I am happy to share a review of Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers by Samuel Blumenfeld, which is a great reading curriculum that I’ve used to teach 5 of my kids to read.
The first thing I noticed about Alpha-Phonics was how simple it is–not a lot of pieces to lose or complicated instructions. The main book comes comb-bound (I took it out and put it in a 3-ring binder to help it last longer). There are 128 lessons, each about a page long. In the back of the book, it gives the teacher/mom a simple instruction on how to teach each lesson. So, each day when we got to a new lesson, I would turn to the back and quickly read my instructions before I had the child do his/her reading lesson.
Also, in the back you’ll be able to read the philosophy behind the type of phonics instruction that Alpha-Phonics uses. They start out by teaching the short vowels, then the consonant blends (final blends first, then the initial blends). Last they teach the long vowels in their great variety of spelling forms. There is also some pre-reading instruction (teaching the letters and their sounds), so this curriculum will work for anyone starting out to teach their child to read!
Who I Used Alpha-Phonics With
I used it for the past few weeks with three of my kids. My 4-year-old already knows the letter names and sounds and was ready to start with lesson 1. We got through Lesson 10. She did well and I think we’ll keep using Alpha-Phonics all the way to the last lesson to see how she does. I expect she will be reading quite well by the time we get to the end of the book. She also used the “Little Companion Reader” Short Vowel A book and had fun reading a real “book!”
The second child I tried Alpha-Phonics with is my 4th child, my 8-year-old. She is my struggling reader. I am debating whether to continue through this curriculum with her or to try a multi-sensory approach (one that is hands-on and uses colors, etc.) The other 2 curricula I have used with her (TATRAS and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons) are similar to Alpha-Phonics in their approach. Those worked great for teaching my first 3 kids to read, as well as the 2 kids after her! She isn’t catching very quickly with this approach, so I might try something different with her.
The third child I used Alpha-Phonics with was my 6-year-old son, who has just “taken off” with reading and will pick up his own books to read now. 🙂 I started on Lesson 20 with him because he can still use some focus on recognizing phonograms (ch, dge, ough). I’ll continue with him through the rest of the Alpha-Phonics book. He had fun reading the Little Companion Reader “The Chums” which uses short vowels with digraphs.
Another thing he really enjoyed (and it kind of surprised me) was the Companion Workbook. It contains about 40 worksheets, the answers, and ways to work on syllabication (how to divide words into syllables).
Do you want to know one of the best things about the Alpha-Phonics curriculum–well, besides the fact that it’s so simple to teach and it will teach your kids how to read!? It’s so affordable! The cost is only $34.95, and that includes a CD-Rom of all the lessons–if you’d prefer to use the computer monitor to show the kids the words to read each day. (The CD-Rom also includes the parent/teacher instructions and pronounces things). The Little Companion Readers (set of 10) are $24.95 and the Companion Workbook is $19.95.
(Thank you to Alpha-Phonics for providing complimentary copies of the above items so I could write this honest review. This post also contains affiliate links.)