ROY -- Learning the alphabet and letter sounds has never been so much fun.
Just ask the 90-plus kindergarten kids at Valley View Elementary, who hopped, wiggled, giggled and squirmed to the musical melody of "Horace the horse had some horrible hiccups."
The creator of the Wednesday festival was first-time author Christine Burnett, a Logan resident who developed a children's book and CD that use memorable, interactive songs to teach alphabet sounds in a quick and easy way.
Her methods have impressed parents and educators and helped children of all levels and ages learn to read.
The kindergarten teachers at Valley View have been using "Critter Crew With Melody Lou: Alphabet Songs" for more than a year now and report remarkable results.
Burnett's demonstration at Valley View was a first, but something she hopes to do several times a month at Ogden area schools.
"Music is a powerful and easy way to learn," said Burnett, who plays the role of "Miss Melody Lou" in the presentation. "It gets it in their brain, and it's more fun."
Burnett's interactive methods engaged the kids from start to finish, which impressed the four Valley View kindergarten teachers huddled in the back.
"It's excellent, very age-appropriate, very darling alliterations," said teacher Mary Jane Arrant. "A fun way to learn."
Kelly Hepner, another kindergarten teacher, said Burnett's letter breakdown goes well with their curriculum.
"We teach a letter a day, so this is a quick and easy exercise to connect the letter with its sound," she said.
As the students left the cafeteria, one girl stopped to pay Miss Melody Lou a compliment: "You have the most beautiful voice."
Burnett, a graduate in music and education at Utah State University in Logan, is a single mother of four whose husband died of liver cancer in January while attending medical school.
The inspiration for the critter crew came while teaching her home-based preschool several years ago.
She wanted to find the best way to expose her students to letter sounds and the alphabet through music, but couldn't find a satisfactory product.
So, she created her own by writing, singing and recording 26 simple songs.
"When I began introducing the music in class, my students loved the songs," Burnett said.
"They learned the letter sounds quickly and easily, and the alphabet songs became a core part of my curriculum. Not only that, but my own toddlers loved the songs and were learning the alphabet sounds as fast as my students."
Shortly thereafter, her then-4-year-old son Joshua was tested and exceeded the first-grade reading level. Now in first grade, Joshua is attacking J.R.R. Tolkien's unabridged "Lord of the Rings" series.
The secret is in the repetitive nature of the music, Burnett said.
"Kids love it, and they learn the sounds of the alphabet without even working at it," she said. "From there, it's a quick and natural process to begin to read."