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What did the A Say?

An urban ABC book teaching the letters through phonemic awareness and a musical phonics ABC song compliments the story.

Photo of Cara Zelas

Written by

“Ahh” said the A. Alika ate an apple. “Buh” said the B. Bento bounced a ball. “Kuh” said the C. Casey cuddled a cat. “Duh” said the D. Dominic did a dance. “Ehh” said the E. Ellen stomped like an elephant. “Fff” said the F. Felipe hugged his family. “Guh” said the G. Grace skipped in the garden. “Huh” said the H. Hayden helped at home. “Ihh” said the I. Imani watched an insect. “Juh” said the J. Jayden jumped like a joey. “Kuh” said the K. Kameela saw a kite. “Lll” said the L. Luca licked a lollipop. “Mmm” said the M. Mimi walked in the museum. “Nnn” said the N. Nasim took a nap. “Ooh” said the O. Olivia wriggled like an octopus. “Puh” said the P. Pedro played at the park. “Qwuh” said the Q. Queenie asked a question. “Rrr” said the R. Rajiv ran like a rocket. “Sss” said the S. Sydney smelled a sunflower. “Tuh” said the T. Tyson rode the train. “Uhh” said the U. Unya twirled an umbrella. “Vvv” said the V. Viktor munched on vegetables. “Wuh, said the W. Wendy waved her magic wand. “Kss” said the X. Xavier hid in a box. “Yuh” said the Y. Yaffa had to yawn. “Zzz” said the Z. Zhen loved the Zoo. Letters make the world go round! First we have to learn those sounds. Move your body and give a clap, Come on now let’s take it back! (Word count: 244)

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

What Did The A Say? promotes a pre-cursor to reading by providing children and caregivers the tools to teach and learn the alphabet phonetically, to help facilitate early reading skills. The children illustrated in the book are from diverse backgrounds, making sure that when children read the book, they see themselves represented. The book is also accompanied by a phonetic awareness ABC (please copy and paste this link to hear the music: http://bit.ly/MUSICDRAFTABC)

Share your suggested book title

What Did the A Say?

PLEASE USE THE VERSION OF THIS QUESTION AT THE TOP OF THE SUBMISSION FORM: Share a draft of your manuscript (250 word limit, not including title).

“Ahh” said the A. Alika ate an apple. “Buh” said the B. Bento bounced a ball. “Kuh” said the C. Casey cuddled a cat. “Duh” said the D. Dominic did a dance. “Ehh” said the E. Ellen stomped like an elephant. “Fff” said the F. Felipe hugged his family. “Guh” said the G. Grace skipped in the garden. “Huh” said the H. Hayden helped at home. “Ihh” said the I. Imani watched an insect. “Juh” said the J. Jayden jumped like a joey. “Kuh” said the K. Kameela saw a kite. “Lll” said the L. Luca licked a lollipop. “Mmm” said the M. Mimi walked in the museum. “Nnn” said the N. Nasim took a nap. “Ooh” said the O. Olivia wriggled like an octopus. “Puh” said the P. Pedro played at the park. “Qwuh” said the Q. Queenie asked a question. “Rrr” said the R. Rajiv ran like a rocket. “Sss” said the S. Sydney smelled a sunflower. “Tuh” said the T. Tyson rode the train. “Uhh” said the U. Unya twirled an umbrella. “Vvv” said the V. Viktor munched on vegetables. “Wuh, said the W. Wendy waved her magic wand. “Kss” said the X. Xavier hid in a box. “Yuh” said the Y. Yaffa had to yawn. “Zzz” said the Z. Zhen loved the Zoo. Letters make the world go round! First we have to learn those sounds. Move your body and give a clap, Come on now let’s take it back! (Word count: 244)

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

I am an educator and reading advocate, to give the gift of love of reading to a child is a powerful tool. There is a lack of focus on teaching phonics, which is the scientifically proven pre-cursor to creating life long readers. "According to all the research, what you should see is a heavy emphasis on explicit phonics instruction. If you do a good job teaching phonics, kids get off to a quicker start. And they accelerate their progress faster and read more and like it better and so it becomes a self-reinforcing cycle."* The manuscript uses tier 1 vocabulary and each example (eating an apple, taking a nap etc.) is an action that children experience. Music is a wonderful tool for children to engage with and learn from, I have created a phonics ABC that goes along with the manuscript which perpetuates and supports language development. (Please copy and paste this link: http://bit.ly/MUSICDRAFTABC - please be mindful that this is a rough draft that can be amended.) *http://bit.ly/2HF42Mo

