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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.