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Around the World from a to z Board book – August 30, 2013
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From the Inside Flap
A Note to Parents and Educators This alphabet book seeks to accomplish far more than simply acquainting children with the alphabet. The book approaches language learning as a holistic process that combines letter formation and pronunciation practice with cultural awareness and mindful thought. Careful penmanship and cursive writing not only refine fine motor skills from shoulder to fingertips, they also help to sharpen thought formation and brain development. More specifically, cursive writing has been shown to stimulate brain synchronicity: the physical act of fluidly connecting letters coordinates the visual right side of the brain and the verbal left side.This increased coordination between the brain's two hemispheres improves the ability to observe and appreciate fine details. Children's keener awareness through the practice of writing in cursive is supported and enhanced by exposure to cultural material that aims to expand and to deepen their understanding of the world they inhabitand will one day help take care of. Grounded in the proven fact that children innately learn through sense exploration, we have designed each letter of the alphabet to be touched, felt, and traced with the child's middle and index fingers. This tactile approach is naturally compatible with the use of cursive letters: tracing cursive sandpaper letters stresses the flow that is inherent in the physical act of writing. The child comes to perceive letter writing as a natural, fluid physical act. Writing itself will become a pleasure, an activity that exercises hand-eye coordination and satisfies both the intellect and the hand.The acrostic poem that accompanies each letter is designed to be read by an adult. This additional feature allows the child to cultivate early on both fine motor skills and fine habits of mind; these two skills go hand in hand. The inclusion of cultural material (each letter of the alphabet is paired with a famous site and a well-known physical activity) is thus structured and motivated by the foundational idea that the brain and the mind develop best by making connectionsin this instance, from letter to word, from word to activity, from activity to place, and from place to the humans and other living beings who have made the place home.The systematic inclusion of maps suggests that learning about language is ultimately learning about the world. We are all beings communicating in a vast world of events, landscapes, and history. We hope that this alphabet book will carry a global message to your children, wherever on Earth they happen to be.
About the Author
Christinia Cheung directs a Montessori bilingual school educating children aged 3 months to 18 years, where she has seen first-hand a vital need for books that both treat subjects in greater depth and are also designed with the aim of leading children to become more reflective and more aware of the world, of the past, and of others. Her collaboration with Han Tran originates in a belief in the power of storytelling as a way of engaging the mind while encouraging thoughtfulness and personal responsibility. Dr. Tran received a doctorate in Classics from UC Berkeley and is currently a lecturer at the University of Miami at Coral Gables. Her area of expertise is in classical and world myth, as well as ancient religions. She has also previously taught at The Ohio State University and the University of Oregon.
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This book takes you through each letter of the alphabet page-by-page. On the left page is the letter-written in a way meant to be traced by finger or reference to relate that letter to a poem and picture. On the right side is an illustration related to a poem referencing a physical activity or famous site that starts with that letter. The tracing will help connect them to the discovery of the world. We can't stop flipping through these books.
I had opened the Around the World A to Z book and put it in front of my preschooler. He sat and took his finger and traced the raised textured sandpaper cursive letters on each page. He wanted to trace each letter. On the opposite page of each letter is an education fact from around the world that starts with that letter.
All books in this series:
Geometry through Architecture: The Chartres Cathedral
Nuts for Coconuts
Around the World from A to Z
A Persistent Vine
Do I Have To?: What If I Don’t Want To . . .
These books offer a wide spectrum of learning materials with stories and poems that are not only informative, encourage mindfulness, but also inspire the best in children all while learning!
Around the World from A to Z takes kids on a journey to explore the activities, famous landmarks, and cultures of countries. Rock climbing at Mt. Rushmore, martial arts at Mount Fuji, and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef are just a few of the fun adventures highlighted in Around the World. My boys loved seeing what activity would be on the next page and finding the location on the map in the upper right corner of each page!
Each page also features a raised, textured cursive letter of the alphabet for little hands to trace! Our oldest showed his younger brothers how to trace them correctly and I’ve caught them doing it over and over again. This book has so many things to get kids involved in learning! We are big fans!
This hard cover book has thick sturdy pages that will hold up over time. These are great for preschoolers, since they can turn the pages themselves without the fear of tearing them. There is a nice note to parents and educators that helps the adults understand how to use the book and what it can do.
This book focuses on the alphabet...the written letters are in the cursive alphabet. I know many parent's are thinking- well my child needs to know the printed alphabet first, why should I get a book of cursive alphabet letters? Well, each letter is printed in a texture similar to very fine sandpaper. The note to parents and educators states, "Careful penmanship and cursive writing not only refine fine motor skills from shoulder to fingertips, they also help to sharpen thought formation and brain development." Tracing the letters in cursive help to coordinate the two hemispheres of the brain. This helps the child appreciate and observe the fine details in the book.
The book allows many senses to be used while exploring it. Touch while tracing the letters, sight when looking at the beautifully illustrated pictures, and hearing when listening to an adult read the acrostic poems that accompany each letter. Using all of these senses together makes a connection in the mind and allows the child to learn without realizing anything is being taught.
Each letter is assigned a corresponding physical activity (cross-country skiing, dancing, equestrian sport), and each page includes a map that pinpoints where the sport came from. On the bottom right corner of the poem pages there is also a little image of the page being turned and the image of a specific type of footwear. This allows the child to guess what sport will be coming up next.
Our four year old daughter really enjoys this book, she loves tracing the letters, seeing which feet will come next, and listen to me read the poems. The book has furthered her curiosity for some of the activities in the book (Quoits and ostrich-chasing) which has lead to more learning experiences.
Overall, this original book is one that is a fantastic addition to your library and one that is non-traditional enough to hold a child's attention while teaching the alphabet.
If I could summarize this book in one word it would be "beautiful"! From the whimsical pictures of historical landmarks to the Montessori alphabet, Around the World from A to Z is written to perfection. Every historical landmark and activity in the book is paired with a beautiful Montesorri letter. If you are familiar with Montessori education then you have probably seen the 'real' Montessori Moveable Alphabet. There are variations in font (some cursive, some print) and in color (some pink & blue, others red & blue). Christinia Cheung chose to use red cursive letters in Around The World from A to Z.
Around the World from A to Z gives children the greatest sensory experience possible; they hear the sound and then feel the shape of the letter with their fingers. My daughter especially enjoyed tracing the letters with her fingers.
Around the World from A to Z is sure to be a classic in our family library!