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abecedarianDr. Michael Bend of ABeCeDarian Company in Ithaca, NY and Author/Illustrator Dr. Andrea Hazard of Danby, NY, announced the launch today of an illustrated series of 10 companion storybooks for the ABeCeDarian Company Reading Program.

The announcement caps a collaboration that began in 2009, and follows a preview of the storybooks at the 2010 Ithaca Festival. ABeCeDarian Company sponsored the Ithaca Festival’s Family Fun Area this year.

ABeCeDarian Company publishes and distributes the ABeCeDarian Reading Program, a comprehensive, research-based step-by-step curriculum for students reading at kindergarten to 6th grade level. It’s used by special education teachers, reading specialists, classroom teachers and homeschoolers across the country. It emphasizes phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency by having students do simple activities such as tapping on the letter, which helps them associate letters with sounds. The program and storybooks are targeted toward special education teachers, reading specialists, classroom teachers, and students who are home-schooled.

The companion storybooks accompany the very beginning level of the program and are appropriate for children ages five and six.

The storybooks were written by Hazard and edited by Bend. They directly correspond to and complement the program’s curriculum. The stories introduce letter sounds in the same sequence that they are presented in the curriculum so students never have to guess at a word when reading. As a result, children come to read the storybooks fluently in a very short time.

Bend, who has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education, has worked with students with learning difficulties for 30 years as a classroom teacher, instructor at the university level, and as a learning center director at a community center, The ABeCeDarian Reading Program and storybooks were designed and developed to use the learning methodologies Bend found to be most successful, based on his experience.

ABeCeDarian Company also provides tutoring services. Hazard and Bend initially met in 2009 at a meeting about group-tutoring classes for several grade school children. Hazard, who has a doctorate in biochemistry, is also an author and illustrator. The meeting led to the collaboration on the storybooks, for which Hazard created 10 stories accompanied by 190 charming illustrations.

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