Book Review: Alpha-Phonics

Alpha-Phonics – Samuel L. Blumenfeld, the Paradigm Co.  1983

The teachers and reading experts would lead you believe otherwise, but really, teaching children to read isn’t that hard.  Parents have been doing it at home for centuries, often using nothing but the Bible.

Alpha-Phonics is what I used it to teach my oldest to read in 1986.  We had started with The Writing Road to Reading, by Romalda Spalding, but my energetic little boy was not interested in memorizing a bunch of rules; he loved books and wanted to read!

Thanks to Alpha-Phonics, he soon knew how. And over the years, our six younger children learned to read using this book. It truly makes both teaching – and learning – to read about as easy as it can be. (It does take longer for some than for others, though.)

Later, after our six-year-old Eliza mastered reading she thought it was so easy that she couldn’t see any reason why her four-year-old brother couldn’t learn to read too.  He was always willing (at that tender age,) to cooperate with his big sister’s schemes, so before long he was reading too.  She sat down with him and our copy of Alpha-Phonics and taught him what she had just learned.  The teaching process really is easy enough for a six-year-old.

Mr. Blumenfeld’s painless method of teaching the 44 phonograms a child needs to learn to be able to read starts in the first lesson.


In Alpha-Phonics the beautifully hand-lettered text is nice and large.

So in their first lesson the child learns the short “a” sound and the sounds of most of the consonants.

As a busy mother, I loved the simplicity of Alpha-Phonics. Some of the other popular programs at the time involved little race cars, reward tokens, game boards –too much for me to keep track of.  All I needed was just this book and my child.  (And ten minutes or so without any interruptions – that was the hardest part.) No reward system was needed; the child’s own desire to learn to read, and the satisfaction they gained from making progress, seemed to be motivation enough.