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Easy Readers Update

Our Easy Reader items are changing! We are offering a wider variety, different levels, and different programs. Our Easy Reader category pulls together books designed to help children learn the steps to becoming established readers who can read on their own and comprehend the story. Easy Reader books usually start with a larger print size and shorter sentences. As the level increases, the books move to smaller fonts and more complex sentences.

Don’t forget that reading is a skill and success takes practice, practice and more practice! Try these tips with your child:

  •  Have your child read and reread books at the correct level and below to build confidence and fluency.
  • When they are reading aloud, praise them for their efforts as they sound the words out.
  • Find themes that your child enjoys so they want to read.
  • Read books above level to and with your child to inspire them and show why reading is so much fun.
  • When you read aloud, use lots of expression and model good, fluid reading – bringing together the written and spoken German and tying it all together.

Here are a few of our favorites:Level 2A set
•   Lesemaus zum Leselernen – We have been offering these small booklets in Sets but the publisher has discontinued the booklets and is re-issuing the stories in hardcover format with 3 stories in each book. In the new format, the stories are grouped by theme and contain both Lesestufe 1 and Lesestufe 2 stories. They still have the puzzles and questions for each story to help with comprehension. Two booklet sets are still available while supplies last — Conni set and Level 2A set. For the new hardcover books, check out the Abenteuergeschichten, Starke Geschichten, and Kommissar Kugelblitz.

•  Prinzessin Rosalea und das GeheimrezeptDual level readers – These books have a more involved storyline for established or adult readers, with some paragraphs in a simpler style so beginning readers can read too. Examples of this style are the “Erst ich ein Stück, dann du” and the “Ich für dich, du für mich” series. To see an example, check out the Leseprobe for one of our favorites: “Prinzessin Rosalea und das Geheimrezept“.

•   Leserabe is a series by major publisher Ravensburger which offers several levels of Easy Readers. In the Leserabe Silbenmethode series, words are visually broken into color-coded syllables to help with sounding out the words which helps the child make the connection between letters and sounds. These are meant to be read aloud by the beginning reader. Examples include “Der verhexte Schulranzen” and “Der kleine Drache und der Monsterhund“.

Die OlchisWe have other Easy Readers as well, including Die Olchis, Leselöwen books with audio CDs, the dual language “Pia kommt in die Schule“, Janosch, etc.). Many of these books are series with many books — we can’t carry them all but we’re happy to special order if your little one finds the series they love. Just let us know if you want more information on additional titles.

For more advanced readers, check out our Youth selection with a variety of levels and recommended ages.


Wish Lists at Alphabet Garten

Did you know you could create a Wish List on Alphabet Garten? This may help you organize your shopping and keep track of the items that interest you.

How? It’s easy!

  • Create an account on the Alphabet Garten webpage with your email address and password.
  • Use the My Account button on the top right corner.
  • Once your account is set up, browse the Alphabet Garten website.
  • Click on the “Add to Wish List” button to add items to your wish list.
  • You can go back at a later time (just log into your account) to review your items and add them to your shopping cart.

Please contact us if you are looking for something specific – while we would love to stock everything, we have limited space. So if something is out of stock on your Wish List, let us know and we can order it for you or help you find something similar at no extra cost. Just let us know what you want – we’re here to help!


Planning for the holidays

We’ve opened our Advent Shop to meet all of your needs for this busy season!

If you need some help planning your holidays, we highly recommend “Advent und Weihnachten mit Kindern erlebt“.

Beim LebkuchenbäckerOn December 1, it’s time to start your Adventskalender.  We stock a few out-of-the-ordinary calendars for a memorable Advent:

  • Pixi Adventskalender have a book for each day of Advent. We have two different versions — the 2013 edition and one for the Sandmännchen
  • The 3-D “Beim Lebkuchenbäcker” Adventsakalender is a colorful addition to your holiday décor.  

A nice complement to the Adventkalender is to read a new story every day, with one of the Advent books such as “24 Bildermausgeschichten zum Advent“, “24 Leselöwen-Geschichten zum Advent“, and “24 Lieder und Gedichte zum Advent mit CD“.

On December 6 each year, the Nikolaus brings oranges, nuts and chocolate, along with a small gift. At our house it’s usually a German book, CD or DVD, and every year it is wrapped in the same small cloth bag! Check out our Nikolaustag Unit Study for more ideas.

