1. Why does alpha-read not follow alphabetical order?
  2. Why does alpha-read use lower case letters?
  3. Why are vowels colored?
  4. Why are the vowel sounds spaced the way they are in the alpha-read sequence?
  5. What about the long sound of vowels?
  6. Why does the x have a dash?
  7. What about blends?
  8. Why does alpha-read provide word lists?
  9. Can the sequence be altered?

1. Why does alpha-read not follow alphabetical order?

Alphabet order places letters which are easily confused either next to each other or in close proximity. Examples would be m and n, p and q, b and d. To prevent confusion, alpha-read separates the teaching of these letters.

2. Why does alpha-read use lower case letters?

alpha-read is designed to introduce fundamental spelling and reading skills to a young child. Lower case letters comprise the bulk of written text while upper case letters serve specific functions. When your child is ready, do introduce capital letters.

3. Why are vowels colored?

Vowels sounds serve to open your mouth. In a timely manner, demonstrate this for your child. Simply say all the vowel sounds for your child and it will become apparent that your mouth is always open. Consonants, on the other hand, close your mouth in some way. You can demonstrate this as well. Select some consonants (white cards) and say their sounds. Examples might be b (lips are closed), t (teeth are closed), l (tongue is curling), g (throat is blocked). Help your child to discover that we could not speak without vowels sounds and therefore every word requires at least one vowel sound. Color coding the vowels helps to bring attention to this basic phonic principle.

4. Why are the vowel sounds spaced the way they are in the alpha-read sequence?

Young children often have difficulty perceiving the difference between vowel sounds, particularly /i/ and /e/. The alpha-read sequence introduces one vowel sound followed by several consonants in anticipation of this normal learning curve. If confusions do occur, write to support@alpha-read.com for guidance.

5. What about the long sound of vowels?

alpha-read introduces the basic “short” sound of the vowels. Whenever a vowel changes its basic sound there is some reason. There may be a silent e or an adjacent vowel or an open syllable or a particular nearby consonant. The same is true for consonant changes. alpha-read introduces phonic principles in developmental order, the simplest to the increasingly difficult. Supplementary materials have been developed to address this progression. Until your child is ready to confront alternate sounds, avoid combinations or situations that require these understandings. In particular, do not use the colored e/elephant card to spell words such as “made” or “ripe”. The e at the end of these words is silent and this principle is not included in the current alpha-read app.

6. Why does the x have a dash?

The dash on the x card is a reminder that x is primarily a final sound. When working with alpha-read, use x only at the end of a word.

7. What about blends?

alpha-read uses words with blends almost from the outset (examples: mast, last, slam, slat, act) A blend is two or more consonants that come before or after a vowel. This definition is a mouthful particularly when you have to add that each consonant retains its sound. Instead, alpha-read makes possible a way to introduce this concept in a way that a child can understand. Using the learning mat, make the word “mast” for your child. Point out the two white cards (s and t) next to each other. Say the blend normally and demonstrate that the sounds seem to rub against each other, making it hard to distinguish them. Tell your child that whenever you dictate a word with a blend you are going to rub two fingers together to serve as a signal to listen for the blend sounds. In lessons going forward, whenever your child has spelled a word with a blend have fun locating the two or more white adjacent cards. Do remember to be consistent in your use of the rubbing fingers cue when dictating words with blends.

8. Why does alpha-read provide word lists?

alpha-read provides word lists not only to assist with lesson preparation, but to insure that words used during a session are consistent with the alpha-read letter cards as well as the recommended sequence.

9. Can the sequence be altered?

Yes. There are certain places where particular phonic principles (rules) can be inserted. These insertions should be timely and systematic. Guidance is required. Continue to visit the alpha-read website for this ongoing help or write to support@alpha-read.com