WHAT IS A MOM BLOG?

Many homeschooling Moms have their own websites or blogs. They offer much information about their families, their interesting activities and, most importantly, with what and how they are conducting their homeschooling programs for their children. There appear to be a huge number of these homeschooling Moms and they exchange information with each other. Many of the Moms review curricula they believe can be helpful to others on their blogs. As we, the publishers of Alpha-Phonics, find these Mom Bloggers we ask them if they are familiar with Alpha-Phonics. Often they agree to do a review of Alpha-Phonics and post it on their blog so that other Moms (And anyone else) can benefit from their study of the Alpha-Phonics reading instruction program. We frequently find these Mom Bloggers have used Alpha-Phonics to teach their own children to read. These are their reviews.


Here is what some moms have said about Alpha-Phonics

Melanie Robinson has successfully used Alpha-Phonics in her homeschool!

 

Linda has taught eight kids to read with Alpha-Phonics!

 

Adriana Zoder comments on her experience with Alpha-Phonics:

 

Dusty, at To the Moon and Back, had some very insightful things to say about Alpha-Phonics!

 

Sarah at It's a Boy's Life has put Alpha-Phonics to good use!

 

Sara Johnson-Stefy reports on Alpha-Phonics from June Cleaver in Yoga Pants:

 

 

Tabitha Zehner, of The Homeschool Four, has proved herself a very talented reviewer with this piece on Alpha-Phonics!

 

Danica Bailey of Vegan Home School Mom reviewed NEA Trojan Horse in America. It is important you read what she had to say!

 

Stacy Jones, of A Moment in Our World, had some good words for us!

 

Lizzie Norris, at "The Dusty Frame" blog has this to say about Alpha-Phonics:

 

Monique, of Living Life and Learning, writes of her experience with Alpha-Phonics:

 

Tajuana Rhodes at Cross Rhodes Academy has plenty to say about Alpha-Phonics!


Karen Hewitt, at The Crazy Stepford Wives, isn't so crazy that she doesn't recognize the value of Alpha-Phonics in her review!

 

(To enter click on image)

Note: The above contest ends October 31, 2013 - Hurry!

 

Jenn Obermeyer, of Teaching Two Stinkers, successfully taught at least one of them to read with Alpha-Phonics!

 

 

 

Erin, author of Water on the Floor bog, was certainly pleased with Alpha-Phonics! Read her review:

 

Alicia at http://walkinginfaithokc.blogspot.com recently reviewed Alpha-Phonics:

 

Crystal at http://homeschooldreams.com looked at Alpha-Phonics. Here's what she found:

Review – Alpha-Phonics

 

 

 

 

 

Karyn Tripp (and family) have this to say about Alpha-Phonics at Teach Beside Me!

 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Alpha-Phonics {Reading Curriculum Review & Giveaway}

Alpha-Phonics is a company specializing in phonics, reading, grammar and writing
instruction for beginning readers through the 7th grade. They also offer grammar
instruction on the high-school level. The company has been around for more than 29 years.

We received a complete reading curriculum to teach young children to read for review here on my site. What we received: Alpha-Phonics: a Primer for Beginning Readers by Samuel L. Blumenfield (this includes the teacher's manual and lesson plans), Alpha-Phonics and How to Tutor: Phonics Companion Workbook, and 10 Alpha-Phonics Little Reader Companion Books.

Pricing:

Teacher's Manual is $34.95

Companion Workbook is $19.95

Little Readers are $24.95

When I received this and looked through the curriculum, I was very impressed with the quality and simplicity of it all. The lessons are easy to follow and brief, which is just what is needed for a beginning reader. The teacher manual is split into 2 parts- the first part has the section that you read with your child, the second half of the book has the suggested lesson plans to follow with your child. The pages are 2 different colors making it really easy to distinguish between the two parts.

The lessons jump right into reading expecting your child to already know the letter sounds. So, if your child is not confident in the letter sounds, you will want to wait to use it until they are. The very first lessons teaches beginning reading by putting two sounds together. They are reading words like am, an, as, at and ax in the first lesson. It starts with the short a vowel sound and then progresses through the other vowels.

The workbook has pages for them to write in with fill in the blank vowels, choosing the correct word to fill in the blank, making words plural, learning spelling rules, and more. The little readers are great companions to the lessons and start out simple progressing in difficulty as the lessons do. They are similar to other early readers and are fun for the kids to read.

I used this curriculum mostly in the summer with my daughter who started first grade this year. It was a perfect program for her and was at just the right level. Se enjoyed working on the lessons together. I liked seeing how it gradually increased her abilities and gave her confidence in her reading.

This is a great, solid curriculum for beginning readers. The price is very fair, too!

View Sample Lessons Here.

A video to help you learn a little more about the program:

If you would like a chance to win a set of this curriculum, please
enter the form below!

Emilee Roberts (and family) shared this excellent review of Alpha-Phonics at Pea of Sweetness

September 10, 2013 by Emilee

Disclosure: I received the products mentioned to facilitate my review. Regardless, I only recommend products I feel would be good for my readers. All opinions are my own and those of my family. Please see my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Alpha-Phonics has taught many children to read including those with reading struggles and challenges like dyslexia. It can be used as a sole curriculum or a supplement. We have been using Alpha-Phonics as a supplement, though it makes up a majority of our older two children’s reading work.

Our oldest two children are ages 5 and 7 and will both be finishing up the First Grade in the next couple of months and moving on to Second Grade in the New Year. Because of their special needs they both need additional help with reading. It’s definitely been a challenge, and I was excited for the chance to try Alpha-Phonics.

For our review we received the Alpha-Phonics Primer textbook, CD-Rom, Companion Workbook, and Companion Readers.

 

 

The first thing I did was watch the instructional DVD so I knew what to do and where to begin. It’s pretty straight forward and explains more about the program and how to use both the textbook and CD-Rom. It explains the CD-Rom is like the textbook on the computer. It explained in detail why it doesn’t use typing because it can develop bad habits in young children since they tend to type incorrectly, and that can develop a bad habit. I honestly had never thought of this before, but that is so true. There is also an introduction in the Teacher’s Manual in the back of the textbook to read before beginning.

We mostly used the textbook rather than the CD-Rom. The only disadvantage I felt with the textbook is that the Teacher’s guide is in the back of the textbook, so I would have to flip to the back of the textbook then remember the instructions. Luckily, though, the instructions are basic and easy to follow. The CD-Rom does offer the advantage of reading everything out loud for you. I just find it harder to work all together around the computer, though. Plus we mostly use my computer for homeschooling at this time, which is a Mac, and the CD-Rom is PC compatible.

The Alpha-Phonics textbook does take a different approach to reading than other programs we have used, and it was something the kids did well with. It isn’t just teaching words and letter sounds – it really goes into depth about the alphabet and sounds – including articulation. In the first week they had not only learned more details about the alphabet itself and its importance but were also reading sentences! The textbook begins with a short vowel sound while adding various consonants. This consistency really helps to reinforce what they’re learning and definitely builds confidence. With our kids’ special needs a phonetic approach to learning reading is definitely beneficial. If they get loaded with too much information at once there is really no benefit because they then forget it all!

We are still working through the short vowel sounds with consonants but eventually will progress to consonant blends – first final blends than initial blends. Then we will move to long vowels. I like how the program has a progressive transition and offers a lot of repetition and practice to really instill both knowledge and confidence before moving forward. Such a distinct separation of the short vowel and long vowels is a huge benefit as this has caused frustration and confusion in the past.

Within a couple of weeks we started the first Little Companion Reader. There were some words in the reader they had to sound out, but in the Little Companion Readers it encourages you to lead them and never scold. Repetition is key! If any of us got too frustrated we would just stop and come back to it another time, but for the most part there was very little frustration. This was a pleasant surprise as reading has usually been a big frustration in our homeschool journey thus far.

We also worked some in the Alpha-Phonics and How to Tutor Phonics Companion Workbook, which they can begin after completing lessons 1-20 in the textbook (or CD-Rom). Each page after that will have the corresponding lesson on it, so you know when to do that page. The Companion Workbook is extra practice to really help reinforce what they have been learning. I found it is really helpful because our kids learn better with this type of reinforcement.

We use Alpha-Phonics 4 days a week as part of our homeschool curriculum. The number of lessons we do in a day does vary based on the lessons and how the kids do with each lesson. Sometimes we may only do one lesson and sometimes we may do more if they are doing really well and are ready to keep going. I pay close attention to how they are doing and use their cues to decide what is best. The lessons are not only very effective, but they are short as well! This helps to keep the kids on task and not feel overwhelmed.

Overall, I’m glad we have the chance to use Alpha-Phonics, and I can’t wait to see as the kids progress to reading more and more of the Companion Readers and then beyond! Alpha-Phonics is one of Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, and I can certainly understand why. It has been a great addition to our homeschool curriculum!

You can purchase Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers with CD-ROM at ChristianBook.com, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Visit the Alpha-Phonics Website
Connect with Alpha-Phonics on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

We are quite proud of what Demetria had to say about Alpha-Phonics at Christian Home School Moms!

 

Alpha Phonics is a Cathy Duffy 100 Top Pick selection that I was recently given the opportunity to review. If you’re looking for a phonics program to use for your beginning reader, then read on. I’m happy to share my experience of Alpha Phonics with you.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Alpha-Phonics for the purpose of review, and I was not compensated in any way.

Initially I wasn’t sure how well my 5 year old daughter would adjust to the way certain letters were printed – for example, the letter “a” which is printed in an old style which my child isn’t accustomed to seeing. However, I was surprised at how well she easily adapted.

I love that the letters were huge, which is a real plus for smaller children. No straining her eyes to distinguish one word from the next- the letters are bold and easy on the eyes.

On another note, I would have preferred to see the teacher’s guide in a separate booklet as opposed to the back of the book. Flipping back and forth between the lesson plan and the instruction wasn’t my cup of tea. Thankfully, I caught on quickly and got myself a bookmark. Also, Alpha Phonics more than makes up for that by the mere fact that with in all-in-one book (teacher’s guide plus student book), you don’t have to keep up with extra books or worry about keeping separate books together. So again, not such a bad thing.

It comes with a how-to DVD which explains all the components of the Alpha Phonics system. This was definitely a helpful addition to the package, since it’s always nice to have the publishers give you a heads-up on how to use the material. I thought the explanation was very thorough and I had a much better grasp on how to use the curriculum as a result.

The program also comes with the book on CD-ROM. This is an added bonus that I think really brings the Alpha Phonics program alive! This was probably the most interactive part of the entire package (and my favorite) as it shows the teacher what to do. If you’ve ever wondered how to teach phonics, the CD-ROM included teaches you, the teacher, how to teach each and every phonics lesson to your student.

This is what you’ll see when you pop in the CD-ROM.

As you can see, there are lots of helps for the parent.

If you like practice workbooks, an Alpha Phonics companion workbook is available as well. These are phonics review worksheets with activities for your kids to complete and is a separate workbook than the Alpha Phonics program. The worksheets are black and white and fold over on top coil binding. It consists of simple instructions with very few line drawings. The activities in this book help to reiterate the concepts taught in the teacher’s guide and help to make for a more complete program.

Add on the Little Companion Readers for an even more complete program. Each reader from the red series highlights a vowel. The yellow series takes students straight into reading short stories that make sense and are fun to follow.

Click on the image below to see Demetria's video review of Alpha-Phonics!

Kerri Hale (and family) have praised the value of Alpha-Phonics at MommaOf4Cutiez!

 

Description:

Complete phonics instruction created by Samuel L. Blumenfeld, an expert in this field.An effective, step-by step, intensive phonics program for teaching reading to beginners of all ages. Designed for easy use by teachers, tutors, and parents.There are over 3,500 words introduced in Alpha-Phonics.128 lessons in all require little to no teacher preparation.Automatically teaches spelling as you go through its easy to teach lessons.Alpha Phonics is one of Cathy Duffy’s 100 top picks for homeschool curriculum.

What’s Included:

Complete Alpha Phonics Book (comes spiral bound for ease of use).
FREE CD ROM: Makes the book come alive on your computer screen. Pronounces all the sounds needed to teach your student to be a great reader.

The cost of this program is $34.95 making it affordable for nearly all budgets.

Alpha-Phonics and How To Tutor Companion workbook contains several additional resources including:

What We thought:

I really love the simplicity of this program. As a homeschooling mom of 4, I’m always in search of a good program that doesn’t require a lot of preparation. I literally previewed the first lesson reading it over thoroughly and was ready to rock and roll.

There is no pretty pictures in this book. This allows the children to focus of the actual letters and sounds themselves rather than being distracted by all kinds of fancy pictures. Ty has some major ADHD going on. He gets distracted by anything and everything. I totally agree with the reasoning behind leaving out the pictures, and noticed TY focusing better myself.

