I credit Super Why! (a PBS show) with helping Bobble learn his ABCs. Though we would sing the song, and we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, he just didn’t seem to care. He saw the alphabet with Baby Signing Time and Signing Time (both of which I recommend to anyone looking for a signing program for their children), and the first time he seemed to “get” it was when he watched this YouTube video of James Earl Jones saying the alphabet on an old Sesame Street episode:
Super Why! was really something he connected with, and it helped him with more than just letter recognition. Each of the characters in the show have their own special power. Super Why (Whyatt) has the “power” to read, Alpha Pig works with letters, Wonder Red (Red Riding Hood) works with rhyming, and Princess Presto (daughter of the princess from The Princess and the Pea) works with spelling. In later seasons Whyatt gets a dog, Woofster, who works with definitions/teaching new words.
Each episode features a spin on a classic tale. This can get annoying since they do change key components to some of the stories, but sometimes these changes can actually make the lessons learned better for the kids. Rapunzel, for example, waits in the tower for the prince, but doesn’t like him climbing her hair (it hurts!), so instead of him going up to her, she comes down and they play and she has short hair because she likes it better. While that’s definitely not the actual story, I do like the way the writers have her problem solve and she doesn’t just wait for someone else to come to her. The show does make things a bit more gender-equal that way. I rather prefer the independence and self-sufficiency it promotes.
Each show starts with a problem that needs to be solved, and then they go “into” a book to find the answer. There are things like letter recognition, sound recognition (for the respective letters in terms of rhyming and just individual letter sounds), word building, and then word choice. For the last one, an example would be a character has to do something because that’s what their story says. This is where Super Why! would show a sentence on the screen, read it, and then show other words that they could add to the sentence to get the desired result.
Since watching this show, Bobble became very interested in his alphabet, and started enjoying books even more. He quickly learned the alphabet (upper and lower case), and all the sounds the letters made. He is still working on rhyming. That seems to be the hardest for him.
If your child is having trouble with the alphabet (recognition, sounds, or rhyming), I would look into Super Why! to see if it might help. It is available on Netflix right now, though that’s always subject to change. You can also view it for free on the Super Why! page on PBS.org, where they also have games and activities.
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