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.