Pros: Cute and colorful illustrations, plenty of practice space, inexpensive.
I am a steadfast believer that kids today dont get the needed push to learn how to write [both cursive and printed form] the alphabet these days. I know that my boys have some very horrid handwriting and I blame part of this on the fact that they use the computer a little more then they should for reports and homework. When I was growing up we were lucky to have a calculator and these days kids have cellular phones, pagers, PDAs and laptop computers. That might all be well and good for giving them an educational advantage over others, but it doesnt do much for the Sanskrit they are trying to pass off as handwriting. Wanting the best for my kids since day one, I invested in lots of books that taught lettering and the alphabet. Looking back on the stacks of books I have to say that the School Zone series of books are a cut above the rest. Not only are they entertaining and educational they are also fun for kids to use and inexpensive for parents to purchase.
This book is targeted toward preschoolers however I see no reason why this cant be introduced earlier. There are several pages that have the entire lowercase alphabet on one page, complete with the directional arrows that show you where to start and how to complete the letter correctly. Each letter of the alphabet is shown with a cute and colorful illustration, a letter to trace on the guide line and enough room to write the letter at least five times. At the bottom of the pages there are short words like ant and hat with the letter you are working on [in this case a] removed from the word. This is great for working on word recognition as well.
The practice lines are an inch and a half high more than enough room for even big writers to work with. If you want some extra practice for your child you can pick up blank pre-lined sheets of paper at any school supply store or office supply store and let them go crazy learning how to write the alphabet. Since the illustrations are in color it makes it a little hard to photocopy the pages but if you want to try this make sure you reduce the overall color a little or you will end up with a lot of black images instead of the cute critters and objects that appear in the book.
The last six pages of the book contain words with missing letters. The object is to fill in the correct letter to complete the word. This might be a little too challenging for younger children but with a little bit of help [sounding out the missing letter] kids will get the hang of it. What I found extremely helpful was to make a list of the words that appeared on these pages on a large piece of poster board. I drew images of the word [bell, mop, dog etc] next to the word and allowed my boys to try and match up the words on the poster board to the ones in the book. I didnt really consider this cheating since they picked up on this quickly. After the first couple of times they didnt even look up at the poster board to complete the words. I only got to use this book for my youngest two sons and wish I would have found this series of books for my two older boys when they could have benefited from it.
Who Could Benefit From This Book
As I said, this is geared towards the preschool age range but I would think that kids who love to doodle or scribble could be given this book and with a little bit of help easily accomplish the first part of the book. I suggest using the chunky style crayons for the younger kids since they will be able to hold on to them better and have more control over what they are writing. There are a few letters that might puzzle younger kids like Q that is represented by an illustration of a quail. Some kids might be a little confused since the first thing that pops into your mind is bird. Reading through the book first is a great way to explain the pictures that might have a double meaning in the yes of a child.
Is It Worth It?
Without a doubt, this book is worth every single penny. If memory serves me these books cost about $2.00 each and when you look at what your child will get from it it is worth its weight in gold. Learning to letter correctly at an early age will help out when he or she starts school or advances to the next stage of learning. If your child attends any type of day care or receives any type of homeschooling, this book should strongly be considered for their curriculum. Since it is considered repetitive learning a child could easily do the first part of the book by themselves giving them a little bit of control over the learning process and gratification for completing a task.
The Bottom Line
All too often kids are pushed towards computer-aided learning and while this isnt a bad thing it often means that penmanship is overlooked. Teaching a child the correct way to write the alphabet might seen basic to you and I since it is something that we learned a long time ago but to a child that is just learning this skill, learning it right the first time is the best way to go. If your child can hold a crayon and has started to write his or her letters I highly suggest picking up this workbook to aide in the lettering process. The entire School Zone series of books are great and my boys really enjoyed using them. When you are done with this workbook you might want to follow it up with the Uppercase Alphabet book that teaches you guessed it the uppercase letters.
For more information on the School Zone series of books or to purchase bundles of books feel free to visit their website at www.schoolzone.com
Name: Lowercase Alphabet
Published By: School Zone
Recommended Age Level: Preschool
As always, thanks for the read!
^V^ Freak ^V^
© 2004 Freak369
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