I liked that the book had a section including teaching the letter sounds, teaching the alphabet, and pre-reading alphabet exercises. TY has special needs and has been struggling with reading, learning his alphabet, and learning the sounds they make. I found this section very useful, and we spent a week reviewing these exercises.

We are only 2 weeks in and TY has already mastered his alphabet, learned some of the sounds the letters make, and knows more than 10 sight words! This is a huge accomplishment.

I can’t wait to see what this year brings for TY and JR as we continue to use Alpha Phonics. Watch out world, we are starting to READ!

I’ve created a short video clip on lesson 1. Please keep in mind, I am no video editor and don’t pretend to be. I did make a boo boo when I was trying to point to a certain sound, however, you will get the idea of the simplicity of this program by watching it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IRC3VYZBb4



 

Before July, I had not yet heard of Alpha-Phonics. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review their product. While I did receive a copy of this program for this review, the opinions I share here are all my own.

First impression: It was pretty plain to look at. I know, do not judge a book by its cover. I am just being honest. I tend to migrate toward the shiny and colorful. I was so glad I had the chance to get to know these books!




I watched the online videos and began to see the heart of the people behind the product. I appreciated that they made the conscious decision to keep costs down so they could pass on quality products to homeschoolers like me.

After a few weeks of working through the program with my very own reluctant reader (he's 8 years old) I have begun to see great progress. The selling point for me was the straight-forward formatting of the books themselves. My son had become an expert at "guessing" what words on a page should be simply by either looking the the pictures or reading the contextual clues in the text. He could not do that with these alpha-phonics readers. He actually had to read the words.


Two Thumbs Up: I would highly recommend the Alpha-Phonics, readers, and workbook for those of you that have early readers or frustrated readers like me. It is definitely working for us!

You can visit Alpha-Phonics at http://www.alphaphonics.com/ to learn more.
I love what Cathy Duffy's review has to say about these products

If you are looking for a solution for your beginning readers, give Alpha-Phonics a try!2











Alpha-Phonics Review and Giveaway

Eleven years ago I attended my very first homeschool book fair. We had a just turned 4 year old boy, a 2 year old girl, and a 2 month old baby. Like many new homeschoolers, I was very enthusiastic about starting homeschooling, and I wanted to go ahead and have a “test” year to make sure that I could actually do it.

Looking back, I see why so many people have the idea or making preschool a test year, but  determining if you’re going to be able to homeschool using a 4 year old as a test subject is not particularly helpful. A lot of growth occurs between 4 and 5. And those younger kids that you’re worrying about keeping entertained  grow a lot in a year too.

Thankfully, we were cheap, poor, frugal so that took a lot of bright, shiny preschool programs out of consideration. That helped me by necessity to keep things simple.

After doing my research, a lot using the CBD Homeschool Catalog, I had determined there was 1 item I was definitely going to buy at the book fair. (Assuming I could find it. Boy did I have no idea what a crazy, big place I was heading into! )

That one thing was Alpha-Phonics.

9780941995306Alpha-Phonics is a phonics-based  reading program that has short lessons. It’s a very gentle approach to learning to read using time-proven methods of reading instruction. You teach the sounds the letters make, and you put them together to sound out words. There is repetition, but not long lists of rules to memorize. It doesn’t require writing, which is great for young learners since fine motor skills for writing often lag behind reading readiness. And it is very affordable.

Eleven years ago, we taught David to read using Alpha-Phonics. He was only 4, but he was ready to learn. Anna was not ready to learn to read at 4, or at 5. She was almost 6 before she grasped the concept of blending sounds together to make words. And William was even older. Lizzie however, was another young reader. I didn’t even teach her to read. She learned from several different computer games and her older brother and sister. As a result, she is a little weak on sounding out words. So I’m going to be going through Alpha-Phonics with her to fill in the gaps.

When Alpha-Phonics contacted me to see if I wanted to review their updated program, I couldn’t refuse. The main  Alpha-Phonics text is unchanged from the version I purchased 11 years ago. But they’ve added some extras. In addition to the book, there is now a CD-ROM of the entire text included at the same low price. I’ve tried out the CD, and I liked listening to the author, Samuel L. Blumenfeld, discuss the development of the alphabet and phonics instruction. I think the CD has more value to someone who is using Alpha-Phonics in a classroom setting, but it might prove useful to be able to have the student read from the computer instead of the book just for the sake of variety. It’s not a computer game, it’s full screen images of every lesson in Alpha-Phonics, with teacher instructions, both written and recorded.

I also received the Companion Workbook and the Little Companion Readers.The Companion Workbook has simple exercises to reinforce the concepts learned in the Alpha-Phonics book. The exercises require very little writing so they would be useful for a younger learner. There is a guide that correlates the lessons in the book with the workbook.

The Little Companion Readers are also correlated with the Alpha-Phonics lessons. I have always found phonics readers helpful in those early stages of learning to read. Reading sentences helps with reading comprehension skills and proper voice inflection. It’s nice to have readers specifically linked to your phonics program so you know there are no surprises with letter sounds that haven’t yet been introduced.

I highly recommend Alpha-Phonics for beginning or remedial phonics instruction.

Alpha-Phonics is also giving away a copy of Alpha-Phonics with the CD-ROM, the Companion Workbook, and Little Companion Readers to 1 of my blog readers. Please follow the instructions below to enter!



Disclosure: I received a free copy of Alpha-Phonics, the Companion Workbook and Little Companion Readers in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.


By Kristen H.












    Monday, July 22, 2013                           

 

Review: Alpha-Phonics

Publisher:Paradigm Company
Author: Samuel Blumenfeld 
Last updated: 2012

If you are looking for a simple, no frills approach to teaching your child to read then I believe Alpha-Phonics will be a great fit for you. 

Alpha-Phonics is not a new company, they have been around for many years with too many success stories to list here.  They made Cathy Duffy's top 100 picks for Homeschool Curriculum. Mary Pride has given them her highest rating several times also.  This is a company with a strong, trustworthy reputation.

When you first open the textbook you will see simple lessons in an easy to read font in black lettering.  There are no colored pictures to illustrate the sounds or distract your child.  I love this book because you can go at your child's pace, there is no hurry.  You move from lesson to lesson as your child is ready. Something new they have added is a CD-rom of the book when you purchase the textbook.  This is the text book in CD-rom form.  I didn't use this because I like to do our lessons in places I would rather not take my laptop, but I can see how this would make it easy for a mom who might have a student who could do the later lessons as review on their own. 
Sample lesson

This is solid phonics.  I have taught nine kids to read and this method always worked best even for my two children who were dyslexic.  Short vowels are taught first and later the blends.  By the 3rd lesson they are reading simple sentences. You can also use this book to teach cursive writing which has become a lost handwriting. 

This does require a parent work through with their child, but there is no preparation.  I loved being able to pick up where we left off the day before and not have to look ahead & prepare.  That is a homeschool mom's best friend...non-prep materials.

You can also purchase the Companion Workbook with more simple pages to help reinforce what your child is learning. I personally didn't use these, but I can see how they would be a good addition.

The 10 Little Companion Readers stay with the theme of no frill, simple learning.  Each book focuses on one learning concept.  These make a great supplement to the program.
All in all, I was pleased with Alpha-Phonics.

My only negative for this program would be the price.I thought it was a bit expensive since it is all sold separately.  

Text book is $34.95 (which includes the CD-rom)
Readers are $24.95
Workbook is $19.95

You can order these at the Alpha Phonics website or click the image below.



teach reading with Alpha-Phonics






Giveaway! Alpha-Phonics Reading Program



In June I wrote a review of the Alpha-Phonics reading program. It's a very simple and easy to use program that (almost) painlessly helps to teach students to read. It's not just for the very young though. It can be used in a variety of situations. While I was working on my review, I thought of how it could be used in a tutoring scenario. Your situation may be different.

AP main
The Paradigm Company, publishers of Samuel Blumenfeld's program, have graciously offered to give one of my readers the following items:
  • Alpha-Phonics book
  • the set of 10 Alpha-Phonics readers
  • and an Alpha-Phonics workbook
AP books
Entry is going to be super easy (but mandatory): leave a comment letting me knowwhy you would like to win the Alpha-Phonics program.

Other options for extra entries include:
  • Follow my blog on one of the different avenues available (GFC, bloglovin, LinkyFollowers)
  • Follow me on Pinterest
  • Like my FB page
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Pin this giveaway on Pinterest
  • Follow Alpha-Phonics on FB
  • Follow Alpha-Phonics on Twitter
  • Follow Alpha-Phonics on Pinterest
  • Share this giveaway on FB or other social media (share each day for an extra entry- make sure to come back and record your entry!)

This giveaway will run from 7/2/2013 through 7/22/2013 at midnight EDT. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. Winner will be notified by email and will be required to reply by 7/25/2013 by 9pm EDT. An alternate winner may be chosen if confirmation email is not received. This is a Rafflecopter hosted giveaway, making it super easy to enter. Follow the steps on the Rafflecopter below. Be sure to follow the 'need more info' portions! If there is missing information, entry will not count. The winner will have the product shipped directly from the publisher. If you have any problems, send me an email or leave a comment.




***Disclaimer: This giveaway has been made possible by The Paradigm Company. I received the same items offered in this giveaway for free for the purpose of the review linked to in this post. No monetary compensation was given. See Disclosure/Policies.***






Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review & Guest Post by David Ryan of Alpha Phonics on Mom Loves 2 Read


My Review:
I was sent a free Alpha-Phonics book as well as The Alpha-Phonics & How To Tutor Little Companion Readers and The Alpha-Phonics and How To Tutor Phonics Workbook for this review.

Alpha phonics is a program that teaches kids to read using simple techniques that I remember using when I was in grade school.  With story booklets that remind me of the "See Spot Run" type stories I read from in Kindergarden when I was a child, it is fun and easy for young kids to learn the techniques and phonics necessary for early reading skills.


I have personally taught my children from early on basic phonics skills.  Most parents I know start their children out with letter sounds and learning to sound out short easy words to teach them the basics of reading.  Alpha Phonics program is a wonderful addition for any parent, homeschooler or teacher to use to aid in these early learning techniques.  I love the booklets that come with the program, the easy teaching instructions and how much fun my daughter and I have when we read together.  I love seeing the sparkle in her eyes and smile on her face when she realizes she has just read several words in a book by herself. 

Click below to see a brief video explaining why Alpha-Phonics is now so much better than ever before:

http://www.alpha-phonics.com/abcd.htm

Click below to visit our BLOG and learn more about Alpha Phonics

http://www.alpha-phonics.com/blog

The Paradigm Company
Publishers of Alpha-Phonics 
www.alphaphonics.com 
www.facebook.com/alphaphonics
@alphaphonics 
www.pinterest/alphaphonics


Guest Post by David Ryan:


Common Core State Standards and Homeschoolers
© David Ryan 2013

There is no way getting around the fact that by adhering to Common Core State Standards teachers will be teaching to the test.  CCSS proponents deny that the Standards require certain material be taught in certain ways and that teachers are free to use whatever materials they deem appropriate for their students.  This is so, but it begs the question, and the structure of the program and its reliance on tests makes their assertion seem somewhat hollow. 

To illustrate why, we can look at an area of particular concern, especially to those who peer more deeply into the abyss of CCSS.  In its English curriculum, the CCSS has made a clear and definite move away from literature and towards “informational” texts; its proponents are up front about this.  If a teacher felt it necessary to include more of the classics of English literature, he or she would necessarily have to take time away from these informational texts suggested in the Common Core curricula and teach material that won’t be on the test.  Where does this leave the student at test time?  You guessed it.  (What these “informational texts” are and will be is certainly another cogent question!)

It is also clear that what students are being taught is as or more important than how they are being taught.  By establishing common curricula for use in every school in the nation, tremendous power to mold the thinking and knowledge of every child will reside in the hands of a very few decision makers, most of whom are likely to reside in and around the District of Columbia, and all of whom share a particular world view.  With the current intellectual trend of minimizing the importance of subjects traditionally dear to Americans, such as the lives and works of the Founding Fathers, the importance of the Constitution and other primary documents that define us as a nation, and religion based morality standards, it is not difficult to guess what kind of influences will be exerted on the formation of curricula and the selection of materials to be studied.

How might this affect homeschoolers?  It doesn’t take much to imagine that in order for the achievement of homeschooled students to be recognized by the states and universities, they too will be tested in accordance with the requirements set by CCSS.  To emphasize this probability, the SATs and PSATs, so important to graduating high school seniors, will indeed be aligned with Common Core Standards, as recently announced by the College Board.*  And since there are only so many hours in a day, homeschooling parents will have little choice but to “teach to the test”. 

