Have you ever heard the saying that kids are like sponges? Everyone knows that the pre-k and kinder years are valuable for instilling a wealth of knowledge in our young. Teaching phonics to beginning readers can be a fun and rewarding experience for a parent or classroom teacher alike. Seeing little faces brighten with the recognition of letters and their sounds lets us know that literacy is only a series of steps away. Formation of basic words can be done simply through exploration, play, and providing children with a print rich environment.
The key to learning any new concept is practice and repetition. Giving them as much exposure as you can to letters, sounds, and objects which can help them make meaning out of what they see and hear in their everyday lives for literacy development is a great way to do so. Here are some simple activities that you can do with children at home or in the classroom.
Having a designated wall in your child’s learning space where letters in their capital and lower-case form can be displayed is helpful for assuring that they memorize letters. It’s never too early also to post the first 100 sight words that they should know by the time they reach second grade. The more that little learners are exposed to a variety of words, the easier it becomes for them to have a depth of vocabulary. You can even cycle out words as they memorize them in place of new words you want to introduce them too. For example, have you ever come across that kid that makes you second guess whether they are really in the first grade? 8 out of 10 times that child was read to every night, and provided with a variety of activities for letter-word engagement.
Going on a nature walk in your neighborhood is a simple activity that can reap a lot of benefits. Whether your toddler is in a stroller, you have a preschooler on a tricycle, or kindergartner holding your hand, you can use walking as a means to explore the print rich world around them. Point out street signs, build boards, objects such as cars driving by, or trees along the path. Ask them questions about what they see, and what letter is at the beginning of each word. Field trips to the Grocery Store is the best way for helping children learn a lot of vocabulary! When you make it back to their place of learning you can have them draw pictures of what they saw in a letter or word journal depending on their age and ability. Journals are great way for helping children identify objects associated with specific letters or words.
Having children create collages to highlight a new letter each day is another activity that you can use to help learners master letter recognition, sounds, and build vocabularies. We advise that you have a collection of images ready to use pre-cut from old magazines, as well as non-toxic glue. That way you can choose what learners use to create their collages. Children find this activity fun because they also get to use glue. Make sure you have plenty of hand-sanitizer or wipes on hand as well.
Last, but not least…what child doesn’t love play-dough? Having students use play-dough to form letters is also a fun way to engage your little one. After they form each letter, you can also have them practice the sound each letter makes. Then, they can trace or write each letter they made using any of our free downloadable PDF pre-filled or unfilled hand-writing lines. Download it at your leisure as well as the other items mentioned in this blog under our resource section. We hope you enjoy these simple activities as much as our little ones do!