If you are a parent of a preschooler or primary school child, you are familiar with Alphablocks. My younger son Eddie is a big fan of the magazine and TV programme. These cute cheeky little characters help him to learn about phonics and encourage him to start reading. Eddie is enrolled in the Bug Club, a whole school reading programme for primary school children, which combines books and games online.
He absolutely loves the Bug Club, and also enjoys the tasks set in the Alphablocks magazines. One of the latest issues had a set of cards with 3-letter words which he had to trace. He did it with great enthusiasm.
When we found out that the Alphablocks magazine has launched the Alphablocks Reading Programme, which supports the foundation-aged children and helps them to develop and progress with their reading skills, I knew we had to join in. I was right. As soon as the first set of five magazines arrived, Eddie begged me to let him do the tasks.
This clever programme is designed by phonics experts and follows the national curriculum. It consists of 15 Alphablocks Reading Programme magazines and other resources like finger puppets, letter tiles, games and stickers.
We haven't completed all five magazines from the first package yet, but I cannot praise the programme highly enough. It is fun, inspiring and stimulating. When I use the word "we", I mean, I sit with Eddie and explain to him what he has to do, he does all the homework himself. I only motivate and encourage him.
|Word Magic Game|
My younger son loves tracing the letters, reading simple 3-letter words, colouring and completing all the tasks set in magazines.
Magazine no.1 is exploring letters S, A, T, P, I, N, M, D. You can watch the Alphablocks episodes as you work through the magazine. The animation is short and entertaining.
Eddie is 4 years old, and being a July child, one of the youngest in his class. Quite a few of his class mates are turning 5 already, and at this age one year makes a big difference. To help him with his phonics, we read together and play with finger puppets, letter tiles and stickers.
From the homework Eddie brings from school for the weekend, I see that they are learning exactly the same phonics as the first magazines, so these materials and resources are truly reinforcing what the children learn at school.
We go through the magazines slowly, as there is no need to hurry, Eddie needs to learn at his own pace before moving further. We cut out the reading cards from the pages of the magazines.
Eddie is good at reading separate letters (sounds) but still finds it difficult to read them together as a word. The picture on each card is supposed to help children to read the word. Just the other day Eddie made me smile, when I asked him to read the word on one of the cards.
So he goes: T - I - P.
When I asked him which word he has just read, he replied "A bucket".
Finger puppets are another lovely game of phonics which helps to put simple words together.
The programme is done in such an entertaining manner that children won't even realise that they are doing an educational programme. Eddie thinks it's great fun, and is very happy to do a few tasks every day.
Alphablocks is published by Immediate Media Co, experts in pre-school educational portfolio in the UK.
The complete set of magazines and resources introduces all 26 letters and sounds, in all their blends and combinations, helping children to gain confidence and reading skills.
Stephanie Cooper, editor of Alphablocks magazine says:
"Alphablocks is the only pre-school magazine that supports the way children learn to read. We help children build a solid foundation in phonics taking them on an exciting journey as they progress through learning letter sounds, putting sounds together to make words, building sentences and reading simple stories independently. It's everything parents need to give their little one a head start in reading".
The package costs £39.99 plus postage (though I have seen on Facebook they have a current offer of £10 off the package).
You can find Alphablocks on Facebook and Twitter @AlphablocksARP.
Disclosure: I received the Alphablocks set (part 1) for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are mine. We'll show the progress as we go along.