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Teaching a Child to Recognize Letters

 
 
Linkat
 
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 11:13 am
My daughter is attending kindergarten in the fall. The school expects children to recognize all their letters of the alphabet. Although my daughter knows most of her letters, she still has difficulty recognizing about a third of them. Do you have any suggestions on how I can help her learn these letters? I want to make it fun so she will want to learn, not tedious. We have flash cards, but she is already bored with them and does not pay attention when we use them. Any other thoughts?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,170 • Replies: 15
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lab rat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 11:17 am
When I was little, I learned almost all of my letters (before kindergarten) by watching "Sesame Street"; perhaps you could find this or other educational programming on video to help her along? It's probably not wise to sit her in front of the TV for too many hours a day, but a 1/2 hour here or there to supplement other activities (alphabet coloring book, etc.) might be helpful.
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 11:32 am
When my kids, now 26 and 24, were little, the only shows they watched were Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. I was a stay at home mom and the television was in the den, a room at the back of the house, down the hall from the kitchen. My sewing machine was there and I sewed all my clothes as well as my daughter's. I would sit there with the kids, sewing and taking breaks to begin dinner in the kitchen while they watched those programs.

We also had magnetic letters on the frig.

My daughter was amazing and saw letters everywhere. When we drove down our exurban street, she shouted H every time we got to the intersection. I couldn't see what she meant until one day, I got into the back seat and looked from the perspective of her car seat: the power lines were supported by an H shaped brace!

You could watch something like Sesame Street with her. And I'd be surprised if you didn't have magnetic letters.

When you are driving in the car or walking into town to shop, you could make a game of finding letters on signs.
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 11:39 am
Thanks. I love the idea of finding letters when you are out and about. My daughter would love that. I had those magnetic letters too when I was young. We do not have them now, but we have puzzles with letters, books and tiles with letters. We also do not want our children watching much TV. She does occasionally watch Sesame Street, but believe it or not she gets bored with it. That did give me a thought though. She likes the computer so I am sure there is some letter recognition games on the Sesame Street or other educational websites.
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 11:55 am
BTW,
My daughter, the oldest of my children, taught herself to read at 3. She would "write" letters to her grandmothers, both of whom lived out of state, by dictating what she wanted to say to me and listening as I spelled the words and she wrote what I spelled.

Her brother, just two years younger and always in the same room with us, did not read until April of his first year in first grade after turning 7 in January. A year later, in Montessori school rather than the public school, he was reading on the fourth grade level.

Both are avid readers today. They have a younger brother who learned to read about a month into first grade but who doesn't like to read. By then, my former husband took matters into his own hands and insisted the kids watch more television. I was so sorry about that. The two PBS shows were controllable and the kids and I did so much together.

But kids do things at their pace -- not at one prescribed by parents or schools.
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Peace and Love
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 12:10 pm
OhMyGosh.... we played the "sign game" for years.... we looked for words that began with each letter of the alphabet, going in order.... Q's are the hardest... LOL... you have to watch for stores that sell "Quality" items.... LOL...

Linkat, I wouldn't worry too much about her.... she will learn her letters.... don't let the schools put unnecessary stress on your home life....

Kids who get bored easily are just still looking for that special thing that holds their attention.... there's nothing we can do.... they will find it on their own....

PaL
:-)
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 12:19 pm
My parents knew I could read when I was still in a pram. Mom wheeled me by a constuction site, which had those sandwich-board style guards, with a horizontal board holding it together. I pointed at it and said "A". I blame Sesame Street. Also, yes, don't get stressed about the schools. They be vultures of an evil nature.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 01:06 pm
Linkat -- I'd advise you to read even more to your daughter than you already are. Use large print books and follow the text with your finger. Occasionally point out a letter... like, oh, there's a capital J, just like in your name. Don't make it a chore... make it seem like a fun puzzle.

Use books that have large type. It has been found that children need those in order to differentiate between letters. Later on, they'll master smaller and smaller fonts.

If you can find them, try out the 1a, 1b, and 1c books from the fabulous British series of books called the Key Words Reading Scheme by W. Murray. If you go to abebooks.com and use that as a reference you'll find pages and pages of used books from this series (mostly in the UK, but a few in N.America). Amazon has these, as well -- see below for what they look like. Each is hardbound, about 4x6 inches and nicely illustrated. There are 36 books in the series, each building on the next with interesting vocabulary. I think, all told, we had about 8 books. My kids loved them and then they were passed on to their five cousins.

http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0721400027.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 01:16 pm
Thanks all. I will try to look up those books you suggested. I have used the reading with the finger thing when reading basic books. I would prefer not to push her, however, the teacher feels if she does not have her letters down, she will only grow frustrated once she is in kindergarten. I will try whatever fun way I can too teach her. She does love books so reading to her is never an issue.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 02:31 pm
My mother used to give me rewards for completing the flash-card sessions.

