Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers Review

Introduction

Alpha-Phonics is a step-by-step, effective program which has taught a lot of children who are homeschooled to read. This includes older individuals who are also under the struggling reader category, as well as those who are dyslexic and those suffering from other reading related conditions. This book can be used either as a standalone tool or a supplement to currently used programs. It is equipped with a highly systematic phonetic approach which will certainly assist students in establishing a logical framework, which is highly useful for reading in English.

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Important Features

Here are some of the features of this book:

  • Step-by-step, effective program
  • Can be used either as a standalone or a supplement
  • Systematic lessons
  • Kinesthetic activities integrated
  • Hand-lettered, black-and-white pages
  • Scripted example lesson
  • CD-ROM edition included
  • Teacher/Student Screens

Features of Alpha-Phonics

Students start by learning all about short vowels, as well as consonants, before they move to learning about consonant blends which first teach final blends, and then back to initial blends. Afterwards, students start learning about long vowels together with the other forms and types in which they occur. By moving from very simple to complex lessons through drill and practice exercises, students will start building skills and competency, thus further increasing their self-confidence.

The alphabet is orally and visually produced by making the children repeat the letters that are pointed by the teacher to them, and also through the overall integration of different kinesthetic activities. The book comes with black and white, hand lettered pages which are primarily designed to help in teaching children without, or just minimal distraction. The lessons also come with a scripted example which offers a format, and an example that the teachers can follow as they continue with the lesson.

There are also short lesson instructions which are given for each of the lessons that are presented in the back. There is also an order of different lessons, a list of the most used English spelling words, as well as pre-reading alphabet exercises which are also incorporated. All in all, this book contains 168 pages, and comes with a comb binding and plastic protector for a cover. Each of the included 128 lessons within the book is also reproduced on CD-ROM form right in the same way that they appear in the book. At the same time, both printed and spoken instructions are also included, with lessons not requiring the use of a keyboard. In fact, you only need to use the mouse.

An extra tool is the CD-ROM edition of the book, which combines each of the different aspects included in the lessons, with the extra advantage of the included computer based course. Also, the teacher/student screen also includes a sidebar for both instructions and navigation, allowing you to browse through any lesson included in the program. On the other hand, the student screens also highlight the lesson in extra-large font without any hassle or distractions.

Pros

  • very systematic
  • easy to follow step-by-step process
  • reviews of previous materials are a big help
  • affordable
  • extensive word list used

Cons

  • some users complain that the version for certain reading tools are not well done (Kindle, for instance)

Summary

Alpha-Phonics is a celebrated phonics reading instruction tool introduced by Samuel L. Bluemenfield. It combines all the elements of both the printed book, and the CD format that goes along with it. For instance, with the CD, you can expect all 128 lessons right in the very same way that they appear in the main book. The CD is very easy to use, with an auto start feature which enables it to open directly to the lessons after you put in to the CD drive. The book is also highly appreciated by parents who decide to let their children study at home. Among the feedback there was praise for the book as a very effective program which has already taught a lot of children the art of reading.

Aside from children, this book has also benefited those who are older, but are struggling due to certain reading related issues, such as dyslexia. It can be used both as a standalone program, which means that it is used as your primary tool for teaching students how to read, or it can also serve as a supplement for a different program. With this tool, students will be helped in building a logical framework that is effective for reading English.

With the use of this book, students learn how to read short vowels, alongside consonants, first, before they start focusing on the blends and combinations of consonants. This is done by teaching first the final blends, before starting with the initial blends. As such, the students can also learn the use of long vowels, together with several other forms in which these combinations occur, from very simple, to complex forms. To ensure students understand what they are learning, there are a variety of different practices as well as drill exercises. With this method, students are expected to build skills and competency, and at the same time increase their self-confidence.

What parents and teachers really love about the use of Alpha-Phonics is the fact that it also comes with a scripted sample lesson which offers a format together with an example that can be followed by teachers as they go through each and every lesson. There are also instructions for the short lessons. As a guide, there is an order of lessons, a pre-reading alphabet exercise, and a list of the commonly used spelling forms in English.

And of course, as mentioned, the book does not come alone, but with a CD-ROM edition which combines all of the aspects the way they are presented in the book. The use of this book in teaching students how to read has been embraced positively, as shown by the positive feedback on Amazon, and even other retailer sites, giving proof to its overall effectiveness as a learning tool.

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