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Alphatotz Emerging Readers Improve Their Phonics Skills With Colorful & Fun Cards

Baton Rouge, LA (September 10, 2009) – Colorful robot characters on oversized flash cards are taking learning to read to a new level by helping emerging readers to comprehend nearly four dozen sounds created from the 26-letter English alphabet. The robots are called the Alphabotz, and when youngsters dive into the Superphonic Decoder Cards, they grasp the idea that letters equal sounds, sounds build words, and words tell amazing stories.

That’s the equation for making learning and reading fun, and the inventors behind the Alphabotz felt so compelled to bring their unique, and as it has turned out award-winning, concept to reality that they found a way to do it, despite the challenging economy for starting a new business. Designed for children ages 3+, these 46– 10" x 4.5" Alphabotz character cards are colorful, sturdy, and packaged in a sliding drawer box for easy storage.

The Alphabotz are the brainchild of Pat Vining, a mom of two and longtime elementary- and universitylevel educator. She perceived that a technically sound, multi-strategy approach to reading that was also fun and engaging for children was missing from the marketplace. So like many smart mom inventors, she decided to team up with former colleagues who had complementary skills to hers and a belief in her concept and started a business, Ideopolis LLC. Ideopolis is made up of Kelly Barton, partner for many years with Pat in a strategic design and communications firm, Kelly’s husband, Randy Barton, a chemical engineer with a lifelong entrepreneurial itch; and Nicole Sigsby, their marketing guru.

Let’s face it – phonics can be confusing and daunting to beginning readers. But not with the Alphabotz, whose visual clues, fun characters and stats show youngsters how to use decoding keys when coming across new word patterns. Each Superphonic Decoder Card contains a robot character who wears a letter or letter team on its chest and an icon on its head that serve as constant visual references to the sound the character represents. Each card also contains stats about the character that tell a story about its life and personality in order to make the sounds memorable and aid in development of letter recognition and phonemic awareness skills.

Here’s how the Superphonic Decoder Cards break down:

Alphatotz The Alphabotz are grouped into squads. Each squad has a designated code that appears in the upper right-hand corner of the cards.

First, there are the 26 letters of the alphabet cards and they re marked with a star code to make them easily identifiable, such as the letter B. The Alphabot named Boomer represents the buh sound. Boomer wears his letter (B) on his chest, and a ball on his head. Kids quickly discover that this little bot is a baseball player, lives in a bungalow in Bluebird Ballpark and has his own secret phrase: Bebop, batter, batter, brushback broom! Bang that baseball, bop, bam, boom!

The A, E, I, O, and U of the alphabet cards are the Superphonic Shorts (the short vowel sounds of these letters). But the fun continues when kids are introduced to the other colorful characters including the Superphonic Longs (long vowel sounds), the Impersonators (who copycat other letter sounds because they don t have one of their own), the H-Bunch (consonant digraphs), the R-Rangers (r-controlled vowels), the Vowel Teams (vowel digraphs) and even one Silent E character named Elaine who s job is to be perfectly quiet. This is one of the unique things about this set of flash cards children get much more than just the alphabet. And, the Alphabotz team has created a clever way for kids to remember even the trickiest of sounds, all the while keeping them engaged and entertained.

There are four more cards in the deck of Alphabotz to help make the product even more useful and fun: two of the main characters from the back story of the Alphabotz that will be featured in their upcoming storybook stern librarian Miss Spella de Books, an avid believer in old, boring teaching methods and Alphabotz foe, and Professor Ben Letterman, who discovered the Alphabotz as a young boy while struggling to read come into play with some of the card games kids can play for more advanced use. One card that serves as the ultra Decoder how to for the product, explaining all of the codes and features of the Alphabotz cards, plus one game and activity card that details numerous games and three levels of play activities that entice kids into having fun with this product:

    Level 1: Sound Detectives, includes introductory games such as Superphonic Secret Agent and Rhyme Time that put a creative spin on detecting, recognizing and manipulating sounds of the English language.

    Level 2: Letter Agents, includes games such as Letterlicious and Alphabotz Soup that help children with letter names, shapes and sound correspondence.

    Level 3: Word Wizards, for word structure and putting it all together, this slightly more advanced level includes fun and creative games such as Silence is Golden and Alphabotz Story Tag.

Superphonic Decoder Cards are the first product in the Alphabotz line planned by Ideopolis, a company whose mission is to bring innovative educational programs for children to market. Vining, who is also a graphic designer, explains her vision: Why couldn t a program that helps children learn invaluable reading skills have the appeal of a Lemony Snicket or a Harry Potter? Instead of contrived educational text, children embark on adventures in the magical Kingdom of Alpha where they break codes, solve problems, tell stories, perform and pretend. She continues, more importantly, instead of one learning method for all children, a combination of strategies is utilized that engages the senses and accommodates different learning styles.

Indeed the Alphabotz Superphonic Decoder Cards are Not Your Grandma s Flash Cards! The fun-filled and sturdy cards, priced at $19.95, not only have wowed parents, kids and educators but also caught the eye of industry experts like Creative Child Magazine, who awarded them the 2009 Preferred Choice Award in the Educational Products category.

WTS Toy Review recently posted this enthusiastic endorsement:

    Wow! It s not often we see a product come across that creates such a spirited discussion among the parents on our review team. Overall, the team loved the way these cards looked and how much function was packed onto each of them & If you re looking for a new spin on a classic learning tool, the Alphabotz are it. -- What the Stuff Toy Review

Alphatotz The Alphabotz will be making their next appearance in Dallas, TX at the annual Fall Toy Preview in October. For those that can t attend the trade show, Alphabotz Superphonic Decoder Cards can be purchased online at and as well as at specialty toy retailers.

The Alphabotz website,, offers a page of free superphonic fun that supplements the decoder cards. Choose from Bookmarks, Decoder Club Chart, Coloring Sheets, Alpha-tastic songs, and a 12-page Funzine, filled with games and activities that kids can download.

Who can benefit from Alphabotz? The list is endless: speech therapists, home-schoolers, children ages 3-7, grandparents, school districts, teachers of English as a second language and, of course, parents.

The clever decoder cards can be used year after year as the novice reader emerges as a competent one. A three-year old can just play with the cards to recognize letters, shapes, characters, pictures, and vibrant colors. As he grows and his reading skills mature, the phonics cards become appealing in a new way with the intriguing stats, storylines and rich vocabulary.

Beyond the Alphabotz cards, the folks at Ideopolis have several upcoming products in the works to complement the Superphonic Decoder Cards. Look on their website to see a preview of a music CD and books that teach beginning readers phonemic awareness through alliteration, song, repetition and of course, fun!

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Four founding partners, Pat Vining, Kelly Barton, Randy Barton and Nicole Sigsby launched Alphabotz as the first of many Ideopolis branded products. They all agreed that a technically sound, multi-strategy approach to reading -- that was also fun and engaging -- was missing from the juvenile marketplace. The Baton Rouge, LA-based company is enthusiastic about launching other innovative educational products in 2010.

For more information on Ideopolis and Alphabotz, visit their award-winning interactive website at

Alphabotz Mission Statement
Fun without formulas . . . at Alphabotz, we are committed to doing things differently as we celebrate the joy and wonder that is childhood. We will create innovative products that raise the bar as opposed to settling for minimum standards. Injected with humor and the honesty of a child, our quality educational products will engage and motivate children in a fun-filled way and serious learning will occur before they even know it. Our lighthearted approach will capture the imaginations of children everywhere and inspire a love of learning that stays with them throughout their lives.