Alphablocks Rock!

You are trying hard, your efforts are paying off. Your sprog is starting to read, or has remembered the phonic alphabet, or is getting to grips with their pencil or one of the many small hurdles that homeschooling parents face. You can use sites like Starfall to help bring some pizzazz to the party, and for the extra phonic boost there are the Alphablocks from the BBC!

The animated show uses of a group of 26 block shaped alphabet characters.What a great creation. I have watched a dozen episodes and watched my daughter play the online games and I cannot find fault with either as a supportive resource (the nuance here being that letting your child watch the episodes will not be enough).

Visit the ‘For Parents’ section of the CBeebies Alphablocks website here and you will find a very detailed explanation of the Alphablocks show. The points that attracted me (as given on the website) are:

  • Every letter makes a sound – and so does every Alphablock. A makes a short /a/ sound (as in apple) when an apple falls on her head. B plays the bass: b-b-b-b-b… and so on.
  • When Alphablocks hold hands, they do word magic – if they make a real word, it will come to life in a shower of magic stars.
  • Just like learner readers, they sound out their letter sounds (c-a-t) then blend them together to say the whole word (CAT!). Sounding out and blending are important natural strategies for reading words.
  • Alphablocks can split in two to make more of the same letter (which is handy if you want to make a BANANA).
  • They can also fuse to make brand new sounds, such as OO, SH and AR. Your child’s teacher will call these ‘digraphs’. Alphablocks will sound out MOON as “m-oo-n MOON!”
  • Some letters can make more than one sound on their own too – compare A in LA and PAT, I in PIG and ICE, C in CAT and ICE, and so on.

The CBeebies website here offers online games, stories and activities based on the TV series. The sparkly games in the games section are interactive. They ask children to spell out words by moving the alphablocks into the correct position. Just remember to stick a timer by the computer. My daughter will be on the PC untill she falls asleep if we’re not careful.

The downside of the Alphablocks being a BBC product is that the iPlayer website or the Alphablocks page are region sensitive. I can do the activities and play the games, but the episodes are not available. Still, ex-pats are resourceful folk. I dare say you will find a way. There are Alphablocks books available on Amazon, but no DVD that I could find. Forthcoming, I have no doubt.



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