I didn’t even know at the time that that post was a “Part ONE” but when a Pre-k teacher asked me if I could turn it into a printable, I decided to stay up all night (like the night owl I am) and make it happen.
So, here is how this HUGE set works…
You can have your little one cut up the movable shapes that make up the letters or you can cut them yourself and laminate them, but either way….
I made this so that you can work on a letter a day if you want to OR you can have a bunch of the shapes out and about and let your littles explore with combining them to make the letters (or numbers).
You get an E for effort either way… see what I did there?
The first page acts like a little reference.
I am including this set in my Members Page.
If you EVER have problems with getting locked out of the site or losing your password e-mail me Jessica (at) the mommy teacher (dot) com so that I can take care of it!
The other day a friend instagrammed a picture of her and her son coloring as she drank her cup of coffee. It made me think of my mother-in-law because she is so great about sitting down and participating with my kids as they color or as they play with play dough and many other simple tasks that she makes the most of.
You can purpose tons of learning sitting down with a coloring book…. one page at a time.
You are teaching color recognition, but you are also helping to build your little one’s vocabulary by discussing the pictures. And activity books have lots of little problem solving opportunities to teach with mazes and categorizing (which one does not belong?
Here is one great activity book that teaches the ABC’s and some other problem solving strategies as well…
There are MILLIONS of books like this but I want to share this one to share a FEW quick IDEAS that can apply to most activity books…
1) Trace over black with white ….
Make use of your WHITE crayon!
2) Color inside of bubble letters (not just on pages like this one that are made for them)… I ask “What letter do you want mommy to color?” Then I talk through the formation of the letter “climb down the ladder, frog jump up to the monkey bars, hop across, climb up and down on the other side to make an H” or whatever silly way you want to say it. Then I say…. “Your turn… what letter do you want to color?”
3) For little writers you could draw speech bubbles on your color pages and make your characters talk to each other.
4) Count how many times you see the same object on a page (like the balloons in the next picture)…
Share your favorite coloring or activity books in a comment below and share any tips that you may have for us.
I have had many parents come to me worried that their preschool or kindergarten aged child may be dyslexic* after he or she continues to spell and write words/letters backwards, upside down, in mirror image, or mix up letters within a word.
Let me say now that this writing behavior is totally normal at this stage in your child’s pre-writing and pre-reading development and in most cases* is not indicative of a learning disability.
Let’s think about this…
We, the smarter-than-the-average-preschooler mommy teachers, see a triangle. 3 sides + 3 points = triangle no matter how you look at it.
(Technically that last one is a pyramid says my 5year old, but you get my point.)
What, then, is the letter A?
It is but a mere visual representation of a sound in a word… a symbol… or simply, a shape, not unlike our friend, the triangle. We recognize this shape no matter the direction, font, size or color. Our brains are hardwired to group these similar shapes together so we can recognize them even though they may look slightly different than the Times New Roman capital letter A.
Our kids are naturally doing the same exact thing which is why they can still find the letter A in a pile of letters, even though some of the As are upside down.
To help teach correct directionality (the direction in which we read and write in English), use your index finger to guide reading: top-bottom, left-right. This is a learned skill and will become ingrained through repetition and practice. In Leyson’s case, if he knew that he should have spelled the letters out from left to right, the word would have actually spelled JAMES instead of SEMAJ – but with a sideways S and an E for an M… babysteps.
When Leyson spelled James’ name backwards, I then modeled how to spell his own name as he said the letters out loud to me. Leaving those letters in place, I then pulled a second set of letters for his name and asked him to put them in order directly under the one I had done.
“Which letter comes first? Which comes second?” Etc.
To fix his sideways S, I lined up a few of the same letter and laid them out right side, upside down and sideways and we chose the correct letter. This taught him that it DOES matter which way a letter is written… BAM! Epiphany.
Back to his spelling of James’ name:
Me: “Now, if we spelled the name LEYSON with the L over here on the left, what is different about how you spelled JAMES?”
Leyson: “I used an upside down E as an M!”
* Dyslexia is a Developmental Reading Disorder (DRD) which is one of the most common learning disabilities. A small percentage of those with this type of DRD actually see and write letters backwards or upside down. Most often dyslexia is diagnosed within the critical beginning reader years (kindergarten – 2nd grade) if a child of normal intelligence still has difficulties with visual and/or auditory reading comprehension, spelling and phonological awareness.
If after age appropriate and developmentally appropriate reading and writing strategies have been correctly taught to your school-aged child and you find he or she is still struggling with reading, begin to log your perception of your child’s reading abilities and share it with your child’s teacher or doctor so they can determine if your child may need further evaluation.
Sean Patrick has really just lately taken an interest in writing.
Compare his grasp here to the ones in the following picture and you will see that he is just getting used to the “alligator chomp.”
We have done lots of pre-writing activities to work out his little muscles in his hands to ready him for writing…with Playdough, drawing in the dirt with sticks, driving his little cars all over different surfaces, chalking outside, coloring, tearing paper, etc.
But only lately has tracing HIS letter “S” really become a priority.
When I introduced him to holding his crayon with the “ALLIGATOR CHOMP” he became obsessed with it… he would literally tell random receptionists in offices that he could hold his crayon with the alligator chomp too.
This grip has to be modeled and you may have to take your little one’s hand to get them to have a feel for it, but first we did the alligator chomp without holding anything in our hands.
I have really started to take advantage of the love of his pencil grasp and his love for his letter S by trying out lots of different tracing activities.
I always model what he is going to do first, then I take his hand and we do it together (if he will let me – independence is important to him too), and then see what he can do on his own.
1) I wrote out his name while singing his song (I always do this first…. he knows his song).
2) Then I showed him how to trace his S with a little saying “Make a ‘c’ and then back around” (talking out the process of making the letter is important).
3) He then traced his “S” in every color … also called “rainbow writing”
His little sister scribbled all over it but you can see that he had fun with his “S”
4) We then put a paper over his name written in black marker so he could trace his name that way.
5) Since he mostly focused on “S” we made an entire page of just “S” and he had so much fun with this. He finally took off the top paper and started tracing his “S” with all the colors again, but side by side as shown in the following picture would be the next step after he masters tracing 🙂
If you try this and it is not fun for your little one… then go back to some of the pre-writing activities I mentioned earlier. You don’t want writing to be stressful for your little one… your little one will write when he/she is ready 🙂
Here is a short video demonstration:
If you have any questions or tips to add then please message or share them here in a comment on this post!
A precious First Grade Teacher that was a co-worker of mine used to have bulletin board paper taped to her desk and it was a writing center that she called her “Graffiti Space” for her student’s personal artistic signatures.
The idea stuck with me….especially as a mommy of a little one who thinks that every wall should be his personal masterpiece. I have really drilled it in Sean Patrick’s head that we only write on paper because of all the times I have found his hidden messages on the walls, his body, my couch, the tables, etc.
Tonight, I encouraged him to do just that… to write on paper, but on a LARGE area that I designated as his Graffiti Space for the night.
It was as simple as this…
He helped me tape the paper to the windowsill and the baseboards…. this was a great spot for him because it is in his playroom and mr. clean magic erasers agree with my windowsills and baseboards 🙂
I laid out crayons, markers, and colored pencils and let him pick and choose whatever writing tools he wanted to explore with.
We had so much fun! He would scribble different images and tell me what it was afterwards.
We made rainbows, a special message for daddy, the sun, people, and a lot of other free-writing squiggles just to talk about different ways to form lines (up, down, back and forth, around and around, side to side, etc).
This kind of activity makes writing fun for Sean Patrick, and that is honestly my main learning goal for him. I just want him to know how fun writing can be!
Gotta love his fashion sense…
We left if up on the wall so that he could continue to “fill the space” and add any new ideas when he was ready.