We are pretty darn lucky. Our girls LOVE to read. I mean really, truly LOVE it. Sometimes they'll disappear for a while and I find them sat in their room with a book. No lie. It started when they were little and has continued on.
I can't say I strategically taught them to read, but I did follow their interest. We talked a lot about letters and sounds, pointed out signs, answered questions when they came up, and really stressed the idea that reading the pictures IS reading. One day I noticed my little bird sounding out F-Ah-S - Huh-I-O-N and realized she was trying to read the tag on her new leotard "Fashion". Once our she got the hang of it, well she brought her little sister along for the ride.
We've got two kinds of readers in our house; a pre-reader and an emerging reader. What's the difference? A Pre-reader is just beginning to grasp the basic concepts of books and print. They are learning to or getting better at recognizing and naming upper- and lowercase letters. They are also developing many phonological awareness skills, such as recognizing phonemes (letter sounds), syllables, and rhymes.
Emergent readers know the alphabet and have a strong sense of letter sounds. They get the concept of what a word is, and have a sense of how stories work (beginning, middle, end). They can listen to and retell stories. They can also use their letter/sound knowledge to read common words, as well as new words that are phonetic and "follow the rules".
Since they love the written word so much, I looked for ways to build off that, and to encourage their own writing in a fun way. Enter corn meal.
These trays are perfect for pre-writing/pre-reading. The color shows through when the girls make shapes or letters, so they can easily see what they're drawing or writing. You could also use cookie sheets. Anything to help contain the mess! First we started out talking about how to use the trays, keep the cornmeal inside, and such. Then we just played a bit. This was great to talk about temperature, texture, and explore what they could do with it with their hands.
Next we brought out the cookie cutters. So fun and so many ways to use them! My little bird is very into tic-tac-toe lately, and we happened to have an X and O. They picked out all the animal cutters and created all kinds of different scenes, which led to making up stories, adding new characters, and of course, someone got killed (ie erased)
From there we moved on to drawing shapes with our fingers, as well as numbers and letters. This was great practice for my four year old, and really good introduction and reinforcement for my almost 3 year old. She need a guide to look at, or traced my letter, then did her own. My little bird quickly moved on to writing her name, then other simple words I suggested: cat, dad, ant, that sort of thing.
Next I introduced a writing tool to work on grip. We had chopsticks around and these worked great! Other good choices would be paint brushes, craft sticks, collecting sticks outside, that sort of thing.
We spent a good two hours playing with these in different ways, writing, and reading. Sure, there was a bit of clean up at the end, but what an easy & fun way to practice these skills. It didn't feel like practice to the girls at all, just fun. And that, in my opinion, is the best way to learn!
Have you tried this in your home? I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions!
I'm Tonia, a Midwesterner transplanted to Colorado. I'm a mom of two lovely littles, a yoga instructor, DIY-er, teacher, stay at home mom, and a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. I blog about a little bit of all of these and everything in between!
Are you looking for natural health options, but don't know where to start? Book a 1-on-1 appointment with me! We'll spend about 30 minutes getting to know your health goals and concerns, learn a bit about doTERRA, and go over the most commonly used oils that meet your needs. You don't have to buy anything, but if you see something you like, of course I can help you!