Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Starting with your A, B, C ....

Teaching your child the alphabet is a very exciting time and can bring enormous fun and enjoyment for your child, you, and the whole family. There are a number of "Phonics Programs" available to support your child's learning if you are looking for guidance. Since having my own children, our house has immersed itself in the Phonics Based Program called Letterland. I have used a number of different programs that are equally good throughout my years of teaching, however my children's Pre-School uses Letterland so I wanted continuity between there and home. Many friends and family have asked for support with teaching their own child as the overwhelming number of resources available in shops and online can be daunting to a parent. Below I have outlined where you can start to teach your child the alphabet.

Letterland is a phonics based literacy program. Phonics programs are based on the actual sounds the letters make in words. Letterland makes learning letter sounds fun! Letterland does this by capturing children’s interest and attention. They relate to the characters so learning about them feels like play. Yet, they are laying solid foundations for successful learning.

To learn to read and write, children will need to know the sounds that letters represent in words. In Letterland, letters have good reasons for behaving the way they do and making the sounds they do. Children love learning all about these reasons! For example it is much more fun to learn that Harry Hatman whispers ‘hhh’ in words because he hates noise, than it is to remember ‘aitch’ makes the quiet ‘hhh’ sound. Letterland characters will become part of your daily life, and to some point members of the family! lol

When you begin to teach your child the alphabet, or anything really, it is important to remember that every individual learns differently and has a unique learning style. There are three main ways children learn and you will this often as you enter the Pre-school/school phase with your child.

Auditory Learners - succeed when directions are read aloud,  they're the ones who learn a tune in a snap just from hearing their teacher sing it, or who can follow directions to the letter after being told only once or twice what to do. Other auditory learners concentrate better at a task when they have music or white noise in the background, or retain new information better when they talk it out.
Visual Learners - find it easier to remember things when they see pictures. Visual learners have strong visualization skills. They can look up (often up and to the left) and ‘see’ the information invisibly written or drawn.

Kinesthetic Learners - are most successful when totally engaged with the learning activity. touching, feeling, experiencing the material at hand. Children enter kindergarten as kinesthetic and tactual learners, moving and touching everything as they learn.
For some, auditory input is most valuable; others rely upon a visual style. Still others learn through kinesthetic means, or a combination of the three. Every person has one primary learning mode. Once you identify that mode, you can learn to maximize it and enhance your child's education. Until you are certain of the primary learning mode/s your child uses I would encourage you to tap in to resources that provide experience in all learning styles.

If you decide to use the Letterland approach to phonics there are many, many valuable resources available. Many of these are available from your local library which will save you the cost of purchasing them. If you would like to purchase your own resources I have selected the one's I think are good value for money, provide for the different learning styles and will get your child well on the way to learning his/her alphabet in a fun and interactive way.

Do the actions, make the letter sounds and learn the alphabet with this great actions poster. Actions help to develop multi-sensory memory clues for the letter sounds and can be performed sitting or standing.

From A to Z, this special activity book provides endless fun for young children. All the activities are clearly presented with illustrations and step-by-step practical descriptions. Children will learn how to cut, trace, copy, fold and colour as well as how to follow instructions in this most complete activity book. 56 pages of things to make and do combined with early literacy skills development.

With a character on every page - from Annie Apple to Zig Zag Zebra - this delightful board book provides a fun and entertaining way of introducing tiny tots and toddlers to the 26 letters of the alphabet. I like that it's a hard book and durable as it often comes in the car with Master 3 as he flicks through the pages and sings along to the CD.

This is an example of the inside of the book.

This is my favourite CD full of songs providing a lively and invaluable way to ensure children learn the correct a-z sounds. It provides an excellent pronunciation model, sung to well known nursery tunes. So perfect to pop on in the car and sing along to. You will be surprised how quickly your little on picks up the songs!
(and how they stick in your head lol)

I love any chance to cook with my kids and we love cooking up a Letterland Recipe. This book introduces children to vocabulary related to cooking and improves listening skills with the step-by step instructions given for each recipe.

Whatever approach you decide to take when teaching your little one the alphabet, remember, you are their first and best teacher. Make it fun in all ways for both of you.
Check out many more alphabet activities I have posted for you to do with your little one!

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