Like all educational materials, homeschool curriculum change over the years, becoming more modern and ‘relevant’ to the times. My son’s text-books are full color and exciting. Mine were black and white and rarely had images in them. While I’m not against the colorful changes I am often disappointed at the departure from simplicity and teaching things the old way. Teaching phonics is something that comes and goes like a fad. One decade calls is revolutionary (really?) and the next thinks it’s old fashion. I learned to read at age four because my mom found some amazing phonics curriculum to help me make sense of what I was already figuring out on my own. That curriculum was Sam Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics. I remember the big red book being a part of daily learning so when someone from their outreach department emailed me out of the blue a few months back and asked if I’d like to review their curriculum I was giddy!
Sam Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics Curriculum – A True Classic
I think my favorite thing about this curriculum, other than that it works, is that it really hasn’t changed. The book I’m using for my son looks just like the book I used. They even continue to print the books in the same old type-face! And, they explain why they do so.
Alpha-Phonics is not a bright and flashy material. It is very basic; black ink on white paper. The lessons are clearly marked. The rules of phonics are outlined effectively and everything flows smoothly. My son is currently on lesson 44 and is just breezing along. He actually enjoys it because it’s easy for him.
While the main book has remained the same, some new materials have been added. I love that the package now comes with a DVD version, a workbook and several small beginner readers that go along with what your kid is learning. These additional tools aren’t needed to teach your child, but the readers are an especially nice touch because having something your child can read will boost his confidence! I know mine can’t read just any book off his shelf and that discourages him. When I give him a reader appropriate to his level of learning and he doesn’t have to struggle to read it he gets excited!
Where to Buy Alpha-Phonics
Our Review of the Alpha-Phonics Curriculum
My son started reading last year thanks to a hand-me-down version of another program I used as a kid. However, I quickly realized it wasn’t suited to his learning style and other than using the readers we stopped focusing so much on reading. I knew when he turned seven just before entering second grade that we’d need to focus more on reading. We’re five weeks into our school year and already on lesson 44 of Alpha-Phonics. We’ve been breezing right through, using what he already knows as review, and introducing new concepts and rules as we go. My son is picking it up fast and really moving forward with this book. He’s excited and I’m excited. It’s fun to watch him grasp something new and using this curriculum brings back exciting memories of learning myself.