Monday, January 25, 2010

The Tessy & Tab Reading Club

The Short Version:

Quinn loves, loves, LOVES The Tessy & Tab Reading Club Magazine. Go out and subscribe to it right now (or make the grandparents do it). It's totally awesome.

The Long Version:

As a parent, I have spent a good amount of time looking for the right magazine to subscribe my children to. The magazines were either too expensive for what I felt I was getting, or they were age inappropriate—usually far too difficult for my child.

Recently I found The Tessy & Tab Reading Club, and my search is over. I really like this magazine, especially for Quinn, who is currently 4 3/4 years old. Tessy & Tab Reading Club magazines come every two weeks instead of monthly, so its arrival is a regular enough occurrence for your kids to appreciate it. Seriously, Quinn freaks out when his comes. His grin makes my whole day.

There is a video on Tessy & Tab's website that explains the reasons behind the magazine, and because I was reviewing the product, I watched it. I suggest you do too. They make some great selling points in the video, but I was flabbergasted when I watched Quinn do every single thing they showed the kids in the video doing.

The video told me that the magazine comes in an envelope because kids love envelopes. And you know what? Quinn loved opening the envelope.

The video told me that kids will build a collection of their Tessy & Tabs—that when the new issue comes, they will run to get all their old ones. Well, a couple of days ago when Quinn got an issue in the mail, he immediately ran to get his stack of previous Tessy & Tabs.

The video also said a lot of other things, including that the magazines are built on the Six Skills for Early Literacy. Tessy and Tab promotes early independent reading for preschool children. Each issue comes in the same 10-page format, so even if kids can't read, they know how to use the magazine. I've watched Quin learn this. He knows that he looks for the pictures on the 11th page. He knows he has to count the objects on the back page, and he's always looking for the peek-a-bug, a cute little guy that makes an appearance in every issue.

The magazines are made with coated cardstock, so they are durable and can be treated like little books, which is basically what they are. Also, your gift message is printed on every address label, so each time a magazine comes in the mail, the child is reminded of who loves them enough to give them the subscription. See?

The suggested age for the reading club is 2-6. Quinn, at almost five, is way into these. Honestly, honestly, honestly, he adores them. When his latest issue came, he gasped, grinned a huge grin, and said, "MORE Tessy & Tab!" And then he ran off to get his old stack of magazines.

My nearly 7-year-old also likes the magazines. (He is autistic, so he's on a little bit different of a developmental trajectory.)

My 8-year-old is willing to listen to them once or so,
as long as someone very cool, such as Nana, is reading them.

As far as younger kids, I think kids on the younger end of the age range would also enjoy these books. The stories are short, the print is big, the characters are friendly, and the scenes are brightly colored. The situations in the magazines are familiar. The books specifically cover things that real preschoolers do: go to the grocery store, make friends, play basketball, go on a trip to the fire station, go on an airplane, and so on.

If you're looking for a particular situation, you can always browse Tessy & Tab's extensive back issue list and probably find what you're looking for. Will your young one be going to the dentist soon? Order the "Visit the Dentist" issue from February 2007. Going camping? Well, Tessy & Tab covered that in June 2009. (Download the back issues list by clicking this link.)

The Tessy & Tab website also features additional online activities, including coloring pages and learning games.

A year-long subscription of 24 issues costs $48, which breaks down to $2 an issue, which is far less than you would pay for a board book. If you're not ready to commit to an entire year, you can check out their gifts and kits section, with packages specifically for things like kindergarten readiness.

I'm thrilled that we have found The Tessy & Tab Reading Club. Quinn is delighted every time a magazine comes in the mail. Plus, I am thrilled because I get to see him excited about reading, letters, and counting. Win-win.

Honesty Clause: The people behind Tessy & Tab sent Quinn a number of back issues and gave him a year-long subscription to the reading club. I was introduced to them through a mutual friend. I feel like I've been given a year's supply of gold.


vickie2005 said...

$2/ an issue sounds pretty good. Am excited to try this. One question--in your opinion, are the stories written well?

Stimey said...

Hey Vickie: Yes, I think they are well written. They are definitely basic, but easy to read and understand, and based in what kids do regularly. There is repetition in many of them, which I think helps with learning to read.

For instance, from the grocery store issue:

"Tab is being silly and Tessy pushes the cart.
Mr. Green is being friendly and he waves to say hello.
Tessy climbs on Tab and she gets the cereal.
Tessy finds the milk and she gets two gallons."

But the best part from this issue (and you kinda have to see the illustration to appreciate it) is, "Tab weighs his soccer ball and Tessy puts bananas on her head!" Quinn thought that was the height of humor.

ALW said...

I sent this link to my mom. Let's cross our fingers.

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