Hi there! My name is Stefanie Hohl, and I’m the author/illustrator of the ABC See, Hear, Do books. I began my Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Children’s Literature when I was pregnant with my fifth child. At that time, I had a year of homeschooling under my belt and years and years of teaching preschool co-ops. But as I continued in the program and began raising my fifth child, I realized I still had a lot to learn.
I had taught my four older children how to read, but my fifth child was a completely different personality, and I knew the methods I’d used with my older children would not work for him. Then my 4th child and I attended a class taught by a preschool teacher friend of mine. She used a method that taught actions for letter sounds. I thought this was brilliant, and I decided to study her methods as part of a research project for one of my classes. I searched for a program that not only used actions, but could be found in an easy-to-use picture book format. The more I searched, the more I came up empty. So I decided to create my own reading program and submitted my ideas as part of my research project.
After much testing and revision of my program, I began using it at the storytime I run at a local bookstore. The children and parents responded remarkably well. At the time, I was actively submitting other books I’d written to agents for traditional publication. When I submitted this book, an agent told me it was unmarketable. The very next day, a storytime mom asked me where she could purchase the materials I was using.
Her question verified what I’d known in my gut all along–that my idea was not only marketable, it was needed. Most parents want to teach their children to read, but they don’t have all the tools they need. I could give them those tools in a simple, affordable, fun format. What could be more marketable than that?
I decided to self-publish and see what happened, because I had nothing to lose at that point. I printed my first few proofs and tested the book with my youngest son, who was just about to turn four and had never shown much interest in books. To my surprise, he learned his letter sounds so quickly, I admit that I was kind of in shock and wondered whether he would retain the information. A few days later, I gave him the book again and was floored when he not only remembered the letter sounds, he loved the book! So much so, that when I lent the proof to a friend for further testing, he sobbed and begged for his reading book back. The simple format and bright illustrations gave him the confidence he needed as a beginning reader.
And I knew I was on to something special.
After more testing and revisions, I finally published ABC See, Hear, Do: Learn to Read 55 Words and have been overwhelmed by the positive response from moms, teachers, and caregivers. After a first year of great sales, I wanted to do even more to help kids learn to read, so I launched ABC See, Hear, Do as a small business. I cannot wait to see what the future holds!