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materials dubbed “'educational” often seem devoid of fun?


Instead of formulas and worksheets, children get to unlock secrets and solve mysteries. Instead of rote memorization or rules, children become fascinated with character stories, songs, and stats which just happen to reinforce beginning reading skills. Instead of contrived educational text, children embark on adventures in the magical Kingdom of Alpha where they break codes, solve problems, tell stories, perform and pretend. Instead of one learning method for all children, a combination of strategies is utilized that engages the senses and accommodates different learning styles.


Presenting ALPHABOTZ, a multimedia program for children ages 3 and up, designed by a parent and teacher to engage and build confidence in beginning readers by personifying the abstract concept that LETTERS equal SOUNDS, SOUNDS build WORDS, and WORDS tell amazing STORIES. Through a proven combination of teaching strategies including phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, and language experience, a cast of fun, captivating characters provides useful tools for unlocking the secrets to this code adults call reading. Each ALPHABOTZ character represents a sound in the English language, and wears its identifying letter/sound on its chest. These cute, colorful robots have their own special personalities and abilities. Children share adventures with the ALPHABOTZ that incorporate fun, secret formulas for breaking codes, surprises, special needs, humor and love, and just happen to learn about the joy and power of reading along the way.





The original vision that inspired the ALPHABOTZ sprung from the unbelievably creative mind of Pat Vining. The idea for the ALPHABOTZ arose from Pat’s perception that a technically sound, multi-strategy approach to reading that was also fun and engaging for children was missing from the marketplace. Pat envisioned the ALPHABOTZ as a way to fill that void.

To bring the ALPHABOTZ to life, Pat has drawn on her lifetime of experience as an elementary- and university-level educator; as a practicing graphic designer, illustrator and business owner; and, of course, as a mother of two. Fueled by her passion for learning, Pat has earned one Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook and a second Bachelor’s degree, plus a Master of Fine Arts, in Graphic Design from LSU. Her teaching experience in both fields spans over 30 years and continues presently at the Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, California.


Kelly took a keen interest in children’s products after her first child was born, and was involved with Pat in some of the original concepting of the ALPHABOTZ, as well as, other children’s books and music. Kelly’s belief in the ALPHABOTZ is bolstered by the huge positive response it has received from her own children. This has inspired her to apply her solid production and project management experience, her creative abilities, her customer focus, and her attention to detail to the development of the ALPHABOTZ.

Kelly holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Advertising from LSU and has over 15 years of experience in the fields of print sales, print production management, advertising, and graphic design, including a few years spent with GSD&M Advertising in Austin, Texas. Kelly and Pat formed Vining Barton Design in 1997 and were later joined by Nicole. Following the birth of her two children, Kelly took a brief break from the business world to be a mom, but has recently rejoined Pat and the ALPHABOTZ team to help bring this brand to market.


Randy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from LSU and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas. He has over 10 years of experience as a practicing Chemical Engineer in R&D, process technology, process supervision, and plant management.
What is a Chemical Engineer doing in this group?

A lifelong entrepreneurial itch combined with a belief in the amazing concept of the ALPHABOTZ, a desire to exercise some pent-up creativity, and finally some fortuitous timing brought Randy into the mix. Married to Kelly, a closet musician, and a father of two, Randy is excited to participate in the development of the ALPHABOTZ for his kids and kids everywhere.


Nicole is a self-motivated entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in the fields of advertising, graphic design, creative services, project management, and event management. Nicole became a partner in Vining Barton Design with Pat and Kelly in 2002 and still owns and operates VB Design in The Woodlands, TX.

Nicole holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from LSU and contributes her solid project management skills, her attention to detail, her practical perspective, and her can-do attitude to the ALPHABOTZ team. Nicole has experienced first-hand the positive reaction to the ALPHABOTZ from the children of her family and friends and is committed to the success of the program.


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