The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Tess Hamre and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Dandelion Launchers Review by Amy M. O’Quinn

PhonicBooks, Ltd.
Westhill House
74 Bristol Street
Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 0AX
Tel: 07711 763355

As a mom with two emerging readers still left in our homeschool, I am always game to try out new phonics products. Although I've successfully taught four of our six children to read using ABeka and Sing, Spell, Read, and Write, good phonetic resources are still at a premium and welcome in our homeschool--even if I only use them to supplement our existing reading program.

Dandelion Launchers are short booklets produced by PhonicBooks in the UK, and they are designed to introduce the sounds of the alphabet to beginning readers using simple words and decodable text at the CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) level. There are seven units and 28 books in the series; this works out to four booklets per unit or level.

Each page of the glossy booklet features colorful illustrations set against photographic backgrounds and one line of CVC text, including a few common sight words. There is also a "how to use this book" page at the beginning of each booklet for parents and teachers and a game at the end of the reader. The characters featured in each unit are appealing and fun.

The phonics sequence in each unit is as follows:

Unit 1--s, a, t, i, m
Unit 2--n, o, p
Unit 3--b, c, g, h
Unit 4--d, e, f, v
Unit 5--k, l, r, u
Unit 6--j, w, z
Unit 7--x, y, ff, ll, ss, zz

Dandelion Launchers are the first step in a whole range of PhonicBooks products. They are designed to be followed by Dandelion Readers (Units 1-20), Dandelion Readers (Levels 1, 2, 3), and the Talisman series for older readers. These additional books and other supplemental resources/workbooks can be found at the PhonicBooks website. The cost for all 28 books in the Dandelion Launchers set is £56 or approximately $85.00 in US currency. The cost for individual booklets or units can be determined by emailing PhonicBooks at

I used the Dandelion Launchers with my kindergarten son, and he really enjoyed the booklets. He liked the characters and progressed through each unit at a nice, easy pace. I noticed that both his confidence level and fluency improved as we used these booklets. Although we had already covered the sounds, phonetic codes, and sight words in our other program, these entertaining and sequenced units provided the needed practice and extra motivation to really cement the whole concept of phonics--while also supplying a bit of enjoyment to a sometimes tedious process.

Check out the PhonicBooks website for more information. A good supplemental phonics resource!

Product review by Amy M. O'Quinn, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2010