Friday, August 19, 2011

Letter of the Week

Trip has begun to show an interest in letters and has learned a few of them. For some reason or another, he usually recognizes G, O, and T. All letters used to be A and B but are now mostly G. The alphabet song is called "A-C-G." He likes to point out words and letter and says whatever letters or sounds come to mind. These things are very cute, but are also a great sign that he's getting these concepts of letters, words, and reading.

In order to build on this interest, I have decided to do a letter of the week with him and do as many fun activities as possible each week to reinforce the concept of that letter. A great place to start for toddlers is with the letters in the child's name. With this in mind, I set out to plan our first four weeks for the letters T, R, I, and P. If you have more than one child, start with the first letter of one child's name the first week, and then do the first letter of the next child's the next week, and so forth. You could also alternate days and work on two or three letters for two weeks. After the first letter of each child's name, go to any letters their names have in common or any letters that represent a common interest of theirs (like a toy, activity, sport, or character). If you have older children who already know the alphabet, get them involved and have them help you put this all together.

My first step was to make a list of all of the words that I could think of that start with T, R, I, or P. I also thought of foods, friends/family members/characters/sports teams, and songs that start with each letter. I initially wrote it all down on paper and left it out so that I could easily add words as I thought of them throughout a couple of days. Once I had the words, I came up with activities that could go with each letter as well. Later, I typed this all up in a neat list so that I can share it with you each week.

Next, I went about collecting items around the house that start with my chosen letters. I have a bowl or container for each letter so that as I see a toy or household item that fits into one of the categories, I can just add it to the collection. This makes the whole process less time-consuming because it naturally builds as I find a few more items each day. Plus, these items give me ideas of projects that we can do. Thinking ahead also makes actually doing the activities easier because everything is ready, so I can just pull something out when Trip is in a good mood or when he needs a distraction.

I gave myself almost two weeks from when this idea first came to me to when I actually started our first letter of the week. If you choose to do something similar, you may only need one week, or you might want three or more. Do what works for you. This is meant to be something fun to do with your child, not something to add to your already stressful life. Once the school year starts in a few weeks and I start substitute teaching again, I may not have as much time each day to prepare and to do activities with Trip. We will just continue to do this as it fits into our lives. The days when I am home, we will do more, and if I am working, we'll just do a quick game in the evening. A lot of this has to do with being purposeful in pointing out the letter we're studying and bringing it out in our normal daily life.

On Monday, I will begin to share about our experience with our first letter of the week, T.

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