In the first grade, the child still feels connected to the world of fairy tales with their inherent archetypes of good, evil, kindness, humility, rewards, punishments and transformation. Those who have been good and kind or have been transformed, live happily ever after. The seven-year-old child, is nurtured within these images - finding that all is right with the world, in the end.
These stories are also interweaved into another tale, one of four children from four corners of the world that have become friends. They are unselfish, full of wonder and questions, they search for answers and listen to the wise elders as they share wisdom through stories. Their quest is to rediscover the alphabet and reach the enchanted islands. It is from these stories that images are brought forth in drawing lessons, which are then transformed into consonants.
The dragon that is conquered by the prince in "The Prince and the Dragon", will become the letter D. The mountain in which the treasure is hidden is "Simeli Mountain", which will become the letter M. The children then learn to write and read the sight words (ie. DRAGON and MOUNTAIN) and the consonants (D,M). It is in this way that consonants in the alphabet are introduced to children in the first grade.
Consonants are like the physical structure of a house while vowels are like the mood or feelings that live within the house. Thus, the vowels are brought from a particular mood (and are often called singing sister sounds) evident in a story. For example, O - has a warm, embracing mood, I - is upright, straight, and strong. Vowels are introduced with their magical ability to change sound depending on their mood, thus bringing the gentler (short) vowel sounds. It is from here that some phonics are touched upon and "sandwich" words or CVC words (consonant, vowel, and consonant sound) are brought, for example, cup and cat.
Introducing the letters of the alphabet in this meaningful and magical way, at the right time developmentally, makes for a solid reading foundation, one that will be built upon for years to come, helping to develop a a true love of reading.