Zoo-phonics teaches the alphabet (the foundation of the reading and writing process) through a method using a cast of characters. The method teaches children to lock the shapes and sounds of the alphabet into memory through a body movement that directly relates to the Animal/Letter, allowing them to utilize the alphabet immediately.
The Essences of the Zoo-phonics program are as follows:
- The Animals help the children remember the shapes and sounds of the letters. Because we use lowercase letters for reading and writing 95% of the time, children learn what is pivotal for reading and spelling success = lowercase letters and sounds.
- Letter sounds are taught before letter names. We use sounds when reading and spelling, not letter names. Letter names have a sound of their own, often unlike the sound it makes in a particular word.
- Lowercase letters are taught before uppercase letters.
- The Body Movement for each animal letter helps cement the phonemic information into memory. An Animal-related Body Movement (called a signal) is given for each Animal Letter.
- The alphabet is taught sequentially, and as a whole entity, “a-z.” The alphabet is not fragmented.
- Short vowels are taught before long vowels.
- Phonemic patterns are taught first rather than random word list (at, bat, fat, sat, cat; rain, train, gain, brain, etc.)
Each week the children will be celebrating an Animal Letter. Each week we will send home the Animal Letter picture, sound and signal so parents can reinforce at home what their child is learning at school. We also ask that parents and children bring in words, names, labels and pictures that have the target sound for the week to place on our presentation boards.
So far this program has been a hit with both the children and teachers. The children have been introduced to all the character’s sounds and signals. We have been amazed at how quickly they have picked them up.