Monster Treehouse Club: Utilizing social media to promote child literacy

Monster Treehouse Club is an early childhood education and literacy program, engaging young children in interactive reading, writing and social skillbuilding activities.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON EXAMINER

A literacy program aimed at enhancing early childhood development through personalized and interactive experiences has been making great advances towards shaping the future of early educational programming for our youth. Children, ages three to eight, have been finding that reading can truly be enjoyable, writing to their monster pals through the Monster Treehouse Fictional Pen Pal program, a program launched in beta since February of 2014.

Testimonies report that some children have actually overcome social issues, norms and learning disabilities through this early launch. These types of testimonials have shaped the direction of Monster Treehouse Club, as it officially launches this month.

Examiner met with Monster Treehouse Club, yesterday, April 28, 2015, to discuss the importance of such a program, where it got its roots and how they are utilizing the Internet and Social Media to reach children all over the United States. Monster Treehouse Club, a manifested vision of Marie Penix and Benjamin Offerhall, has left a mark on the hearts of children from all walks of life. This is primarily due to the unique nature of the product offered by Monster Treehouse Club, who truly believes that every child is a genius.

The idea of Monster Treehouse Club arose as Marie and Ben were watching Shark Tank, a favorite television show of the two. A woman was pitching a book and immediately, Marie was reminded of Tiger Beat, a teenager’s Bible of celebrity crushes. Within the pages of Tiger Beat, fans could find information as to where to write letters to their favorite celebrities. Often these celebrities would reply by providing autographed photos and standardized letters in return. Instantly, it hit them. They could provide a similar product to our children, creating a positive experience for our youth and ultimately providing society with an additional platform for success.

Each correspondence provides an experience that is 100% personalized and encourages children to continue future interactions through reading, writing and friendship. Monster Treehouse Club acts as a peer, while mentoring children in life situations and encouraging them to face fear and insecurity as they excel in literacy and meet new educational goals. Monster Treehouse Club began writing letters to kids they knew, and the kids fell in love with characters they believe to have written the letters… the same characters in a corresponding book.

This company promotes not just literacy through personalized letters, but they also have released three children’s books and adjacent workbooks to evolved learning and allow children to complete activities alongside their “friends” within the books. Last Thursday, April 23, Monster Treehouse released their third book, “Daniel Doesn’t Want to Move,” which is a Military Edition to the Monster Treehouse collection.

Daniel, a character in the book series, faces difficulties and challenges, as his family moves to new locations around the World. His family must relocate due to military affiliation, and he doesn’t want to leave his friends and family behind. The book teaches that while Daniel is moving away, he doesn’t have to lose touch with his friends. Thanks to technology, he can keep in touch. This is just an example of the real life situations children learn about within the pages of the Monster Treehouse series. It is also an example how characters in the books can directly relate and empathize with real fears of children around the United States.

Speaking of technology, this company really excels when it comes to digital marketing strategies and marketplace trends. They have grown accustomed to utilizing social media, content marketing, incentive marketing and coupon coding to grow brand loyalty through awareness strategies and email marketing engagement. Monster Treehouse Club has appeared on multiple deals sites, Online streaming television shows and syndicated Online/Offline Radio shows, while offering membership incentives, such as free audiobooks, informational articles and coupon codes. This has returned a start-up growth within the beta stage at 40-60 new sign ups a day! This has all helped Monster Treehouse Club to skyrocket in demand over the course of the past year and to help children allover fall in love with literacy, while gaining self confidence in their day-to-day lives.

Many might not realize that this is more than just a group of individuals putting out children’s products and seeking to capitalize off of them. Monster Treehouse’s mission is to reach out to the individual interests of each child and allow them to feel important, customizing content in the point of view that their favorite character would have, while guiding them through insecurity, fear, social awkwardness and learning disabilities.

Both growing up with Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism, and raising a child under the same circumstance, the founders of the organization truly believe that every child has an inner genius, inspiring children to use their creativity and imagination in discovering their inner genius and cultivating it. They aim to play their part in the success of each child, while feeding the burning desire to learn. Much content has been created by Monster Treehouse Club, highlighting the challenges and positive aspects of autism and Asperger’s.

