I want to level with everyone. When it comes to accepting offers from companies to do reviews that are products centered around Language Arts components I take a close look at what the product is and unless the product is age/grade/skill level appropriate for Beck I often decline. As some of my long time readers may or may not know, our daughter Elizabeth has a speech impediment that reared its ugly head when she was 4 years old. Due to this speech impediment she often tries to do everything within her tiny super hero strengthened body to not have to do verbal Language Arts. I work very hard to make all sorts of Language Arts lesson and components that work outside of the typical box so that I am happy to say this one tired homeschooling mama is using every trick in her Mary Poppins homeschooling bag Elizabeth is excelling and flying in reading, spelling and writing (can you see me jumping up and down?).
It was not until last month that the actual root of Elizabeth’s speech impediment was properly diagnosed. After our pediatrician, speech therapists and a handful of specialists had their chance to see her, it was not until we recently changed the kids dentists that the football field sized flood light was narrowed down and focused in a tight beam on this beautiful little girls speech problems. The dentist pointed out at length that Elizabeth’s membrane between her two upper teeth is connected at the lowest possible point which prevents the top teeth from pushing together. The dentist explained that this is natural and that the membrane connects at different heights on everyone, so unless we want to spend countless hours and dollars at a dentist she will have a perfectly normal lisp. Wow, it was that simple? LOL. We have since confirmed this with all of the specialists and the dentist was correct. Our next thought was why couldn’t anyone else have figured this out? The result will be that in her teen years we will see whether it has self-corrected itself with her adult teeth coming in or if there are other options available or we will just leave it be. The dentist and the specialists all said not to change the way she speaks now or it will cause her problems when she gets older and the decision to correct it is made. Ugh! Frustrating, huh?
So when I was contacted by Stephanie Sisler, the author and creator of Matthew’s Monsters, I was hesitant to be perfectly honest. I thought that this book would be below Beck’s reading/skill level and felt that I would watch another Language Arts product bite the dust in Elizabeth’s strong willed refusal to use it and then I would left having to write a review of a product that neither of my children could use. I figured since Stephanie is a teacher it was at least worth a try. Boy am I ever so glad that I accepted Stephanie’s proposal to do a review of her book!
From the moment we got the package in the mail, Elizabeth wanted to sink her teeth into it and do the book every single minute of every single day for over a month straight! Matthew’s Monsters is a storybook about a boy named Matthew whose imagination starts soaring at night. He believes that things in his room are actually monsters. In the end he finds out that his imagination had just gotten away with him.
This 31 page interactive storybook is filled with comprehension questions and activities ranging from a certain color that was mentioned to clothing. A new element that is a big part of this book that Elizabeth absolute loved is the artistic freedom to finish illustrations throughout the book using the clues in the words she is listening to and learning to read. Elizabeth is now the #1 fan of Matthew’s Monsters!
I strongly feel that even if Elizabeth did not have a lisp, this book would still be her favorite, but the design elements behind the learning make this a great addition to any homeschooler. The language comprehension elements are spot on and placed a key points where the story changes. The questions sections are also unique because they test comprehension instead of placement, if that makes sense. They all ask the same types of information, but the story revolves around those elements and they are shown in picture, words, and in color (most of the time). These are all key things because Elizabeth started to focus on the fun aspects of the story and forgot that she was learning. The ability of this author’s style to get the reader to want to participate in the story also means it became fun to Elizabeth and not school work. Please do not take my word for it, but Elizabeth insists you take hers, LOL. Now that she is done she keeps asking when she can start the next one.
For all of this, I absolutely love the creativity that went into planning and creating this book. If you purchase a copy of Matthew’s Monsters and mention E.H.M.in the comment box at the end of your order you will receive a free set of Matthew’s Monsters greeting cards (valued at $15.00) which features all the monsters in the book. By the way, I also found out that Stephanie Sisler has 2 more books coming out in the next few months so keep your eyes out for them as well. I know Elizabeth is.