November 21, 2017 is the work of M. J. Maddox, PhD. The content is for parents, teachers, and mature students.

Dr. Maddox writes about School Reform at the online magazine Bellaonline.


Baby Einstein Alphabooks “Pretty Good”

Ever since my grand-daughter was crawling I’ve been working on a set of letter cards made from recycled 3×5 floppy disks. Let me tell you, it is slow going.

For one thing, I used rubber cement to apply the paper to the disks and Carys-Jane made short work of stripping it off.

Since my writing commitments leave me less and less time for other projects, I was delighted to find that Baby Einstein has a product very similar to the one I’ve been working on.

Alphabooks is a box of 26 3-page board books, one for each letter of the alphabet. It comes sealed up so I had to buy it before I could check it out. It’s pretty good, but not as good as it ought to be.Carys-Jane and AlphabooksOf the 26 booklets, 18 are useable as is, with a few minor reservations. The remaining eight booklets will require alterations before I use them with my grand-daughter. I’ll also get back to my floppy disk project and make booklets for several of the remaining extra “letters” like th and sh that a beginning reader needs to recognize early on.

Many causes contribute to the difficulties that 40% of school children experience when learning to read. One cause is lack of verbal experience at home.

Another is inadequate or incorrect information about the sounds that the letters represent.

An ABC book–or in this instance, a set of ABC cards–that gives “sheep” as an example of a word that begins with the letter S, and “owl” as a word that begins with the letter O, undermines the process of beginning reading.

“Sheep” begins with the letter combination sh; “owl” begins with the letter combination ow. These letter combinations represent unique sounds that are not represented by s or o.

I have begun a Guide to ABC Books here at AmericanEnglishDoctor. So far I’ve uploaded two critiques. Baby Einstein’s Alphabooks will be there soon.

July 2009 – Here’s an interesting footnote on this boxed set of ABC board books.

Until recently Carys enjoyed them a lot. We read them over and over.  Then something happened. Her parents are guessing that she had a nightmare, but now, at the age of three-and-a-half, Carys is terrified of these books and the box they came in. She refused to go into the TV room until I took them away.

2 comments to Baby Einstein Alphabooks “Pretty Good”

  • hanna,
    If your child is very young, then I think sh, th, and ch are probably enough. Maybe wh if you want to teach the aspirated sound for this letter combination.
    Later on, when the child has master these combinations, you can add the combinations ng, ow, oi, aw, ar, and or.

  • hanna

    I agree with you concerning the lack of usefulness for some of the books. The photos used to represent certain letter are odd at best and dificult for a child to understand. I am remaking my set with printable adhesive sheets cut to fit. I have some extra books that I will use for sh, th, and ch. What other sounds would you recommend adding?

    thank you!

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