Of course there remain many strong reasons for a parent’s decision to homeschool, but how many of these will endure the federal government’s constant attempts to wrest away the freedom of parents to educate their own kids as they see fit, whether it be through a local school or at home?  There is absolutely no doubt that many ‘experts” in the educational system today, at both state and federal levels, believe the raising and educating of children is much too important to the “collective” good to be left in the amateurish hands of their parents.  As homeschooling grows in popularity, the attacks on it increase, and while CCSS may seem like an issue more relevant to the public educational system, its threat to your freedom to educate your own children is clear. 


As many of you know, we at Alpha-Phonics place the development and education of young minds at the very top of our priorities, believing that whatever commercial success we may enjoy can only come if we adhere to that principle.  We have no hesitation whatsoever in joining the fight against what we see as a profound turn away from individual liberty rather than towards it. 

Most of you have already taken a crucially important and courageous stand by exerting control over the education and training of your kids.  Please don’t believe that Common Core State Standards will not affect you as much it does the parents who use the public schools!




Thursday, June 27, 2013

{Review} Alpha-Phonics by Samuel L. Blumenfeld

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in according with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. 

{Review}


A few months ago I was approached by the Paradigm Company, the publishers ofAlpha-Phonics to see if I would like to do a review of their program. I immediately said yes. What they didn't know when they asked me is this is the program I have used to teach all three of my boys how to read!

My very dog-eared copy....

I began homeschooling my oldest son when he was five years old. I began teaching him how to read with a popular program that had both of us in tears. I had never taught a child to read before and I was not as flexible with my first as I now am with my third child. Thankfully a more experience homeschooling mom lent me a copy of Alpha-Phonics

It was exactly what we needed, a simple easy to use program that hit on all the basics. And it worked. The tears went away. My son began to read and understand. Amazingly, it has worked with all three of my boys who are all vastly different learner.

What I really love about the program is that in the first lesson, children are reading small two letter words! This gave all of my boys such a feeling of accomplishment to start right off knowing they were not just reading letters, but actual words.

I was sent three items to review. The package included the Alpha-Phonics manual ($34.95) which now includes a CD-ROM version of the book which normally sells for $39.95. I was also given a copy of the How to Tutor Workbook ($19.95) and the How to Tutor Little Companion Readers ($$24.95) which is a set of 10 little reading books to help children experience the accomplishment of reading their very own little book.

My youngest has been working on learning to read since the beginning of last year and has been making steady progress. I've been using the electronic version of the book and he loves it. He always asks to do his reading lessons on the computer. I like the reinforcement that is included in the workbook. It fits nicely with the entire reading program. 

So how does this program actually work?

Each book contains the student lessons, 128 total. Each lessons ranges from half a page up to multiple pages. If there is more than one page to a lesson, I tend to only do one a day so sometimes those longer lessons can last a few days. In the back of the book is a simple teacher's manual that gives tips for using the program as well as help for each lesson.

It really is that simple.

This has been my favorite "learn-to-read" program since we started homeschooling. I like it's gentle approach and it's ease of use. I can't recommend it enough.





Monday, June 24, 2013

Alpha-Phonics Review - Give Your Child The Confidence Boost They Need

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.


The Paradigm Company was founded in January 1984 and is a family owned and operated business. Their goal is to offer what they feel are the best possible materials to educate young children in reading, handwriting and arithmetic. They have been in business for over 28 years and hold a Christian perspective. The Paradigm Company publishes several books by Samuel Blumenfeld including Alpha-Phonics. Alpha-Phonics has been around since the late 1970's and has been helping children and adults learn to read!

A moms review:
Last June we were asked if we would like to review Alpha-Phonics. I agreed since Gwyn (currently age 7) was in the process of learning to read (yes it has taken us a year to finish this review). Gwyn started the year off strong, but then became very frustrated again with reading so we had to take a little break (she is a perfectionist and very hard on herself). In February right after she turned 7 she was determined to learn to read. So with the help of Alpha Phonics her self-esteem began to rise.

We have been using Alpha-Phonics over the last few months and it has been a blessing. Alpha-Phonics is simple to use, inexpensive and very effective. The spiral-bound soft cover instruction book and CD teach the 44 phonograms (sounds) children need to learn to read.  There are 128 Lessons in Alpha-Phonics. The book starts out by teaching short vowel sounds. Next children sound out and put together simple words like sam, man, has, etc. Then they progress onto more advanced words. By lesson 3 children are reading simple 2-3 word sentences. Children will learn to read over 3,500 words with Alpha-Phonics. I loved how simple the curriculum is. There are no fancy pictures (which keeps children from guessing words/sentences) and no symbols to confuse children. And NO flash cards which made my daughter very happy! The words in the book are printed in a nice large calligraphy style making them easy for children to read.

The enclosed CD that comes with the book is a digital version of the book. It contains an audible introduction and conclusion by Dr. Blumenfeld. With the CD you can have the instruction for each lesson read to you. You can also use the CD book to print out pages or display them on your computer screen.

Alpha-Phonics gave Gwyn the self confidence boost she needed. She lit up every time she read all the words on the page. She would count how many words she read after each lesson and feel a huge accomplishment.


Alpha-Phonics has taught me that teaching reading doesn't need to be hard. There is no need for fancy, expensive curriculum. Alpha-Phonics does focus on teaching reading only, however you can teach spelling as you go through simple dictation. Alpha-Phonics is perfect for busy homeschool families. There is no preparation needed and the lessons take just 10-15 minutes a day! In the back of the book (tan pages) are very simple teacher/parent instructions. Each lesson instruction is a short paragraph.

With Alpha-Phonics your children can be reading in just a few months.


Free resources:
There are several great freebies on the Alpha-Phonics website including video lectures, news and ideas on learning and more. Be sure to also check out theAlpha-Phonics blog. You can also check out sample Alpha-Phonics lessons.

Gwyn review (7 yrs old):
I like this book a lot. I can read a lot of words now.

Links to follow:
-Alpha-Phonics Website
-Alpha-Phonics Facebook page 
-Alpha-Phonics Twitter 

Where to buy:
Alpha-Phonics comes in a Book and CD ROM combo version for $34.95. You can get both versions for the price of the Book only. Full money-back guarantee and 24/7 Helpline. You can currently order the Alpha-Phonics combo on Amazon for $27.18.





TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2013

Review: Alpha-Phonics A Primer for Beginning Readers

A few months ago I was contacted by Mr. Ryan from the Paradigm Company about doing a review of Alpha-Phonics. The name sounded really familiar but at first I didn’t know why. When my kids were young enough to be learning to read, we used a different program {the name escapes me}. Eventually, while over at Ambleside Online, my favorite curriculum {it’s free} following Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, I discovered it is one of the programs they list as a possible beginning reader program. I highly respect the AO Advisory’s recommendations and agreed to do a review of this program for Alpha-Phonics.

alphaphonicsI received The Original Alpha-Phonics for review as a program one would use in tutoring. This review is based on my opinions and perceptions of the product if it were to be used in such a situation. Unfortunately, however, there were no students available to me with which to use this program. I just want to make that clear at the start. Click any of the images to see larger.

I received the following items from Paradigm Company, the publisher of Samuel Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics:

  • Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning ReadersISBN: 978-0941995306 (retail $34.95),
  • Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers CD-ROM ISBN: 978-0941995184 (now included with the book!),
  • Alpha-Phonics and How To Tutor Companion Workbook ISBN: 0-941995-13-5 (retail $14.95),
  • and 10 Alpha-Phonics and How To Tutor Little Companion Readers ISBN: 0-94-19995-12-7 (retail $19.95)

What is the program?

It is based on the concept that the English language is comprised of 44 sounds (of which 21 are vowel sounds) that each correspond to a letter or combination of letters. That’s it. Alpha-Phonics is a ‘sound-symbol system’; for each sound, there is an associated symbol; a letter or combination of letters. It doesn’t use pictures to associate the spoken word, only ‘symbols’- letters.

It is made up of 128 lessons, each that bring a new phonics rule while also reviewing the previous rules. There is plenty of review in the lessons. Included, but not always dictated in the lesson, is the opportunity to work on spelling and cursive.

What is needed?

There is really only one ‘book’ needed for this program: the 168 page book pictured above or the CD-ROM that contains the same book with Sam Blumenfeld’s audio of the lesson plans. That really is all that is needed for this program! Both have a teacher’s manual and lesson plans.

AP main

Alpha-Phonics now includes the CD-ROM version (PC only) of the program with the purchase of the book. It’s fairly easy to run and use. System requirements: Pentium 90/32 Meg, 256 color, 800x600 resolution, and Windows 95 through Vista.

GEDC1753

Here is what it looks like on my computer, which is a large screen laptop, when I run the disc. It may look different on your monitor.

AP CD

I’ve cropped the rest of the images so that you aren’t distracted by the extra space {if you might be, as I was}.

AP CD shots

I really appreciated that the CD-ROM is exactly what you see in the book. There isn’t extra material on the disc, so they can be used interchangeably. The only {and a big} difference is there is the option to hear the lesson plans voiced by Sam Blumenfeld. I think this is helpful especially for pronunciation. It is easy to mispronounce sounds inadvertently. If for some reason there is an issue with yourself enunciating the sounds for the student, this would prove very helpful.

Optional Extras:

The above book (or CD-ROM) is the only thing needed for this program. However, Alpha-Phonics also offers the Little Companion Readers. Each book relates to a portion of the lessons. {In the first book, they’d attached a nice guide, but I’m not sure if this is included in all the first books.}

AP books

These books begin basic, like the lessons, but increase in difficulty as the student learns more phonics rules. Another resource that is nice, but not required, is the Companion Workbook.

AP workbook

The workbook would be good for practice, take-home or during the tutoring session, to solidify the phonics rules learned. The workbook has a nice guide to which worksheet relates to which lesson, in both the How to Tutor and Alpha-Phonics.

How to use the program?

To use the program, simply follow the lesson plans. It’s that simple. They are written in a straight-forward manner that gives relief to the tutor from preplanning. You can see and listen to a sample of how a lesson would go at the Alpha-Phonics website.

From my reading of the lessons and the lesson plans, and an understanding that all people learn at their own pace, it can vary greatly between students. One thing that is stressed, or to be made note of is to have patience with the student, no matter what level they are at. Some may breeze through one lesson and go onto a second lesson within the same session. Others may struggle with one lesson and need it spread over a couple sessions.

When the student progresses through the final lesson of the program, it is recommended to introduce outside books. Blumenfeld suggests, and I completely agree, to choose “good reading material.”

Pros:

  • Very simple and easy to use.
  • No preparation needed.
  • To-the-point lessons.
  • I believe it facilitates Charlotte Mason’s idea of short lessons.
  • No ‘frills’ or distractions; it’s black-and-white throughout.
  • Affordable.
  • Physical book and digital version are available together.
  • Writing (print) and reading are a combined effort.
  • Cursive practice is incorporated into the program.
  • Spelling is also included in the program.

Cons:

  • None really.

Other (neither a pro or con, just observation):

  • Letter recognition- there is only one printed version presented of changeable letters such as ‘a’ and ‘g’.
  • The program title “A Primer for Beginning Readers” is a little misleading. It gives the impression that this is for very young children. In reality, this program can be used for any struggling reader. It can also be used for children or adults wishing to learn English as a language- or improve their reading ability.
  • Because of the ease of this program –it doesn’t take very much time for each lesson and it is very basic in appearance –some may feel there isn’t ‘enough’ going on for a person to be able to learn with this technique. I do not believe this to be the case but wanted to point this out. I recommend that for those who feel this way, stick with the program –in all its simplicity –to see results.

Alpha-Phonics

“Serving parents and children for over 29 years

Specializing in: Phonics, Reading using phonics, Cursive Handwriting,Arithmetic, Spelling and Grammar.

We offer the basics for homeschool instruction and assistance to public school students from beginning instruction through approximately the 7th. grade; through high school in math and grammar. (from the website)”

You can read other reviews of Alpha-Phonics. Follow Alpha-Phonics on their blog, through Facebook, on Pinterest, and Twitter.

Paradigm Company also offers How to Tutor books (see the comparison of Alpha-Phonics & How to Tutor), McGuffy Readers, and Jensen’s Grammar resources.


***Disclaimer: I received the above items free for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions are my own. See Disclosure/Policies.***





Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Alpha Phonics Review


Did you know that the English language is composed of only 44 different speech sounds?  Neither did I, until I received a copy of Alpha-Phonics to explore and use with my almost-kindergartener.  Alpha-Phonics is a flexible beginning reader primer fairly different from some others that I have come across in my homeschooling journey so far.  It is based simply on phonetic learning and awareness, introducing one vowel at a time and focusing on all possible word families of that vowel before moving onto the next sound.  In essence, learning those 44 different sounds and how to put them together to read fluently.

