Eight years ago, as an excited parent of a toddler, I carefully researched and purchased some magnetic letters that would be the absolute best resource for teaching phonics. The right size, the right shape, the right letter frequency, the right color combinations.
That child hated phonics and reading lessons and taught herself to read by memorizing story books. The next one loved phonics and taught himself to read off cereal boxes and flyers before I got around to giving him any reading lessons. (And then lost all interest and devoted himself to game design.) The magnetic letters got used to make roads and free-form sculptures on the fridge.
But the twins have arrived at school age still needing a little nudge to start reading. (Due largely, I suspect, to having no motivation thanks to always having older siblings handy to read to them.) At last, I thought, I shall put these magnets to their intended use. I had a carefully-prepared word building lesson ready to go for the first day of school.
Instead of a reading lesson, we had a ten-minute meltdown over the ravages done to the game laid out on the fridge front. Apparently it wasn't phonics materials I bought, it was the foundation for an entire game world.
I'm printing out letters on cardstock.
Also inadequate in my first grade plans: too many stories about farm animals and butterflies, not enough big cats, thus inadvertently but inexcusably favoring the twin who likes farm animals over the twin who likes ferocious predators. I have accordingly moved the fable of the Lion and the Mouse and Kipling's "How the Leopard Got His Spots" up in the schedule.