The main difference I've noticed between Explode the Code & the phonics workbooks in bookstores is how they dissect the word. The ones in bookstores usually have a section focusing on beggining sounds, then a section focusing on end sounds, and a section focusing on the vowel sounds. ETC will have it all on one page. They'll have the word, then three boxes. In the first box, you write the beginning sound, the middle box you write the middle sound, the last box, you write the end sound. That way, they covered all the sounds of that word on one page instead of in three different sections of the workbook. They also have matching the words to pics. Plus, it seems more focued on writing & spelling the words than other workbooks I've seen. To me, this makes it more complete. Ds uses it along with 100 Easy Lessons & visits to starfall.com.