My kids love their letters.
Not only do they love their letters, they know their letters and the sounds they make. My 4-year-old is reading Level C books to us at night and my 1-year-old can pick letter magnets off of the fridge upon request. I honestly have no idea when kids are supposed to know this and that, but from the reaction of teachers and other parents alike, my sense is that both of them are ahead of where they should be.
There is no magic involved in this occurrence, there is only Letter Factory.
“Letter Factory” is a learning program put out by Leap Frog that chronicles the adventures of a young frog named Tad as he navigates his way through the Letter Factory (naturally) from A to Z with the help of the eccentric Professor Quigley. Tad doesn’t know his letters like his older siblings Leap and Lily, but by the end of his travels he is all but one step away from starting his own blog.
The storyline of Tad wanting to learn his letters so that he can help his brother and sister put on a presentation for their Dad’s boss (Mr. Websley) is actually very cute, but I have to say the bread and butter of this story lies in the individual letter rooms throughout the factory.
As you may come to find out, every letter does in fact make a sound, and each letter has their own room in which to display their talents. Animated and each with their own personality, these letters literally come alive before your eyes.
For example, in the “R” room we see the letters r-r-racing around on their motorway without a speed trap in sight. One of my favorite rooms actually comes right off the top when we enter the “A” room. Professor Quigley deftly sneaks out of the room when nobody is looking and quickly jumps back into the picture wearing a monster suit that results in Tad and the “A” letters to exclaim, “Aaah!”
Yes, that is exactly the sound the letter “A” makes. Well done professor.
Another example is the “T” room in which the letters are t-t-tap dancing away to music as Tad and Professor Quigley sit down for a spot of afternoon tea. Get it?
That’s what I love most about this program. They throw in all of these little things consistent with the lesson that surely must be sinking into my children’s brains on some subliminal level. In the “F” room Tad and the professor experience zero gravity as they get to f-f-fly up into the air with the “F” letters and Tad exclaims how much fun he is having. Nice touch.
Visual. Effective. Brilliant.
Now, it’s not all fun and games.
I just heard today that the “H” letters have filed a class action lawsuit against Leap Frog for unfair and hazardous working conditions. For those who don’t know, their room is very h-h-hot and greatly lacking the necessary amount of water required by law. It was also said that the “C” letters were going to file a lawsuit of their own due to the extreme c-c-cold in their room, but as of right now nothing has been submitted.
Many believe that such dissention on the part of these letters is born out of jealousy towards the “Z” letters. Resting comfortably on their plush pillows with soft music playing in the background, these pampered alphabet jockeys do nothing but nap and catch z-z-z’s all day. This is by far the best job in the factory and it has not gone unnoticed.
Hopefully by now you can see why this program is so effective. Leap Frog creates a world of letters in which parents and kids alike can immerse themselves into. The songs are catchy, the visuals are spot on and effective, and the characters have depth and personality.
Now, if you will excuse me, I’m off to the “M” room for some cupcakes.
This article originally appeared on Chelmsford Patch on 3/24/12.