Friday, April 23, 2010

TOS Crew: Alphabet Beats

The TOS Crew ship is docking at our next port! We are visiting with Alphabet Beats. As a crew mate for the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free copy of Alphabet Beats lower case to use with my family, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Because of our families history of special learning needs, I am quite familiar with the idea, of marrying movement, or song, and hands on activities and visual learning in order to help facilitate learning. And most important retention.

So what exactly is Alphabet Beats? Well, it is a DVD handwriting program.
It is geared for kids ages 2-8, however, I tried this out with 2 of my children. My extremely special needs child and my 10 year old. Both of them could write, however they both needed help with formation, and they both tend to tend to write only using capitals.

We sat down and watched the DVD as instructed. I watched along side them. It really is indeed geared for the younger set. When you are watching it, there is lots of reinforcement of letter sounds and letter recognition. The presentation of these letter sounds is not at all 'sing song'. It is very straight forward and distinct. While the Alphabet Beats videos are not designed for special needs kids, the way the program is designed will be very beneficial for your special needs student.

So what is so special about Alphabet Beats. Well, it's all in the song! Well not just the song. In the Alphabet Betas videos they use;

1) Visual: Most children are visual learners and tend to retain more when taught visually

2) Auditory/Rhythm: Children like rhymes and rhythm-it's a great way to learn. Most children learn their ABC's for the first time by singing the ABC song! We always incorporate catchy songs and chants in our videos that children will remember and which will help guide them through motor planning the desired action later.

3) Repetition: Children enjoy and learn through repetition! How many times have you read the same book to them at bedtime?
I can tell you that the little jingles they have come up with really did help with my kids. Both. They sing it to them selves if the forget. Or if I correct their formation, they go back and will use the song to help them along with the correction. Also, you can watch the 'TV Teacher' write the letter correctly as she is singing the jingle. Great reinforcement, as well as, using audio and visual learning styles! I can tell you that I have seen a marked improvement in both of my children's handwriting since they have started using Alphabet Beats.

If you have a little one just beginning to start handwriting, then this would be an awesome tool to have in your arsenal.

There are 2 DVD's in the Alphabet Beats Family, one for Uppercase and one for Lowercase. Each one is available for $35. What I thought was handy, was the fact that they have workbooks to go with it. 2 workbooks for each level, a beginning and advanced. The beginning books run for $4.49 and the advanced is available for $4.99. You can purchase these items by visiting their website.

My fellow crew mates have posted their thoughts about Alphabet Beats on the crew blog. Sail on over and check out what they have to say!

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