ABCs – Academics, Behavior and Character/Development

Zeke, a zebra on the alphabet chart in Ms. Davis’s classroom, wants to be more than a picture. Through the power of love, Zeke gets his wish and goes off the chart. The letter Z, hidden by the desk of teacher’s aide Ann McKeever Stautz, was the impetus for Zeke and the creation of  Off the Chart!, a product for parents and teachers that reinforces the ABCs – Academics, Behavior and Character/Development.

kids book teach kindness
Off the Chart! Package

Written by Stautz and illustrated by Alvina Kwong, Off the Chart!:  The Amazing Story of the Alphabet Zebra – is a book that is combined with a plush toy and can be used at home or in the classroom, tailored to children ages 4 – 8. It is certified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Zeke is a stuffed animal to cuddle by day and a real live zebra by night.

In the story, he observes children in the classroom by day and spends his nights’ writing kind and supportive notes acknowledging their personal bests and giving earned rewards. Zeke soon discovers the world is bigger than his classroom and realizes he needs help to support every child at home and at school. Powered by love, Zeke inspires all the zebras at his school to jump off their alphabet charts to lend parents and teachers a hand.

The story of the alphabet zebra does not end with the book; any family or classroom can begin their Off the Chart! success story with their very own zebra that observes by day and comes alive at night. Each book contains a removable alphabet chart from which the zebra has leapt, which can be displayed. Each zebra, named by the child, is always watching and the child understands that their zebra loves them and wants them to read and do their personal best. The zebra helps teachers and parents by positively reinforcing the household or classroom rules and expectations. When needed, the zebra can leave a note of encouragement or praise, set a goal, or give an earned award.

Teach  Kids Kindness and Good Behavior

“The Alphabet Zebra gives teachers and families a fun way to reinforce kindness and good behavior and encourage personal development in young children,” said Stautz. “And unfortunately, kindness has been in a bit shorter supply in society as of late. We’ve seen the Off the Chart! zebra help with that.”

Stautz consulted with educators, parents, school counselors, and child psychiatrists while developing the product and received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback as well as suggestions for improvements based on their expertise. Numerous households and five schools have already starting using this new system, and Stautz says that she has witnessed the results in her own classroom.

What the Kids Say About Off the Chart

“One of the boys was getting physical with his classmates. Heart, our classroom zebra, left a note for the boy, telling him what a great kid he is and encouraging him to be a leader by keeping his hands to himself and hugging Heart instead of acting out,” explained Stautz. “The boy met the challenge, held our zebra during the day instead of hitting, and got a reward in his cubby the next day. That child has not had a problem since. The zebra has brought fun and joy back to the classroom.”

Stautz experiences also have hit closer to home. “My youngest daughter was recently diagnosed with epilepsy and spent a week in the hospital. She was terrified of having seizures when she got home and wouldn’t go to bed alone. Our home zebra gave her an incentive chart for staying in her own bed for 10 nights in exchange for an award. She met the challenge, got past the fear and was proud of her bravery and accomplishment,” she said.

Off the Chart!: The Amazing Story of the Alphabet Zebra is available at offthechartkidz.com for $34.98. It includes a hardcover book, plush zebra, alphabet chart and personal drawstring backpack. To learn more or order, go to www.offthechartkidz.com. Off the Chart! also is available on Amazon.

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