It pains me to no end when I enter a pre-k or kindergarten classroom and see the teacher using the same old tired approach to teaching the alphabet: Letter of the Week. Ugh! I want to scream: "Let it go! It's a dinosaur. Move forward and embrace what works!"
If you're a parent and want to give your child a good grasp of phonological awareness (the foundation for becoming a reader), I urge you to start using Zoo-phonics at home. Your youngster will learn more in two weeks than other kids learn in the entire school year (no exaggeration). Most importantly, your youngster will learn what REALLY matters: the sounds of the letters.
Think about it. Other kids will spend one week on each letter, slowly and laboriously learning A is for apple, B is for boy, C is for cat. Each week they'll celebrate a different letter with crafts, songs, and activities. But what happens when they reach week 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26? Will they still remember a, b, c, d, and e? The answer is a resounding "no!"
Zoo-phonics works for many reasons, but I think the main one is that it emphasizes the letter sounds. The kids do signals and sounds, a-z, each and every day without fail. In two short works, all 26 sounds have become firmly embedded in their brains. That's because they were reviewed again and again but also because they were combined with a signal.
In Zoo-phonics a signal is a special movement that's performed with each animal and its sound. Research shows children are more likely to retain information when it's combined with an action. Zoo-phonics capitalizes on kids being kids, letting them get on their feet, wriggle, and contort their bodies all to their benefit: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Kids who are active learn more, grow stronger, and feel happier.
Because your child gets a handle on letter sounds in two short weeks, you can then teach her beginning reading skills. The best way to do this is with CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. If she only knew the letter names, she could not read the word cat. But because she knows the sounds, she can easily sound it out: cuh-ah-tuh. Have her read words that follow a pattern: cat, cut...big, bag...dog, dig...fan, fin...hat, hut...man, men...pat, put...sin, sun...tan, ten. Watch as her confidence grows.
Children love doing Zoo-phonics and pick it up so quickly. Learning is its own reward. However, if you wish to acknowledge your youngster's efforts, I suggest something modest. Letting her put a sticker on a piece of laminated construction paper is a fantastic reward system. Inexpensive stickers are available at Target in their dollar section as well as at Michael's and Hobby Lobby.