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Alphabotz Superphonic Decoder Cards Review by Courtney Larson

Ideopolis LLC
17715 Eaglewood Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70810

Alphabotz Superphonic Decoder Cards are a bright, cheerful, and fun set of 50 flashcards. At 10 by 4 inches, they are larger than typical flashcards, and they come in a sturdy storage box that will stand up to a lot of use. They are for ages 3 and up and are meant to be a supplement to a traditional phonics program by providing fun reinforcement.

The 50 cards are divided into the following categories: 18 consonant cards, 3 consonant digraph cards, 5 short vowel cards, 5 long vowel cards, 1 silent "e" card, 5 impersonator cards, 5 vowel team cards, 4 r-controlled vowel cards, 1 Miss Spella Da Books card, 1 Professor Ben Letterman card, and 1 game and activity card. The cards are coded so that the parent can easily discern which category each card belongs in, and the 1 card explains this coding system, as well as the story behind the product.

What makes the Alphabotz Superphonic Decoder Cards distinctive are the alphabotz characters. Each card has a unique colorful and adorable alphabot, along with information about the letter of the alphabet the alphabot represents. For example, the "Mm" card has a picture of the alphabot Marco. He has the letter "M" on his chest and a moon on his head (every alphabot has a key object on his or her head). Below the alphabot, the name is listed ("M is for Marco"), and below the character's name is the letter, shown in both uppercase and lowercase. Below this information are three pictures, along with the names of the items in the pictures. On the "Mm" card, these three pictures are Murphy the Monkey, Moon, and Mushrooms. Finally, below the pictures are the stats for each alphabot. The stats listed are the character's ability (Marco is a magician), his best friend (Murphy the Monkey is Marco's best friend), the key object (Marco's is a moon), his home (Marco lives on the Mushroom in the Magic Mountain), and the character's key phrase ("Monkeys in a mushroom and monsters in a maze, master math and magic squares in the meadow haze!" appears on the "Mm" card). This format is repeated on all of the flashcards.

There is a lot of information on each card, but the cards are not cluttered. The design is such that they are visually appealing. (I think they would be adorable framed and hung on the wall), and the information isn't overwhelming. I found that my boys (10, 9, 7, 6, and 4) couldn't help but pick them up and study them. My readers would read the information themselves, and my non-readers would ask me questions about the alphabot. I only have sons, but I'm sure these cards would appeal to little girls as well (there is a good mix of boy and girl alphabotz characters). There are free extra resources available on the company's website, including a funzine, a few songs, and printable coloring pages of each alphabot. While $19.95 is more than I would typically spend on a set of flashcards, I feel the Alphabotz Superphonic Decoder Cards are worth every penny.

Product review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2010