Review: Alpha-Mania Adventures

Are you working at helping your youngsters learn to read?   Today I have a series of five books called "Alpha-Mania Adventures" that should prove to be an aid to you.

This series of book has been created based on a program by Ruth Rumack, who has a Bachelor's in Education.  She has a particular interest in working with students of all ages who experience reading challenges, as well as those diagnosed with learning differences and other exceptionalities such as ADHD, anxiety, and executive functioning issues. She is a member of the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario and regularly attends learning conferences to ensure that she is on the leading edge of new research and new methodologies. At her Learning Space, Ruth and her team of highly-qualified educators provide individualized support that emphasizes honoring the individual strengths and needs of each child. Their goal is to provide all students with a strong academic foundation, achieved through active, kinesthetic learning that doesn’t feel like learning at all.  (supplied information)

These books are actually rather cool.   Children, playing pirates, happen to meet some real pirates.   These pirates all talk in rhyme. The goal of these books is to, in a fun engaging way, introduce children to phonics and phonological awareness.

Brightly coloured pages tell the story.   Which are interlaced with predominately white pages with activities for the learner to complete.

 Each book closes with a number of bonus activities.   Some of these activities are: making salt-dough letters, making letters in sand, making up their own pirate rhymes, say it slow, say it fast games, making alliterations with food, and digging for treasure as well as many more.

The alphabet is provided as well as answers for each activity are found in the back of the books.   I would recommend getting the whole series as each book works are a particular set of phonics and phonemes. 

There are five books in the series, each book introducing children to new sounds and letters.  Each book is about 40 pages long.

Written by Jennifer Makwana
Based on the the Alpha-Mania Program by Ruth Rumack
Illustrated by Jalisa Henry
Pages 40
Meant for Pre-readers

Website: Rumack Resources and Alpha-Maniacs
 Alpha-Mania Adventures: The Great Riddle Race: A Sound Manipulation Book
Alpha-Mania Adventures: The Splitter Critter and the Greedy Pirates: A Segmenting Book
Alpha-Mania Adventures: The Fantastic Floating Feast: An Alliteration Book
Alpha-Mania Adventures: Slomo's Secret Treasure: A Blending Book
Alpha-Mania Adventures: Captain Ray and the Rhyming Pirates: A Rhyming Book
 Alpha-Mania Adventures: Captain Ray and the Rhyming Pirates: A Rhyming Book (Volume 1)
 Alpha-Mania Adventures: Slomo's Secret Treasure: A Blending Book (Pirates) (Volume 2)
 Alpha-Mania Adventures: The Fantastic Floating Feast: An Alliteration Book (Pirates) (Volume 3)
 Alpha-Mania Adventures: The Great Riddle Race: A Sound Manipulation Book (Pirates) (Volume 5)
 Alpha-Mania Adventures: The Splitter Critter and the Greedy Pirates: A Segmenting Book (Volume 4)


For more information, connect with Rumack on her website and the series' site, as well as Rumack's Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Days of December: Weather

It's a new month, a new set of Word Prompt Challenges!   YEAH!!!!

Today's word, as you can see, is Weather.

As I sit here on the first of December, outside my window I see a grey sky, it was snowing a bit when I went out to do the rabbits, but now it's settled into a bit of wind and a touch of cold rain.  Don't know that we'll get more snow today or not.

BUT we have had snow. This year, snow is rather exciting.   We have this great 15 year young man from Brazil living with us.  I wanted to show you what he did with our first snow fall of the year.

I LOVE his smile.   This boy is so quiet and so honest about things.  He tries hard to a nice and good lad.   I rarely see his smile of complete delight, and here I have a smile of complete delight.   Does my heart good looking back at this picture.  

My lad, when he saw our visiting lad out busy building, couldn't stop himself (despite his hard cough and cold) from going out and joining him.

The two boys had enough gumption left after the exertions to have an impromptu snow ball fight.  My lad quickly ran in the house when he learned our student has way better aim than he does and a cold snowball on bare legs wasn't his idea of fun.  :)   Made me laugh.

Tell me, dear reader, what weather makes you smile lately?

Book Club: The Book of Negroes

I will tell you right off the start that I sit here in amazement that Lori and Wendy were able to read this book in one month....took me three as I had to keep putting it down to let my thoughts and emotions take in what I was reading.

