What can I say about Alpha-phonics?! It’s been an amazing program for teaching my son how to read. We started the program when he was around 4 years and 2 months on Lesson 1. I had never taught anyone to read before, and I thought, well “here it goes…let’s see what happens!”
To my surprise, he started learning to read almost immediately! He already knew the letters and their sounds for the most part, so it was just a matter of him understanding how to blend them all together, all of the rules, etc. There were times earlier on where I had to really struggle with him to do the lessons (they aren’t particularly colorful or fun) but we persevered and I could tell that it was working very well. The hardest lesson to get through of the whole book was definitely Lesson 14. It contains 5 pages of C-V-C “words.” However, they are not all words, but syllables rather that could all be part of words. We had to split this lesson over a whole week back then. Some people might not appreciate that the child is reading nonsense words, but I really think this lesson helped prepare him for seeing all sorts of letter combinations while reading.
My son is now flying through the lessons and will sometimes complete two a day. Since we started, we have only done this 3 days a week, or 4 if Classical Conversations is not in session. 8 months later we have about 35 more lessons to go and my son is reading at an early second grade level. (I have figured this out using the Scholastic Book Wizard tool and entering the books he is reading on his own.)
For many of the earlier lessons, I wrote them on the white board. It made the long lists of words more approachable for my son. Sometimes I would let him erase the words after he read them…we would try different things to keep him engaged and focused depending on the day. Also, sometimes as I wrote his reading lesson on the board, he would write one for me on other the board from one of his other phonics books (we have two small ones instead of one big one…way cheaper!). So he would practice his writing for the day while he thought he was actually just playing! At this point, he is often reading straight from the book and putting dots by the words he has read and this gives him a sense of accomplishment.
I cannot recommend Alpha-phonics highly enough. It has given my son an amazing start in his reading and language arts journey. Next up for us is beginning All About Spelling in his first official homeschool year – Kindergarten!