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

I have created the manuscript and illustrations to resonate with an urban context at the forefront. The illustrations are a mix of photo images of Philadelphia where the children reading the book may live. Each letter corresponds with a child from a different background and ethnicity, it is really important that when children are reading books, that they see themselves reflected back. The benefit of creating illustrations with diverse names and ethnicities in and an urban environment, help the reader and child engage and connect to the book and the content. I envision that this could be a series of books, with the background photography representing different cities all over the world.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department

NY

Location: City

New York

Website URL (optional question)

Website: http://www.worldoflittledude.com/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/worldoflittledude Portfolio link to an example of my work: (please copy and paste) http://bit.ly/BWOLDBrainVacation http://bit.ly/BrainVacationMUSIC

Tell us more about you / your team

I am an educator and author, originally from Australia however a long time resident of New York City. I have founded Big World of Little Dude, which is an educational platform teaching children social and emotional skills. This is delivered through a book series and literacy-based curriculum with the core themes of: Kindness, Friendship, Mindfulness, Empathy, Manners and Courage. Each lesson comprises of reading, singing, puppet play and hands-on activities. All books are set to music and can be read and sung and each book has a how-to guide that extends the themes for caregivers and teachers (above I have put a link to a sample of a book.) My passion is education and teaching children. I also have experience and expertise of understanding how to self-publish and the process of putting a book together is something that I am well versed in.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

The illustrations will be a mix of photography and traditional illustration. Each background image will be of an urban landscape of Philadelphia, not of popular landmarks, but of urban neighborhoods where children and families live. Each child illustrated is from a different ethnic background.

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

Brain Vacation: A Guide to Meditation / 2018 Hello, Friend: A Guide to Friendship / 2018

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists

11 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Perlina Murray
Team

I think there should be a comma, after a musical phonics ABC. Keep tweaking the manuscript to make it more fun and interesting.

Spam
Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

A very unique story.
Thank you for this.
And with the music you are preparing I'm sure the kids will enjoy.

Spam
Photo of Cara Zelas
Team

Thank you for your feedback.
Music is such an awesome way for children to learn.

Spam
Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

Yes it is.
I remember stuff form my toddler days because of rythum.

Spam
Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott
Team

You are so right Dawn. I see this as the rose among the thorns.

Spam
Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

Yep

Spam
Photo of Cara Zelas
Team

Thank you! I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to create an engaging ABC book for children that not only connects with the child but can also be used as a teaching tool for parents.

Spam
Photo of Estela Kennen
Team

This is a great idea and I really enjoyed your illustration. I am a little worried about teaching kids the "uh" sound will make blending sounds harder later on, as in c-a-t is pronounced "kuh-ahh-tuh" or d-a-d "duh-ahh-duh." Not sure how to get across how to sound out the sound through a board book, but perhaps you could de-emphasize the "uhs".

Spam
Photo of Cara Zelas
Team

Appreciate your feedback. This is a rough draft and working with a linguist would make sure these are the best letter/sounds to begin with. Each sentence example which corresponds to the letter sound, is the way you say that letter and sound. There is of course so many exceptions, however I think that these are the basics and a good starting point for children beginning to learn letters and sounds. My daughter is 3 and I have taught her these sounds, and she is beginning to read! It is better then not teaching phonics at all. There has to be a starting point. I am intending to add a "for parents/caregiver" note in the back explaining phonics further.

Spam
Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

Hi Cara Zelas  Great to see you joining the Challenge! We noticed your submission is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have your submission included in the Challenge. You can enter your manuscript and publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. We're looking forward to seeing your submission in this challenge.

Spam
Photo of Cara Zelas
Team

Hello Itika! Thank you for your message.
I am definitely going to finish this application, I am working on the book!
I am producing a song and music to go along with the story so just in the process of completing this. I can't wait to share it with you and the community.
Kindly,
Cara