Finn is the inspiration behind the Aplhabeasts. He found reading very difficult when he was six and seven. We had to find multi-sensory and kinaesthetic approaches to teach him to read all of the tricky sight words. We used sensory materials to help negotiate phonics, as he could not decipher between sounds, something that is very common in children with dyslexic tendencies.
As a result, he is flying now, but he can still remember the elements of reading he found particularly hard – the rules, the silent letters, the split-digraphs, the letters that pretend to be other letters…So, one lovely sunny afternoon, on a dog walk in Colwick, we started talking about rare animals, their super-powers and reading skills (like you do).
Essentially, we combined his love of wildlife with reading strategies and skills. I could see, at that moment, how important the beasts would be to young readers…
A little bit of theory can go a long way.
Each beautiful beast embodies a concept; these concepts relate to different skills needed for fluent and confident reading development. Once your child engages with the Alphabeasts, the concepts and skills that each beast embodies become part of your child’s tool kit, or set of strategies.
It's emotional, baby!
Understanding a concept through establishing an emotional connection with the idea is very powerful. The Alphabeasts appeal to children visually and emotionally. As a result, their message of being proud of your own super-powers, your uniqueness and how they can help with your own reading development, is powerful and deeply felt by young readers. They may look cute, but they are built upon research, theory and many years of working closely with struggling readers.
The Alphabeasts are a result of over 15 years of practical work with children learning to read, in school and privately; they are grounded within my own research and based upon memory and meta-cognition theory.
It feels good to do something you could not do before.The emotionality of the reading experience and how deeply successes and ‘failures’ are felt, was one of the reasons I designed these cards. I wanted to create animals that children could empathise with, want to be like, love looking at, be intrigued by. I wanted to give children confidence and make every reading session magical and enjoyable.