We are a family of readers. This means there are TONS of books in our house.
We have books on shelves and books stacked on top of shelves or on the ground alongside the overflowing bookshelves. We even have a few ABC books in our collection which can help make learning letters a bit more fun.
Knowing I already have a few ABC books in the house, one might wonder why I’d want to look at another one to use with my preschool aged son. Yet, I did just that when I agreed to review this new book from dad Vick Wadhwa which was originally written to both entertain and educate his own preschool aged daughter.
On the surface, S is for Smiling Sunrise might look like just another colorful book showing each letter in large print to help teach a child. Each page does include a colorful image of something that starts with the letter as well as that letter in a print typeface for both upper and lowercase. And on those pages you will find a rhyme that continues the focus on the particular image being featured. But if that is all you notice, then you might miss out on what makes this book unique.
S is for Smiling Sunrise only has ONE colorful image of an item per letter which is then reinforced in the rhymes.
You won’t find any sensory overloading for the brains of early readers with a large variety of objects featured. Some might argue that more objects which start with the same first letter would be good. However, I’ve seen some books not pay attention to how some letters make different sounds which could become a small source of confusion for a young child. (I’ve seen my boys try to argue that the spelling is all wrong because a word uses a secondary or tertiary sound.)
Each letter’s rhyme also has a rhythm to them so that you can sing the words along to the familiar tune of the ABC song.
A few years back I spent time writing out songs for unit studies. Each song was set to a familiar tune. Writing lyrics that carry your desired message and fit a specific tune can be challenging. So, I really appreciate the extra time Mr. Wadhwa spent writing each page’s rhyme.
The book incorporates positive words and concepts along with words which can expand their vocabulary and comprehension skills.
I am all for character development and am thrilled when something helps to reinforce what I am already teaching through my words and example. Building a stronger vocabulary and working on comprehension skills is another thing I value for my boys. (We talked about how the trees had leaves forming from buds this spring.)
S is for Smiling Sunrise, as meant to be sung, is available as a free mp3 download.
An adult or older sibling could listen to on your just to learn how match the words to the tune (as some rhymes match the first half of the ABC song and others match the second half.) Alternatively, you can have your child listen or sing along with the recording.
There are teacher guides for preschool OR K-3 available as a free download.
The preschool guide suggests on a slow approach to reading the book (starting with just the headlines and then moving to the entire page) with a final suggestion to engage in activities that fit the letter’s theme. The guide for K-3 goes a step further by sharing what concepts fit with the rhyme, questions to ask a child to encourage comprehension, vocabulary words for each rhyme, and activities to expand the learning beyond the book.
So far, my youngest son has enjoyed having a new book in the house for reading with mom or dad. He gets excited when he can point to a letter and tell us its name. Taking the little bits learned in the book and finding activities or ways to explore in a very hands on manner is a great fit for this age. And, I love making the learning process more about fun right now.
Do you use ABC books to help encourage your early reader to learn their letters and basic vocabulary?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the S is for Smiling Sunrise Review post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this and other self-paced courses.