Friday, June 28, 2013

Alpha-Phonics review

I recently received an Alpha Phonics program to review.  I had never heard of Alpha Phonics and as I have a 5 year old that is eager to learn to read and a 3 year old that will not be far behind her this was a great time for me to review this product.

I've gone through the process of teaching 4 (going on 5) kids to read so far.  One thing I've found is that just as all of these children are different in so many ways, their learning styles are also.  I've yet to find anything that will be just the right fit for all of them.  I doubt this will be the ultimate, perfect for everyone program.  But it does look good.

The first thing I did was read over the Teacher's manual introduction.  I liked that they took the time to explain the history writing, the development of alphabetic systems and our alphabet.  The lessons and materials are all quite simple.  I like simple, quick and easy; so do my kids.  I don't want to spend a bunch of time preparing for reading lessons, and little ones have short attention spans.

Pros to Alpha-phonics
-It starts out simple.  If your child does not yet recognize the letters of the alphabet, you start there.  If they do then you start with lesson 1.
-Even in lesson 1 your child will read simple words.  This is very encouraging to your child (and you).
-It is laid out in a very orderly manner moving your child right along.
-The teacher's manual tells you what to say, and what information to give the child in each lesson.
-The lessons not only teach reading, but grammar as well.  Example; in lesson 2 kids learn that names of people need to be capitalized.  Lesson 3 includes the explanation that sentences start with a capital letter (name or not) and end with a period.
-It offers simple writing exercise suggestions with many lessons.
-No silly pictures and foolish stories.  (though the Little Companion Readers you can get to go along with Alpha-Phonics do have pictures and cute stories)

-The first thing I noticed when I received the Alpha-phonics books was that it had a bit of a low quality production look, and had an outdated look.
-No pictures may be boring for children, though I find that pictures can be distracting.
-The program intends that both the student(s) and teacher have their own books.  I had only one and did not want to purchase a second.  The problem... The teacher's manual is in the back making it hard to give instructions while the child is using the book (I need the instructions in front of me; that's just how I function best).  I worked around this by removing the teacher's manual from the back of the book and using it separately; easy enough to fix, but worth noting.

I'm enjoying using this book with my daughter and she is excited to sit down to her lesson everyday.  It is working well for us so far.  Would I recommend it to a friend?  I would happily list it among the effective products I've used over the years when talking over reading lesson options with a friend.

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