Als der Weihnachtsmann vom Himmel fielAnd finally we celebrate Weihnachten with the Christkind and Weihnachtsmann on December 25. In our Advent Shop, you’ll find some of our favorite books and movies for all ages, including DVDs like “Doras Weihnachtsabenteuer” and “Die Hüter des Lichts - Rise of the Guardians”.  One of Cornelia Funke’s Christmas stories, “Als der Weihnachtsmann vom Himmel fiel“,  was made into a film, and we carry both the book and the DVD. For Pippi Longstocking fans, check out the DVD “Weihnachten mit Astrid Lindgren” which features 5 episodes from various television shows based on Astrid Lindgren stories, including “Pippi und das Weihnachtsfest”.  We have a variety of other Christmas themed DVDs, both live action and animated.  Come find one in our Advent shop to enjoy this holiday season!

Oh TannenbaumAnd the holidays wouldn’t be the same without music, so we offer a variety ranging from traditional songbooks to children’s music stars. We all love the standards by artists like Rolf Zuckowski, but our very favorite CD for the season is “Oh Tannenbaum” by Sternschnuppe, with charming interludes that provide just enough story to frame the lovely arrangements of traditional Weihnachtslieder. The CD includes the text to the songs, which was helpful for “Wer klopfet an”, a favorite of our kids.

Frohe Weihnachten!


Holiday Special Orders available through November 15

We just wanted to remind everyone that the November 15th deadline for Holiday Special Orders is fast approaching! We’re happy to fill Special Orders for your special requests (such as specific titles or items that fit a theme), or for items that we would love to offer but are unable to stock regularly. Special Orders give us the flexibility to offer you a greater variety than we can possibly keep in stock.

If you have a special request (e.g. Barbie DVDs in German, or policeman board books), we can research availability and pricing and then give you a quote. If you want the items, just confirm the order and we will send it to you as soon as it arrives in stock. There are no returns on Special Order items.

tiptoi booksOur website lists some items as “Available for Special Order”, which means you can place your order directly from the site and we’ll send it along when it comes in.

Special order items available from the website include a large variety of tiptoi books. This interactive digital audio learning system is fun for all ages, with “Wieso? Weshalb? Warum?” books for preschoolers and elementary kids, “Leserabe” for beginning readers, and “Expedition Wissen”, which combines a fun story with interesting facts for older and established readers. We do keep a few books from each series in stock, but we can’t stock the entire line.

AdventsgeschichtenOther Special Order items on our website include out-of-stock items that are on order, and Advent items that we will not be restocking this season. Several of our Advent items, like “Emma wartet aufs Christkind” or the Pixi audiobook cd “Adventsgeschichten“, have already sold out.  We won’t be ordering more Christmas items to stock for this season, but we’ll gladly place special orders for any of these lovely items for you. Because we order small quantities, the best way to ensure you receive any out-of-stock item is to Special Order it.

If you are planning to special order a Christmas gift, please place your order or contact us by November 15. Placing your order early ensures that we have enough time to order from our distributors in Germany and have it delivered before Christmas.


Rot, blau, grün - die Farben!

It’s easy to add basic colors to your everyday German “Wortschatz”. As you play and craft with your children, or help your little one get dressed, just slip in the German colors.

We have several books emphasizing colors to help you out. All are meant to be read aloud, but a beginning reader can certainly sound out words and practice reading in German.  Most little ones love to constantly reread their favorite book, which will help your child learn the meaning of the German words.

Ich kenne alle FarbenIch kenne alle Farben -
“Glockenblume, Fisch und Flasche, alles BLAU – wie Pauls Tasche.”
Help Paul learn his colors by turning the wheel to match the silly text on each page.Grün, grün, grün

Grün, grün, grün sind alle meine Kleider – One of my favorite children’s songs is beautifully captured in this board book with fun illustrations. Like the song, each page layout highlights a different color and occupation relating to that color. For example, the “rot” page shows a little girl in her red bedroom, but lift the large flap and it’s a fire truck rescuing a cat from the roof of a house. You’ll find a version of the song on the CD “Alle Vögel sind schon da“.

Wir bauen ein Piratenboot!Grün, blau, rot – Wir bauen ein Piratenboot! – Socke, the little raven wearing one striped sock, builds a pirate boat with his friends and learns his colors too. They use a red box, a green broom, a blue scarf, and more to make their colorful, imaginary boat. Each page has a simple (9 piece) puzzle that your little one will enjoy putting together.


