I learn as much from my failures as I do from my successes. This past weekend I saw my son at a family reunion. He has used the Sound City Reading materials with his elementary aged children. He said that the color-coded words in the Phonetic Words And Stories Books have been frustrating. His children want to know why the letters are in different colors, and he didn't know how to explain it to them. It sounded like they had just skipped the colored words and worked with the stories printed in all black print and the all black print pages in the workbooks.
This type of feedback is always very valuable to me. The original Sound City Reading books had all black print. Although the colored print has been most helpful to many of the students I have taught, a few students have definitely preferred the all black print when reading the stories.
When I got home I sat down and revised a few picture/word pages from Book 1, using all black print and the Century Schoolbook font. It looks good. The picture/word format will still work well to help students learn to read new words, regardless of whether the print is in color or is all black. I'm planning to use the black print format to make a complete set of the Phonetic Words And Stories books. It will take me some time, but hopefully not too long.
I'm excited about this, not just because some teachers, parents, and students may prefer them, but because the books will be less expensive to print since they are not in color. More people will be able to afford them.
I'll continue to make the color versions available, because I do think many students benefit from the color coding. And I will definitely try to make my instructions about the colored print more clear for those who are using them.