Zoo-phonics is the ideal program to teach children to read. It's developmentally appropriate, capitalizing on youngsters need to wiggle, sing, dance, play, act silly, and use their imaginations. Unlike other programs that present one letter a week in a long, laborious fashion, Zoo-phonics goes fast and gets results. That's because you move through the entire alphabet from a-z each day, focusing on the letter sounds. But if Zoo-phonics is so effective, why isn't it being used in more preschools and kindergartens all around the country?
The answer to that question lies with teachers who are unwilling to let their hair down and cut loose with Zoo-phonics. To teach Zoo-phonics, one must get crazy, physical, and not worry what others think. While I was teaching kindergarten, our school adopted Zoo-phonics for grades K-2, and I saw first-hand how resistant some teachers were to the program. One first grade teacher refused to even open her Zoo-phonics kit. It sat in her closet all year long, covered in shrink wrap, never to see the light of day. What a waste! Her students would have LOVED it and would have learned so much.
The good news is moms and dads are best suited to teach Zoo-phonics to their children. It's easy (no special knowledge needed), fun, and the results are instantaneous. It stands alone for homeschooling parents and is a wonderful supplement to the classroom curriculum for parents whose kids attend regular school. Here are 10 reasons why Zoo-phonics works:
1) Recent research shows that phonological awareness -- the ability to hear and manipulate sounds is a predictor of future reading success. Zoo-phonics is all about building phonological awareness, teaching letter sounds before letter names and teaching through auditory means: songs, poems, and raps.
2) Children learn best when they go from the concrete to the abstract. Zoo-phonics does just that. Youngsters first learn about the Zoo-phonics animals -- their names and the sounds and signals they make. Then they learn their letter names.
3) Children are more likely to remember information when it's connected to a movement. That's why Zoo-phonics is so successful. It's a kinesthetic approach with kids doing a motion for each animal sound. Catina Cat cleans her face with her paw while saying, "c-u-h." Bubba Bear reaches to the honey comb while saying "b-u-h."
4) Zoo-phonics has proven successful with ALL kids -- gifted, special needs, and English Language Learners.
5) It gets kids excited about learning because it's fun, light, and fast-paced.
6) Children retain more information when they're directly involved. Zoo-phonics gets kids hearing, seeing, saying, and doing.
7) It's superior to the traditional "letter of the week" approach. With that method, kids forget a, b, and c when they finally reached x, y, and z. With Zoo-phonics, you move through every sound and letter each day.
8) It's a concrete way to connect reading and spelling.
9) It emphasizes patterns, which makes it easier to retain information. Children learn CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words that go together: big, dig, fig, twig.
10) It's a fantastic way to get exercise and get in touch with one's body.
These girls are doing Zoo-phonics. They're making the signal and sound for Lizzy Lizard, who sits on a rock and tries to catch a fly with her tongue.