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Antelopes to Zebras

By Dr. Jane Hodges
Literacy, LLC

2631 Canterbury Road
Columbus, MS 39705

Antelopes to Zebras is a readiness program for preschool children. Lessons include letter/sound relationships, phonemic awareness, phonics, blending, decoding, sight words, beginning reading and comprehension, numbers, shapes, classifying, concepts, and more. Antelopes to Zebras does not require students to be able to write.

Included in the home study kit are an alphabet chart, 4 student workbooks, 2 teacher's manuals, 2 bingo-type games, bingo chips, 3 card games, and a music CD.

The bingo games are Antelope ABC bingo, where the object is to teach letter recognition. The second bingo game is Zebra bingo, where the object is to find the word that is called out.

The card games are Ugly Duckling, Zoo Cards, and Animal Tracks. Zoo Cards are used for alphabetizing letters, naming letters, matching upper and lowercase letters, and discriminating likenesses and differences in pictures and letters. Ugly Duckling is like Old Maid, using sounds and letter names. Animal Tracks can be used to play Memory or rummy type games.

The alphabet chart in Antelopes to Zebras is printed in color on glossy heavyweight paper. It should be laminated to make it ultra durable. Unlike Astronauts to Zippers, which has three associational objects for each letter, Antelopes to Zebras has one picture per letter.

The teacher's manuals are thorough. They do not include student pages. TM #1 contains lesson plans for student books 1 and 2. This should take approximately 18 weeks to complete, assuming you do one lesson per week. (You can move at a faster or slower pace based on the needs of your student.) A student who finishes books 1 and 2 will have learned 40 sight words and 52 decodable words. TM #2 contains lesson plans for student books 3 and 4. Books 3 and 4 should take 18 weeks to complete. (As with books 1 and 2, you can mover faster or slower depending on your student.) At the end of student book 4, students will have mastered 23 more sight words and 178 more decodable words.

Each lesson in the teacher's manual contains background information on the letter association picture, snack and game ideas, read-aloud suggestions, and much more. For example, for the letter 'S' there is information on seals; directions for crafts using sand, stickers, and socks; a list of songs to sing; reinforcement activities for previously taught concepts; and four read-aloud book suggestions.

Student books are in black and white on matte paper. Students are not expected to do any writing on most pages, although correct writing of each letter is introduced. Most pages are well suited to coloring. The layout is uncluttered and not distracting.

Antelopes to Zebras is designed to be a readiness program for young children. If you have a 4- or 5-year-old who is learning to read, you will want to use Astronauts to Zippers instead of Antelopes to Zebras. Antelopes to Zebras is well suited for boys and girls who need a gentle introduction to learning; you won't find force-feeding of reading in this program.

I am greatly impressed by Dr. Jane's work. She has designed a curriculum that is thorough without being overly academic. Antelopes to Zebras will appeal to most young children and their parents. However, if you only like full-color student books or rigorous instruction in preschool, look for another curriculum. You will most likely not like Antelopes to Zebras.

My favorite thing about Antelopes to Zebras is that it is fun! Even if I had not received a review copy, I would definitely have bought it after examining it. I have taught three children to read using various methods, and this is the best curriculum I have come across in my 16 years of homeschooling!

Product review by Tina Rice, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, March 2007

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