Monster Treehouse Club spoke to Examiner about a girl who had known Dyslexia and had been writing to them. Her parents claim that the club influenced her to want to read. Letters weren’t as intimidating to her as a book, because they were directed to her. She was able to sit down with the character and read without feeling socially awkward. She felt more comfortable with her disability and showed improvement in her abilities, as she became enticed to write and communicate with her new friend.

Creating customizable content and having one-on-one conversations with each child, they are able to help children cope with negative encounters and find a positive way to navigate the world easier. Remaining connected to the character as a friend, who doesn’t judge them and remains unbiased and supportive at all times, these letters also serve as a form of therapy to young children, whereas some may often find it hard to directly reach out to parents or siblings, feeling pressure or as if they will be in trouble. They feel more free, confidentially opening up to their “friends” on topics they are concerned about, such as divorce, new siblings, making friends, school life, bullying, etc.

Not only does Monster Treehouse offer interactive and learning experiences through letter writing, but as previously mentioned, they also have a list of books and workbooks on the reading list for early readers. These books also include DVDs, so that children can read along with their friends at Monster Treehouse Club; and the library is ever evolving with a book just released last week and two more expected for release this month.

Monster Treehouse club takes advantage of the Social Media experience, offering digital media aimed at increasing interest in education and keeping children involved in the pen pal program. They have created a customized video experience with “Monster” talking directly to children and even greeting them on their birthday. An offline experience also includes a subscription based service that offers prize packs and activities to enrich the learning experience with rewards and incentives for being a part of The Monster Treehouse Club.

Utilizing Online crowdsourcing platforms, such as Kickstarter, Monster Treehouse Club promotes literacy to low income families, who cannot afford the standard rates of the company’s literacy programs or that have more than one child within their family. Standing strong with the roots of Monster Treehouse Club, Marie and Ben continue to write letters to children free of charge, but encourage supporters to continue the program by paying for premium service on behalf of these children and/or contributing to the cost of postage and supplies. The goal of the program has been to inspire literacy, and Monster Treehouse believes in leaving no child to be left behind.

Thanks to social platforms, such as Fiverr, Monster Treehouse overcame startup disadvantages, while networking with creative talents to grow such an amazing product. They have been working with illustrators, puppeteers, blog moms and other professionals to grow this mission-driven company into its official launch. Digital portfolios made this process less complicated.

Much of Monster Treehouses earlier successes also came from Twitter, where connecting with mothers was made easy and gained incredible insight, full of immediate feedback and suggestions. Facebook has also allowed the company to share social media snippets of video and photographs of loyal readers, reactions to the product and so much more.

Monster Treehouse was able to connect with gurus and top industry talent through sites such as LiveAdvice for business and marketing consultation, and Clarity.FM, as investors with established businesses, were available to offer priceless insight into business and advice for rapid and long-term growth. Many overlook these tools in the new digital frontier, but it is the ability to call a qualified professional around the clock that has led Monster Treehouse Club to a successful run. It is one way that professionals are now marketing themselves to the new breed of digital entrepreneurs.

Through multiple means for business structure, design and development, Monster Treehouse has pressed through barriers of entry in a saturated Internet world. Actually, they have found that one of the least likely means of marketing, overall, is their most successful.

While most people consider email marketing “daily SPAM,” it has been proven to be one of the most beneficial forms of marketing for many businesses to date… those who can find the right formula for doing so. Monster Treehouse has done just that. In fact, they find that their readers love the emails that they receive, as it is reflected in opened mail and calls to action.

Monster Treehouse is Anti-Spam, but is dedicated to sending weekly e-mails encouraging early reading, early education and how parents can continuously get involved. They include tips and tricks in dealing with childhood issues and even helping parent prepare for the start of kindergarten. Most importantly, they offer exclusive products and discounts, such as letter writing, audiobooks and more.

An e-mail offer typically gives children two free weeks of letter services and includes a prorated fee for the total month, so that parent can “test the waters” and see whether their child responds well to the service or not. The idea is to send children a surprise in the mail each and every week, building anticipation and encouraging ongoing correspondences.

With the recent release of “Daniel Doesn’t Want to Move,” Monster Treehouse Club has announced an impactful future for the company, which includes United States Veterans who have had disruptions in their life, unable to find jobs and/or unable to continue working in careers they had previously loved. As a product of a military family, Marie Penix strives to keep Monster Treehouse “military-friendly,” providing a means of employment to those veterans who have served this country and providing families with a product that demonstrates the ability to keep in touch with all they have met along the way.

