Pre-School Phonics Tips! (part 2)

 This is part 2 of Preschool Phonics Tips (click here for part 1 if you missed it)….I left off reminding you that you don’t have to spend alot of money or time on a phonics program. You can do as little or as much as you like to reinforce the letter sounds throughout the day using books, toys, chalk art, whatever, but for your “official” instruction time, you need some black and white letters (even just printed with a marker on a white paper) and a few minutes a day of your time, that’s it!
that said, lets continue where we left off in Part 1…..

So, the method we are currently using is very simple. Daily introduce one letter on a flashcard about the size of a business card or larger.  Both programs I’ve used keep this very simple in black and white. I like that simple method during this official “instruction” time. We have other sets of cards with cute pictures on them. For example you can print some beautiful ones out for free over at themeasuredmom.com. I printed some of her beautiful pre-reader alphabet books, cut them out, laminated them and spiral bound them and my Littles love these during our read-aloud time. Here they are:

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I leave them with the baby books and my 1 year old spends so much time “reading” through them on her own, I think because they are the perfect size for her little hands. But anyhow, during our official phonics instruction I don’t want to distract my 2 year old, I just need plain black letters on a white background. You can make your own, and if your child is younger, you can adjust the letters to be bigger even.

Back to our daily lesson, each day we introduce one letter sound saying “This is the letter A. A makes the sound “Ah”.” Then I show the child how I trace the letter with my pointer finger while saying something like “Watch mommy trace the letter A,  “Ah” “Ah” “Ah”, ” as I trace each of the three lines it takes to make the letter A.  Then I invite my child to do the same. I hold his chubby little finger and help him if needed. Right now he is not interested in tracing, but he is saying the sounds very enthusiastically so I’m not pushing it.

This is when we (more on the “we” part at the end of this post, I think you’re gonna like it if you have older kids) came up with the idea of making the tracing part more fun. We found these cool foam flashcard sized sheets, where else but the Dollar Tree?! We made the letters with puffy paint but the dollar tree has glitter glue that would do the trick. This is an extra addition to the black and white laminated flashcards we are using because although we ask our child to trace those flashcards, we allow him to feel, trace and play with these cards outside of the formal instruction time as well as extra sensory input.  As you can see, the puffy paint cards are imperfect, we just took a few seconds to make each one but they come out so colorful and they are so fun. They are perfect for playing with in the tub and making words on the walls.  In the picture below you can see baby Aced his “test” as he made the ducky sit on the card that made the “T” sound! He had so much fun doing this for the different sounds he’s learned.

We’ve also taken big paint brushes and the babies “paint” the backs of the cards with water and them “paste” them on our back sliding glass doors. I don’t care if they get handled too roughly because I can just make more, after all, the pack of about thirty different colored foam  cards only cost ONE DOLLAR! Wooohoo! By the way,  the hanging chart in part 1 of this article was also only one dollar.  I keep it hanging next to our kitchen table with the letter sounds we are reviewing at the time so that I can do one session after each meal when my child is already at the table and I have his full attention.  Easy peasy, otherwise, try catching a rumbunctious 2 year old boy! Good luck! Half the time he is running around outside and the other half of the time he is climbing something indoors he’s NOT supposed to be climbing! And it’s not just a boy thing, I had to take three breaks from writing this to take my 1.5 year old baby girl down from climbing up a shelf and her high chair! 🙂

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We are also going to use a simple small salt box for the Little Guy to trace letters in or just get messy with 🙂 I dreaded making a salt box this time around with my Littles because I had it in my mind that it had to be a big pizza-sized box. I remember having a huge one filled with rice for my girls about a decade ago and it was very messy and so hard to store. I don’t know why I thought it had to be so hard, my mind just gets stuck sometime, hehe, but then fortunately for me,  I saw my friend’s simple idea over at her wonderful youtube channel: Half Mom Half Amazing,  of making a small salt box using a pencil case. Duh! why didn’t I think of that?! Thanks Nicole! If you all head over there, please tell her we sent you over!

 

 So, in the picture at the top of the post (part 1) you can see our first week’s work materials. A, B, C and T are the first four letters we focused on this week.  After the first three, we don’t go in alphabetical order because we want there to be enough letters to make words and start blending right away.  Our son blended “ab” right away but I don’t know if he can do anymore yet because we asked him to try while he was having lunch and he had a mouth full of peanut butter. We’ll have to wait and see tonight! Anyway, it’s okay if he’s not ready…it might take a couple of weeks, we’ll just keep on plugging away with the sounds. So far both Littles can tell me the individual sounds though. I think that’s a great start!
(I wrote this post several months ago so coming soon I’ll have a major update…hint, hint….somebody’s reading! 😉 Yaay! ). We are nowhere near reading fluently but I consider “reading” when the child can blend sounds together to make words. .

Well, we wanted to share what we’re doing to encourage you on your teaching your Littles how to Read. Don’t feel pressured to start early. If your child is turned off by sitting even for a few minutes, my best advice if you still want to be preparing his or her mind for reading, is don’t start a formal reading program, forget everything I wrote in this post and instead just  READ OUTLOUD to your child. Just read while your child is playing, as long as they are in the same room, they don’t have to be sitting, they just have to be able to hear you reading. TRUST ME on this one please! It works! 🙂 OR if you’re too tired to read outloud,  just click on one of our read aloud sessions with our babies and your little guys can join us 🙂 Click here to see our new youtube page! or click play in the screen below to join us below for a nighty night art time read aloud session:

And honestly, the most important thing you can be doing with your Little right now is loving on them and playing with them.   If you do that, reading will come whenever they are ready. We are just sharing what we’re doing in case you are interested in starting soon and need to see an example 🙂

Please leave us any comments or questions and we’ll be glad to share some more with you….but I am not sure if you are “out there” so I’m not really sure if I should write more on this topic. If you are out there, please give us a quick high five either on our new youtube page or here  in the comments section or on itunes if you listen to our podcast!

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And of course, a quick flick of the wrist and a 5 star rating on itunes wouldn’t hurt anybody 😉 Seriously though, those ratings on Itunes help so that the show will be visible by more people and we are really trying to get more moms to listen in and join in the conversation 🙂

Thanks guys! Please share this with your friends 🙂
Claudia 🙂

p.s. Ah, I almost forgot…..the “WE” I keep talking about: Well, my big kids will soon be in 7th, 8th and 10th grade. They all learned how to read when they were 3 years old. Their love for reading  inspires me to want to share how wonderful and simple teaching kids to read really can be. I am currently walking them through how to teach someone to read. I want them to have this skill and use it for God’s kingdom 🙂

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