Magazines of Summer

This summer we flew in and out of Germany on a family vacation to Mallorca. I shopped at several “Presse” and stocked up on different magazines that we carry at Alphabet Garten. Some I knew from when my kids were younger, but others we carry on the recommendation of friends and our distributor. Since I would have the time, I decided to pick up a variety to read on vacation. Here’s a view of my office during vacation with just a few of the magazines:



Mallorca ViewNot bad right?! I’ll be posting some of my thoughts on the summer reading…but if you’d like to add your two cents regarding any of the magazines we carry (or other Alphabet Garten related topics), send me a note via our Contact form.

Don’t forget, if you are planning a resort vacation next summer, plan to book in December or January to get the best availability and prices.



Ich hab einen Freund series

Ich hab einen Freund, der ist KapitänIntroduce your child to various occupations in this Lesemaus paperback series. The stories revolve around a child and a family friend that has an interesting occupation. They spend the day together and discuss the different requirements and activities of the position.

In “Kapitän” we join our friend Bernd on his tugboat “Jenny”, and spend the day in Hamburg Harbor. We learn about the harbor, some of the bigger boats, and visit inside the engine room. In “Fussball-Profi“, we spend the day with Philipp – we begin with the training exercises, talk about the soccer field and strategy, then go to a game to see Philipp play. The other books in the series continue in the same way.

Ich hab einen Freund, der ist Fussball-ProfiThis series is recommended for kids 3 and older, and is ideal for reading aloud or for self-reading when they are older. The text is understandable with a clear vocabulary relating to the theme. Illustrations are brightly colored and detailed. The books usually include an activity at the end i.e. “All diese Dinge sind in diesem Buch. Hast du sie schon gefunden?” and then show 8-10 labeled items to go back and find within the story. For “Fussball-Profi” these items include “Schiedsrichterpfeife” (whistle), “Trinkflasche” (drink bottle), “Rote und Gelbe Karte” (penalty cards) and more. Ich hab eine Freundin, die ist Balletttänzerin

We currently carry:

Other books in the series available by special order include Imker (beekeeper), Gärtnerin (gardener), Rennfahrer (racecar driver), Tierpflegerin (zoo keeper), Astronaut, Busfahrer (bus driver) , Koch (cook), Krankenschwester (nurse), Lastwagenfahrer (truck driver), Polizist (policeman), Feuerwehrmann (fireman), Notärztin (EMT), and Lokführer (train conductor).


Ein Tag auf... series

Lesemaus’ series “Ein Tag auf…” uses an engaging story to tell about a specific time and place in history. This paperback series is ideal for reading aloud with easy to understand texts, clear detailed illustrations, and stories that your child can relate to. It is recommend for children over 3 years old. Older children will enjoy the illustrations, and increase their vocabulary to prepare them for more advanced books and story lines. They may use the stories to inspire imaginative play with their Playmobil, Legos or other toys.

ARitterburgt Alphabet Garten, we stock “Ein Tag auf dem Piratenschiff“, “Ein Tag auf der Ritterburg“, “Ein Tag bei den Wikingern“, and “Ein Tag im Schloss“.

Other titles are available by special order, including “Ein Tag bei den Indianern” about Native American Indians, “Ein Tag in der Steinzeit” about a family in the Stone Age, “Ein Tag im alten Ägypten” set in ancient Egypt, and “Ein Tag im Mittelalter” about market day in the Middle Ages.


Homeschooling Tips from FB fans

Recently we received a question on our Facebook page about homeschool curriculums. Others jumped on the conversation looking for the same thing for their kids of different ages. Our wonderful fans offered several suggestions, including:

  • Use the German Scoyo site. “This is for kids who speak good German at home. This is less expensive than the Germany based correspondence course.” (Linda S.) – Scoyo is online supplemental learning.
  • Check out Deutsche Fernschule (Annette S.) – a distance learning website up through 5th grade.
  • Rosetta Stone – “my 8 and 6 year old have been using it for 2 years now. It works well and they enjoy it, though it may be pricey…it has really helped us with being consistent with speaking and teaching, as it has given us a structure to go by.” (Irene G.) 
  • Rosetta Stone  for homeschoolers — “We are homeschoolers who are using Rosetta Stone Homeschool German. Neither my husband nor I speak fluent German, but I’ve had 3 years of German in High school and College. We just sort of bumble along…we incorporate what we are learning in Rosetta Stone and then supplement with post-its all over the house for increasing vocabulary. I want to also incorporate children’s literature and movies as we go along. My kids are 12, 14, and 15. Near us is the Concordia Language Camps…someday we’ll get to do a summer German immersion type camp.” (Pam W.) 
  • Check your public library for language learning downloads such as the regular Rosetta Stone, Mango languages and Little Pim (for kids under 6).
  • Check your local German language school to see what curriculum and texts they use, i.e. Bärenspaß and Tambur by Hueber Verlag, Geni@l by Langescheidt, or texts by Klett. (Linda S.) Contact Alphabet Garten for more information about special orders of specific items like textbooks.
  • Spielerisch DeutschUse workbooks such as “Spielerisch Deutsch” for written grammar practice. (Irene G.)
  • Listen to German language podcasts. (Chrissy L.)
  • “We are Waldorf homeschoolers, and Grade 1 was very convenient: the children learn their letters using Grimm’s Fairy Tales. So, we just reached back and pulled those out in German. Many kids already know their letters quite well at that age — this is no problem, as they can still enjoy working with the stories.” (Susanne W.)

