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Book Review: The Traveling Letter A by Lauren Samulka
Are you in the mood to solve a mystery?
My good friend, Lauren Zisa Samulka recently released a picture book called, The Traveling Letter A: A Case for the A&A Detective Agency*. Creating this book was a family affair. Lauren wrote the story and her mother, Gail Vachon Zisa, and good family friend, Robert Izzo, brought it to life with their colorful illustrations.
What’s It’s About:
Abby and Alex are detectives at the A& A Detective Agency located in the town of “Liter-A-City”. They are on a mission to solve the mystery of the missing “A”. This letter is disappearing all over town! Poof! Anything spelled with an “A” is vanishing. Who is stealing the letter “A”? Could it be Rex the Reader, Captain Consonant or the Vowel Villain? Join Abby and Alex as they search Liter-A-City and investigate at the Alphabet Reserve to crack the case.
*Amazon affiliate ads have been included for your convenience .
Why I Like It:
It’s truly one of a kind. I read A LOT of children’s books, but I’ve never read one like this before.
The Traveling Letter A tells an amusing story while uniquely combining various components to enhance early literacy development.
– Kimberly Scanlon, M.A., CCC-SLP
Early literacy skills give children a strong foundation to become a reader. Through observation and playful participation these skills can be encouraged in the lap of a parent:
- Oral language (e.g. vocabulary, story telling, etc.)
- Print awareness (text has meaning as do the spaces and punctuations, etc.)
- Phonological awareness (e.g. rhyming, alliteration, etc.)
- Alphabet knowledge (e.g. knowing letter names and their sounds)
Engaging storybooks that use attention-grabbing print (aka salient print) have rhymes and alliteration and spark interest in learning about letters are certainly ones worth reading! And, it just so happens that The Traveling Letter A uniquely includes these early literacy components!
Firstly, the repeated emphasis on the missing letter A, is a perfect way to target a young child’s knowledge of this letter. Lauren cleverly uses alliteration to name the possible suspects – Vowel Villain, Rex the Reader, and Captain Consonant. Notice how the names repeat with the same sound? That’s alliteration! A sound that repeats is more noticeable, increasing sound awareness! Some studies even show that alliteration improves memory and comprehension (Psychologicalscience.org).
Lastly, notice anything interesting about the name of this town – Liter-A-City? If you remove the hyphens it spells LITERACY!
“These clever literacy gems abound throughout The Traveling Letter A.”
– Kimberly Scanlon, M.A., CCC-SLP
How To Use This Book:
Since I’m a speech language pathologist, I’m always thinking of how to use a book to target various speech and language skills. I write extensively about how to develop early literacy skills in my parent portion of my children’s book, Learning to Read is a Ball*, however, I’ll briefly list how you can use Lauren’s wonderful book to target these skills too:
- Try going on Picture Walk before reading the book
- Point out the Salient Print and talk about the letters and words
- Make Connections between the story and your life, past events and previous books your child has read
- Use a Describer Reading Style with children who have smaller vocabularies
- Read and Re-Read books to grow vocabularies faster
- Practice Re-telling the story to someone
- Download the worksheets from Lauren’s website and have FUN
Where you can but it?
The Traveling Letter A*is available for purchase on Amazon.
Amazon Affiliate links have been included for your convenience.
To learn more about Lauren Zisa Samulka and to download free activity worksheets to complement the book, please visit:Back to blog