Sunday, April 18, 2010

Alphabet Beats, a TOS Homeschool Crew Review

The TV Teacher presents alphabet beats - writing lowercase letters, an educational video that teaches parents and children how to teach children to write lowercase letters.

The video uses rythmic chants that describe the motor action, auditory and visual cues and clues, for teaching lowercase letters.

The creators of the video recommend that parents watch the chapter together with your child and then practice while chanting together.

Each video letter chapter is approximately four minutes in length. The creators recommend watching just one or two chapters a day, and no more than four chapters. There is a sample from the video here (the demo is about the letter "p").

There creators establish a pattern and stick with it: Each chapter begins with the letter introduced with a visual of an item that begins with that letter. M is for magnets, for example. Miss Marnie demonstrates the visual with the rhythmic chant. ("V" surprised me - I saw "dirt". Then a vacuum cleaner. *grin*) Then the video features a few more items that begin with that letter. Then more practice with the rhythmic chant. She draws on a chalk board at first. See the pattern? I like that video gives students a break and that the entire four minutes is NOT drawing letters. After some more video examples of items that begin with that particular letter, Miss Marnie demonstrates how to draw that letter on lined paper...then more words that begin with that letter...then more practice.

I'm not a teacher by profession. I didn't learn little chants and poems to use in my homeschool classroom to help with skill and concept development. In terms of handwriting, this video provides me with the necessary how-to in terms of letter formation, and the creators give me the descriptive poem along with the rhythm. They say it enough times (a lot) in each chapter that I am able to remember the chant to use it later, away from the video, in real-life writing situations, like making a grocery list with my homeschooler. She tends to form a few letters in uppercase all the time, and having the video demo, the rhythm, and the chant to remind her of the place to start the letter, the direction to travel with her pencil, and how to finish, is helpful to me.

I struggle with a "good enough" amount of time spent. When I push my daughter for just another moment, I can increase her frustration and resistance, and interfere with her trust in me. I like that the videos are short, and a set time, so that *I* know when to stop.

I like the patterns set up within the chapters - the "variations on a theme" or "same-but-different, different-but-same" value is high here, especially for children w/ special needs who sometimes have challenges recognizing patterns.

I also like the fact that it takes the "me" out of the equation. It's not "I" who is telling my daughter to write letters this way; it's Miss Marnie!

The creators of the video keep distractions down - there is no distracting background music during the rhythmic chant and time for writing letters. The background is sparse, yet attractive, either all white or all black (blackboard). The visual examples of words that begin with each letter are attractive.

Viewers may download specially lined paper to accompany the video at

The DVD is priced at $35 as a stand-alone, or $64 with the upper case video.

To read my Crewmates' reviews of Alphabet Beats, please go here.

I was given Alphabet Beats Writing Lowercase Letters as part of my participation in TOS Crew of reviewers. I am not compensated for my review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

No comments:

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou -

Stat Counter