We’re still deep in the phase of learning our ABCs with my younger two children. So, I’m constantly looking for the best resources, and the ones that will help the alphabet to sink in with my children. So, when I received the chance to review S is for Smiling Sunrise from WordsBright, I was excited for the opportunity to share a new alphabet book with them.
What We Received
S is for Smiling Sunrise is subtitled “an alphabet book of goodness, beauty, and wonder.” Aimed at teaching children to look at the bright, beautiful and the virtuous, the alphabet is expressed in such terms as “A is for Artwork,” “D is for day,” “O is for ocean,” and “W is for words.” The pictures are simple and the graphic design is soothing and peaceful to gaze at.
In addition to the book, I received a couple of resources to use with the book that are free on their website:
- a downloadable MP3 version of a song that goes through the entire book and all the rhymes
- a teacher guide for Pre-K and Kindergarten
- a teacher guide with simple questions and activities for Kindergarten to 3rd grade
These are valuable resources for using with the book, as you’ll see in just a second.
How We Used This Product
We decided to take this product and use it as a quick alphabet study/review. Each day we would sit down and go through the book, looking at the pictures as we listened to the song. As the days went by, and we knew the rhyme better, we would all sing it. Then, we would take one letter of the alphabet and we would look particularly at it’s rhyme. I’m going to use the example of “B is for butterflies,” so that you’ll see how we used it.
The first thing we did was to look at the picture and observe the butterflies in the picture. I had my four year old to point at each butterfly and count them. My five year old wanted in on the action as well, so he pointed at them and counted. Then, we discussed what color butterfly we liked the best and the shadows of leaves and flowers in the background. I shared with the children about how butterflies drink nectar out of the flowers by sticking their long tongues in.
Then, I asked my eight year old, who is currently learning how to read, to help me by reading the rhyme to us:
B is for Butterflies,
Flying in a flutter
Did you know, that their wings
Are soft like butter?
With her (and the little kids), we discussed how “flutter” and “butter” rhymed. We also tried to think of other words that might rhyme with “flutter”. Then, I went through some of the questions in the teacher guide to help them with the idea of butterflies. Some of the questioned we discussed included:
- How do you think butterflies fly?
- Do you think they’re beautiful?
- Have you ever touched a butterfly?
- Is it hard or soft? (We also discussed what hard and soft are.)
- Why do you think it’s called a butterfly?
- Isn’t it wonderful that a butterfly’s wings are so soft, and yet strong enough to fly?
Each letter that you work through using the teachers guide has concepts that you can teach about the focus of the letter, using the provided questions, some vocabulary that your child might not be familiar with, and some activities that you can do to go along teaching the object/concepts in the letter.
For us, the activities in the guide for B is for butterfly were not as easy for us to do. We never made time to go to a butterfly garden, and it was too early for us to see butterflies in our yard. We settled instead for watching a butterfly documentary.
My Thoughts on This Product
This is a really great alphabet book. The pictures are uncluttered and that allowed us to really focus on the ideas behind the letter. We also benefitted from using it with the songs and the teacher guide because we were able to have great conversations about the concept that we were studying that day.
Even my eight year old benefitted from the vocabulary terms and our casual discussions about them. My 10 year old would occasionally come over and sit with us because he thought the graphics were lovely and he wanted the opportunity to be a part of this calm and lovely part of our day.
This is a time of our day together that the children have really looked forward to over the past few weeks, and I highly recommend that if you use this book you take advantage of the resources that WordsBright provides for use on their website. It’s a nice way to study the alphabet, and it’s not something that has to take up much of your day as most of their suggestions for use are not difficult to implement. The little kids also loved just having the song on during playtime, making this a really enjoyable experience.