Alpha-phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers | Samuel L. Blumenfeld


Alpha-phonics | SLB | Presents student’s lessons and a teacher’s manual including Our alphabetic system, Teaching the alphabet, Teaching the letter sounds, Some practical suggestions, and Isolating the letter sounds.

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From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Jan 2010: This program provides wonderful instructions on how to teach their concepts step by step. You start out with a letter chart that has all the letters, both capitals and lower case on it. There are no pictures. The child learns the sounds of all the letters and puts that with the letters on the page. It may not be as visually appealing as some of the preschool reading curriculums you can buy, but there is a reason for that. When [author] Mr. Blumenfeld points out in the introduction that the child needs to identify with the letter, not with a picture, it made perfect sense because my granddaughter has been identifying letters by the pictures that are beside them [in another program]. Instead of saying the buh sound when she sees a B, she says bear. We have been using Alpha-phonics for a couple of weeks now, and she is now beginning to identify letters with sounds instead of a particular word. After the sounds are learned, you teach how the sounds go together to make a word: a and t make at, a and m make am. Then comes another letter: r and at make rat. After a few lessons, the child is identifying sound combinations and reading words and even sentences. One vowel is introduced at a time, and all the possible combinations with that vowel are explored before moving on to another. I like the fact that there is no special coding or symbols that the child has to learn as they are learning to read and then unlearn later because those codes and symbols are not used in common practice. The price of this program is the really sweet icing on the cake. Most beginning reading programs I have investigated have been very expensive. They had a lot of plastic parts with them and other accessories and were in nice pretty containers, but they really did not have any more to offer than this [Alpha-Phonics] program. When you have everything you need right there for $ 34.95 [Flash: is it now ONLY $ 24.95!], why would you care that there are no pretty pictures. Anyone that s looking for a reading program, either to help a struggling reader or to start a little one to read, would do well to purchase this curriculum. I am very impressed with the simplicity of process and how effective it has proven to be. Review by Christine Hindle, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, January 2010 – –Christine Hindle, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, January 2010

Review by Karen Andreola: Reminding us to be satisfied with moderation, my mother used to say: …a little dab will do ya… With this in mind, I want to reassure you that it is not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars on an elaborate phonics [reading instruction] course. There is an alternative that is amazingly simple and direct-its called …sounding out… Instead of using dancing cartoon figures or sing-songy ditties (meant to amuse, but which often distract), a child simply looks at the letter or word and repeats after you. When a child has learned to recognize each letter of the alphabet by its sound, you can introduce the blending of letter sounds. Frequent practice plus some review will be needed, but this gradual work can be accomplished in 10 minutes a day with Alpha-Phonics. This program is the little dab of phonics I gave my children each day for their…at, mat, cat, hat, sat…sort of practices. And it was plenty. The large child-sized, handwritten [calligraphy] letters are read by the student right out of the book. Short words are read in columns. (No need to read all the columns on the page in one sitting.) Whole sentences are introduced using words previously practiced. An inexpensive non-consumable course, complete with teacher s manual and lesson plan. Grades K through 4. Review by Karen Andreola, homeschooling, February 2011. Karen Andreola has been a main reviewer for Christian Book Distributors for many years. Karen has written several books on homeschooling and for a number of years published the magazine: Parents Review. She is also a frequent speaker at homeschool conventions. Alpha-Phonics is also recommended by leading homeschooling product reviewers Mary Pride and Cathy Duffy. Alpha-Phonics is also regularly recommended by The Robinson Curriculum organization. –Review by Karen Andreola,,Feb 2011

Excerpts from Cathy Duffy s book: Alpha-Phonics Sam Blumenfeld s classic phonics manual, provides comprehensive phonics instruction in a simple, straightforward manner, a parent works through the lessons with his or her child, working from the book. Print is very large, making it suitable for young readers. The methodology is solid phonics. Blending is taught via the vowel-consonant method with initial consonants added next (e.g., am taught first followed by Sam and ham). Words are taught in families (e.g., an, ban, can, Dan, fan, Jan). However, many nonsense syllables are included in the early stages to help students develop phonetic fluency. Students practice quite a few such lists, but they also move quickly into reading actual sentences. The program does not use pictures as do many other programs. The print is very large and clear with no illustrations or other distractions. The intent is that students concentrate on the letters themselves so they immediately recognize the sounds associated with a letter rather than taking an extra mental step to recall a key word associated with a picture. Alpha-Phonics teaches 44 basic sounds for the [26] letters of the alphabet. It teaches basic phonics rules, but not so many as we find in other programs. Top 100 Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum book by Homeschool Curriculum reviewer Cathy Duffy, Broadman & Holman, Nashville, 2005, pages 81-82 –Top 100 Homeschooling Picks by Cathy Duffy, 2005, pgs.81-82

From the Inside Flap

This book can solve America’s reading problem! Letters to the author from parents; I must write to express my wife’s and my thanks for your excellent book. It has been so valuable to us in teaching our 8-1/2-year-old son, Eric, to read When I started on September 10, Eric was almost totally restricted as a reader. I followed your book’s instructions exactly. Would you believe we went from Lesson 2 through Lesson 27 in two weeks? And by Thanksgiving we had drilled through Lesson 117. Even you wouldn’t believe the results! It was if we were witnessing a miracle Eric is now reading Robinson Crusoe, and is just loving it! He had been having headaches all through second grade and was losing weight. Since he started learning by your method, he hasn’t been sick one day, and has gained weight rapidly to where he has a perfect physique. Needless to say, we are grateful. Thank you so much for your excellent effort in helping countless parents, such as ourselves, in warding off the educational crippling of countless children.W.M.

Westfield, NJ (Now residing in Hendersonville, NC)

My daughter is almost 6 years old and we are home educating her. I have tried a couple of reading programs, most of which were game type learning. None of these produced any results. I recently ordered Alpha-Phonics because I heard Samuel Blumenfeld speak on several shows. Dianna and I are just beginning lesson 5. After going over lessons 3 and 4 Dianna was so excited that she could read that she hugged my neck and told me she loved me. She said, “Oh mommy, my wish is coming true. You and daddy are teaching me to read.” What else can I say? I love this systematic way of teaching reading because it produces immediate results and children, as well as adults, like to see progress. By the way, we only spend five to ten minutes a day on this.

About the Author

Alpha-Phonics author Dr. Samuel L. Blumenfeld is the celebrated author of many books on education. He has taught school in both public and private settings. He has been a sought after lecturer at numerous homeschool and other types of educational conferences and workshops. He has written articles for many print publications and is heard often in radio and TV interviews. He has traveled and spoken in every state and in Australia, China, Europe and other countries. He is a native New Yorker who has resided in Massachusetts for many years

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