Newest Review: ... to this, allowing them to learn by touch as well, thus increasing the chance of success. It also makes the book fun, which means it will... more
Not quite the holy grail, but still of some use..
Touchy-feely ABC - Fiona Watt
Member Name: broxi3781
Touchy-feely ABC - Fiona Watt
Advantages: It is a tactile ABC book which is virtually unheard of.
Disadvantages: The letters do not have much texture at all, only stamped paper.
A good tactile ABC has long been the holy grail of home educators, and I would assume highly sought after by school teachers and parents. After all, most young children really enjoy touch and feel books and a child will learn far more from a book that interests them, but there is more to it than this. Different children learn best in different ways. These include visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and logical or analytical, and whether we care to admit it or not, rote learning. While many children tend to favour one type of learning over others, and there is a tendency for experts to want to lump children into one specific group, the simple fact is that most children learn best when taught using as many of these styles as possible. A child using a tactile alphabet book with a parent is using auditory skills as the parent reads the text, visual skills as they look at the letter and pictures. They are also learning by rote, or memory as they continually see the same letter associated with the letter name or sound. But a tactile book brings a new dimension to this, allowing them to learn by touch as well, thus increasing the chance of success. It also makes the book fun, which means it will be used more often, increasing the chance of memorisation.
Despite all the advantages to be gained from a tactile alphabet book - publishers have never caught on - so many home educators make do with stickers, gluing on textures, etc... Montessori schools use sand paper letters, and I remember a teacher in nursery using letters made on cardboard with pasta. Other experts have recommended plastic letters although plastic has such a plasticky feel, or better yet, wood, but everyone seems to be searching for a good tactile alphabet.
I chose this book because i could see on the Amazon look inside feature that there was some texture to the letters themselves, and also because I quite like Fiona Watt's That Not My ..... series. Prices for a new copy of this book are currently a rather insane £32 odd pound, which quite frankly I would pay for an extremely well made touch and feel ABC - but at that price it had better be very, very good. I paid £2.81 for this used, which was fair enough.
This is a very traditional alphabet book - a is for apple, be is for b and c is for car. I'm afraid these illustrations do not engage my child at all, but that is just his personal tastes. They are very bright and colourful, and reasonably well drawn, but perhaps best suited to younger children - ages 1 -3. Although he isn't terribly interested in the pictures themselves, he does love touch and feel books, so despite not being very interested in things like jam or a vase, he does use this book now and then, and I do feel it is useful for teaching the alphabet.
Not every picture has a texture, but most pages do have at least one textured pictured. I rather think it is cheating to use a cut out section with smooth card as a texture through when the entire book is made of smooth card. In addition to the card texture, they have a number of cloth textures. These are not the greatest, but they are OK, and enough to get him to read the book now and then. They most certainly do not compare with the textures in Fiona Watt's That's Not My.... series.
This book also uses lower cases letters only, but I was aware of that before buying this and will not mark down for this reason.The biggest disappointment though is in the letters themselves. They are all textured, but only with a stamp creating ridges into the paper. There are none that have a cut out insert, and the texture is slightly less noticeable than the stickers I have used for a similar purpose with our Zombie ABC book. Nor is this as good for tactile purposes as Learn Your ABC (Sparkle Books) - which wasn't even intended to be a tactile book.
In short this book is neither very good nor very bad, it is simply mediocre. I think it would be a very good baby or toddler book, but it still has some use for any child who is learning their alphabet. I do have a lot of complaints with this book, but at the same time, I have to admit that to my knowledge, this is the only book printed which has any deliberate tactile pattern for the letters themselves. Because of this - I do still recommend this book - but only if bought used, and there is always a risk with buying this type of book used that the textures may be damaged. Considering new prices, and the very limited tactile nature of the letters I am giving this 3 stars.
Summary: Worth buying, but I'm still left trying to make my own tactile alphabet books.
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