Ioan (Year 1) and Finn (Preschool) watched some episodes of Alphablocks, then completed the ‘Carrot Twist Challenge’. They had to twist the lid of the carrot around and read the words that were created. If you don’t have any carrot shaped containers then plastic Easter eggs work just as well.


  • Carrot containers from B&M/plastic Easter eggs
  • Alphablocks episodes
  • Alphablocks characters/magnetic letters/wooden letters felt tipped to look like Alphablocks
  • Whiteboard and pen


We focussed on four of the Alphablocks episodes. These can either be found on BBC iplayer or bought on DVD.

Alphablocks Season 1: Taps

As they watched, Finn made the CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words out of the Alphablocks characters. The words were too easy for Ioan, so he just worked on his handwriting for those letters.

Alphablocks Season 2: Quick

This was more age appropriate for Ioan. He recorded the ‘qu’ words on a whiteboard, whilst Finn carried on making them with the Alphablocks. Afterwards Ioan had a go at the ‘Carrot Twist’.

Alphablocks Season 2: ABC

During this episode, Finn sorted the letters into alphabetical order. As Ioan knows his alphabet, I asked him to predict which words would come up in the next episode: ‘The Cat Sat On The Mat’. Ioan has seen that episode last year.

Alphablocks Season 2: The Cat Sat On The Mat

During this episode, Ioan checked to see if there were any words he’d missed, while Finn continued to build the words with the Alphablocks. I then set up two different, age appropriate twists for them to do for the sound ‘at’.

Finn’s version was a straight forward reading challenge. Afterwards he had a go spelling them.

To make Ioan’s more difficult, I challenged him to spot the two words that didn’t fit. I included a word that is spelt with an ‘at’ but pronounced differently (the word ‘what’) and an alien or nonsense word (‘grat’). I explain about alien words more in the post Hidden Word Reveal.

I included a quick example with a plastic Easter egg, to show that they work for shorter words too.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)


ELG 09 – Reading:

Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.

ELG 10 – Writing:

Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

English Year 1 programme of study

Reading – word reading

  • apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words
  • respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes (letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes, including, where applicable, alternative sounds for graphemes
  • read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs that have been taught
  • read common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word

Writing – transcription


  • words containing each of the 40+ phonemes already taught
  • common exception words