What I find somewhat amazing with DD is that she will memorize books. There are several books and stories in her magazines (Highlights High Five) that she will recite from memory, turning the pages entirely appropriately. She will stop you if you skip any part of a story that she's heard at least once before. I thought that reading would progress naturally, but she's been doing this for over 6 months now. She's not even 4.5 yet though. So I'm guessing I just need to be patient and keep with what we're doing. The library has the entire Bob series, so we can use that easily. DD loves starfall and it helped her learn her letters and letter sounds. But she isn't real interested lately in the learning parts, just the games. Will have to check out the other things you mention. I also have a feeling she'll be up for trying more new things once DH goes back to work and we're working on things more regularly.