Alphabet Island Phonics

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  • Reviewed on Thursday, August 20, 2009
  • Grades Used: K and 1st
  • Dates used: 2007-2009
My daughter loved the storyline of Alphabet Island and learned a lot. We both found the storyline good for remembering some of the rules of reading, which is so confusing.

She loved the songs and the workbook pages and progressed very well with spelling.

The negative I found was after completing the first two levels she still wasn't reading very smoothly and it looked like while she was reading whe was saying each charachter name and rule while sounding out the word. (example: cake - k clever c - a active a - k kangaroo K - e everloving e but is silently holding a tray of cookies to k to make a long ). It was taking forever and more importantly she was getting frustrated.

Two weeks into the third level this year we stopped and switched and though it took her a while to get past the character names she is finally reading smoothly.

~ Made my child excited about reading and learning about letters
~ The story for the rules we very helpful (like when letters say
what, especially with sh, th, wh, ch, ph, tch)
~ Very strong spelling base

~ My child was too engaged in the characters to read without using their story names

I have a friend who uses this with her kids and her now third grader was reading chapter books before the end of first grade. So, each child responds differently.

Lady Aberlin

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, November 11, 2008
  • Grades Used: Level 1 with my 4.5 yr old
  • Dates used: Aug 2008-Nov 2008
I love love love this program! My son has known his letters since he was 2 and has wanted to read, but every program we used we hit a brick wall. He immediately hated them. I really purchased this on a whim. I've liked the looks of it for several yrs now, but didn't want to pay $80 for it. I should have gone ahead and purchased it because I've spent way more than $80 by purchasing various cheaper programs. Even though he already knew his letter sounds, we went ahead and started at the beginning. He loves it. He requests to do it. We just finished Level 1 and he is reading really well, especially for a 4 yr old. We are moving on to level 2 now. What we like about the program is the little stories that teach the phonics rules. All the letters interact and my son knows the stories and songs that apply. The workbook pages are just long enough and they only do 2 pgs a day. It is very simple to follow. The structure of the lessons are the same. You go over a letter or a word family and you review your flash cards and practice spelling some words. There are little readers in the back of the workbook that you tear out and fold into books. They are really cute. I hope that Level 2 will be just as good and I'll give a review of that when we finish it.
Here are some things that my son didn't like about other programs:
1) index cards- he can't stand index cards. Reading Made Easy and LLATL Blue had you write out words on index cards and he would throw a big fit about it. Alphabet Island has words on colored paper cards and they have pictures on the back to check to see if you read the word right. My son loved those.
2.) Lots of words on a page. We were doing 100 EZ lessons and he would see all the words on the pages and how many pages we had left and he would shut down. With Alphabet Island a lot of it was done with the Alphabet Character cards, songs, a few games and the colored flash cards and then the workbook. It had enough variety and kept him from seeing what all we needed to cover in that lesson all at one time. If he had seen it all written out like in 100 EZ lessons he would have shut down too.
3) Too much writing. We have tried the ETC workbooks and he hated them. Even if we did them orally. He found them boring. He found Alphabet Island workbook much more interesting and so did I.


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, April 22, 2008
  • Grades Used: prek/k
  • Dates used: 2008
I bought this to use with my dd4. She LOVES it! She is always asking if we are "doing school today". Over the weekend she will ask "how many days until we do the next letter?"

Level 1 introduces the letters one at a time with a review every 3 days/letters. There is a short story about each letter/character. Like Lady "L" is the queen of the island. So they have a word "lady" to remember the sound "L" makes. They practice writing the letter, do sound and letter recognition. You need to have some lined paper for added writing practice (which is suggested in the manual).

After you learn the letters, there is a lesson plan for teaching beginning reading. Putting together 3 letter short vowel words. If your child can already to that, you are ready for level 2.

It only takes about 30 minutes to do a lesson (including kinder-math). I find that is the perfect amount of time for her. The manual tells you exactly what to do, so we just grab the books and do the lesson. We both really enjoy it! And with it costing so much less that most other programs out there, I find this to be perfect for our family!

I have 2 older homeschooled children and wish I had used this with them. I plan to use it with the younger 2 as well. If you are looking for a complete program, I suggest using this and just reading lots and lots of books from the library for a cost effective homeschooling program of your own. A great way to give them an early love of reading and learning!


  • Reviewed on Friday, June 1, 2007
  • Grades Used: k
  • Dates used: 2007
I just wanted to pass on a bit of neutral info about how AI Level 1 is set up, because I was shocked at how basic it was when I received it. I have been so desperate to find the "right" program for our daughter that I have been ordering just about every one out there, but only so much info can be gleaned from the little blurbs given in catalog descriptions that I wanted to tell people what to expect.

When I received the program, I eagerly looked through it, only to find that my daughter already knew 3/4 of the information in the book. It teaches the letters of the alphabet and their sounds for the majority of the program before it even begins to touch on the actual instruction of learning to read. (My focus has been on finding a program that will help me teach her to put the sounds she already knows into words without pausing between each individual sound. She hasn't been able to make the connection that the individual sounds are put together to form a word she already knows. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!)
Alphabet Island looks like a truly fun approach to letter and sound introduction and early writing (which we already have through HWT) and very early reading, but it wasn't what we needed at this time.