Itchy's Alphabet Phonics Program

Itchy is an inchworm that will begin your child's journey into the world of reading. This is a phonics program for the visual and auditory learner. Letters are taught by using pictures that are the shape of the letters. This gives students a picture to associate with the sound and therefore help them to retain the information. Sounds are also taught with short little songs to fulfill the auditory component of the program. Letters and sounds are presented according to Logical Letter Formations. This order of presentation is based on the grouping of letter formations so children actually build from one letter to the next. This gives the child a pattern for reference. You can see this progression as you start with c' as the basis for d,' a,' g,' q,' and o.' The sequence for this method is given in the appendix of the teacher's guide. The focus of this program is on letter sounds and lower case letter formation. You can choose from two different styles of manuscript, script font or traditional. There are several different components for this program which include a teacher's guide, alphabet songs CD, alphabet games on cards, phonics games on CD-ROM, blackline masters, reversal package, desk strip and alphabet book.

The Teacher's Guide ties the whole program together. Choose your teacher's guide according to the type of manuscript you would like your child to learn. Both guides have the same content, but handwriting examples are given in one of the two specific styles. Phonics lessons plans introduce each letter in the same format. The picture cue and sound are identified, the letter formation is taught and practiced, and follow-up activities reinforce the skills. Every lesson includes a read-aloud book which you may already have on hand or can find at your local library. Contact our customer service department for a list of the books. Also included are alternate read aloud selections. Within each lesson you'll see when to use the song CD, blackline masters, etc. Lesson plans are so easy to follow that a rookie teacher could pick it up and know right what to do. The program can't be done without this very important guide.

The Alphabet Songs CD has 26 tracks with lyrics and 26 tracks that are music only. A four-line rhyme emphasizes the picture cue. This is accompanied by a card stock song sheet with the picture cues beside each song (rhyme). Children will love to sing along!

Alphabet Game Cards consist of 26 picture cards and 26 letter cards. An instruction sheet is included with suggestions for several games that will reinforce the sounds and letters. Cards are 2 ½" x 3 ½" on coated card stock.

Itchy's Alphabet Interactive Games on CD-ROM are a fun addition to this program. Children will play a matching game, initial sounds game, and memory game to reinforce letter sounds and shapes. Systems requirements are Windows 98, Pentium 400, 64 mb ram, 16-bit color; MAC OS8.6, 64 mb ram, 1000's color.

Blackline Masters are the worksheets used for reinforcement in each lesson. For children who are printing, begin with Set II which gives letter formation practice. Non-printers should begin with Set 1 which is coloring book pages. Set III includes mini coloring book pages used for practice in printing and coloring; the pages are then put together to make a mini book for additional reinforcement. Set IV masters are exercises in identification of initial sounds. Set V are worksheets of outline letters designed to enhance children's learning of correct letter formation. Sets I through V are referenced in the lesson plans and are needed to do the program. Sets VI & VII are the "Reversal Package." Each contains instructions, practice sheets, picture cues, outline letters, and fluency drills for both printing and reading. These masters would be used if you have a student struggling with reversals. Sets VIII, IX and X (available in traditional print only) are "Accuracy & Automaticity Drills." These are drills which give students practice with accurate and speedy word recognition which leads to fluency. Each set includes the drill practice pages, record-keeping page and instructions on how to use the set. It is suggested that Sets VIII through X be used daily to enhance mastery. All blackline masters are reproducible for classroom or family use.

Desk Strips are 3"x 17" full-color strips. Each strip has all the characters from Itchy's Alphabet. These serve as a visual reminder of the letters and the sounds they hear and form.

Itchy's Alphabet Book may be my favorite part of this program. This is a 6" by 6" flip book on an A-frame stand with spiral binding. The pages flip forward to show the picture cue and are followed by a transparent overlay of the letter to show the connection between the picture and the shape of the letter. For example, the letter c' is represented by a cookie with a bite out of the right side and s' is represented by an animated snake in a curvy s' shape.

This program is a good alternative to using a more traditional phonics approach. The characters are kid-friendly and the sensible methodology lays a solid foundation of phonics skills. The sound-symbol association is effective with different learning styles, and Itchy is an appealing little worm to children. ~ Donna

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