This is an emotionally intense well written book.   I first mentioned in this post.    LitLovers has given some questions to answer about this book which you can find here.   Not saying I'm going to answer them all either.   In Canada this book is published under the title Book Of Negroes , in the states it is called "Someone knows my Name".

2. What is your opinion about Hill's suggestion that Aminata's very youthfulness at the time of her abduction enables her emotional survival, even as some of the adults in her world show signs of crumbling?

Youth have a different take on things.   They are often more able to hunker down and deal with whatever is thrown at them.  Her youth also protected her from the advances of the men on board and gave her freedom to move around.   Most of the rest were simply kept in their area and expected to cope.  To go from complete freedom to being a messy, smelly, tight quarters on a ship with a never ending water line...that would be really hard for most adults to cope with.

3. The section of the book set in the sea islands of South Carolina depicts eighteenth-century indigo plantations where African American slaves and overseers are left largely to their own devices during the "sick season"—a good half of the year. To what degree does this cultural and social isolation allow for an interesting development and interaction of African American characters in the novel?

4. Aminata suffers some horrifying cruelties at the hands of her captors, but her relationships with her masters aren't always what you'd expect. How does Aminata's story reveal the complex ways that people react to unnatural, unequal relationships?

This fits with other things that I have read about slavery.  How some people formed good strong bonds with each other regardless of skin colour, whereas with others, skin colour was the defining issue on how they interacted with others.   I suspect though, the most cruel people, were also not nice to their white brethren either, having a tougher edge to them.  Nastiness attracts to each other.

5. During the course of the story, Aminata marries and has a family. Although she is separated from them, she is reunited from time to time with her husband and one of her children. What does the work tell us about the nature of love and loyalty?

Love and loyalty hold true you know?   People work with the situations they find themselves in.  Take for instance military spouses who have to cope without their partner for days on end...their love doesn't stop just because their partner isn't physically with them.  Aminata's situation was forced upon her, but that didn't change the nature of her love for her man.

6. Aminata struggles to learn and master all sorts of systems of communicating in the new world: black English, white English, and Gullah, as well as understanding the uses of European money and maps. How do her various coping mechanisms shed light on her character?

I think Aminata was an amazingly smart woman.  I think she would, given the proper education, outsmarted most people around her.   She used that brain of her to learn to talk like those around her, to assimilate the best she could into her environment.   Flexible but tough, smart but wise, just an amazing woman.

7. Aminata longs for her home. What is the meaning of home in the novel, and how does the meaning change as the novel progresses?

Who wouldn't long for their home, to go back to that safety and security?   People do that all the time.  Did you know that often children who grew up in the church and later left it, often when they marry and have children, find themselves drawn back to the church for the sake of their children?   They want their children to have that safety and security they had.   It's good to go home, to want the love and security you had as a child.  Of course as you mature you figure out what home really is.   For me, as much as I long to be on a farm with a bunch of critters around me... home I've learned is where my hubby and son are.   They center me and are part of my security.   Aminata learns the same.  Her home is not just Africa, but where she feels the most secure.

8. What does the novel tell us about survival? Which characters fare best and why?

 Survival... best done by those who can adapt to the circumstances they find themselves in.  Aminata did well, the lady who rescued her when she was so sick did well.  Finding a place, learning how to fit in and work within the system.   Learning to be tough and yet flexible.  This helps a person survive.

10. Aminata is a woman of extraordinary abilities—she is skillful with languages, literate, a speedy learner, a born negotiator. Why did Hill choose this story to be told by such a remarkable woman? What effect do her abilities have on the shaping of the story?

Why?   To show there is always hope.  There is always something that can be done and worked with even through horrific situations.

12. What lessons does Aminata's tale hold for us in today's world?
Hard one to answer eh?  Today's world is one of change and conflict.   Keeping one's head down and hunkering in until you know the lay of the land is probably a good rule of thumb to live by.   It's good though, to use your wits and your intelligence to learn the language and customs of the people you find yourself surrounded by and use that to make a way.

Being a person of faith though, you need more than just intelligence and wisdom to get by.   Faith gives a hope for things yet unseen.  Aminata has some hope that she will find her daughter, that she will find a place to truly call home.   She used her natural talents to good end.   Shouldn't we all do the same?   Use your natural talents, keep your faith and just keep moving forward.

So go on now... read the book club answers by  Lori and Wendy.   Perhaps next month you'll join us with Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children.