There are many noteworthy milestones in a child’s life, but learning to read has to be right up there. The whole “learning to read” process is incredible and something that is so unique to each child. To see everything just slowly starting to click is wondrous, an entirely new world opens up and I cannot wait till we fully dive into it. My eldest (5) is learning phonics at school at the moment. When his class teach mentioned in the beginning of the year that me may even be able to read by the end of the year, I thought she was joking, he’s only in grade R, but let me tell you, phonics are an INCREDIBLE THING!
Each week they have a different “focus” letter at school, “curly kuh” or “kicking kuh”, “annie apple” or “harry hat man”. Activities are then related to that letter and each time they speak about the pronunciation of it. We have to duly cut out pictures being with that letter every weekend and art for the week is focused on it. Just a few weeks ago Aadam read his very first word! R-E-D, he saw it on TV and said “Rra – ehhh – daaa”, “RED mama” !! I want to pause that moment in time forever. My heart was so proud it could have exploded! We are far from reading properly and I am in no way going to force him, but since then he has “read” a few other words by himself as well, “sun” , “dog” and “mat”.
I am by no means a teacher, I’m not a professional in any way, but we’ve done a few activities over the years at home that have focused on letter recognition and I think at this age it all starts coming together. Reading and writing go hand in hand and by practicing letter recognition with some fun activities, reading can quickly follow.
Here are a few fun activities you can do at home to practice letter recognition. It’s all learning through playing so your child wont feel like they are “working” in any way.
Spray the letter
Write out letters randomly on an outside wall with some chalk and give your child a spray bottle or water pistol. Get them to “spray” out the letters from words such as their name or other simple 3 letter words.
I purchased some crafty foam letters and flash cards from our favourite book and stationary store, CNA , and hid the foam letters in some rainbow rice. Place a flashcard out and get your little one to dig through the rice to find the matching letters. As they are matching the letters, sound them out individually. The 3 letter words are always an easy start.
These are so ridiculously easy to make and such a fun way to learn. We have made 2 different kinds before. The first is done simply by taking two paper cups. On one of them write out common endings like “at”, “all” and “it” and on the other write out letters like “m”, “f”, and “s”. Cut a window through the outer cup and twist to form the words. It can also be easily done with plastic eggs (I told you those little guys are versatile). Again on one side write one letter and on the bottom write the common endings. Sit with your child as they twist the egg and sound out each word.
Read Read Read
As simple as it may sound, but reading to your children is the best way to teach them how to read themselves. Making books part of your daily life is so important. They watch your lips move and form words, improves language skills, shows them that words represent sounds and concepts, words are read from left to write, and stories continue when you flip the page. Start from as young as possible to foster a love for reading with bedtime stories or library time. CNA has some great phonics books, in additional to all their reading books for kids, if you are interested in diving deeper into a more structured learning approach at home.
Writing out letters
Whether its tracing them out in a wipe and erase book, or using more Montessori type activities such as writing them out in Sand, using a brush with rice or even shaping the letters out of playdough. Its all about recognition and muscle memory. Sounding out each letter as you go and then practice by linking the sounds.
Watching a child enter this whole new world of literacy is just so magical. I am in awe of how quickly children can pick up on things and how many doors of opportunity this will open. Though i know on the other hand its going to open up a whole new ball game in parenting. Newspaper and magazine headlines will bring numerous questions and conversations but I cannot wait! There are some fantastic resources available to help us on this journey as parents, free printables online or books and learning aids from stationary stores. Reading is truly one of the greatest gifts for a child to learn and one that every single child should have a chance to learn.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by CNA