Over the last year or so I’ve had lots of questions from my readers about where I got our set of alphabet blocks from that I shared here on my blog. As my blocks are no longer available, I’ve been on a mission to find the best alphabet blocks that are out there to hopefully answer your questions and give you an opportunity to get some for your learner. And here they are! I want to introduced you to Educational Bricks
What are Educational Bricks?
Educational Bricks are a hands-on learning resource that supports learners to build their literacy skills and understanding through a multisensory approach. Each brick has beautifully printed letters on it which uses foundation font. The bricks are recommended for ages 3+ and are easy for little hands and big hands to manipulate. Educational Bricks come in a range of different sets that varying in the number of bricks per set.  

Each set is accompanied with a CD which has a printable word lists and worksheets as well as teaching notes. There are eight different Educational Brick sets that support the development of literacy and these sets include:

How can Educational Bricks be used?
Whether you take a structured approach to your learning or a more natural learning approach, Educational Bricks are a wonderful learning resource that can be added to any curriculum or use in an interest-led learning environment. There is no right or wrong way to use them, just simply follow the learner!

We have been using Educational Bricks to support the development of phonics and decoding skills. Decoding is done when the learner deciphers print into speech by matching letter or graphemes (combination of letters) to their sounds (phonemes) in order to identify the patterns that make syllables and words. 

I present Educational Bricks to my learners by using a systematic, explicit approach. For example, I use the Lower Case Bricks together with Vowel Rhyme Bricks to present one vowel block at a time to build a few different but simple CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words using the lower case bricks. Once this blending of sounds and making of CVC words has been mastered, I introduce another vowel brick until all the bricks have been introduced (at the learners pace) and my learner can construct a range of words using both the vowel rhyme bricks and the lower case bricks.

What can you learn with Educational Bricks?
Not only do Educational Bricks support the development of phonics and decoding skills, they can also help build phonemic awareness.  Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes (sounds) in spoken and written text. Although phonemic awareness is usually developed through auditory activities some learners will require a visual representation (letters) to support their development of phonemic awareness and Educational Bricks can do just that. Educational Bricks also support the development of Blending. Here is a great post about Blending – the what, why and how

Why use these bricks?
There are many reason why Educational Bricks are beneficial to learners. These bricks create a multisensory learning experience where the learner is able to physically manipulate the blocks to rearrange the letters and work on constructing different words. This helps build critical thinking skills along with phonics and decoding skills. By using a hands-on approach where the learner can manipulate the focused concept or in this case, a particular spelling rule, there is greater potential for the learner to retain, and later recall, the concept being taught. Plus, Educational Bricks make learning about words fun! 

Where to purchase them from and how much? 
I have purchased our sets of Educational Bricks from the lovely Kirstie at Starfish Education Center in Kiama, New South Wales. Kirstie runs a tutoring services from her shop and sells great variety of educational resources, products and supplies as well as a wide range of items for special needs. The Starfish Education Center have all their resources available online and this is where you can find the full range of Educational Bricks. You will also find the Maths range of Educational Bricks which include Numbers 1-10, Numbers and Symbols, great for learning addition, subtraction, division and multiply, and the Fraction Families.

Kirstie from Starfish Education Centre gave me a generous discount of 20% on my purchase of the Educational Bricks in exchange for this blog post. All ideas and thoughts expressed here are my own.
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