The Alpha-Phonics program, designed to be used in either a classroom or home setting, consists of one spiral-bound manual, which holds both the lessons and the Teacher’s Manual, which follows the lessons.  Contained in the Teacher’s Manual are a brief history of the English language and how the concepts used in Alpha-Phonics were developed, several pre-reading activities and suggestions for teachers to use in teaching the alphabet and letter sounds, and lesson by lesson instructions, some including scripts to use with your student.  This package is currently selling on the website for $34.95 plus shipping.
This program now also comes with a computer CD, which is essentially the manual on disc.  This disc used to be sold separately for $39.95, but it is now included!  One nice feature of the CD, however, is that the teacher has the option of having the instructions for each lesson right on the same page as the student lesson.  Those instructions can be print only or print and audio, and this feature lessens the need for flipping back and forth in the print manual (which does tend to get tiresome at times).
There are 128 lessons in Alpha-Phonics, covering simple concepts like short a and “am”, “at”, and “as” in Lesson One and continuing to much more difficult sounds such as y as short i and “syntax”, “tyranny”, and “mystery” in Lesson 128.  Short vowel sounds are introduced first, followed by consonant blends, and then long vowels.  The student pages are very simple, using black and white larger print, no pictures, and minimal distracting elements.
Our experience with Alpha-Phonics was very positive.  At first I was unsure that it would be a program that we would be able to use:  between the time that I requested it and the time that I received it, my five year-old began spontaneously reading on his own.  (If it could always be so simple!)  So, needless to say, when I received the curriculum, I was worried that it would be “a moot point”.  However, when I sat down to explore it and actually use it with my son, I was impressed. 
As I mentioned before, this is a full and very in-depth program, in only 128 lessons.  Although my son could string together simple sounds, he had yet to understand any blending or irregular sounds, so we essentially just jumped in and covered the first lessons very quickly and then slowed down dramatically when we got to material that was new to him.  The lessons are short, which make them easier to review and also helps them appeal to little ones with attention spans to match, and we were able to follow them at our own speed.
Alpha-Phonics has a web site (www.alphaphonics.com) that has several different videos explaining varied parts of the program.  The customer service was wonderful; for example, I had a question about the CD-ROM, and my call was answered directly by the owner, who is very knowledgeable and passionate about teaching children to read.  (For those who are interested, currently the CD does not come in a version that works on Mac computers).  There are also a phonics workbook and simple readers available on the website.
In the days of computer-everything and constant electronic stimulation, the idea of a black and white print book may not make our kiddos jump for joy very often.  Alpha-Phonics, however, seems to bring us back to the basics in helping our kids learn to read.  The lessons are quick, simple, and organized in a logical way.  In our home, with my child, they work.
 **Disclaimer:  I was sent Alpha-Phonics at no charge in exchange for an honest review on my blog.**




Review: Alpha Phonics

We have some new readers at our house, so I was excited to have the chance toreview Alpha Phonics with Tiger and Bee!

What is it?
Alpha Phonics was created by Sam Blumenfeld as a method for teaching reading using a phonics approach.  The program teaches letter sounds and phonogram sounds, then teaching the child to blend those sounds.  Alpha Phonics introduces spelling rules in order to teach decoding. 


What does it include?
The program has several components.  We reviewed the textbook, workbook, and companion readers.

  • Textbook - The textbook contains all the text for each lesson with word lists to practice reading, short stories to build fluency and apply the letter sounds learned, and teacher instruction at the back of the book.  The textbook retails for $34.95.
  • Workbook - The workbook has extra practice pages that correspond with the lessons.  The workbook retails for $19.95.
  • Companion Readers - The program offers 10 companion readers.  The readers are scheduled after certain lessons throughout the program so that the child has learned all the necessary letter sounds to successfully read the book.  The readers retail for $24.95.

  • The program also comes with a CD-Rom of the textbook.  The child can look at the text on the computer and the teacher can read the instructions or hear them read aloud.
All material can be ordered through the Alpha Phonics Website.


How did we use this product?
I started using the program with Tiger first since he is starting to sound out a few words and knows many letter sounds and phonograms.  We went through the first several lessons, completing several lessons in one day as a way to review what he's learned previously.  Once we came to new material we slowed down and did a lesson a day.  Tiger is a wiggly little guy and doesn't have a long attention span, so one challenging lesson a day was enough for him.  Some of the lessons toward the middle of the book would take us several days of practice and review.  

Once Tiger was in a routine of using the program, I started at the beginning with Bee.  She knows her letter sounds but not many phonograms and can blend only a few CVC words (consonant/vowel/consonant words).  She has not had any formal reading instruction.  We spent several days on each lesson so she could review the sounds and build her confidence. 


What didn't we like?
The teacher instructions are in the back of the textbook.  I had to flip back and forth between the text and the instructions until I got used to the flow of the program.  


What did we like?
The text has large font and is easy to read.  The text is also very uncluttered with no color so it's not distracting to a new reader.

The program is very straight forward to use and moves systematically through teaching phonics and spelling rules.  

It's easy to adjust the pace of the program and move as quickly or as slowly as your child needs.  


What did we think overall?
I found Alpha Phonics to be very straight forward and easy to use once I got into our routine of using in on a daily basis.  I would have enjoyed some additional written instruction for holding my hand as I got started with the program.  But I found that after a few weeks, I felt much more comfortable using Alpha Phonics.  We enjoyed the simplicity of the program as it eliminated any distractions during the learn to read process.  We're on our way to reading!  


Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.  

Alpha Phonics has graciously allowed me to host a giveaway of the Alpha Phonics Text,
Workbook, and Readers.  1 of my readers will be able to enjoy using the Alpha Phonics program!









About Lindsey Clair

Lindsey Clair is a homeschooling mother of three daughters. She has been married twelve years to her best friend Ron where he is currently a Solutions Engagement Supervisor for the State of Michigan at UPS. Lindsey possesses a degree in Child Development and hopes to pursue a K-12 teaching degree in the near future. She is currently a professional blogger and freelance writer for multiple sites and enjoys working from home. Her next challenge is to work from home while homeschooling her three children. Lindsey is currently the children's director at her church "Restoration Praise" in Salem Township, Michigan. It is a home church where her parents are the pastors. She sings and plays the piano on the worship team there as well. Lindsey's hobbies include reading, shopping, blogging, and hanging out with family and friends.

  Alpha-Phonics Beginning Readers Curricum Givaway

By  on May 23, 2013


Do you have a beginning reader?  I am so excited to share with you an excellent new phonics program for early readers. 

My middle daughter is in the “beginning reading” stage, so I thought this would be perfect for her.  I look forward to using this with my preschooler as well.  The name of this phonics curriculum isAlpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers by Samuel L. Blumenfeld.

This curriculum is made up of:

  • Alpha-Phonics and How to Tutor Companion Workbook
  • The Original Alpha-Phonics A Primer for Beginning Readers
  • Apha-Phonics DVD (Explanatory Video)

The Alpha-Phonics Primer for beginning readers is “complete with teacher’s manual and lesson plan!”

Here is what the material covers:

  • Alphabetic System
  • Teaching the Alphabet
  • Teaching the Letter Sounds
  • Some Practical Suggestions
  • Isolating the Letter Sounds
  • English Alphabetic System
  • Introducing Cursive, including Cursive Alphabet
  • Prereading Alphabet Exercises

The tutor companion workbook consists of the order of lessons.  Details of how to use the CD ROM program is included in the Alpha-Phonics books.

Since we are approaching the summer months, I will be taking this time to do a lot of early reading with my preschooler and my soon to be second grader.  I am so excited that it teaches the alphabet and sounds and introduces cursive to those who are ready for that challenge.

Another great thing about this reading curriculum is it’s Cathy Duffy’s 1oo Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum!  Awesome!

In honor of this awesome reading curriculum, we are giving away a set to one of our readers.  To learn more about Alpha-Phonics, view this video.

For a list of prices for the curriculum, visit here.







Alpha-Phonics

Alpha-Phonics

Sam Blumenfeld's 'ALPHA-PHONICS'has been around for over 30 years for two basic reasons. It is affordable ($29.95 Retail) and it works! The winner of the 'Mary Pride Practical Homeschooling Reader Award' and selected by Cathy Duffy as a top-rated phonics program (included in her '100 Top Picks), Alpha-Phonics provides comprehensive phonics instruction in a simple, straightforward manner.

The student uses rules presented along with lists of words and syllables and eventually sentences. Print is very large which is suitable for young readers. Students practice with quite a few of these lists but move quickly into reading sentences so their sense of accomplishment is high.

This program doesn't use bells and whistles as others do, with the intent that the student concentrates on the letters themselves so that they immediately recognize the sounds associated with a letter rather than taking an extra mental step to recall a key word associated with a picture.

Not only is this choice one of the least expensive programs available to teach reading, but it automatically teaches SPELLING as you go through its easy-to-teach lessons. There are over 3,500 words introduced!

Here is a brief comment from a successful user of the program:

"We found Alpha-Phonics to be a very straightforward, no-nonsense approach, not dependent upon pictures, games, or other devices to teach our son to read. It is very easy to use, as you can tailor the amount of lessons you do to the speed at which your child is learning. We finished the program after 2 and 1/2 months and found our son to be reading at a 3rd grade level."

Kathy's Note:
From what I am reading about this approach, I believe it would be better suited to the complacent, visual learner and possibly the audio learner if the lessons are done out loud. I'm not sure that the kinesthetic learner would be able to handle the visual concentration involved without all the bells and whistles offered in other programs. At the very least, you would want to keep the lessons short for him.

Use the Links below to purchase at a discounted price...

Alpha-Phonics Book on Amazon.com

Buy this book at Christian Book Distributors




The Book on CD-ROM displays all 128 lessons exactly as they appear in the highly successful book.

The CD is extremely easy to use: It has "Autostart" which allows it to open right to the lessons by just popping it in your CD drive.

Then the pages almost magically come alive on your computer screen. See - hear - teach - learn!!!

The CD includes informative "tips for use" which make this easy to use system even easier.

NO KEYBOARDING REQUIRED!

Alpha-Phonics The Book on CD ROM is simpler than many other computer based programs. One big reason is because it requires NO KEYBOARD work for the student. The student uses only the Mouse!

This is best for little beginners who can not type yet and who should not start by forming "hunt & peck" habits which will be hard to break later when touch typing is to be learned.

Use this link to purchase at a slightly reduced price...

Buy this CD at Christian Book Distributors

OR Use this link to find it in our Amazon aStore Shop Here






MAR
2013
15

posted by  on Schooling Resource

1 comment

A while ago I was contacted to place a link to Alpha Phonics as a resource.  Being that I only want to ever promote or advertise something I truly and really love and whole heartedly stand behind, I was not willing to do so until I had had a chance to check it out for myself and see what I thought of it.

David, from Alpha Phonics, graciously mailed me the book and CD (again, thank you David!).  We’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and I am so totally LOVING the book!

I have two three year olds.  They fairly recently turned three so they are really really young and I honestly didn’t expect much when we started.  Both my girls know how to phonetically sound out all of the alphabet letters.  They’ve been sounding out letters for some time now and we recently put up some large ABC magnets on the fridge for them to play with.  I also read to them quite a lot and they absolutely love to try to put letters together and ask us what it says.   Since they seem to be really interested in forming words and get that several letters together will actually form a word, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try Alpha Phonics with my girls and see what happens.

I’m going at a much slower pace than is recommended in the book.  We go back and review previous lessons because they are so young and they get such joy out of getting the words sounded out correctly.

I am in AWE!  Absolute awe!  The oldest twin is reading two and three word sentences.  She is always begging to read from the “big red book” and constantly asks to do more.  I am going at her pace and letting her be the one to tell me how much she wants to do.

My younger twin girl listens in to her sisters reading and she also asks to read but doesn’t seem as interested, which is totally fine!  She is, after all, only three!

The other day I was doing the lesson with the older twin and she was stumped on one of the words.  My youngest pipes in and reads the word trying to help her sister!  I was shocked!  So I guess she is soaking it in and is learning right along with her sister.

I am truly impressed with Alpha Phonics and highly recommend this book!  I absolutely love that it is a no frills book.  You’ll find no pictures or fancy drawings.  It is very simple, very short lessons, perfect for little ones with short attention spans.  I definitely plan on sticking with this book and have been using it every day with both my little ones.

There is also a CD that this book comes with -it’s perfect in that it is just like the book -no pictures and animated images to distract the child from learning to read.  It’s short and easy lessons just as in the book.  I can see us eventually using the CD since we very much love incorporating the computer in our children’s education.

As an aside and example of the customer service of Alpha Phonics, the first CD we received didn’t work- we had tried it in several computers and it just wouldn’t do anything.  I emailed David about this and he had a replacement shipped just 2 days later, so great customer service!

