Alpha-Phonics Review

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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.

Alpha-Phonics

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.

For More Information:

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

*Giveaway!!* {ended 9/24/13} For more chances to win great prizes check out our current giveaways!

Thank-you to my amazing Co-Host ABC Creative Learning!

Alpha-Phonics

Alpha-Phonics is giving one lucky reader the chance to win the Alpha-Phonics textbook and CD-Rom. The giveaway will run from 9/10 through 9/24 at 11:00pm Central Time. It is open to US residents ages 18 and older. Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.

 
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Comments

  1. Kelly Brown says:

    Definitely my linen closet is a challenge for me!

  2. You are never too old to learn!

  3. Roy Claycomb says:

    The curriculum uses McGuffey’s readers. Awesome!

  4. I began homeschooling my son when he was in 3rd grade. My first thought was that I was glad I didn’t have to teach him phonics. But after awhile I was disappointed that we did not get that opportunity. Or should I say that I did not get the opportunity…to learn phonics. I learned to read only with sight words & I am pretty bad at phonics. Both my children sang songs about the vowels & what sounds they made & I couldn’t even remember each sound fast enough to sing along.

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