Raspberry Sassafras is a bit of a word-nerd, loving all things word-related, even the letters that form them. So it’s no wonder she’s excited about going back to where it all began with Beginning With Xs and Os: The Evolution of the Alphabet by Etta Zasloff. This fictional story reveals the development of the alphabet, one letter at a time. The Os are the first to experience life-altering events that change their forms, as a shark reshapes an O into a C, starting the tribe of Rounds. Next, The First Straights emerge when an X chooses a makeover and becomes a Y. The saga continues, as some Straights have humps, some have style, and some have bellies. Finally, an artistic R creates an A to calm the chaos of determining who will lead a parade that sets alphabetical order.
Etta Zasloff is retired from 44 years of teaching and counseling and continues to be involved in public education and working with children. This book has its origins in the Kindergarten class of her first teaching assignment and has morphed into a retirement project that reconnects her to former students and colleagues, intrigues her own children and enchants her grandchildren. She also writes about a purposeful retirement, digital literacy for all ages, and life in general.
Zasloff shares that she “started telling such stories to my West Virginia kindergartners, as I struggled to make the alphabet memorable and meaningful for them, laying the foundation for reading. That was over 40 years ago. Lucky for me the alphabet has not changed, and with the gift of time in retirement, I discovered that my concept remained original and am now sharing with the world.”
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