Saturday, June 27, 2009

Now I know my ABCs

Out of the millions of alphabet books out there, today I'm loving Tomorrow's Alphabet by George Shannon and Donald Crews. It's a different spin on ABC books and the traditional "A is for apple". I love the thought process involved, and the possibilities for further learning, discussion and activities. The book begins with "A is for seed, tomorrow's apple". Each 2-page spread goes on to show a before and after, or a change... such as "B is for eggs, tomorrow's birds" and "R is for grapes, tomorrow's raisins".
At first, I thought the book was much too confusing for Fischer, if my goal was for him to understand the correspondence between letters and sounds. There are better ABC books for that, but now that he is a bit older and seems to already understand letters and sounds, this book opens up some fun dialogue and thinking for him.
For older kids, I would just love to make a class book and get them thinking along this pattern. I found a fun one here that a 4th/5th grade class made (click on the pictures to see the full 2 page spreads). There were also some interesting ideas for extension activities and discussion on this site.

Fischer really enjoys letters and of course really digs the old favorite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, and Lois Ehlert. The simplicity and rhythm of the story seems to snag students of many ages. We also like listening to the songs of it on youtube.

For a unique visual treat, we also really like The Hidden Alphabet by Laura Vaccaro Seeger . Very cool, although probably a bit difficult for the littlest of readers to really identify all of the letters. Once they are familiar with their letters, this is a great one. It is a fun change in perspective and example of optical illusions. There are so many wonderful alphabet books out there... What's your favorite?

Now, for the tiny DVD lovers out there, Leap Frog's Letter Factory is surprisingly enticing.It does a really fun job of introducing the letters and teaching their sounds in a memorable way. It happens to be one of Fischer's faves.

When I was teaching, my students LOVED Gaiam's Yoga kids and especially their ABC video. What a fun way to get a physical understanding of the letters! We'd watch it for inside recess or when we needed a little wiggle time. Although I do have to say that the video never actually fit into the slot of time I allotted and I always turned it off around "V"... now that never really went over to well with my students or the paraprofessionals in the room!


Emily said...

Was that last sentence a dig? It's okay I always let my students finish the video. Call me crazy but I just don't think it's worth the tantrums. :)

Lisa, F is for Fischer said...

Em, Tantrums shmantrums... MUST stick to the schedule!!

Brian and Courtni said...

love chica chica boom boom and letter factory...2 of our favorites at this house. i worked forever (or so it seemed) with brett on his letters and we were only to the letter D...after watching letter factory seriously 2 times, he was all of the sudden this expert with letters and sounds. i never feel guilty turning that one on!