In the future, Monster Treehouse Club plans to continue their letter writing service. This is the heart and soul of the treehouse. However, they have been planning literary book fairs and other upcoming events for the near future, both Online and Offline, as well as character product lines so that children may feel closer to them.

Monster Treehouse Club also has plans to hire high school students to dress as these characters and emulate book signings and meet and greets. The goal is to engage these children in peer mentorship and tutoring, so that they may become better readers and the new leaders of our tomorrow.

A company beginning in Dallas-Fort Worth has now become a staple to Early Childhood Development to many around the United States. Soon, Canada will be able to experience such an amazing program, as well. And, while many still have not yet heard about Monster Treehouse Club within the borders of this Nation, they soon will, as Monster Treehouse Club is set to launch the official Treehouse experience.

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Educational App encourages “Social” with contests in promoting Math to our youth!

Educational App encourages "Social" with contest in promoting Math to our youth!

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON EXAMINER

Whether your child attends a public school or is being homeschooled by you, there is no denying that educational yet interactive learning materials are top priority in giving your child the skills they need to succeed in the real world. The younger the children are, the more we seek to excite their core with educational games directed towards their age group. One company is working to supply this demand in a host of games under release that encourages innovation and the elements of Mathematical function.

In 2013, Sproglit tested the waters with the launch and release of their first educational math game. This game was launched as a Beta iPad App and found its way into a number of schools in California, Utah and New York. This game was dubbed “Kyle Counts” and has found success through Beta users.

The matrix that Kyle Counts was built on is being called “Math Arrow” and is now announcing a contest encouraging teachers and parents, who homeschool their children, to enter for a chance to win $1,000. Runners up will win prizes provided by Sproglit in gratitude for their participation.

The contest is fairly easy to execute. Sproglit asks that the educator sends a lesson plan, story or video showing how they have incorporated the Math Arrow program into their classrooms and are finding success by “boosting number sense, addition and counting skills amongst their students.” Sproglit has created a contest page on their corporate site with instructions and entry forms available to these participants.

Currently, success is being reported by BYU Researcher who is reporting that “playing the Math Arrow: Kyle Counts iPad app for ten minutes a day for just one week raises arithmetic scores by 7-11% among first-graders.”

How Math Arrow works is by “numbers from 0-100 to children so that they can visualize patterns and quickly see, for example, how to count by 2s, 5s, and 10s.” This technology works so well, that even the inventor of the first cell phone, Mr. Martin Cooper, calls the Math Arrow “ingenious.” The Math Arrow was featured through The Mathematical Association of America with the headline: “Math Arrow to Replace Number Line?”

Because this game is catching on with children and educators around the United States, it is imperative that this company finds itself a larger presence, Online, in competing for the Mobile App and Tablet markets, Some people are very particular when it comes to educating the youth and avoiding companies that send out “subliminals” with their programming.

In order to provide individuals with a sense of Brand Trust, it will take everyday individuals to tell their own personal stories and successes. Sproglit is giving them an incentive to do so, while listening to ways to make their product better in future editions!

A product full of colors, animals, drama, learning and rewards, it is sure to capture the attention of young children everywhere, many of which normally have difficulty learning in traditional forms of education. It allows them to really understand the methods and sciences behind arithmetic.

Through testimonials, Sproglit may better demonstrate this to new potential users who may be skeptical. These children can speak about the experience themselves, with the adult involved in the process can speak about the actual progress of each child’s journey.

Sproglit is holding submission for contest participants until January 15, 2014. “We are excited to engage teachers and parents. The sooner they show the Math Arrow and Kangaroo Kyle to their children, the sooner their kids will develop a better sense of numbers,” said Sproglit CEO Todd Buchholz.

Invented by Todd Buchholz, former White House economic advisor, economist, author and winner of the Allyn Young Teaching Prize at Harvard University and in conjunction with his daughters Victoria, Katherine and Alexia, the Math Arrow is used in games by Sproglit in bringing about a positive understanding in the World of Mathematics to children everywhere.

