After using AGO question cards (click here for that review), new sets were released that covered phonics. I recommend all teachers to get the English only sets. The Japanese sets with Kana on them will create confusion and bad pronunciation in my opinion.
The three sets increase in difficulty, but not enough to lose students up to 6th grade. It’s all about reading and these cards make it a good practice point with the goal of winning at an UNO rules game.
As AGO cards have grown popular the company has made some progress in providing better quality cards and making them more attractive. They are easy to read, vividly colored and fun for children to use. They are still the same small card size, and made of thin card stock, but they are worth every penny if you are a teacher looking for a tool that is inexpensive with easy set up in the classroom.
Phonics is one of those things that is hard to teach, yet still remains important for reading. All of the pronunciation faults aside, for English is full of exceptions to the phonics rules so much that as a teacher of English I am often annoyed, there is still a good case for getting the basic sounds down. This is especially true if you are teaching non-native kids that will also need to practice reading lower case letters. Linking up the sounds and the letter is very important and the more practice the better, no doubt about it.
I recommend these cards, if you’re unsure just get the level 1 blue set and see who they fly with your students. They’re worth a shot!