Thursday, August 23, 2012

Alphabet Fun- Reading 101

When I set out to teach Kaitlyn how to read, I wondered what would be the best way to help her learn this important skill while keeping it fun and creative and challenging.  My sister was using 'The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading' and she highly recommended that resource as the main resource for teaching your child how to read. I have not been disappointed. It lays out each lesson clearly, separating the vowels from the consonants, and teaching the child each phonetic sound through repetition and memorizing. It also outlines what you (the instructor) should say and how to teach the new letter. For example, for the letter B, it prompts the Instructor to show the letter (upper and lower case), then say the sound 5 times, then the child says the sound with you 5 times, then the instructor says three words that begin with B, and then the child repeats those words after the instructor. "B stands for b in b, b bat" (the first line in the "Consonant Poem" they will memorize). Some lessons have activities outlined for further phonetic practise, but in general, each lesson is short, easy to teach, effective and fun.
In addition to learning phonics, Kaitlyn completes a trace and copy work sheet that coincides with the letter of the day. These upper and lowercase 'alphabet tracing' sheets are readily available online for free and often include a picture to color (ie: Bb to practise writing and a picture of a butterfly to color).
We finish our lesson with an alphabet craft, for the letter B, I drew the letter on a piece of construction paper and Kaitlyn (and Lily) glued on a variety of buttons. Simple, creative, fun, and reinforcing the letter of the day.
The beauty of these activities is that my toddler Lily (2.5 years old when we started back in October 2011) has loved 'school' as well......I always print out an extra copy of whatever sheet Kaitlyn is working on so Lily can scribble color as well, and her little ears have picked up sounds of letters too, just by being at the table with us, learning. Lily can write her name (you may need me to interpret what letter is what) and she knows some of the "Consonant Rhyme Poem" which is a bonus. 
Below are pictures of each of the alphabet crafts we have done....all of them are simple, mostly mess-free and cheap to do.
A is for Apple pie
Letter A - Apple stamping/Apple Picking/Apple Pie Making
Letter B - Glue buttons onto the letter B
Letter C - Decorated the letter C with markers, glitter, stamps etc.
Letter D - Bingo dots on the letter D
Letter E - Glue Crushed eggshells onto the letter E
Letter F - Glue feathers onto the letter F
Letter G - Decorated the letter G with glitter glue
Letter H - Attached squiggly pipe cleaners with styrofoam balls on top to a head band
Letter I - Glued cotton balls onto a picture of an Igloo
Letter J - Coloured the letter J
Letter K - Made kites out of construction paper and a wire hanger
Letter L - Made lolli-pops out of construction paper and popsicle sticks (decorated the paper)
M is for mask
Letter M - Made masks out of construction paper, elastic bands to go behind the ears
Letter N - Made necklaces and bracelets with beads and pipe cleaners
Letter O - Coloured the letter O
Letter P - Made a popsicle stick basket and a popsicle stick pencil holder
Letter Q - Punched holes with toothpick around a picture of a duck and hung it up in the window
Letter R - Glued fruit loops on a picture of a rainbow
Letter S - Coloured the letter S
Letter T - Made tissue paper flowers
Letter U - Made construction paper umbrella mobiles
R is for rainbow
Letter V - Made a vegetable collage
Letter W - Weather collage
Letter X - Treasure hunt "X marks the spot"
Letter Y - Wrapped a vase with yarn (looks cooler than it sounds)
Letter Z - Coloured the letter Z

** This was a post that I wrote several months ago but didn't post.....I kinda forgot about it.....but I think now is a good time to share these ideas as there are stay-at-home moms with toddlers who may be thinking about homeschooling this fall. (One month away---time to start planning!!) I hope these simple crafts and resources can help you as much as they did me.....and that you have just as much fun learning as we did! We are still working our way through the "Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading" which is now beginning to introduce short words and sight words. Kaitlyn still enjoys reading the Bob Books which offer challenge and reward at the same time. I'd love to hear your ideas......

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