It is truly an amazing feeling to see your little ones reading!  And it makes me feel so good that I am the one that is able to teach them with the aid of this wonderful book.

When it comes to educating our children, sometimes it can feel really quite scary.  The doubts on whether we, as parents, can really do this.  Can really teach our kids.  Having the right tools goes a long way in giving me the confidence I need to teach my girls.  This book, in turn, gives my girls the confidence they need, especially when they find themselves succeeding in reading!  Nothing like seeing the sparkle in my girls eyes when they realize they are reading like their big sister!

Thank you Alpha Phonics!! Each of my girls give this TWO thumbs up!

Alpha Phonics sent me the book and CD to review.  All of the opinions expressed here are my own.

originally published on: Aug 26, 2012 @ 23:58 





Alpha-Phonics....A Review!


Friday May 24, 2013

The Original Alpha-Phonics!

It’s been my pleasure to review the Alpha-Phonics Reading Program. It’s an easy to use reading program for not only young beginning readers, but really anyone who wants to learn to read.

The concept is this: Teach the alphabet orally (by having the student say the letters of the alphabet), visually (by having the student identify letters by name) and kinesthetically (by having the student practice writing upper and lower case letters.) Then, starting with lesson one, move on to learning the sounds of the letters- vowels, consonants, blends, and so forth. There are a total of 128 lessons.

The first thing I noticed about this program is its simplicity. There weren’t pages and pages of instructions and hours of trying to figure out how to use it. There were a few introduction pages in the teacher’s manual, and then you can basically just jump right into the lessons. There is practically nothing to prep ahead of time as far as using the lessons. Your student can work at their own pace. So, if you cover the first ten lessons in one day-great! They are fairly short lessons, but if you need to spend more time, you can do that as well.

Note: If you want to use this as a spelling program in addition, you would need to decide what words from the lessons you want to use as a spelling list for that week. Spelling rules and minimal activity suggestions for the week are given in the Companion Workbook. The workbook pages could be used as an activity to go with the lessons or as a test to see how well your child is grasping the lesson.

The Alpha-Phonics Primer for Beginning Readers also comes with a CD of the entire Primer (with audio instructions) for free, and is very reasonable priced at around $34.95. The Companion Workbook is around $19.95.




The Primer can be used "stand-alone", but if you would like to use this as a spelling program also, I would recommend getting the workbook for the reinforcement activities and spelling rules.


This set of Ten Little Companion Readers are around $24.95. These aren’t really necessary in order to use the program, but are a nice addition.




Thomas said, "Oh!! Do I get to read those?"   (Well, yeah!)


My Alpha-Phonics Bullet List Assessment:

 The program could be used with any age. It doesn’t have cutesy drawings and sayings that an older child would feel silly using.

• The book is very no-frills. It is written in very nice hand lettering, and there are no pictures. This would be perfect for the “easily distracted” learner, but would need to be adapted quite a bit for the kinesthetic learner.

• The price is very reasonable for what you’re getting, and is a Cathy Duffy Homeschool Pick.

• This program is for the homeschooler, tutor or classroom.

• The website and blog also offer tips for using the program and more.







ALPHA PHONICS

by Sharon 
(HomeschoolBoys.com)



85003: Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers

By Samuel L. Blumenfeld
Alpha Phonics is a resource I've seen recommended often enough and by sources I'd trust that I'd highly recommend it. If I didn't already have and love Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons... I'd be giving Alpha Phonics a try.

It is described as a no frills phonics program. That "no frills" simplicity is often the best way to learn. Less distractions and more reading! 

The program is designed so your child will be reading simple words and sentences by lesson 3. Practice text and word lists are included. 

Easy to teach with little teacher preparation. Just pick it up and teach. Sounds good to me. 



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Alpha Phonics

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Totally Agree! 
by: Lector

We are currently teaching our fifth son to read using Alpha-phonics. We used Alpha-phonics to teach each of his older brothers as well. 

We can't say enough good about this book! It is easy to use and inexpensive. It introduces easy sentences right away, which is a great motivator. 

We have found that it works best for us to use Alpha-phonics alone at first, and then later add some phonics flash cards. (We use Romalda Spaldings phonogram cards.) This combination is all we have ever needed. 

We've been homeschooling now for 9 years, and with most subjects we find that one child loves one curriculum, and the next child hates it and needs something else for his different learning style.

Alpha-phonics is the only book that everyone has loved! I highly recommend it.

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Alpha-Phonics Works! 
by: Anonymous

Alpha-Phonics is a book that teaches children to read in a series of lessons that increase in difficulty. What makes this different from many other reading programs is that it is just reading, no bells and whistles or fancy color pictures, just combining sounds to form words. The beauty of Alpha-Phonics, is there is very little to distract a wiggly 5 year old. 

The child learns that reading is simply putting sounds together to make words. Since each lesson is short this book is appropriate for young children who don't have the attention span to sit for too long. 

In the age of Hooked on Phonics and other reading programs costing hundreds of dollars, Alpha-Phonics is a breath of fresh air and hearkens back to a simpler time where reading was more about letters and sounds and less about frills and games. 

I am using Alpha-Phonics right now with my son who is 4 - it's a great way to introduce the basics of reading in a way that is clear an not frustrating and confusing.









an alpha-phonics review & giveaway (teach your child to read!)

Just this morning, I asked the people that follow the Kelley's Break Room Facebook page what good teachers gifts would be and would not be. I directed this question to people that are teachers, to people that were teachers and to people that know how to spell "teachers". I got lots of great responses. It seems that the overwhelming majority said gift cards were great and candles/cups/pencil holders were not. Every teacher is different. Some teachers may actually love an all-in-one candle/cup/pencil holder, but, if you get this for your child's teacher, please warn her that it is not safe to drink the wax pieces that may break off.

Teachers like gifts. Teachers need gifts. Teachers appreciate good gifts. That was my whole point in asking that question. It helped me realize that the containers of Morton Salt and empty egg cartons that I had always gotten my kids' teachers in the past probably weren't hitting the spot.

We all know that teachers deserve something really great, but you REALLY realize they deserve something great when you try to teach your own child something. Some of you may be excellent at that and may even be homeschool teachers. That is awesome. I am not the best at it. It was only recently that I convinced my 8-year-old that getting his homework done as soon as possible in the early afternoon would make the rest of his day better. (And mine. Most definitely mine. The later it gets, the more cranky he gets, the more cranky I get and the more likely it is that I will want to sleep snuggled up to my chimney on top of the roof.)

When we sit down to do my 8-year-old's homework, my 5-year-old wants to do something homeworky. He is not in Kindergarten yet, but is all ready to learn. When I received an e-mail fromAlpha-Phonics regarding their reading program, I got all excited. I would love for my child to be reading really well when he hits Kindergarten and I loved that there was a reading program out there to help me do that. Also, I loved that my 5-year-old would have something new to do while I tried to explain carrying one over in double-digit addition and whatever other math fact my 8-year-old was tackling at school that day.

They mailed this workbook to me along with a CD-Rom, that is basically the workbook but on a disk.



 At the back of the workbook is an explanation of all of the lessons targeting the 44 sounds of the English language. These lessons are very easy to access on the CD-Rom, as well. It is a very easy program to use and starts in small bits and leads up to large chunks of information.

The only thing you need to watch out for are older siblings who think it is their job to grade your younger child's work. They tend to mark up the pages a bit too much.



To be honest, my 5-year-old and I spent a lot of time on this first lesson. (He just turned 5 a couple of weeks ago.) We spent probably too much time on this first lesson. He knows the alphabet, of course. Each time we would move on to the next lesson that was a bit more challenging, he'd suggest that we go back to the ABC page and review that again. I was like, "Child, you already know that. We aren't going to go over that again. We need to go over this page now." Yet...his little hand would flip the page back to the ABC page. I guess all of this exposure will help in some way down the line. I was just hoping he would be able to read dishwasher manuals and things like that by now.

We are getting there. The dishwasher manual will be mastered soon. I have no doubt in my mind.

You can see more of the book and of the CD-Rom in this video:




The website is great, too. There is a video of a woman who learned to read at 3 by using this Alpha-Phonics program (it has been around since the early 80s) and is now using it to teach her own child.

I also love that it is a family business. There are some cute pictures of children, grandchildren, etc. in the Alpha-Phonics office and at a family picnic. Love it!

If you have any questions, you can take a look at their "Frequently Asked Questions" video. It shows the owners of the The Paradigm Company, Peter and June Watt, answering questions in front of a roaring fire. I love that big time.

This Alpha-Phonics workbook and CD-Rom is $34.95 and can be purchased here. I think you will be very happy with the materials! But, of course, thanks to the generosity of The Paradigm Company, I am giving away a copy of it, too, to one of you guys.

If you are interested in receiving a free copy of the program, enter using the Rafflecopter below. If you haven't used it before and want some help, please ask me. Thank you!







Review of Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers

may 10, 2013 by  

I am happy to share a review today of a great reading curriculum:  Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers by Samuel Blumenfeld.  (And read to the end of the post to see how you can win a copy yourself!)  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!

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.

Check out the Alpha-Phonics website to see samples and videos.






Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Alpha-Phonics Reading Program Review Pt1


Samuel Blumenfeld graduated from the prestigious City College of New York in 1950 and spent the next decade as an editor of the University Library at Grosset & Dunlap. Sometime during that experience--and I have worked reading over-the-transom slush-piles, so I have an inkling what happened--Mr. Blumenfeld noticed something funny about American literacy. Or it would have been funny, if it were not so shocking and sad. In short, Mr. Blumenfeld jumped on the crazy-train that so many of us home-schooling parents ride and he's been coming around that mountain ever since.
A man with an amazingly active and energetic intellect, he poured himself into trying to understand the question posed by the seminal "Why Johnny Can't Read?", and even more importantly, what to do about it. Not just what to do regarding school reform, though he has much to say on that--but really, how do you teach Johnny, an actual, living, breathing human being, how to read? Because at the end of the day, that's what matters most, and that is the genesis of the Alphaphonics program.
I'm going to begin this review with restricting my comments to what is the heart of the program, the original Alpha-Phonics and then address the supplementary materials in a second review. So, first, what you want to know: Does it work? How does it work? Is it for me and my child? How much does it cost?

It costs a little under $30. See Amazon for the typical price.


Is it for you and your child? I have no idea. It certainly works very well for me and my child and I completely adore the program. But every teacher and every student interact in unique ways. 
How does it work? There are something like 109 lessons. The lessons are really just lists of words. You write the word, the student sounds out the word. Next word. Voila. Phonetic rules are introduced, along with words that don't play nicely. Along with the lessons, a teacher's guide provides lesson-by-lesson direction and advice on what to emphasize and talk about. You start with very straightforward words and progress.  Lesson 1 is very basic, by lesson 109 you have a fully functional reader.

The great thing for me, as the "teacher" is that I don't have to do any planning or preparation. The teacher-guide material is very concise. We work through the lists, some days we may do only three words, some days we may read 30. My student is not yet 4, so 30 words is quite an achievement. I expect it will take us about 9 months to a year to work through the program and she will be reading proficiently before she is 5. An older child or adult could work through the program in a few months if they were motivated. I *love* the fact that you can pace it however you like. I am a *very lazy* homeschooling mom/teacher-type. Easy pacing, no planning or effort? I'm interested.

The baby is waking up. I think this review will have to be in three parts instead of two. So we'll call this the introduction.


Christina O.

This product was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. The above opinion is 100% Christina's.





traveling sisterhood

Friday, May 3

Alpha Phonics Curriculum Giveaway, Beautiful Simplicity!

Using her Alpha-Phonics Workbook
I love finding new homeschool curriculum like Alpha-Phonics.  It's convenient for me (lesson prep takes about 2 minutes), fun for my kiddos, easy to use for all of us, and it's something that I can adapt for use with all of my children based on their level.  Last year, I realized that my children each needed daily one-on-one reading time with me in addition to group classroom.  Now, during Art or Free time, I take turns with them.  We sit in my room where it's nice and quiet and have our one-on-one reading time. We do an Alpha-Phonics lesson and then read a book together--their choice.  They love it--it makes them feel accomplished and they get that special time with me all to themselves.

I found Alpha-Phonics in one of my favorite homeschool magazines just last year but it turns out they've been teaching kids to read for a really long time--over 30 years! Tried and true!  I'm really amazed that it's so affordable.  You really don't need to spend a fortune on reading materials!  You can simply use Alpha-Phonics and any books appropriate for your children's reading level. We use Alpha-Phonics along with Book-It. By the way, make sure and sign up for Book-It for next homeschool year!  Enrollment just opened a couple days ago.  

