If you have a preschooler, you’re probably exploring options to help your kiddo learn to read. It’s a lot more complex than one would think, but it can also be really, really simple! Emma, my 5 year old, starts Kindergarten this year. She knows all of her letters, and is eager to start spelling words and reading them aloud to us. But teaching her sound each letter makes is tough.
Then, I started working at a local Elementary school that utilized Zoo-Phonics, and I was flat out amazed. I worked in the library where students would work in small groups, sitting around a table with a teacher. The teacher had flash cards with animals on them, in the shape of letters.
“Genius,” I thought to myself. Totally genius, in fact, when I noticed that the sounds for each letter were paired with a hand motion. Each child was reciting the letter sounds, doing the hand motion, and LEARNING.
So when my daughter started to show signs of reading readiness, I immediately thought of Zoo-phonics. I knew that it was working beautifully for the Kindergardeners at the school, so I knew it’d be great for my child.
It’s an incredibly clever system. First, there’s a set of animals shaped like letters — just the animals. Then, the letter is superimposed along with the animal. The next step is to move strictly to the letters only. Each animal has a name and a reason for why he makes that sound and hand motion. Bubba Bear, for example, eats honey from trees. His hand motion looks like you’re reaching up into a tree and bringing honey to your mouth while saying “buh buh buh”. The kids truly love Zoo-Phonics. They call them their “zoo letters” :).
We’ve been doing Zoo-phonics every day for a good month, and Emma is really taking off! She helps me make grocery lists, sounding out words, and spelling them on her own. It’s really the most incredible thing!
Micah, my 3 year old, is even starting to do the hand motions along with us, and is getting quite a few letter sounds correct on the first try! If we keep up with the Zoo-phonics program, there’s no doubt in my mind that he will be reading by 4. Reading! By the age of 4! The best part is that you can pick up the Zoo Essentials kit for just $38. There’s really nothing better than affordable learning tools!
You can learn more about Zoo-Phonics here. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me, too! I 100% endorse this product for all kids preschool and beyond.