When Kinsley was in preschool and kindergarten, she just naturally picked up on labeling letters and their sounds. While Zaven’s letter recognition is improving, he still needs some attention in this area. He is a busy boy, so I knew we had to find a fun solution for him.
We have a creek next to our house (my husband calls it a ditch). I gave Zaven the task of finding rocks (he’s still on the mission to find more). Once he found the perfect ones, we took them inside to rinse off. I used a permanent marker to write both the upper and lower case letters on the rocks. We use these rocks when he plays with his construction vehicles.
How you can do this today:
1. Find smooth rocks and rinse them off. Or you could buy rocks from the dollar store (the kind used for filling vases)
2. Use a permanent marker to write the letters on the rocks. You will want to decide if you want to first focus on the capital letters or the lower case letters as well. I went ahead and made both, but we typically play with just the capital letters.
3. Gather up all the trucks you can find. Look under your couches and in the back of your van (this is where we found the majority of ours).
4. Give your child a chance to just explore filling up the trucks and dumping them back out.
5. Ask the child to drive certain rocks from the “quarry” to the loading truck.
a. “Can you transport the letter Z?” (Start first with letters that are in your child’s name)
b. “We have an order for the letter that makes the /b/ sound!” (Continue through some other letter sounds.)
c. “See if you can find all the letters that have a curve shape.”
6. I made a quick chart for Zaven to dump the capital letters on to their matching lower case letter.
You can also write sight words on the rocks!
What the Research Says:
· Children need explicit, systematic instruction in order to develop alphabet knowledge.
(Piasta, S. B., & Wagner, R. K. (2010). Developing early literacy skills: A meta-analysis of alphabet learning and instruction. Reading Research Quarterly, 45(1), 8-38.)
· Children’s alphabetic knowledge in kindergarten and first grade predicts later literacy achievement.
(Stahl, K. A. (2014). New insights about letter learning. The Reading Teacher, 68(4), 261-265.
How do you work on letter naming and letter sounds at your house?
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