Besides being a great curriculum, the customer service at Alpha-Phonics is amazing and they've got such great vision for our children!  Alpha-Phonics' publisher Peter Watt told me, "We view our business as much a ministry as it is a business.  We are in the business of saving little minds."  I like that very much!  

We've now been using the Alpha-Phonics primer since the beginning of the year.  We've just recently also begun using the Little Companion Readers and Workbook.  Today, we read "Velvet the Tomcat", a reader focusing on short vowels through lesson 42.  You can see my youngest daughter reading excerpts in our video... all went smoothly until her little brother tried to jump into the "movie"!  





The Prize!
GIVEAWAY!
One of my readers will win the same Alpha-Phonics items we received including:
 

  • Alpha-Phonics Primer w/ CD-ROM version(including teacher's manual and lesson plans)
  • Alpha-Phonics Workbook (includingspelling rules)
  • 10 Little Companion Readers   

Fill out the form below by May 11th when I'll choose a winner via Random.org.  In the meantime, checkout all the other great items you can get from the Alpha-Phonics Store!  They also sell McGuffey Readers, Jensen's Grammars, books on cursive writing, and lots of other great things that can be hard to find, especially all in one handy dandy place.




You Can Also Find Alpha-Phonics On













Alpha-phonics: Curriculum Review



Years ago I used Alpha-Phonics: A Primer For Beginning Readers with one of our kids. It was so long ago I don’t remember which child used the book or why we didn’t continue using it. I suspect it was for my child who taught himself how to read so by the time I sat down with Alpha-Phonics we didn’t really need it.

Tricia at Hodgepodge Mom has a great review of the program so if you are thinking about using it for phonics in your homeschool read her review before purchasing. Alpha-Phonics is an inexpensive and reusable book so if you think it will work for you it is a great frugal phonics resource.








Thursday, July 5, 2012

Alpha Phonics, How My Kids Learned to Read

Sticking with the reading theme, since it's time now for Summer Reading Programs, I thought it was past time for a review of the Alpha Phonics reading book. I used Alpha Phonics to teach both my kids to read the summer before they began kindergarten.

Originally, I didn't think I needed a formal reading instruction book. We are big readers in our family. They kids were read to from before birth. Bedtime stories are a ritual, and we read together throughout the daytime as well. Once they knew their letters, and letter sounds, I tried just starting in on some of the very early reader books, like the "Bob Books", and other similar phonics early readers. I believe we were on the third Bob book when I realized that my daughter was not actually reading. She'd been fooling me. She'd look at the pictures, then the first letter or so of the word, and make a good guess. She made it through 2 books perfectly that way. What tripped her up was the word "rag". She read it as "blanket" based on the picture.

That was when I started researching reading programs. So many of them seemed so complicated, with games, and videos, and songs, and. . .oh yes, at last books too. There were some darn pricey ones too. I chose Alpha Phonics in the end because it was simple, and reasonably priced. 
The Alpha Phonics website offered the first several lessons for free. We used those first, and they went very well. My daughter gained confidence, and since there are no pictures, I knew she could really sound out her words.

The Alpha Phonics book has been everything I wanted in a program for learning to read. Simple, and organized. There is no preparation or extra work I need to do. We just open the book up to where we left off, and work through the next lesson. There are some lessons that are very long in the beginning, and new sounds are repeated over and over for the child to get a good grasp on them. There were usually more than my kids wanted to deal with in a day, so we didn't always do one lesson a day - when we hit those big ones, we just worked thought one page a day instead. We still made great progress, but with less stress.

I still strongly believe that in order to raise kids who love to read, they must live in a house that loves to read. Parents who read to them often, and just as importantly, read for their own pleasure, and let their kids seem them reading do a lot for the child's attitude toward books. But Alpha Phonics has helped us so much too. it made the process of learning to read smooth, natural, and painless. Despite the rather dull appearance of the book, with no flashy colors, and no pictures at all, both of my kids lit up when I pulled it out, ready to work through the next lesson. Although, in all honesty, they both were more resistant in the very beginning, maybe up to around lesson 10 to 15 or so. By then, thought, they had the hang of the program, then knew how it worked, and more importantly, they knew they could do it. It built that sort of confidence in them. It is a program that I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn to read, or to help someone else learn.









The dictionary defines Phonics as “a method of teaching people to read by correlating sounds with letters or groups of letters in an alphabetic writing system.”

For many homeschooling parents, phonics can be a very challenging subject to teach. Nevertheless, it is very important especially if they want their child to develop important reading skills.

Because of this, they are looking for excellent phonics curriculums that will help explain the rules in as simple a manner as possible.

If you are searching for such a phonics curriculum, you need look no further than Sam Blumenfeld’s “Alpha-Phonics”.

The first thing that will catch your eye about “Alpha-Phonics” is the book itself. It is covered with heavy-duty plastic, so you can preserve the book for your other children. It also has a plastic comb binding. Because of this, the book can be opened flat on the table as your child studies the lessons.

Alpha-Phonics” strictly teaches solid, no-frills phonics. You won’t find any comical key word pictures or other cute illustrations such as can be found in other programs. Instead, all the lessons are printed out in large letters with very clear instructions, without any visual distractions.

This makes “Alpha Phonics” a great curriculum for children with poor visual memory. The more a child is able to concentrate on the letters of the alphabet, the faster he/she will memorize the letter and its associated sounds. In the case of “Alpha-Phonics”, it teaches 44 different sounds that are being produced by the letters of the alphabet.

How does “Alpha-Phonics” work? One lesson teaches blending though a combination of vowels and consonants, like “am”, then “Sam” and “ham”. Words are taught in groups of similar sounds, like “an”, “ban”, “can”, “Dan”, etc.).

To improve fluency in phonetics, the program also introduces nonsense symbols. A good example is “gab, gac, gack, gad, gaf,” etc. Parents have discovered that, as silly as these exercises may be, their kids are able to move on faster to reading sentences.

There are a few drawbacks to “Alpha-Phonics”, however. First and foremost is that the program requires that homeschooling parent supervises the child’s learning at all times. It does not allow for independent study.

Thankfully, the parent does not need additional preparation time because the lessons are easy to read and pretty straightforward.  Another problem with “Alpha-Phonics” is that it does not cover as many phonics rules if you compare it to Saxon’s Phonics and Writing Road to Reading. You may have to purchase supplemental reading materials.

The publisher of “Alpha-Phonics” recommends purchasing “Alpha-Phonics/How to Tutor Workbook” and the Little Companion Readers (which is a set of ten books). The How to Tutor Workbook, in particular, has a number of writing activities and fill-in-the-blank tests to assess your child’s progress and reinforce the lessons that he/she has learned in the main “Alpha-Phonics” book.

Help your child learn how to read today with the help of “Alpha-Phonics”!








  

    

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Alpha Phonics Review


Did you know that the English language is composed of only 44 different speech sounds?  Neither did I, until I received a copy of Alpha-Phonics to explore and use with my almost-kindergartener.  Alpha-Phonics is a flexible beginning reader primer fairly different from some others that I have come across in my homeschooling journey so far.  It is based simply on phonetic learning and awareness, introducing one vowel at a time and focusing on all possible word families of that vowel before moving onto the next sound.  In essence, learning those 44 different sounds and how to put them together to read fluently.

The Alpha-Phonics program, designed to be used in either a classroom or home setting, consists of one spiral-bound manual, which holds both the lessons and the Teacher’s Manual, which follows the lessons.  Contained in the Teacher’s Manual are a brief history of the English language and how the concepts used in Alpha-Phonics were developed, several pre-reading activities and suggestions for teachers to use in teaching the alphabet and letter sounds, and lesson by lesson instructions, some including scripts to use with your student.  This package is currently selling on the website for $34.95 plus shipping.
This program now also comes with a computer CD, which is essentially the manual on disc.  This disc used to be sold separately for $39.95, but it is now included!  One nice feature of the CD, however, is that the teacher has the option of having the instructions for each lesson right on the same page as the student lesson.  Those instructions can be print only or print and audio, and this feature lessens the need for flipping back and forth in the print manual (which does tend to get tiresome at times).
There are 128 lessons in Alpha-Phonics, covering simple concepts like short a and “am”, “at”, and “as” in Lesson One and continuing to much more difficult sounds such as y as short i and “syntax”, “tyranny”, and “mystery” in Lesson 128.  Short vowel sounds are introduced first, followed by consonant blends, and then long vowels.  The student pages are very simple, using black and white larger print, no pictures, and minimal distracting elements.
Our experience with Alpha-Phonics was very positive.  At first I was unsure that it would be a program that we would be able to use:  between the time that I requested it and the time that I received it, my five year-old began spontaneously reading on his own.  (If it could always be so simple!)  So, needless to say, when I received the curriculum, I was worried that it would be “a moot point”.  However, when I sat down to explore it and actually use it with my son, I was impressed. 
As I mentioned before, this is a full and very in-depth program, in only 128 lessons.  Although my son could string together simple sounds, he had yet to understand any blending or irregular sounds, so we essentially just jumped in and covered the first lessons very quickly and then slowed down dramatically when we got to material that was new to him.  The lessons are short, which make them easier to review and also helps them appeal to little ones with attention spans to match, and we were able to follow them at our own speed.
Alpha-Phonics has a web site (www.alphaphonics.com) that has several different videos explaining varied parts of the program.  The customer service was wonderful; for example, I had a question about the CD-ROM, and my call was answered directly by the owner, who is very knowledgeable and passionate about teaching children to read.  (For those who are interested, currently the CD does not come in a version that works on Mac computers).  There are also a phonics workbook and simple readers available on the website.
In the days of computer-everything and constant electronic stimulation, the idea of a black and white print book may not make our kiddos jump for joy very often.  Alpha-Phonics, however, seems to bring us back to the basics in helping our kids learn to read.  The lessons are quick, simple, and organized in a logical way.  In our home, with my child, they work.
 **Disclaimer:  I was sent Alpha-Phonics at no charge in exchange for an honest review on my blog.**





Alpha Phonics

FEBRUARY 27, 2013

Juliet asked me teach her to read the spring before she started kindergarten. We bought a simple phonics primer and set to work. I would say it took about 5 months of working on it before it all "clicked" in her mind and she began reading successfully on her own.

A few weeks ago, we finished the little primer we started with (we have also been reading actual story books along with the primer phonics lessons) and I was not sure what we should do next.

Obviously, we will continue reading real books that we own and that we check out from the library (she is currently into joke books!)

But I want to make sure all the phonics lessons are planted firmly in her head, so I was excited when  Alpha-Phonics contacted me and offered to send a review copy of their book.

Since she can already read fairly well, we will probably skip over several of the initial lessons (where they teach individual letter sounds, etc), but I feel like reviewing all the blends and vowel sounds are a good way to spend the remainder of the school year.

I'll review it completely after we have finished it, but for now, I can see that I like the format and the short simple lessons. We don't have the time (or desire) to sit for long periods of time doing complicated  lessons with a lot of props and worksheets, but just opening up a book, talking about a particular sound, practicing a few words and moving on is good for us.

I think this would also have been an excellent starting point--if I had known about it several months earlier. If you are looking for something with a little more direction than what we started with originally, this seems to be just the thing. There is a section in the back that details what to do for each lesson--which is helpful especially if you don't know what you are doing (like me!)

Have any of you used this program before? What are your thoughts? I'll keep you updated on our progress in a few months!

This book was sent to me for review purposes. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.




Alpha Phonics - Reviews
Alpha Phonics 


Review from member h5rus
Member Ranking - Extremely Positive
I've been using Alpha Phonics with my three year old twins for three weeks now. I am truly impressed with how simple and easy it is to use to teach my girls how to read!


I love that it has no frills and no fancy pictures in the book. My little ones have a short attention span, so this keeps them focused. The lessons are very short -again, a very good thing to have when trying to teach little ones how to read!


Alpha Phonics also comes with a CD which is really nice for those of us who like using the computer for educational purposes. The CD is basically the exact same thing as the book -no frills, no fancy animations. Simple and perfect as it focuses on the letters and sounding out the words. 


I was quite amazed to see my three year olds pick up on reading without any difficulty! To be honest, I didn't expect much success, since they are very young. I only decided to try this book out because they actually ASKED me how to form words with our magnetic letters and they already knew how to phonetically sound out the letters of the alphabet. I am going at their pace -which is much slower than what is probably the norm when using this book and I am also going back to older lessons so they can feel proud of themselves for reading! 


I am definitely impressed with Alpha Phonics and I am going to stick with this book with my little ones.


Pros:


  • no frills, no pictures -easy to focus on learning to read
  • short concise lessons
  • CD is great for those who love to use the computer -it is basically the book on the screen. No fancy animation so no distraction from the goal to learn to read!







