Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Alphabet is Boring:)

Here is another recent question:

In your blog you mentioned that your daughter knew her alphabet by the age of 2.
What program or strategy did you use to teacher her this skill?

To be honest, I did not teach her the alphabet & did not plan to teach her until she was close to school age - but K had her own timetable & taught herself!

K did watch the Love & Learning videos  on & off from when she was about 1 to 2 years of age.  We also had the Leap Frog alphabet fridge magnets on our fridge & a set of letter fridge magnets & probably a few other toys with letters that allowed her to learn them on her own. She surprised me one day in the hardware store, when she started pointing out letters on the signs.  I still remember my shock & amazement when she toddled over to a  Shamwow display rack, pointed at the M & said M,  mmmm.

As I stated earlier, I did not plan to teach her letters & don't see the point in purposefully teaching this to a very young child.  The alphabet really has no meaning to a toddler & won't be much fun to learn.  Because sight words are the most effective way to teach a toddler (teaching phonics is really important, just not at this age - click on this post as well as this one for my reasoning for this), I don't think that teaching the alphabet is helpful.

Sight words are so much more fun! Put yourself in a toddler's shoes.  Would you rather learn that A says aaaa, or that M.O.M. spells Mom? We focused on the most important words in K's life first.  Family & pet names, favorite toys, foods & animals. Reading needs to be fun at this age in order to foster a lifelong love of reading.

If however, you have a school age, or almost school age child, letters will probably be more beneficial to help them keep up with what the other kids are learning.  We did intend to teach K letters by about age 5, before we realized that she had taught herself the alphabet.

Some good resources that I can think of off the top of my head are the many iPad/iPhone apps available.  We like LetterSchool lately for printing practice, but I think it would also help a child learn the letters.

There are some good DVD's out there but my tired brain doesn't seem to be able to come up with a title tonight!  I'll try to edit this with an example.

This is a similar product to the one that k used to teach herself the alphabet: LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet.

Alphabet letters are everywhere, making it so easy to incorporate fun games into everyday life.  There are big foamy bathtub letters & letter stickers to do different projects with. Our local Dollar Store has tons of different types of letters in the toy aisles -you could do so many projects with them.  Pictures, paintings, make one of those find the letter I Spy bags or put the letters in rice or popcorn for a tactile experience.  Use tweezers to grab the letters to work on letter recognition & fine motor at the same time.  Look for letters on signs, etc when going for walks. 

................and lastly, of course good old flashcards - They are tons of commercial ones available, or I'm sure BrillKids has some too.

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