Preschoolers need to master a variety of skills to become fluent readers. The literacy activities listed below are so enjoyable; children do not even know that they are practicing several important early literacy skills: vocabulary development, print motivation, print awareness, narrative skills, phonological awareness, and letter knowledge.
(By special guest blogger Melissa Lennig.)
1. Memory games help children increase concentration and memory skills. Creating a handmade Alphabet Memory Game using an Alphabet Stamp Set, a cereal box, and a few other items from around the home is simple and fun!
- a scalloped round punch
- a cereal or cracker box
- wrapping paper, card stock, or a damaged book
- Mod Podge and a paint brush
- Alphabet Stamp Set
1. Using the scalloped round punch, cut out 52 circles from a cereal or cracker box and 52 circles from wrapping paper, card stock, or a damaged book (I used a damaged children’s book).
2. Attach the top picture (the wrapping paper, card stock, or children’s book circles) to the bottom (the cereal box circles) with the Mod Podge.
3. Show your child how to stamp each memory card with the uppercase and lowercase letters from the stamp set. If desired, seal all of the memory cards with Mod Podge to extend their life.
4. Enjoy the game with your child while he identifies and pairs uppercase and lowercase letters!
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2. Invite your child and the students from the Whittle World Wooden School Bus Set to learn the alphabet at school! My oldest, Colin, enjoyed building the school with unit blocks and playing with the bus, school accessories, and characters. I placed a felt letter sticker on a block and we imagined that it was a chalkboard. I asked Colin to name the letter, make the letter sound, and then we listed several words that began with the same letter.
3. My boys love receiving mail, so I send them The Letter of the Day through the a toy mailbox every morning. Simply write the uppercase and lowercase letter on the dry erase envelope that accompanies the mailbox toy and fill the envelope with items that start with that letter. Have your child identify the letter, make the letter sound, and name the objects.
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4. Using Alphabet Blocks motivates my preschooler to practice reading. I spell color words with the blocks for Colin to sound out, and then we send Owen on a “color hunt” for items that match the word.
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When using toys to introduce early literacy skills, it is helpful to look beyond the original purpose of the toy. Can it be used for sorting or counting? Can the toy be paired with a children’s book to extend learning? When early literacy skills are incorporated into everyday play, children reap the benefits!
How do you encourage your child to play and practice early literacy skills?
Melissa Lennig is the author of Fireflies and Mud Pies, a children’s activity blog that inspires childhood through imagination, art, and nature. Connect with Melissa through Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.