FRIDAY, MARCH 01, 2013


Teach Kids to Read with Alpha-Phonics

  

I've been homeschooling my kids since the very beginning, and I actually enjoyed teaching phonics.(Well, most days anyway.) I don't think there is one right way to homeschool, and I know not all kids learn the same way. However, I am a firm believer in teaching children how to read phonetically. 
Being able to sound out words empowers kids to soar on their journey to becoming fluent readers. All three of my own children were reading very well by the time they started second grade. My oldest son even read his first real novel in first grade.

I've used several different products to teach my children how to read, but today I wanted to let you know about a program called Alpha-Phonics which teaches children to read by using only 44 phonograms. Children learn to read by sounding out words, and in 128 lessons your child will be introduced to 3,500 words! 



I personally have not used this program, but I have read several testimonies that claim this time-tested program is simple and effective. 


Check out the Alpha-Phonics webite: http://www.alphaphonics.com/

The website features several videos explaining how this program works, information about the company itself, plus so much more.

Alpha-Phonics blog: http://www.alphaphonics.com/blog/


You can also find Alpha-Phonics on Amazon.





MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 2013

{Review} AlphaPhonics

I n the fall of 2012, I was contacted by David from AlphaPhonics.  He wondered if I would be interested in reviewing their program.  Interestingly enough, it's one that had been recommended to me by a long-time homeschooling mom just a few months earlier in an online forum.  I had seriously contemplated purchasing it before making the choice to go with My Father's World Kindergarten.

I replied to David, letting him know that we had already decided upon a different program.  I told him that I would be glad to review it, try the first 10 lessons with my son, and share our experience here on Our Little Monkeys.

We've done that now, and I have to say that I see a lot of value in AlphaPhonics!  I thought I'd offer up a list of pros and cons that we've experienced or that I have noticed as we've worked on AlphaPhonics or paged through the book.

PROS

You will *LOVE* the price tag!  As I type this (1/14/2013), the price on Amazon is $23.07 for the COMPLETE program.  Normally, it's $34.95, so this is a pretty good deal!  (By complete, I mean that your child will be able to read pretty much ANY word or sentence by the time you complete this program.)

  • It's open and go!  You and your child can complete the reading lesson in about 15 minutes while snuggling together on the couch.  (That's what Alex & I did!)

  • It takes a very systematic approach to learning phonics, starting with the alphabet and slowly building up to words like character, gymnast, and scholastic as you reach the final lessons.

  • No writing is involved in this program, so you may use AlphaPhonics even if your child does not yet have the fine motor skills necessary for handwriting.

  • The program comes with a DVD option for completing AlphaPhonics on your computer.

  • You may go at your own pace.  That's why we I'm reviewing this program several months after we received it --- “ we took our time going through the first 10 lessons.  I don't believe in pushing a child to read, but working at their pace.  We did a lesson once or twice a week, but sometimes --- if a lesson seemed to challenge Alex- we'd repeat that lesson rather than moving on to a new one.

  • You may use it with a learner of any age.  There's nothing that an older student or struggling reader would find to be “baby-ish”.

  • It's all contained in one spiral-bound book.  The first half of the book contains the student reading lessons, and the second part of the book contains the Teacher's Manual. The student pages are white, and the teacher pages are a creamy color so that you can easily find what you're looking for.

  • It's entirely reusable!  You can use it with every child in your family, and you'll never have to pay another penny for a phonics program again.

  • Alpha-Phonics is a beautifully hand-lettered book.  The writing almost looks like calligraphy, yet it is easy for a young child to read.

  • David from Alpha-Phonics was prompt in replying to my e-mails and answering my questions regarding this review.  While I can't imagine anyone having trouble with Alpha-Phonics, it's good to know that you'll receive prompt, kind customer service!

  • This program's original copyright is © 1983.  It has been able to stand up to the test of time! 

student lessons 3 & 4

CONS (if you can call them that --- I really didn't see true cons!)

  • If you are looking for something hands-on, this is not your program. (Although, quite honestly, I think you could easily use magnetic letters to add some fun to the lessons!  If we weren't using MFW K, that's EXACTLY what I would be doing with Alex right now.)

  • If you are looking for a program that will offer lots of colorful pictures to catch your child's attention, this is not your program.

  • If you're looking for cute stories using simple phonics, this is not your program.

  • The lowercase a is not the typical ball & stick style of a.  It's more like the lowercase a's that you'll find in this post if you are reading it directly on my blog.  (Now that is admittedly NITPICKY, and it's not really a con.  It didn't bother us in the slightest, but I know that some would really prefer a ball & stick style for their young learners.)

  • Honestly, that's all I can think of.  Our personal choices have led us in a different direction for phonics instruction, but there really aren't any negatives to this traditional, systematic phonics approach to teaching reading.

teacher pages, lessons 3 & 4

If you are looking for a low-cost, highly effective way to teach phonics to your child, this might be a wonderful option for your family!

You can find this program on Amazon and read lots of wonderful review there, as well, by clicking on the image below:

 

By the way, the Kindle edition of AlphaPhonics (which I have NOT tried) 
is available for $9.99 by clicking on the image below:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the AlphaPhonics book and CD set in exchange for a review on my blog.  All opinions are my own.  This post contains Amazon affiliate links.






Alphaphonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers


Basic. Simple. Long-lasting. Used with all of our five children to learn how to read. The phonics book that has been the go-to teaching tool in our family. Alphaphonics by Sam Blumenfeld is a full, logical resource for teaching students of all ages to learn to read.

"If you have never taught reading before in this sensible, systematic way, you will be pleasantly surprised." ~Samuel L. Blumenfeld

Can be used for:

  • teaching reading to beginners of all ages
  • older students in need of remediation and retraining
  • dyslexics
  • special-needs students
  • learning disabled
  • non-English speakers who wish to learn to read English and improve their pronunciation
  • a supplement to any other reading program or one lacking phonics instruction

We enjoy the fun sentences and hodge podge!

Benefits:

  • Easy to use.
  • Spiral bound.
  • All in one place.
  • Reusable (as the website says and we have proven!)

What is included:

  • 128 student lessons, all hand-lettered
  • Teacher's manual: introduction, our alphabetic system, teaching the alphabet, teaching the letter sounds, some practical suggestions, isolating the letter sounds
  • order of lessons
  • English alphabetic system
  • introducing cursive, including cursive alphabet
  • prereading alphabet exercises
  • Introduces simple sentences right away for motivation.

Also available:

Preparation and how we use Alphaphonics in our home: Other than reading the introduction and other teacher sections when I first purchased the book, there was no daily teacher prep for me. The last two years I placed the Alphaphonics book in my preschooler then kindergartener's one, large workbox. The Alphaphonics book was there for us to leave open for the next day's practice. You might like to see all thegentle and easy ways of reading we use at Hodgepodge.

Now, my four-year-old has the pleasure of Alphaphonics. I can say, after over a decade of using Alphaphonics, that it produces a strong reading base. All of our children easily recognized letter sounds with Alphaphonics practice. They were then excited to read real books. Alphaphonics builds confidence for a lifetime of reading.

What a privilege to see and hear the reading excitement in each of our five children!








MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2012

Alpha Phonics

Our 7 year old has really struggled with learning to read.  While he has already completed 2 reading curriculums/programs, the material just hasn't stuck with him and learning to read just hasn't "clicked" for him yet.  Several people told me boys read later than girls and once he is ready to read, it will "click" and he will take off reading.  However, the Momma in me couldn't help but worry about it.  Come to find out he was slightly dyslexic and that played a part in his learning to read too. I finally just quit trying to make him learn to read and waited on him to desire to learn to read and guess what....he finally did!  I had the opportunity to use Alpha-Phonics with him once he began to desire to learn to read.  
Alpha-Phonics is a primer for beginning readers that is based on phonetic learning and awareness.  This primer introduces just one vowel at a time and focuses on all possible word families of that vowel before moving onto the next sound.  Basically your child will learn all 44 different sounds as well as how to put them together fluently for reading.  While there many different methods of learning to read, let me share with you why learning phonetically is so important in the life of a child.  
Students who are taught using phonics are required to learn 4 basic sounds of the English language - each letter of the alphabet, long and short vowels and groups of letters (sh, th, ph, str, etc.).  Phonics can help students develop a reading vocabulary of 24,000 words by the end of 4th grade.  (Indoctrination book, pg. 73)

Alpha-Phonics feature 128 lessons starting with short vowel sounds, followed by consonant blends and then long vowel sounds.  This primer contains all black and white text.  There are no pictures and no distracting elements.  One thing I loved about this primer is that because there are no pictures to give our son hints as to what the word is so when he can identify the word we know that he actually knows the word and isn't just looking at the picture instead of truly knowing the word.  The lessons are short and don't take long to complete. That is a bonus too because the lessons are just the right length and don't take so long that the child loses interest or gets tired or bored. Best of all, you can complete the book at your own pace.  If your child needs a little more time on one particular section (like blending or irregular vowels) then you can take all the time you need until your child feels confident with that lesson.  

While Alpha-Phonics starts with simple words like "am", "has", "Sam", etc. by the end of the book they will be reading words like "philosopher", "ghoul", "obnoxious", etc.  As you can tell by the picture above, Wyatt is using what he has already learned in the early lessons to start reading leveled reading books!  He is so proud of himself when he can read a book entirely by himself and this new found confidence is encouraging him to continue trying hard and learning with each lesson in Alpha-Phonics.  

Alpha-Phonics is a spiral bound manual that is designed to be used in both a classroom and homeschool setting.  The Teacher's Manual is included in the back of the book to keep the necessary materials in one book.  The Teacher's Manual is extremely easy to use and very informative and explanatory too.  You can purchase Alpha-Phonics for just $34.95 on their website. There is also an included computer CD in the front of the book which basically contains the Teacher's Manual.  One neat feature on the computer CD is that you can print each lesson with the teacher's instructions and the student lesson on one page so you don't have to flip back and forth during the lesson.  

We are loving Alpha-Phonics and are so thankful for a simple, basic program to teach our son how to read. If you're looking for a quick, simple and well-laid out reading program I highly recommend you check out Alpha-Phonics.   




traveling sisterhood

Tuesday, October 23

Alpha-Phonics Review and Curriculum Giveaway!

Using her Alpha-Phonics Workbook
I love finding new homeschool curriculum like Alpha-Phonics.  It's convenient for me (lesson prep takes about 2 minutes), fun for my kiddos, easy to use for all of us, and it's something that I can adapt for use with all of my children based on their level.  Last year, I realized that my children each needed daily one-on-one reading time with me.  Group classroom time during homeschooling just wasn't enough.  Now, during Art or Free time, I take turns with them.  We sit in my room where it's nice and quiet and have our one-on-one reading time. We do an Alpha-Phonics lesson and then read a book together--their choice.

I found Alpha-Phonics in one of my favorite homeschool magazines just last year but it turns out they've been teaching kids to read for a really long time--over 30 years! Tried and true, I'd say.  It goes very well with the on-line supplemental program we use, Reading Eggs.  It's easy to match up the lessons, and combining the two makes it all very rewarding and fun.

Besides being a great curriculum, the customer service at Alpha-Phonics is amazing and they've got such great vision for our children!  Alpha-Phonics' publisher Peter Watt told me, "We view our business as much a ministry as it is a business.  We are in the business of saving little minds."  I like that very much!  

We've now been using the Alpha-Phonics primer for months.  We've just recently also begun using the Little Companion Readers and Workbook.  Today, we read "Velvet the Tomcat", a reader focusing on short vowels through lesson 42.  You can see Lulu reading excerpts in our video... all went smoothly until her little brother tried to jump into the "movie"!  





The Prize!
GIVEAWAY!
One of my readers will win the same Alpha-Phonics items we received including:
 
  • Alpha-Phonics Primer w/ CD-ROM version (including teacher's manual and lesson plans)
  • Alpha-Phonics Workbook (including spelling rules)
  • 10 Little Companion Readers   

Fill out the form below by November7th when I'll choose a winner via Random.org.  In the meantime, checkout all the other great items you can get from the Alpha-Phonics Store!  They also sell McGuffey Readers, Jensen's Grammars, books on cursive writing, and lots of other great things that can be hard to find, especially all in one handy dandy place.







Chestnut Grove Academy

My Photo
Hawaii, United States
I have a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. I'm happily married to a great guy, we are in our 9th year now and we have three sons. I'm an Usborne Book Consultant, a Home Schooling Mom, I like to cook and get my craft on and ...I'm a Mormon! I have lots of blessings, and lots to be thankful for! We are very eclectic in our homeschooling style, I don't believe there is a one size fits all curriculum, we lean more towards Montessori, Classical and Charlotte Mason, but you'll find us all over the board!

Review Alpha-Phonics

APBook2

I was given the opportunity to take a look at the Alpha-Phonics program, and I have to say that I was quite pleased with what I have seen.

