While most kindergartners are busy learning their ABCs, the kindergarten pupils at Woodland Heights Elementary School are being transported to an imaginative land called Letterland.
While wearing their imagination hats, the children are learning to be on the lookout for Robbie Robber who is trying to steal some of the vowels.
Or learning to whisper whenever Harry Hat Man is near. That guy just hates a lot of noise; it gives him a headache.
In fact, when Sammy Snakes starts hissing beside him, Harry Hat Man hushes Sammy up with a "sh."
Sound confusing? To those taught the old-fashioned approach to reading and writing, it may be.
But for these students who were introduced to the animals and people that live in Letterland this fall, it all makes perfect sense.
Letterland was created by Lyn Wendon more than 35 years ago in England. According to Wendon, the Letterland curriculum works because it makes it possible to teach the rules of written English using a fable-like instruction that children want to hear.
Chris Rogers, 50, kindergarten teacher at Woodland Heights Elementary, agrees.
"We started teaching Letterland this fall for the first time and the kids love it.
"They love to sing the songs, get dressed up as the characters, play the games and work independently on the computers," said Rogers.
Emma Ellingson, 5, says she loves Letterland because she can sound out words. "My favorite character is Walter Walrus because he has a funny song."
Dylan Jimenex, 5, says that Munching Mike is his favorite character. "I like that he is a monster that munches on metal and lives in the mountains."
Daniel Iacovelli, 6, pointed out that not all the Letterland characters are nice.
"There are two mean letters, R and W," said Daniel. "R likes to steal all the vowels he gets around and W likes to splash water at the Letterland characters."
Not only are the kids enjoying it, but according to Rogers, they are learning to read and write at a fast rate.
"At the beginning of the school year, we spent the first 18 days introducing all the characters in Letterland, said Rogers. "Within that time most of the kids knew all the sounds in the alphabet. In past years, learning all the letter sounds has taken the students months to learn."
According to Rogers, the concept of Letterland is simple.
"Every letter has a story and a song that explains how they are written and what they like," said Rogers. "Every Letterlander has a special sound and characters love it when the kids make their sound."
Rogers, who has been an elementary teacher for 29 years, has been so impressed with the results of Letterland that she completed a train-the-trainer program with Letterland.
"By having this training, I will be able to train other teachers on this curriculum and its value in teaching children to read," said Rogers.
Before the school year comes to an end, Roger's class along with all the kindergartners and first-graders at Woodland Heights Elementary will be meeting their favorite Letterland characters in person.
"In May we will be taking a field trip to the Tweetsie Railroad," said Rogers. The railroad will be turned into Letterland for three days, said Rogers. "The Letterland characters will be there to participate in activities with the kids."