Alphablocks is a series of adventures that invites you and your child to play with phonics. It is aimed at three-to six-year-olds and its simple purpose is to entertain and show that wordplay can be a lot of fun. It is based on best-practice phonics teaching, helping young children to develop confidence and encouraging engagement with reading and making words.
Series three is livelier and more fun than ever, filling Alphaland with snowmen, funfairs, flying words, a talking book and a frog on a dog on a hog on a log.
This series consolidates the learning in series 2 (letters and their sounds) and follows on, showing young readers how letters combine to make digraphs (such as OO) and clusters (such as ST).
The Alphablocks and their world behave according to the natural forces of phonics:
- 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.
Your child can watch the series on the CBeebies channel, and they will also be able to watch and play with the characters on the CBeebies website…
Every episode is available to watch on the Alphablocks website whenever they want. The first episode is a great place to start, as the Alphablocks showcase every letter’s sound and personality. Repeat viewing is encouraged, as it helps children recognise words and understand how to put them together and as your child begins to grow confident with building words through phonics, they can advance to the later episodes.
Any episode can be selected by using the arrows to scroll through the pictures and clicking on the one you want to watch. They have been arranged in order of difficulty, with pink designating the beginner episodes, and green the more advanced. The early episodes introduce the letters and their sounds and simple three-letter words. Later episodes introduce first digraphs (such as OO, SH and AR) and longer words. Finally, new digraphs and vowel sounds are added to the mix.
A voiceover explains what to do, and clicking on the question mark in the top right corner at any time will provide more help.
If you see an episode surrounded by stars, that means there is a game halfway through the story and your child will be able to help the Alphablocks continue with their adventure. They will be asked to pick up Alphablocks with their mouse and make words. When a word is made, it will come to life and the star word will be the one that fixes the problem and moves the story along.
Your child will get a sticker of every word they see or make - and can go back into episodes to collect more stickers if they didn't get them all the first time.
The games let children play with making words for themselves. Experimenting with non-words and hearing what they sound like can also help children understand the basics of word-building.
Educational value of the show
Alphablocks helps children to:
- Learn the alphabet.
- Have fun with words.
- Spell and read.
- Develop engagement and confidence with reading and making words.