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Alpha Phonics Review by Christine Hindle

By Samuel Blumenfeld
Alpha Phonics
PO Box 4516
Boise, ID 83711

Alpha Phonics includes a spiral-bound instruction book and a CD with the same information. This program provides wonderful instructions on how to teach their concepts step by step. You start out with a letter chart that has all the letters, both capitals and lowercase on it. There are no pictures. The child learns the sounds of the letters and puts that with the letters on the page. It may not be as visually appealing as some of the preschool reading curriculums you can buy, but there is a reason for that.

When Mr. Blumenthal pointed out in the instructions that the child needs to identify the sound with the letter, not with a picture, it made perfect sense to me because my granddaughter has been identifying letters by the pictures that are beside them on her alphabet chart. Instead of saying the "buh" sound when she sees a B, she says "bear." We have been using Alpha Phonics for a couple of weeks now, and she is now beginning to identify letters with sounds instead of a particular word. After the sounds are learned, you teach how the sounds can go together to make a word: a and t make at, a and m make am. Then comes another letter: r and at make rat. After just a few lessons, the child is identifying sound combinations and reading words and even sentences. One vowel is introduced at a time, and all the possible word combinations with that vowel are explored before moving on to another. I like the fact that there is no special coding or symbols that the child has to learn as they are learning to read and then unlearn later because those codes and symbols are not used in common practice.

The CD is a digital version of the book. It contains an audible introduction and conclusion by Dr. Blumenfeld and also gives you the option to either read the teacher instructions for each lesson or have them read to you. This is very helpful if the parent/teacher is an auditory learner. You can use this CD book to print out pages or to display them on your computer screen and give the lesson on the computer.

The price of this program is the really sweet icing on the cake. Most beginning reading programs I have investigated have been very expensive. They had a lot of little plastic parts with them and other accessories and were in nice pretty containers, but they really did not have any more to offer than this program. When you have everything you need right here for $29.95, why would you care that there are no pretty pictures?

Anyone that's looking for a reading program, either to help a struggling reader or to start teaching a little one to read, would do well to purchase this curriculum. I am very impressed with the simplicity of the process and how effective it has proven to be.

Product review by Christine Hindle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2010