Today's post isn't rocket science, but it's a reminder of the various media we can use to work on reading and writing skills with our children in a very informal way.
We supplement our more formal lessons with:
If you don't have a set or two of these, run on out to the dollar store to buy some. They provide endless fun and learning. Blaine and I like to sit on the floor by the fridge and Blaine dictates what he wants me to spell. I make words and he sounds them out. My favorite is when he puts 14 letters up together and asks, 'What does that spell?' And then I attempt to sound out his ridiculous nonsense word.
Pencil/Chalk/Marker to Paper/Chalkboard/Whiteboard
We just picked up a whiteboard at a yard sale and couldn't be more happy about the fun and engaged learning it's providing. We pulled it out yesterday morning and practiced letters and reading for at least an hour. I like to write letters one at a time and ask the boys to shout out what it is as fast as they can. We also work a lot on 'chunking.' For example, yesterday's chunk was 'et' so we read 'bet, let, met, get, jet,' and so on. What I love most about activities like this is that the toddler in the room can play along and scribble to his heart's content. Now my next wish is to take chalkboard paint to a wall in the playroom. (Have any of you out there done that? I'm dying to!)
Getting even more tactile...
Some children (like my Blaine) have the cognitive skills but lack the early dexterity to make letters with a pencil, which can be very frustrating to them. If your child has a hard time holding a writing implement, try something different, like molding letters out of play dough, letting them finger paint the letters, or--if you can handle the mess--spreading whipped cream or shaving cream on a surface and allowing them to write letters in it with their fingers.
Obviously there are a ton of fun ways to fit informal reading instruction in a day. Be sure to mix it up and make it fun!