If you have other tips, please leave a comment. We’d love more information  about Homeschooling, whether it’s teaching German or teaching in German!


Tips and Comments from our Facebook Fans

We recently held a raffle on Facebook to celebrate our 500 fans. Here are the comments (required for the raffle)and a few other recent FB comments:

  • Unsere lieblings Bücher sind “der kleine Rabe Socke”. Meine Kinder lieben sie zu lesen! We also love the book report forms and all the tips for maintaining a bilingual home!…We love having you to get our resources for sure! (Amie M.)
  • I used your Pixi Advent calendar in my 7th grade German classes this year – the kids took turns opening the daily doors and getting the books out and sharing them with the class. It was fun for them and a great way to increase my classroom library as I’m only in my 2nd year of starting a new German program at my school! (Nancy C.)
  • Children learn a second language easily through music. Play the fun music CDs and they will be singing German before you know it! (Susan K.)
  • Listen to storybooks on cd’s, watch German movies, read to them in German, teach them simple rhymes. Be consistent! (Jennifer G.)
  • DonikklI love having an online source where my family can go to for birthdays to help with our goal of raising a bilingual kid. I also appreciate the support and client profiles that you provide. It is really encouraging. My son’s current favorite book is “Klopf an!” (Jessica S.)
  • My 6-year old loves to listen to Donnikl (and I do, too)! (Karen B.)
  • Received a copy of “So schön wie der Mond” as suggestion from Alphabet Garten — and it was perfect for us. I love a book store where they know what you as their customer needs and will like! (Veronica F.)
  • Discobär und Hexentanz (Arc D.)
  • Der Hase mit der roten NaseMy 15month daughter loves “Der Hase mit der roten Nase” and also “Hoppe, Hoppe, Reiter: Kinderreime mit CD” [sadly now out of print]  (Adrienne L.)
  • My kids love the Easy Readers books that we got from Alphabet Garten! Also we got some German DVDs, and they’re always a hit. Elise just re-watched them, in preparation of our Germany trip (and because I complained about her diappearing German skills). (Judith B.)
  • The lesemaus series…love those (Sarah B.)
  • Right now my daughter is reading Bobo Siebenschläfer, my first Alphabet Garten purchase, every single night before falling asleep. (Rebecca B.)
  • The German DVDs are a nice change of pace. Too many books to have a favorite! My eldest age 7 loves some of the magazines, too. The comic Disney one and the Natl Geographic for Kids are the top ones that encourage her to read in German. And listen with the Nat Geo CD that’s included. (Shelly B.)
  • Sing in your target language. Make up rhymes with the kids. (Lisa P.)
  • The Kinderlieder have been almost worn out with constant use. The Schulhefte where pencil can be applied to paper are great. But really appreciated are the links to other sources like the lady in Chicago who sells Schultüten [Kindercone]. (Eleanor O.)
  • We enjoyed participating in your summer reading program last year…mydaughter was so excited when she won some new books from one of the monthly raffles. We definitely need to sign up again this year. (Lisa K.)
  • We love the Conni books! (Krista Ann W.)GEOmini
  • I think the audiobooks/Hörbücher are an incredibly useful tool. And we love products in the Ravensburger tiptoi series. (Birgitta B.)
  • I’d like to give 2-thumbs up for GeoMini. We get this and National Geographic for kids and it is hands down better. We speak more english at home, but between the two, my kids prefer GeoMini. (Chad M.)
  • Lesestart mit der Maus “Ponys und Prinzessinnen” – My daughter got her hands on the Prinzessininneninnen as she tries to say and wanted to read it all in one day. I haven’t even had time to see what the stickers are for but she is smitten. (Veronica F.)