I wish I could remember where I first saw this idea. It was probably listed on a Link & Learn over at No Time for Flash Cards, but I can’t find the link, and don’t really feel like searching through a bazillion blog posts right now. The kids are cranky.
We haven’t really been doing much with letters. We talk about them all the time and talk about the sounds, and I write letters for E and show him how to write them, but there hasn’t really been a method to our letter madness. I have finally decided to make our letter learning a little more structured.
Today we made a “letter box” right now it is just an unused drawer from one of my storage drawers in the craft/preschool room, but it will eventually be replaced with something more permanent.
We taped the “letter of the week” on the box and found things that start with the letter “B” (since he doesn’t know how to write or read yet, we went mostly by sound, which will make C, S, and K tricky, but we will probably skip those and come back to them as sounds instead of individual letters).
To “prep” for finding things for the box, I first wrote the letter B on our whiteboard and then had him help me come up with things that start with B. I drew pictures of the things we named (bumblebee, bump, and ball). Then I sent my little Einstein to find things from his toy box that started with “B.” He walked off saying to himself “Buh, buh, buh, buh…” and then I heard, rather excitedly, “Bunkbed!” He ran back to me and said “Bunkbed starts with buh!!!” I congratulated him on his find, and then reminded him that his bunkbed would probably not fit in the “Buh box” so he would need to find some more things. He came back with some blocks, saying “I can make a bunk bed!” I redirected his thinking and mentioned that he had some blocks and I asked him what sound “block” starts with. He caught on pretty quick and said “Buh!! B!” and threw them in the box. He did pretty well after that and came back almost immediately with a baby bottle, which he actually referred to as a “bebida” which means “drink” in Portuguese but is the word we use for a sippy cup. Hey, good enough for me, so we put it in our box. He eventually came back with a book and a ball, and I helped him find a bowl and a bag. He found a boot on his own as we passed the shoe basket with our box on our way upstairs. And if you look closely in the box, you will find a colander, which does not start with B (neither do the other names for it – strainer or sieve) – but E didn’t pick it for that name. He put it in the box because, “It’s a bump!” Hey, who am I to tell him it’s not a bump?
We’ll keep the “Letter Box” upstairs where he can see it, and hopefully each day we can talk about the things that are in the box.
I know we’re making progress with letters and sounds, because he will constantly make a sound and ask me what letter makes that sound. I will take that as a sign that he understands what letters are for (they represent sounds). I never thought he would be asking me what letter stands for the sound he is making – I guess I always thought he would be asking me what sound a letter makes. It’s interesting how every child’s brain works a little differently. Either way, I’m super happy that he is learning sounds, and that he is associating them with letters. I think he may indeed be on the brink of learning to read. We’ll just keep working on getting all the sounds down, and then we’ll start putting together some combinations.
How did you learn letters and sounds? What letter/sound activities do you do with your kids?