I mentioned that I’ve just started letter lessons with Daughter Q. (age 3). I have used something different for teaching letters with each of my children (all of my reading students have come to me with their prerequisite knowledge already attained). With E., for instance, he had a set of stuffed capital letters, so that is what we used. A., on the other hand, was in love with her copy of A is for Annabelleand it served us well, plus added the incentive of beauty, which she particularly seems to require.
I’m basically using these like flashcards, though she has access to them and can play with them whenever she likes. We began with the letters she already knew, which happened to be the initials for herself and all of her siblings. And then I let her choose which other letter she’d like to learn the name for.
So, I pulled them out of the puzzle and sat them on the ground in front of her. We repeated the names of the letters. She picked her new letter (she chose X). We learned its name. Then, I turned it around, asking her to point at the letters as I named them off. To finish, we put them back into the puzzle, and as we did so she named them one last time.
The next day was the same, and she added another new letter. After adding four or five letters, we came to today, where she had reached the point that she needed a day of review, so we did not add any new letters.
This takes less than 10 minutes per day. She enjoys it, looks forward to it, and asks about it on days when we don’t get to it (like on Tuesdays, when we have swimming lessons and skip lessons for smallish children). More than anything, I think this is communicating to her how much I love her. Setting aside time just for her means the world to her, especially when she rarely has my completely undivided attention.
Once I realized this, I banished all other children from the room while we have our lesson. Surely they can survive in another room for less than 10 minutes.
And so it goes. I have no idea how long it will take her to learn her letters. She is very quick, and reminds me a bit of her older brother. My biggest concern is how A. would respond if and when Q. completely overtakes her in reading. I just pray that either doesn’t happen, or we learn to handle it with grace if it does happen.
But back to the point. I have no idea how other people teach letters. A lot of children learn them from television, but we don’t do television, so I need to teach letters directly. This is what is working so far with this particular child, and it is similar to what I did with E., though he was about a year younger than is Q.
Now to the point: you really don’t need to buy something to teach a child letter identification. If you have decent writing, a pen, and a piece of paper, you can teach letters. If you have a set of letter refrigerator magnets, you can teach letters. If you have an ABC book of some sort, you can teach letters.
At some point, education does require a certain amount of money to be spent on it. But most children don’t require much funding at this point. Best save your money for buying books when the time comes.
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