Alpha-Phonics was listed as on of the 100Top Picks by Cathy Duffy (a book that I used to help me pick curriculum for my children). 

I loved the simplicity of this program, which now also contains a Cd-Rom.  There are no fancy bells or whistles; many times those things can distract a young child when trying to learn to read.  (I know pictures were always a major distraction for my son).  The Cd-Rom is a nice addition, because the child (and the adult) can hear the proper pronunciation of the sounds/words that are being introduced.  I know as adults, we have our own bad habits, so it's nice to have the CD to improve on ourselves, and not pass those bad habits on to our children. 

It is necessary that the child already know their ABCs and the sounds associated with them before starting this program. 

The manual consists of 129 lessons as well as a Parent/Teacher manual.  The print on the lessons is large, and easily readable.This program is suitable for a variety of learning styles-thanks to the Cd-Rom. 

You can get both the spiral bound book and CD-Rom for one LOW Price of $34.95.






Tea Time with Annie Kate Rotating Header Image

Review: Alpha-Phonics by Blumenfeld


Although Alpha-Phonics has been around for years, I did not have access to it when my children were learning to read.  That is too bad.  It would have saved us quite some tears and frustration. 

Alpha-Phonics is a clear, simple, and inexpensive systematic phonics program that can be used on its own or in conjunction with another program.  It is suitable for beginning readers and is also a resource for those who need special help.  The program consists of

  • a book including both Student's Lessons and a Teacher's Manual, and
  • a CD-ROM, complete with sound.

Beginning with short vowel sounds, Alpha-Phonics introduces new consonants and vowel sounds gradually, with ample practice in reading simple words and sentences.  In 128 lessons it moves from blending "a" and "m,"  resulting in "am," to reading words like "synthetic" and "mystical," covering all 44 sounds of the English language.  Each lesson covers one phonics topic and is presented very simply in elegant black lettering on a white page.  There are absolutely no pictures, colors, or other distractions from the letters and words themselves.

Any word that does not follow the rule being studied is surrounded by a box to help students remember and to highlight the fact that most of the words do follow the rules.

As we all know, spelling is the other side of phonics; once a student understands what sounds letters make, it is, obviously, easier to write down the letters that make those sounds. Occasionally spelling rules are specifically shown, such as doubling consonants before adding (ing,) and at other times you will need to remember to point them out.   

Each lesson has brief instructions in the Teacher's Manual at the back of the book as well as on the CD-ROM, but you do have to plan your own method to help your child practice the lesson:  reading aloud, dictation, copywork, making up practice sentences, spelling lessons, and so on.  After all, Alpha-Phonics was written for classroom teachers who usually make up lesson plans.  It is, however, very easy to adapt to homeschooling, although it might frustrate moms who like workbooks.

The CD-ROM contains the entire contents of the book as well as three talks by the author.  For each lesson, there are written teacher instructions, spoken teacher instructions including the pronunciation of the phonics sounds being studied, and finally the student page. 

I did notice the one problem with phonics instruction:  Occasionally local pronunciations are involved. For example, where I live and according to my dictionary,  "song" and "long" follow the same pattern as "gong" and "bong".  However, from the CD-ROM, it is obvious that Dr. Blumenfeld pronounces the "g" at the end of "gong" and "bong" but probably not at the end of "song" and "long".  Such subtleties make the CD-ROM invaluable.  (Our older children learned phonics from a British textbook and the pronunciation differences were dramatic and almost insurmountable; with Alpha-Phonics they are easy to manage.)

If Miss 10's reading and spelling do not improve soon - very soon - we may go through Alpha-Phonics as remedial work.  Even just reviewing all the phonics concepts in an organized way could make a huge difference for her, and if not, the process will help us to understand what the problem is.  We used a combination of phonics and sight words to teach Miss 10 to read; in hindsight, straight phonics would have worked better for her.

Alpha-Phonics would be a helpful accompaniment to reading programs that use sight words, such as the Pathway Reader series that we used.  For anyone considering the All About Spelling program (reviewed here) and the All About Reading readers (reviewed here and here), Alpha-Phonics is much less expensive as well as simpler to use.  Although it is less hands-on than All About Spelling, I think it would be every bit as effective unless you have a child who really needs hands-on learning opportunities.  

Like Cathy Duffy and Mary Pride, who have done so for years, I am pleased to recommended Alpha-Phonics.  

You can buy the Alpha-Phonics program directly from the publishers or from most homeschool curriculum vendors.  Currently the CD-ROM is free with the purchase of the book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Alpha-Phonics in order to review it.  This review presents my own honest opinions, and I am not compensated for it in any way.






naptime

There is SO much curriculum out there!!  If you.ve ever gone to a homeschool store or convention it can be completely overwhelming!  You can find yourself purchasing things you never intended to or things that you really didn.t need, and the worst is when you find you have stuff you will never use.

There is a tendency to feel like you are cheating your children if you don.t have the newest or most advanced curriculum out there.  Yet, I have found there is really .nothing new under the sun..  Even when I was teaching in the public school system it seemed like there would be a movement to try something trendy and new until it drove teachers and students (not to mention parents) nuts, and then the next time curriculum was purchased it was back to the basics.

One book that can be helpful when starting out and trying to figure out where to navigate the homeschool curriculum maze is Cathy Duffy.s 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

I have had the opportunity to use a curriculum recommended in Cathy Duffy.s book called Alpha Phonics.  It is not flashy or trendy, but it works.  It is basic, it is easy to use and it is straight forward.  Cade took off with reading immediately and with Ella we have found that we are needing to be more intentional and methodical and Alpha Phonics has fit the bill.

One of the reasons this is working so well for Ella is that the lessons are short and she is finding success each day.

The first year we attended Minnesota.s homeschool conference (MACHE) we had a speaker, who owns a local homeschool bookstore, say that Alpha Phonics is what they recommend to parents of non & emerging readers.

The best part is the price.  You get the curriculum on CD AND the book for $35. 

You can spend hundreds of dollars on phonics programs that are huge amounts of preparation for the parent and overwhelming for the child.  This is easy to use, budget friendly, straight forward for your child, and effective.


You can find out more about Alpha Phonics by clicking here.

Blessings to your family,


Sweet Critique: Alpha-Phonics

by Tiffany Manley on August 26, 2012

In my quest to provide you with as many resources as possible, I.m reviewing yet another learn-to-read program. While we don.t necessarily need this at this point in our homeschool, I.m sure many of you do.

Up today is Alpha-Phonics by Samuel L. Blumenfeld. This product is described as .A Primer for Beginning Readers.. Those of you who are fond of phonics programs will love this one.

Designed for parents, this program provides 128 lessons that require little-to-no prep work. By introducing vowel sounds one at a time, and the word families that result, each lesson builds on the next.

Extra bonus? Spelling and handwriting can be incorporated as well.

One of the things that struck me about this approach is that the lesson text is really large; something that would definitely catch the eyes of a little person, and wouldn.t seem so daunting.

The back of the book contains the parent handbook which is very straight-forward. There really isn.t much to complicate this program. It.s very direct and can be used in as little as ten minutes a day.

At only $35.95, I think it.s a great deal for any parent who is looking to help their child learn to read, supplement an existing program, or just build a better foundation.

I like that you can also purchase a CD with all the phonogram sounds. [Since this review was written the CD ROM version of Alpha-Phonics is now included with each book purchased and is FREE] You can make sure that you.re teaching your kids correctly!

Definitely give this a closer look if you.re in this stage of educating your child; it just might be the thing you.ve been looking for!

True Confessions: I was provided with a review copy of this product. All opinions are my own.


August 2012

A while ago I was contacted to place a link to Alpha Phonics as a resource. Being that I only want to ever promote or advertise something I truly and really love and whole heartedly stand behind, I was not willing to do so until I had a chance to check it out for myself and see what I thought of it.

David, from Alpha Phonics, graciously mailed me the book and CD (again, thank you David!). We.ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and I am so totally LOVING the book!

I have two three year olds. They fairly recently turned three so they are really really young and I honestly didn.t expect much when we started. Both my girls know how to phonetically sound out all of the alphabet letters. They.ve been sounding out letters for some time now and we recently put up some large ABC magnets on the fridge for them to play with. I also read to them quite a lot and they absolutely love to try to put letters together and ask us what it says. Since they seem to be really interested in forming words and get that several letters together will actually form a word, I figured it couldn.t hurt to try Alpha Phonics with my girls and see what happens.

I.m going at a much slower pace than is recommended in the book. We go back and review previous lessons because they are so young and they get such joy out of getting the words sounded out correctly.

I am in AWE! Absolute awe! The oldest twin is reading two and three word sentences. She is always begging to read from the .big red book. and constantly asks to do more. I am going at her pace and letting her be the one to tell me how much she wants to do.

My younger twin girl listens in to her sisters reading and she also asks to read but doesn.t seem as interested, which is totally fine! She is, after all, only three!

The other day I was doing the lesson with the older twin and she was stumped on one of the words. My youngest pipes in and reads the word trying to help her sister! I was shocked! So I guess she is soaking it in and is learning right along with her sister.

I am truly impressed with Alpha Phonics and highly recommend this book! I absolutely love that it is a no frills book. You.ll find no pictures or fancy drawings. It is very simple, very short lessons, perfect for little ones with short attention spans. I definitely plan on sticking with this book and have been using it every day with both my little ones.

There is also a CD that this book comes with -it.s perfect in that it is just like the book -no pictures and animated images to distract the child from learning to read. It.s short and easy lessons just as in the book. I can see us eventually using the CD since we very much love incorporating the computer in our children.s education.

As an aside and example of the customer service of Alpha Phonics, the first CD we received didn.t work- we had tried it in several computers and it just wouldn.t do anything. I emailed David about this and he had a replacement shipped just 2 days later, so great customer service!

It is truly an amazing feeling to see your little ones reading! And it makes me feel so good that I am the one that is able to teach them with the aid of this wonderful book.

When it comes to educating our children, sometimes it can feel really quite scary. The doubts on whether we, as parents, can really do this. Can really teach our kids. Having the right tools goes a long way in giving me the confidence I need to teach my girls. This book, in turn, gives my girls the confidence they need, especially when they find themselves succeeding in reading! Nothing like seeing the sparkle in my girls eyes when they realize they are reading like their big sister!

Thank you Alpha Phonics!! Each of my girls give this TWO thumbs up!

Alpha Phonics sent me the book and CD to review. All of the opinions expressed here are my own.

Heather


July 2012

Alpha Phonics, How My Kids Learned to Read

Sticking with the reading theme, since it's time now for Summer Reading Programs, I thought it was past time for a review of the Alpha Phonics reading book. I used Alpha Phonics to teach both my kids to read the summer before they began kindergarten.

Originally, I didn't think I needed a formal reading instruction book. We are big readers in our family. They kids were read to from before birth. Bedtime stories are a ritual, and we read together throughout the daytime as well. Once they knew their letters, and letter sounds, I tried just starting in on some of the very early reader books, like the "Bob Books", and other similar phonics early readers. I believe we were on the third Bob book when I realized that my daughter was not actually reading. She'd been fooling me. She'd look at the pictures, then the first letter or so of the word, and make a good guess. She made it through 2 books perfectly that way. What tripped her up was the word "rag". She read it as "blanket" based on the picture.

That was when I started researching reading programs. So many of them seemed so complicated, with games, and videos, and songs, and. . .oh yes, at last books too. There were some darn pricey ones too. I chose Alpha Phonics in the end because it was simple, and reasonably priced. The Alpha Phonics website offered the first several lessons for free. We used those first, and they went very well. My daughter gained confidence, and since there are no pictures, I knew she could really sound out her words.

The Alpha Phonics book has been everything I wanted in a program for learning to read. Simple, and organized. There is no preparation or extra work I need to do. We just open the book up to where we left off, and work through the next lesson. There are some lessons that are very long in the beginning, and new sounds are repeated over and over for the child to get a good grasp on them. There were usually more than my kids wanted to deal with in a day, so we didn't always do one lesson a day - when we hit those big ones, we just worked thought one page a day instead. We still made great progress, but with less stress.

I still strongly believe that in order to raise kids who love to read, they must live in a house that loves to read. Parents who read to them often, and just as importantly, read for their own pleasure, and let their kids seem them reading do a lot for the child's attitude toward books. But Alpha Phonics has helped us so much too. it made the process of learning to read smooth, natural, and painless. Despite the rather dull appearance of the book, with no flashy colors, and no pictures at all, both of my kids lit up when I pulled it out, ready to work through the next lesson. Although, in all honesty, they both were more resistant in the very beginning, maybe up to around lesson 10 to 15 or so. By then, thought, they had the hang of the program, then knew how it worked, and more importantly, they knew they could do it. It built that sort of confidence in them. It is a program that I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn to read, or to help someone else learn.




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