Engaging and Interactive. This book goes above and beyond the ABCs....Through the sing song rhymes and interactive theme....The illustrations are fun and pleasing yet subtle enough so as not to distract...The use of animals and other objects familiar to most children will keep them engaged learning how letters, and the sounds they make, are combined to create words. I recommend this book to anyone teaching a beginning or struggling young reader.
The idea for my first book came from our family’s struggle to help one of our children learn to read. I watched helplessly as one of my children had difficulty in school. It was a slow, torturous decade long journey ending in a diagnosis of a learning disability.
Teachers were puzzled that he could verbally respond correctly but seemed to refuse to do any written work. I was confused to realize he could remember the exact details of all 150 Pokémon but didn’t remember very many of the 26 alphabet sounds. My sweet happy child became angry, depressed, and school resistant. We sought help from many sources. When no progress was made, he spiraled into depression and anxiety. We tried a small private school, homeschooling, unschooling, and different combinations of all of them.
To make a long story short, it was a combination of things. Most important for his public-school experience was hiring an educational psychologist to diagnose his specific learning disability. She also accompanied me to a meeting at school in order to get the services he needed.
In addition to the private therapies and tutoring we tried, I read extensively. My research focused mainly on how to teach reading to a child. I constantly worked with my son, trying the exercises I read about.
After ten years advocating, researching, and teaching my son on the spectrum to read with dyslexia I became a para-educator. I harnessed that personal experience for another ten years as I stood at the back of classrooms then worked with kids one on one; the ones who had the hardest time with concepts.
I noticed that often kids struggled with knowing all the letter sounds as late as third grade and sometimes even later. Sometimes kids didn’t understand basic concepts when presented in a lesson for the entire group. Later, however, one on one, the material made sense to them.
One day, after working with a student who reminded me of my son, I asked this question aloud: Why is someone so smart having trouble learning to read? As a para-educator, my work with him was limited to a few short sessions a week. Many fine professionals worked with this little boy too! His difficulty with reading did not fit one parameter. Suddenly I was witnessing my son’s exact difficulties in reading from the teacher's perspective. It absolutely broke my heart.
On the way home that day in the car, that's when the words for this book came to my mind, "Letters have a name. Letters represent a sound."
"What's that Sound?" came into being that day. From my twenty years working with young children and my training as an artist, I worked many months to create a system that would visually inspire students to find the letter sound connection.
In early 2019 I began working with Flying Ketchup Press to bring the book to life. I'm excited to share this resource with you on your teaching journeys. Send me a line to let me know what you think!
-Illustrator located in Kansas City. I have since developed my own whimsical style with monoprints and cut paper and colored pencil incorporating my love of creative color combinations and patterns. I am also a maker of fairy doors and other tiny beautiful things, but my favorite thing of all is my daily time in the studio--first thing every morning playing with cut paper ideas for my next book. I'm a mother of four grown kids, but I continue to enjoy the daily challenges and rewards of teaching young learners.
Browse my site to learn more about the projects I’ve created, and feel free to get in touch with any questions, comments or commissions. I’d love to hear from you.