, too, like Bob books, and such. He really likes being able to read the silly stories in the Bob books. He brought me one yesterday and said, "I just wanted to read it for fun, Mom". Gotta love it!! I had thought about doing Explode the Code books with the 6 yo, but I think I will just keep plugging away as we are. And, I think I will go back and read Ruth Beechick's books. Thanks for reminding me how valuable they are. :-)