The reactions of organoaluminum reagents (trimethylaluminum, triethylaluminum, etc.) with aryl and alkyl acyl phosphonates, which lead to the formation of alpha-hydroxy phosphonates in moderate to good yields, are reported. This method provides easy access to secondary and tertiary alpha-hydroxy phosphonates depending on the reaction conditions. The reactions of triethylaluminum with a series of acyl phosphonates at 0 degrees C gave the secondary alpha-hydroxy phosphonates, while at -100 degrees C they afford the tertiary alpha-hydroxy phosphonates. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.