I'm a 1st grade teacher who also has a son who will be 4 next week. I plan on using the same program in which I teach my 1st graders how to read. In my district we use a DRA2 assessment along with Guided Reading books. We also use Fountas and Pinnell Phonics to go along with the Scott Foresman textbook. I will also use a Writers Workshop model incorporated with literature to help this process.
Contact your School Administrator and/or your child's teacher to find out the reading programs they have used in the past and their experience with them. Attending a School event like a PTA meeting is a great way to connect with Parents and ask them questions about their child's experience with reading programs.
I'm a middle school teacher and my district currently uses the Scobre Press program. It has a library of both fiction and nonfiction books that are geared toward young adults (young teens), since their main characters are peers. They actually have biographies about real young people that focus on sports, technology, and careers. My male readers are especially interested in the books that are offered because of their subject matter.
As a teacher, I'm really happy about the teacher's guides offered by Scobre. They are straight-forward and easy to implement in the classroom. Plus, I don't have to juggle five different sets of materials, there's just a book and a scoring guide.
Another benefit for the students is the MP3 players that accompany all of the nonfiction books in Scobre Press's library. Each audiobook accomodates both levels of their dual-leveled books. Low-level audiobooks have simpler sentence structures, and are read slower than high-level audiobooks. They correspond to the two levels of each of their texts.
Since starting the program, I've noticed an incredible difference in my students' ability to draw meaning from text, discuss it, and use vocabulary elements from text (especially since the implementation of the audiobooks). Their interest in reading with these texts is also amazing. I believe the audiobook technology relates reading with recreation to them.
I would definitely recommend this program if you're looking for something new. I think you can listen to audiobook samples on the website for Scobre Press, too. I believe this is their website: http://www.scobre.com