Learning to Read: letters, phonics, and "The ABC Animal Picnic" vlog book review

Since my son was about 3.5 he has been showing a real interest in letters. For some while before this he knew his alphabet inside out (in other words, he sang it to me numerous times a day!) but he did not recognise the letter shapes, and I suspect he had actually just learnt a song parrot fashion. 


Since this interest started to develop I have been working with him at home, in a fun way so he doesn't really realise that he is "working", on learning his phonics - these are the sounds that letters make. So far we have learnt all of the alphabet letters in this way, and pretty much he can now recognise all of them in upper and lower case.


How have we done this? Jolly Phonics.

We have chosen to use the Jolly Phonics approach. There are a few different ones, but I understand that this one is widely used in schools, and was recommended to me by friends and family members. We have accumulated a whole bag of Jolly Phonics materials, from DVD's and CD's to workbooks. Even the learning resource for teachers was given to me by a friend. Because of our relocation, my son has a delayed start of his pre-school until January, and so I was anxious that he would not be at a disadvantage because of this. 


The Jolly Phonics approach is a multi-sensorial one - which just simply means you sing songs, do art, learn actions, as well as making the sounds, seeing and writing the letters. I am no teacher, but it has been an easy process to follow and we are almost ready to start the next stage which is blending some of the letter sounds too.


Following the Jolly Phonics has been fun for us both. Jolly, indeed! A particular joy for me has been seeing my son awaken to language. As soon as he started recognising the letter shapes he saw them everywhere. His shrieks of joy and "mummy mummy mummy LOOK!!" when he first saw the letter S in a word on a poster at creche was very memorable for me. I have even been able to get my 2 year old involved with the art side of things and the songs. She has picked up more than I expected her too which has been great. 


For Christmas he is to receive some of the Oxford Learning Tree books. With these he can move on to the next stage, and we can start reading simple words and sentences together. As a big reader and lover of the English language myself, this really is a wonderful journey.


The ABC Animal Picnic - by Janina Rossiter

The most recent step in our literary adventure has been a new book that we were given. The ABC Animal Picnic is a delightful, award winning, book by Janina Rossiter, a fellow expat here, working mum, self-published author, designer and talented illustrator (busy lady!). You may remember our previous review about her Tovi the Penguin Paris book... you can find it here. The whole range of Tovi books are much enjoyed in our household.


The ABC Animal Picnic is really lovely for pre-schoolers and toddlers, and also as a read alone for older children. Each letter has a character and a little story as they each contribute to the picnic. 


It is made really fun with the use of alliteration and exploring different letter sounds. This also helps to build up a strong memory of each letter. Janina's beautiful illustrations also encourage even more discussion around the story, as you can see from our little Vlog review below:  

As you can see, my little review team were fully engaged and really enjoyed this book. Cute! To quote my nearly 4 year old, it's "great"! You can get yourself a copy on Amazon, or directly from Janina Rossiter's website.

Kate x

P.S. We were sent a copy of the ABC Animal Picnic by the author. All views here are honest and my own. 


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