Designed by accredited and experienced educators, Alpha-Mania fosters pre-reading skills through dynamic themes, interactive play, and multi-sensory activities. As a result, children ages 3 to 5 acquire reading and phonological awareness skills that help put them on the path to academic success.
What is Alpha-Mania?
For early readers (ages 3-5) it is crucial that learning to read is fun and exciting. That’s why each Alpha-Mania session is theme-based. Children embark on an exciting learning adventure, pretending they are, for example, in space, on a pirate ship, or exploring the rainforest. The themes and activities relate directly to the “Letter of the Day”, so children learn while engrossed in games, crafts, stories, and songs.
Based on thorough research, and refined by years of experience, Alpha-Mania exposes children to the sounds within words and provides an opportunity to explore and play with those sounds. They also practice proper pencil grip and efficient letter formation, which gives them a head start in reading, writing, and language. Practicing these skills early on make children feel more prepared and confident when entering a classroom setting. That confidence translates into a more positive academic experience.
Taught by Experienced Teachers
Our teachers are passionate about reading and literacy, and use a variety of educational techniques to convey key phonological concepts and to encourage students at any stage of the learning process.
Children from ages 3 to 5 years old.
All Alpha-Mania programs are based on Phonological Awareness research and on the five predictors of reading success. The emphasis for all three programs is on experiencing and fostering the joy of language and reading. Each level of Alpha-Mania is designed to build a strong foundation of abilities in order to develop skilled, confident, and avid readers. All three levels are taught through creative play, songs, and crafts in order to prepare and support children for the challenges of a classroom setting.
Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, each has a different meaning:
- Phonological Awareness:is an umbrella term referring to a child’s ability to recognize, reflect on, and manipulate sounds in oral language, including rhyming, syllabication, and identifying onsets and rimes.
- Phonemic Awareness:is the part of phonological awareness that focuses on hearing and manipulating the individual sounds (phonemes) within words, including skills such as blending, segmenting, counting and manipulating phonemes.
Children who have developed the understanding that words can be segmented into sounds tend to be better readers than those with poor phonological and phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is not a concept that all children discover on their own. However, when taught to analyze the individual sounds in words, children can more quickly and accurately connect those sounds to letters and then blend groups of sounds into words when reading. Studies have shown that phonemic awareness skills are often deficient in children who struggle in learning to read and write. For more information, we recommend consulting:
- Early Reading Strategy: The Report of the Expert Panel on Early Reading in Ontario, 2003.
- The Phonological Awareness Handbook for Kindergarten and Primary Teachers, Lita Ericson and Moira Juliebo, 2000.
- The Roots of Learning to Read and Write: Acquisition of Letters and Phonemic Awareness, Linnea C. Ehri and Theresa Roberts, 2006.
No. Alpha-Mania is a building block for good reading habits in the future, but children are not expected to read fluently at the end of this level. The program is designed to encourage children to explore language and the alphabet. However, many students do master pre-reading skills through Alpha-Mania and can advance even further through Alpha-Mania Senior.
Yes. Our experienced instructors can pinpoint potential reading challenges based on observations of a child’s ability to recognize and manipulate elements of the five researched predictors of reading success. If the instructor thinks future challenges may arise, he or she will discuss various options that the parents may consider. However, Alpha-Mania instructors are not trained clinicians and cannot provide any formal diagnosis.
All Alpha-Mania lessons are comprised of the following key interactive components:
- Circle Time: familiarization with the alphabet and introduction to the letter and word of the day.
- Phonological Awareness Activities: developing skills such as sound-symbol correspondence, identifying sounds within words, blending sounds, rhyming, identifying alliteration, and syllabication.
- Pre-Writing and Printing Skills: development of correct pencil grip, fine motor skills, and the mechanics of correct letter formation.
- Creative Activities: classes include crafts, movement activities, and stories selected to engage students in the dynamic theme of the day.