The Letter Buddies offer children a fun, engaging way to begin their alphabet learning. Alphabet knowledge is an important aspect of a child’s literacy foundation. Your learning environment needs to provide many opportunities for children to explore the network of information associated with letters. Letter Buddies materials are designed to support all aspects of alphabet learning in your classroom.
This product line supports the development of letter knowledge and early literacy skills through:
- Letter recognition and formation
- Letter-sound correspondence
- Phonemic Awareness
- Vocabulary Development
- Oral Language Development
I was accidentally sent the Letter Books originally. There are 23 books in the Letter Buddies Letter Books set (1 each for the letters of the alphabet with X, Y, and Z sharing a book and Q and U sharing a book). I was a little disappointed at first (I had wanted the blends books), but the more I looked at the books the more I came up with some great ideas about how I could use the books with my students at the beginning of the year and then later in the year for my struggling students or special needs students.
The books are an adorable, small size perfect for small hands. I like that they wouldn’t take up much storage space. They’d fit perfectly inside one of those mini-crates available at lots of stores.
The thing I think is the neatest about the books is that both the upper and lower case letter are on the front cover and they are a sort of raised, rough texture. Some students have sensory needs and to be able to touch and actually feel the letters is a great feature of these books.
Another great feature is the top of each book features a picture of the Letter Buddy and other objects/things that begin with that letter. Before reading the book it would be great to have students look at the picture and see if they can identify all of the pictures that begin with the letter. Most of the pictures included at the top are also included inside the book. It would be fun to have students predict which things might be inside the book and then after reading it, revisit the front cover to see which things were not included inside the book.
Inside each book on the back of the front cover is a little chart featuring all of the Letter Buddies. This provides a great opportunity to review letter names and sounds in a fun way.
Each book features full color, real-world photos of things beginning with the focus letter. The photos were very engaging to my students. Obviously at this point in the year, these books were very easy for my first graders to read, but they were still intrigued by the high interest photos. The photos would be sure to stimulate some great discussions among the students and provide them the opportunity to make real-world connections.
Every Letter Buddies Letter Book ends with a review page where the students have to identify which pictures do or do not begin with the focus letter. This provides another opportunity to review the vocabulary and letter sound.
The books would be great for very young learners (preschool-kindergarten) just beginning to learn about letters and sounds, ESL/ELL students, special needs students, and for any readers who might be struggling with letter/sound correspondence. As my end of the year first graders read these books I asked them to identify key chunks in words, count syllables in the words, identify compound words, etc. to provide them some more challenging activities.
I should note that letters Q and U are included in a book together. The first half of the book contains words with qu (which makes sense) and the second half of the book covers words that begin with u. There is not a separate book for u. I found this a little odd. I completely understand why Q was presented with U but thought U needed it’s own book as well. I don’t really teach the alphabet in first grade so maybe this is common in some phonics/alphabet curriculums? All of the other vowel books (A, E, I, and O) contained words that begin with the short sound of the letter. As a first grade teacher using these materials I would have liked to see words with both the long and short sounds of the vowels, but again, I typically don’t teach single letters and I know some phonics programs do not teach long and short sounds at the same time.
As I mentioned, I was sent the Letter Books by mistake as I had asked to review the Blends Books. I was later sent the Blends Books, which I was delighted to receive. Every year when I hit the phonics lessons on blends some students pick them up right away and others struggle with them. I am glad to have this additional resource for when I teach blends next year.
There are 22 titles in the Blends series. Each one follows the same format as the Letter Books and features six vocabulary words with great high quality photos of real-world objects/items. There is also a review page like the Letter Books. These books could be used in a very similar way to the Letter Books. I wish I had had these books when I had my Chinese student a couple of years ago. I find these books to be much more engaging than the traditional vocabulary flash cards I used with him.
*Also includes Letter Buddies display box
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I appreciate Hameray Publishing taking the time to send me these books to review. They are also being kind enough to let me offer a little giveaway to one lucky blog reader! Enter below to win an Alphabet Lap Book!
Alphabet Lap Books are 12″ x 16″ oversized books which show Letter Buddies visiting a common environment in a child’s world, through which new vocabulary is introduced.
You can enter to win a FREE Alphabet Lap Book using the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest ends on May 25th.