Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Very Favorite Movie Ever - The Letter Factory by LeapFrog

It's confession time.  

I have to tell you a story about my inability to teach my son when he was in kindergarten.  It pains me to tell this story, but there is a happy ending.  

My son attended 2 years of Preschool and I worked part time as a second grade teacher at the time.  On my days off, we would play games, go to the library, read books, write and draw, and even practice things like letters and sounds.  I did all of the things I was "supposed" to do with my son.  He went off to Kindergarten knowing a lot of letters and sounds, but not all of them.  The teacher did a few assessments, and I think due to nerves, he demonstrated that he knew even fewer letters and sounds than he did at home.  I continued to work with him at home and the work in the classroom continued as well, but his progress was VERY slow.  By the time Christmas Break rolled around his teacher informed me that he would be pulled for remedial work when we returned from break. 

Oh, my goodness... I can't even begin to tell you how my heart sank!!

I am a teacher!  I have a Masters Degree in Reading and Literacy, for goodness sake, and I can't get my child to learn letters and sounds!?!  I kept doing all of those games and activities that I knew were great for kids, but nothing seemed to click with him. 

Shortly after the conversation with my son's teacher, I was at Target and spotted a movie on the shelf. It was called The Letter Factory by LeapFrog.  I knew a little about LeapFrog and knew they were an educational toy company, so I figured it may be a little reinforcement for his learning. 


The old movie cover looks like the video on the left and the updated, 2014, version is on the right.

Over the break, we watched the movie together a few times and I'm telling you, Friends, it was like MAGIC!  All of sudden, my son was not only remembering his letters and sounds but he was singing them in the car and at the dinner table!  I went back to Target over the break and bought every game I could find to go along with the Letter Factory movie.  I really couldn't believe that a movie could do for my son what I couldn't do with all of my games, tricks, and practicing, but by that point I was just thrilled that he knew his letters and sounds.

As the years went on, I suggested this movie to every parent who would listen.  I think it's brilliant and the kids LOVE it!  The movie is available at stores everywhere, Amazon, and (last time I checked) it was available for streaming on Netflix.  I highly suggest tracking this down.  For a while, I was able to get it through the local library too.  Our goal in the classroom is to have kids knowing their letters and sounds by the Christmas Break.  I know that seems like a big push, but that will get us on our way to reading and writing!  We practice these letters and sounds every single day, in class, but I will also be sending home practice for kids at home.  This movie (and the games that go along with it) could be a fun way to practice!

(Full disclosure for my Confession Post: I mentioned that I really love this movie and it really fueled my passion for the tools and resources that are available for kids.  I found this movie almost a decade ago, and since then, I've actually starting working for LeapFrog as a writer and photographer.  More on that later, but I wanted you to know that my love for this movie and the games has nothing to do with the fact that I work part time for LeapFrog.  I think it's the best educational movie ever made and that was my opinion even before being employed by the company.  I don't get any kick-backs for encouraging families to track this down.  I just really think it's brilliant and well done.)

Happy letter learning!

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