{Review} Alpha-Phonics

Over the years I have tried quite a few products aimed at teaching your child how to read. From workbooks to computer games to hands-on learning products. I have made my own and I have used others. And when I look back over the years of teaching my kids how to read, I can see which products were used and forgotten and which were used over and over. And what I have learned, is that we prefer the simple and the plain when it comes to reading and phonics products. So when I was approached by the creators of Alpha-Phonics to try their product, I was ready to give it a try and see if it would work for my current struggling reader.

What is Alpha-Phonics?

 On the front cover of the Alpha-Phonics books states this well. It describes Alpha-Phonics as:

"An effective, setp-by-step, intensive phonics program for teaching reading to beginners of all ages. Designed for easy use by teachers, tutors, and parents"

And that is exactly what it is. The Alpha-Phonics primer is one book, with no frills, no pictures, no characters and no color. It reminds me very much of the old 1900 primers I used to use with my older kids when they were learning to read. The book is all inclusive- with lessons, teachers manual and pre-reading exercises all included in the same book.

Alpha-Phonics also sells optional resources to go along with the Alpha-Phonics textbook. These include Alpha-Phonics & How To Tutor Phonics Workbook and the Alpha-Phonics & How To Tutor Little Companion Readers. These can be used in conjunction with the textbook to enhance learning and solidify skills.

How We Used Alpha-Phonics

I am currently working with my 6 1/2 year old on learning to read. He has a base knowledge but was having a hard time picking up speed and moving forward. We were given a copy of the Alpha-Phonics textbook, the optional workbook and the companion readers. We started Alpha-Phonics at the beginning but proceeded quickly through the early lessons,  sometimes doing a few per sitting since they were review for him.

The textbook is set up so that the child learns something new- a letter sound, a blend, etc and practices reading words using that new item. Then the following lesson focuses on practicing reading sentences containing the new and previously learned sounds.

At this time I chose not to use the supplemental workbook, but we did use the Little Companion Readers. My son is very stubborn, to the point where I often don't know what his actual reading level is because half the time he refuse to try just because he wants to. We worked through one, or 2 lessons, per day together. Each week I gave him one of the companion readers to read silently to himself. Each of the kids have a required 30-60 min block of silent reading per day. He was to read the book to himself each day, coming to me if he got stuck. At the end of the week, or when he was ready, he would then read the book aloud to me. Doing it this way took his attitude out of the equation and having him read the book multiple times meant that he had a chance to pick up speed in his reading. Often by the time he read aloud he could read it at a normal rate and even add in some inflections.

The Bottom Line

I really enjoyed the Alpha-Phonics program and it's simplicity. I think my son's reading has improved in the past months that we have used it. I use it in conjunction with his previous language workbooks and our own collection of early readers. 

What I liked most:
  • As I have said a few times, simple is so much better for me and this is as simple and no-frills as you can get. 
  • I like that it is for any age- even adults can learn to read with this program without fear that it is too "kiddie".
  • The price is very reasonable  for a curriculum that can be used on any age, over and over again. 
  • It works. My struggling reader picked up speed and confidence. He fought against it less and learned more.
What I struggled with.....well I am not sure I have anything I can list here. But if you enjoy a more flashy program or if you need a script of what to say, Alpha-Phonics probably isn't for you.  If your kids want and thrive on the busyness of a character-covered page, you probably should skip this one. But if you want a reasonably priced curriculum that will do what it promises, I don't think you will be disappointed with Alpha-Phonics.


For More Information:

If you head over to the Alpha-Phonics website you will find videos and talks from the creator as well as videos from parents using Alpha-Phonics. You will find links on how to purchase as well as information on the entire line of products. 

You can watch one of these videos below:

 If you give Alpha-Phonics a try, let me know if you like it as much as I did!