Monday, September 24, 2012

Learning the alphabet...beginning with their name.

It's so important to begin learning the alphabet with something that is meaningful.  Yes, I use the HWT's order of alphabet for teaching children how to correctly form their letters.  And I use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lesson's  order for teaching the children how to read.  But what do I do with 3 year olds who are not ready for any formal learning of the alphabet?  I start with something that is MOST meaningful.  Their name!
At the supper table last night, Great Grandma (who had been away for a week and a half) was over for supper and was wondering what T. does when the other children are here.  So I just commented that he has his "school work" to do.  So we got talking about his name work he did last week...
 He told us without looking at any of his work, this was just a conversation at the table..."T, R....there are two the end" holding up both pointer fingers.  He needed me to air write the E and the N and remind him what the E was but he got the rest of it.  I'm not quite sure whether he really knew the answer when Daddy asked "So what does that all spell?"  but I'm quite pleased with what he has already progressed in!
First off I should say that we also do a "tracing" name sheet each day.
 He matches the letter tile/manipulative and I trace the name with him.  With my young ones, I always trace hand over hand with them.  Doing this helps them get the correct letter formation engrained early!  The large blank area is a place to try to write it down himself. At this point he doesn't do much but he has moved beyond scribbling to creating somewhat of a closed circle!
And on this day, Mom was a bit slow in getting to him when he was ready and he decided to trace the letters himself!  :-)
  Below is an activity we did throughout last week.  It's simply a letter of his name created with 1" circles in Print Shop.  I added some block letters that he and I traced together while saying the word above them, emphasizing the beginning letter sound.
Since we've already worked with the letters in his name and posted it up on the wall...
I decided to give him a gluing activity that included the foam letters of his name and some big, medium, small shapes.  I was curious if he'd
1) recognize the letters as ones being in his name. 
2) Glue them in order.
There it is! :-) Obviously he wasn't interested in the letters of his name.  LOL (Whew!  I wasn't really ready to move onto the next step yet!)  However, he was very interested in gluing in circles-or the very least, closing up lines.  Very interested in that actually...
During his name writing practice he had that whole bottom section covered with lines that connected.  I think it was close to 3 minutes he spent on the bottom section, carefully drawing lines.  :-)  But what I wanted to share in this picture was the baby sock on his hand.  Perfect eraser for toddlers.  :-)  I use plastic page protectors and dry erase markers quite frequently.  This way he can actually erase his work himself, which is half of the fun ya know! 
One other activity we did every day last week were our 12 piece alphabet puzzles.  I know I've posted about those before.  We purchased ours from Lakeshore Learning.  I had a gut feeling he could do these but I never really had time to find out for sure.  So I knew I'd have a bit more time on Monday (and had it again on Tues.) so I put out the T puzzle on Monday.
I needed to help him with almost all of it.
I needed to help him get it started.
 Letter E, all by himself!  And I couldn't really get a good picture because EVERY time he got a piece he threw up his arms and half yelled, "I did it!"  "I did another one!"  :-)  We had a smile-y morning that morning!
 So, Thursday he got the letter N and then back to T on Friday.  All's well!  He now can officially complete a 12 piece jigsaw puzzle all by himself!
Hope you all have a lovely week!

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