One of my favorite book series to read to my younger children is the AlphaTales set by Scholastic. I found mine at a yard sale one summer and we have had lots of laughs and phonics fun since then.
Each book focuses a letter of the alphabet with an animal main character who begins with that letter. The silly stories and cheerful illustrations draw your child through many words that begin with the highlighted letter sound. A few titles include:
- Vera Viper’s Valentine
- The Yak who Yelled Yuck
- Fifi Ferret’s Flute
- Detective Dog and the Disappearing Doughnuts
After each story is a two page illustration asking “How many things can you find that begin with the letter __?” This illustration uses the characters and items from the story, so they are already familiar to the child. It is like a built in game, which is great. The last page of the book is a letter cheer. For example, here is the cheer from Seal’s Silly Sandwich:
“ S is for spider, snake, snail and seal. S is for a super-sized sandwich meal. S is for sailboat, smile, and swing. S is for spaghetti, seesaw, and swing. Hooray for S, big and small – the most sensational letter of all!”
These books have one more neat feature. The inside back cover has reading tips, quick, fun ways to use the story with your child and build their letter recognition ability. You could literally read one letter book each week with young preschoolers, reading the same story each day, and focusing on a different reading tip every time. I know that having the ideas right there has been a wonderful thing for me, I don’t have to be creative every moment of the day.
My children each have their favorite books from the series, ones they will take with them to quiet time over and over. Once a story is familiar they are also able to tell me the story using the illustrations as a reminder. As their reading ability develops the books become a fun way to practice those new skills. Even my 9 year old will grab a stack of these books to read to a sibling.
You can find AlphaTales and a few related series for numbers, word families, and more on Amazon.
Written by Tristan, mom to 5 going on 6 children, homeschooling through unit studies with a side of lapbooks. You can visit her at her blog, Our Busy Homeschool.
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