I was cheap, I liked peanuts and rasins.

Incidentally I thin k teaching the alphabet (as opposed to whole words) is detrimental.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 02:50 pm
Craven de Kere wrote:

Incidentally I think teaching the alphabet (as opposed to whole words) is detrimental.


I agree. The alphabet not only has the "wrong" sounds for the letters but is a dead-end. To make it more interesting, of course, you want to teach the alphabet song. Before my kids went to kindergarten we also learned how to do recite it backwards. That is lots more fun and a totally amazing trick when you want to show off. What kid doesn't?

This is a quote from the book series I recommend:

Quote:
Some of the words in the English language are used much more frequently than others. Research shows that twelve of these Key Words make up one quarter of all those we read and write. One hundred of them form half, and three hundred about three-quarters, of the total number of words foujnd in juvenile reading. Reading skill is accelerated if these important words are learned early and in a pleasant way.

The Ladybird Key Words Reading Scheme is based on these commonly used words. Those used most often in the English language are introduced first -- with other words of popular appeal to children. All the key words list is covered in the early books, and the later titles use further word lists to develop full reading fluency. The total number of different words which will be learned in the complete reading scheme is nearly two thousand. The gradual repetition and complete 'carry-over' from book to book will ensure rapid learning.
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 02:55 pm
Teaching the alphabet (as opposed to whole words) is not detrimental and is actually very important at least according to the following sources that state:

After phonemic awareness, recognition of the letters of the alphabet is the most important indicator of early reading success. See: http://www.readinga-z.com/research/alphabet.html

The ability to recognize letters automatically is essential to reading development
http://www.zaner-bloser.com/html/HWsupport3.html

Parents of young children know the value of learning the alphabet in the early years, recognizing that exposure to letters is an important step toward reading.
http://www.naeyc.org/resources/eyly/2001/07.asp

Learning to read is hard work for children. Fortunately, research is now available that suggests how to give each child a good start in reading. Becoming a reader involves the development of important skills, including learning to: use language in conversation; listen and respond to stories read aloud; recognize and name the letters of the alphabet; listen to the sounds of spoken language; connect sounds to letters to figure out the "code" of reading; read often so that recognizing words becomes easy and automatic; learn and use new words; understand what is read.
http://www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading/publications/html/parent_broch/
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 02:59 pm
It is actually better to have your child say the alphabet as opposed to sing it. If you notice many children say L M N O P as one letter.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 08:05 pm
When my daugther was in grade one, french imersion, she was learning the alphabet en francais. My son who was pre-school age was learning his letters with my mom, who is Irish.
One day while driving with a friend, the two kids were arguing over a sign the had just seen. HOPE
The boy would say Haitch O P E with an irish accent,
and the girl... Ashe O Pe Eh with a french accent.
My friend thought it was hilarious. Haitch no Ashe no Haitch and on it went.


It's been my experience kids will glom on to a few assorted letters, each of the kids I know called them theirs E's, Q's ect. Eventually, one day it become the whole enchilda and they get the concept of an entire alphabet. Don't sweat it.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 08:38 pm
Linkat wrote:
Teaching the alphabet (as opposed to whole words) is not detrimental and is actually very important at least according to the following sources that state:


What's important is the order. Phonetic learning first then the alphabet.

The idea is not to neglect to teach character recognition but to delay that until the phonetics is learned first.

This way the knowledge of the alphabet itself does not get in the way of recognition of phonetic paterns.

But you are sure to find dissent to this, as learning methodology is not an exact science.
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 10:29 am
American Sign Language is another good learning tool. It's used a lot for special needs kids. Early language learning, like Ceili's daughter's experience, is valuable. My daughter speaks five languages, thanks in part to a brush with Spanish in kindergarten (summer camp for bright kids) and French since grade 3 at a Montessori School.

BTW, Waldorf schools teach reading late. Montessori Schools offer methods that are better for some kids than the standard public school way. However, nowadays, some public schools acknowledge that not all kids learn the same way and the curriculum shows catering to all learning styles.
0 Replies
 
 

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