Note: I was given a free copy of The Number Neighborhood to review in exchange for writing this post. I had previously purchased my own copy of Amazing Action Alphabet (which I love!). I was not required to give a positive review, and all opinions are my own.
My two kids have very different learning styles and learning strengths. My son, who is entering kindergarten this year, practically learned his letters and numbers on his own, requiring very little in the way of direct instruction. My daughter, on the other hand, needs more repetition and does better with a more structured learning approach that uses multiple learning modalities.
Today I am sharing two of my favorite tools for teaching letters and numbers. These books are multi-sensory, and they make up the backbone of my letter learning and number learning curriculums for XGirl.
A while back, I discovered a book called the Amazing Action Alphabet by Esther Kehl of the SeeHearDo company. The SeeHearDo company believes that the most powerful way to teach letters and sounds is by having kids see the letter, hear the sound, and then do an action to help them remember the letter and sound.
The Amazing Action Alphabet for teaching letters
I was drawn to the Amazing Action Alphabet because I believe strongly in providing kids with a multi-sensory education. And let me tell you. . . this book has been a great addition to our letter learning curriculum!
The way the Amazing Action Alphabet works is this: The book is formatted in a flip chart style. Each page is dedicated to one letter, and includes uppercase and lowercase versions of the letter written in print as well as illustrated with an animal. On the back of the flip chart is a story about the letter that a parent or teacher can read to their children or students. The story includes a sound and action for kids to do that goes along with the story.
For example, to learn the letter F, kids hear a story about F the Flamingo who is freezing. Throughout the story, kids pretend to be cold like F the Flamingo. They rub their hands up and down their arms to “shiver” while making the /f/ sound. Below is a picture of XGirl practicing the letter F. I also encourage you to check out the SeeHearDo website for a short video showing the Amazing Action Alphabet in action.
So why do I love the Amazing Action Alphabet so much? Quite frankly, I love it because it works!
XGirl loves stories, so she looks forward to having me read the letter stories to her. And the multi-sensory approach of the Amazing Action Alphabet that includes seeing the letter, hearing the sound, relating the sound to a story, and then having kids do an action related to the sound is a winning combination that really helps the letter name and letter sound stick in their memory.
The Amazing Action Alphabet has been my starting point for introducing new letters to XGirl. We generally spend several days working on one letter. Each day we read the story from Amazing Action Alphabet, putting special emphasis on doing the action and making the sound associated with the letter. XGirl then does several follow up activities to practice the letter.
For example, XGirl may practice writing letters in our salt tray.
Or she may practice making letters using our Wikki Stix Alphabet Fun Cards.
You can also find other activity ideas for each letter on the SeeHearDo website. For example, the Amazing Action Alphabet Activity Book includes crafts for each letter. The Amazing Action Alphabet Handwriting book includes writing exercises to help your child learn how to write each letter. And if you have a child who loves music and/or you spend a lot of time in the car, you might enjoy the Amazing Action Alphabet Sing-A-Long CD.
You can also find lots of FREE ideas for teaching letters on Esther Kehl’s blog at www.amazingactionalphabet.blogspot.com. For example, you can see some fun ideas she shared for the letter F by clicking here.
Have questions about teaching the alphabet? We’ve got answers! Click here to learn more.
The Number Neighborhood for teaching numbers
Seeing how well Amazing Action Alphabet has worked for XGirl, I was so excited to learn that SeeHearDo recently published a new book to help kids learn their numbers called The Number Neighborhood. The Number Neighborhood is based upon the same philosophy that kids learn best when they can see, hear, and do an action.
Although I received a free copy of this book to review, I would have purchased this book with my own money simply because of how much I love the Amazing Action Alphabet. Indeed, The Number Neighborhood has already become the foundation of my number teaching curriculum for XGirl.
Each week I introduce a new number by reading a story from The Number Neighborhood. As with the Amazing Action Alphabet, each story includes several elements: a picture of a character in the shape of the number, a story related to the picture, objects in the picture to count, a chant to help remember the number, and an action to go along with the chant.
For example, I recently introduced XGirl to the number 4. On the first morning, we read the story about a character named Four who builds a door. XGirl could see a boy and a door who, together, made the shape of a four. She counted the four nails in the four corners of the door. And she learned to wield a pretend hammer while singing the chant “Four builds a door. . . four, four, four!”
We read the story a couple of times on the first morning, and then throughout the day my daughter continued chanting “Four builds a door. . . four, four, four!” So right there I knew she was making a connection with the book.
In addition to reading the story several mornings in a row, we did follow up activities to reinforce the shape of the number.
For example, XGirl practiced writing the number 4 in shaving cream.
And she built 4’s out of sticks following a model I gave her.
We also air wrote the number and searched for it at the grocery store. There are literally hundreds of ways to reinforce the shape of each number!
And don’t forget that you can find lots of FREE ideas for teaching numbers on Esther Kehl’s blog at www.amazingactionalphabet.blogspot.com.
In summary, the combination of seeing, hearing, and doing an action to learn letters and numbers makes these books really unique. It is also why the Amazing Action Alphabet and The Number Neighborhood are the backbone of my letter learning and number learning curriculums for XGirl this coming year.
More ways to teach to the alphabet
More alphabet posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Letter hunt sensory bin
- Erasing letters with a Q-tip
- Making letters with straws and play dough
- I spy letter hunt
- Spaghetti letters
- Letter puzzles
- Montessori sandpaper letters
- Making “alphabet soup”
- Smash the puffy letters
- Mini letter hunt with a magnifying glass
Products mentioned in this post: