Well yesterday (November 13, 2010) I posted a writing activity (in Daily Fun Work) and I have some insight I want to share about this teaching opportunity! When you are teaching your child how to write his/her name you can actually be teaching A LOT more than just tracing.
You have the opportunity to teach your child that there are letters in his/her name. I know this may sound like a very simple observation, but letters are very multi-faceted to children. Let’s talk about all they need to learn about letters:
1. There are a lot of letters! There are 26 uppercase, 26 lower case, and 2 letters “a” and “g” that look COMPLETELY different in a book and children don’t even realize they are the same letters.
2. Letters look different! If I want to write a letter for the first time I have to figure out how the letter is formed. Does it have a straight line, curvy line, both, etc.? Is it tall, short, or does it have a tail? They are learning all these letters and learning how to make them. It is no simple task for a little one. Try to teach them to “start at the top” when forming a letter.
3. Letters have purpose! Each letter stands for a different sound, and some have more than one sound, and some letters sound different than in words you might introduce! This is initially very confusing to teach.
4. Letters can be put together to make words! When just beginning, children don’t understand that there are letters, words, sentences, etc. They have to be taught these print concepts. We get to teach them that their name is a word…just like a word in a book .
If you want to start working with your little one on being able to read then the first order of business is to READ TO THEM! Children love being read to and they love to read. But when they read they need to know that it is OKAY to make up words for all the pictures. Cozy up next to them and ask them to read you a book. If they say “I dont know how to read” then ask them to make up words and explain to them that that is what the writer of the book (or the author) did. Explain that “When Mommy/Daddy reads I read the words the author wrote, but I want to hear your story.” You want them to start telling you about the things they see for several reasons….they will start to understand that print carries a meaning, they will learn that they can use picture clues to help them read, they will start to comprehend the sequence of a story line, and many other pre-reading skills 🙂
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