Math is one of our most difficult subjects to grasp totally in our lifetime and yet is one of the most important. Everything in life involves it. By providing the youth with a love for the subject, we are preparing them for exciting revolutions in how people think, react, and function in our Tomorrow!

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Marketing for Change: Only 1-in-3 parents read to their children, 8 and under

dr suess, one fish two fish red fish blue fish, dr seuss, childhood education, marketing research, market research, macys, via, childhood development, learn to read, english, orlando, pittsburgh, punxsutawney, fort pierce, pittsburgh, new kensington

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON EXAMINER

In a world where technology is so evolved that everything is possible, why are our children becoming more corrupted, lacking morals, becoming more spoiled, lacking conscious, etc.? Does it have to do with how we are raising them? Does it have to do with the minimum bonding time we are spending with them and in being the first teachers in their life? A new survey reports that “only one-in-three parents read bedtime stories at night…Children are more likely to spend time with TV or Video Games than books.”

And, here lies the problem.

Lack of bonding and discipline can lead to an increase in independence, but this increase can be harmful to a child if no direction is given. How are we showing our children we love them? How are we influencing their decisions?

We get mad that they emulate what is seen on television, but we are not filling idle minds with wholesome data or swaying their mindsets in the way that we should. If we aren’t that positive role model in their life, we can’t be upset when “the entertainment” keeps them fulfilled and becomes their new “favorite person.” We can’t be upset when our child comes home with dissatisfactory results on their report cards.

When we read, children look at pictures (if snuggled next to you). Chances are, they will follow the words along with you… whether they know what the words spell out or not.

When they see words in repetition, they eventually learn the word “on sight,” and this readies them to learn more complex words. This is a science that programs like “My Baby Can Read” have proven to us time and time again. This is also something that can’t be done one-on-one in the classroom, especially where large classes exist.

As a matter of fact, the age group of “8-years-old and under” are at the highest risk. “Children who don’t read well by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers,” according to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

This is a science that programs like “My Baby Can Read” have proven to us time and time again. This is something that can’t be done one-on-one in the classroom, especially where large classes exist. As a matter of fact, the age group of “8-years-old and under” are at the highest risk. “Children who don’t read well by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers,” according to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Have we become too dependent on the programming our television networks have created to “educate” kids? Let us not forget that subliminal messaging is also often times placed in program messaging.

Innocent realities may also place “thoughts” into the mind of children. For example, an educational program called “IQ Kids” when heard without visuals, or when watched at “half span” attention sounds like it is clearly saying “I kill kids.” If your child can’t read, what message do they perceive? Do you think they will want to learn from these people, no matter how many awards they have won?

In the Online survey conducted by Macy’s, Reading is Fundamental and Harris Interactive, 33% of 1000 parents report nightly reading to their children. Through ten years of partnership, Macy’s and RIF find it even more important to deliver their 10 millionth book to children across the country. “Bedtime stories build the foundation for future achievement.

For a decade, Macy’s and RIF have worked together to get books and literacy resources to children in need, giving children and parents tools they need to dream big,” said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. “While much news in this survey is encouraging, there is more work to be done – work that Be Book Smart and our partnership with Macy’s will help make possible.”

We must remember that this age group is that of our future society, our future decision-makers. If we aren’t teaching them correctly, who will? The television that has the sole purpose of selling advertising and merchandising?

Macy’s understands this and, since 2004, have donated over $25.8 million to RIF through customer-supported fundraising campaigns, in-store events and volunteer activities. They continue this mission with a campaign that runs Today (June 21) throughout until July 21, 2013, in the goal of donating the 10 millionth book to a child in need.

The campaign takes place Online and in stores across the country. The correlating Online campaign includes a Facebook Sweepstakes, and have included this statement in a recent Press Release:

“As part of the Be Book Smart campaign, Macy’s and RIF will host a sweepstakes on Facebook to encourage supporters to share information about the campaign and post images of quotes from favorite authors to their personal timelines via a Facebook app. Each week, one winner will be awarded a $500 Macy’s gift card. For official rules and to enter the sweepstakes, visit facebook.com/macys or rif.org/sweeps. No purchase necessary to enter or win a prize.”

What are you doing to ensure a bright and positive future for our children? Start reading to them, today!

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