How to use Alphabeasts

I made a book that’s designed to help teach the alphabet and even basic phonics!

The main idea is just to have a character for each letter that is cool and fun and interesting so that kids memorize the characters for the sheer joy of doing so, just as they memorize the characters on their favorite trading cards.

And toward that end I hope to one day make Alphabeast trading cards and individual books for each Alphabeast where that character has an adventure in a six-minute bedtime story. No attempts to educate. Only to entertain. Just to make each character maximally fun.

But suppose you want to educate. How do you teach your kid the letters using Alphabeasts?

Follow these steps, or modify them to suit the temperament of your child:

  1. From time to time, and at least once before you begin this process, read the whole book to your kid. Probably not as a bedtime story (Jump the Shark is short, sweet, and fun for just that purpose), but read the book to establish the characters as an overarching whole.
  2. Each day, for 26 days:
    1. Pick a new letter, starting with Z, and moving forward through the book.
    2. Have your kid write out the Alphabet so far. E.g. if today’s letter is X, your kid will write “y z”. If he gets stuck, go back to the letter where he gets stuck and do that page again. There’s no hurry. You’ll still have the alphabet down pat in a month or so.
    3. Read the book until you’ve
      • Passed the letter you are working on for that day.
      • Gotten to a 2-page spread of character symbols (which you read as the whole alphabet).
    4. Flip back to the letter you are working on and re-read that page.
    5. Repeat the following for both the lowercase and the uppercase version of the letter (I plan to one day make a PDF of worksheets for this):
      • Walk your kid through producing the letter.
      • Have your kid fill a page practicing the letter.
    6. Have your kid write out the Alphabet so far. (e.g. if today’s letter is X, your kid will write “x y z”. ) It’s a good idea to have him fill a page this way, also.
    7. Reward a job well done.
  3. Have a small alphabet party or something to celebrate learning the whole alphabet!

Typically, when people learn lists like the alphabet, they learn from beginning to end. But Alphabeasts is arranged from end to beginning. The reason is to use confidence and mastery as a reward. When a kid learning the alphabet in Alphabeasts order adds a new letter, he hits the part he’s having trouble with first, and then upon successfully recalling it, immediately gets to move on to something he’s mastered.

And finally, by learning the alphabet in this way, when you finally move on to phonics… aha! We already know what sound R makes because we already know R is for Rhino Rocket! We just have to worry about more complex constructions.

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