Learning About Letters and Words
When you read to children they learn about letters and words. They learn
that words in a story are always the same. They may also learn that words
go across the page from left to right and that there are spaces between
There are many fun ways to learn with your child. Here are some ideas
Encourage your child to use what he knows about letters and the sounds they
stand for to spell as best he can.
- Write down a story your child tells you. The story can be about a
special event or one you make up together. Let your child add drawings
or glue on items like pictures, cards or dried leaves they have collected.
Keep the new "book" and read it often.
- Make shopping lists together. Your child can draw pictures of the
items and you can add the words. You can also help your child form the
letters for simple words. Because this may take forever, it's not a
good idea if you're in a hurry.
- Use magnetic letters to learn about letters and spell words. While
you work in the kitchen, your child can pick out letters and try to
spell words on the refrigerator.
- Make letters together from modeling clay or cookie dough. Begin by
rolling out snake-shaped pieces that can be formed into letter shapes.
If you are using cookie dough, be sure shapes like "o", "b"
or "R" have plenty of space inside the circle. The circles
tend to close up when baked.
- Make a letter scrapbook. Pick a letter of the alphabet and label the
page. Cut out pictures from old magazines that begin with that letter.
Glue the pictures on the page. Write the words beside the pictures.
On rainy days you and your child can make a few pages. Soon you will
have a picture dictionary of the whole alphabet.
- Laugh about the mistakes you and your child make. Also don't get discouraged
if your child forgets something he knew last week. That's the nature
The activities should be fun for everyone. If you are not enjoying the
time together, stop and try something else.
Source: M.R. Binkley, Becoming a Nation of Readers: What Parents
Can Do, D.C. Heath and Co., March 1988.
Prepared by Debbie McClellan, Extension
Educator, Family Life.
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