Review: Learn to read with the Alphablocks – Phonics First Steps, Volume 1 (DVD)

Disclosure: This product was sent to me free of charge by Abbey Home Media to be reviewed. However, as per my PR info disclaimer, this review is my unbiased honest opinion of the product.


Product: Learn to read with the Alphablocks – Phonics First Steps, Volume 1 (DVD)*

Price: £9.50

Age Range: Recommended for 3-7 year olds

Manufacturer’s Description: Enter the magical world of reading with the hit CBeebies show, Alphablocks. The Alphablocks are 26 living letters who fall out of the sky and discover that if they hold hands and make a word, it magically comes to life! Based on best-practice phonics, your child will laugh and learn with the little letter people and their adventures, songs and all kinds of fun and games.

This DVD also comes with a FREE Alphablocks, Alphabet poster!

Volume 1: Phonics First Steps: Phonics First Steps introduces the first letters and sounds that children are taught at school and starts them off making simple words. With repeat viewing, children can build key phonics skills and boost their reading confidence – while having lots and lots of fun.

Rating:  (5/5 stars)

Alphablocks vol.1 2D

Review: Alphablocks is one of Georgie’s favourite CBeebies shows, so when we were offered this DVD to review, we accepted the offer gladly!

The Alphablocks are fun & colourful characters who have all sorts of adventures. There is a different character for each letter, and the letters team up to spell out the words, which then magically come to life. Each episode is quite short, capturing Georgie’s attention for the full 4 minutes or so, without her getting bored. She really seems to enjoy this show, and always has a big grin when it comes on the TV.

Georgie was delighted to find the DVD had appeared in the house; recognising the characters on the cover instantly, and being quite impatient for me to put it on. She kept bringing the box to me and saying the letter “a” over & over, until we gave into her demands (well, we did have to review it after all!). 10 minutes into the show, and she was calling out “i” proudly as well – I had no idea that she even knew that letter!

In addition to 18 episodes (totalling 86 mins), the DVD includes a parents guide which explains how ‘phonics’ work and how to use the episodes on the DVD to support your child while they learn to read. The parents guide is a textual slideshow with all the information, not a video. You also get a fun poster which Georgie was very excited about – we’ll  certainly be putting it up on her bedroom wall this weekend.

The great thing about this DVD is that the episodes, which are mainly taken from series 2 of the show, are split down into the different steps of phonics. In addition to the normal episode menu (and play all option), there is a second episode menu with the alphabet, and then step 1, step 2, etc. These steps are from the starter phonics curriculum that kids are currently using in schools, as the creators of the show work with phonics experts to make sure that the show supports the early years curriculum.

This feature basically means that if your child was currently working on their step 3 phonics at school, they could then use the DVD to watch the selection of step 3 episodes all in one go. You would simply select step 3 from the steps menu, and all of the step 3 episodes would then play through automatically.

Although you can watch a lot of shows on iPlayer these days, we like to have the DVDs for Georgie’s favourites as well. I’m not keen on kids having TVs in their rooms until they are old enough, but Georgie has an old style iMac in hers that we use as a DVD player so we can put her favourite shows on in her room occasionally – when she’s been good and deserves a treat.

5 stars for this one – it’s a great show and the DVD has been well put together with the aim of supporting children’s education.

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