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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Thursday, 18 June 2009
Rowan will (all things being equal) start Juniour Kindergarten this fall.

I have grave reservations about the whole process, mommy anxieties aside~ these babies are well, babies. Rowan will be 4 the week before school begins and they take the bus, stay all day and work, in a group of 17 in this case, with ONE adult primary teacher (day care ratios would be 5:1 with an Early Childhood Educator). It *is* optional, in theory, but to a almost-4 year old with budding social needs and little friends all heading to school, it isn't really. So we are starting out with good intentions and reserving the right to change our minds as we see how it goes for our precocious, independent and sensitive daughter (all traits we'd like to honour!).

With this in mind, and having a child who insists that she makes her OWN letters and numbers HER way, I have been browsing through my long held, little read copy of Mommy, Teach Me to Read by Barbara Curtis (very helpful technical program, easy to implement, phonics based~ be aware the book is written from a Christian faith perspective, not overwhelming, and cool for us, but some may be taken aback). Not so much to learn to read, as to work on the idea of following directions within a set of parameters not open to adaptation (ie letters!).

To this end, we created a set of Montessori style sandpaper letters (lower case template) for practicing phonics and yes, following directions! So far, so good.

The textural letters make it clear that there is one way to draw the letter, as we practice its sound, as well. And the pre-writing skill of tracing the letters seems much less frustrating than trying to write them at this stage. It also engages multiple senses. Combined with the Three Period teaching model and lower-case only, we are doing well with our goal of staying focused and following the directions. And it can't hurt the reading skills either!

We used (less than $4!):
  • Bristol Board/ Poster Board: 1 each White and Red (any two colors will do~ one for vowels, one for consonants)~ cut 3 x 4" tiles, enough for each group.
  • Glue Stick
  • Fine sandpaper (1 sheet was plenty)
  • Sharp scissors
  • black and red pencils
  • template
First, I cut the bristol board into 3 x 4" tiles
(or you could enlarge the template and make larger tiles).

Then, I cut out the letters from the sandpaper and glued each to the appropriate colour card as I went (OK, I glued my vowels on wrong and had to re-do them...)~ this was helpful as 'p', 'd' and 'b' are identical! Place the letter to the right side of the card and on the lower half to allow the left hand to stabilize the card without blocking the letter, as in writing.

Using the black pencil, I followed the stroke template found in Barbara Curtis' book, but lots are available online to indicate which way to draw the letters. A red dot was placed at the starting point for creating each letter.

Simple, affordable and an excellent teaching tool for whatever your goals may be!
Moveable Alphabet cut-out letter cards will also come in handy for playing with phonics!

Now to find the teaching tool to get Rowan to say her name is Rowan and not 'Baby Horse', 'Diplodicus' etc.!


leeleeoh7 said...

That's a really cool way to introduce your daughter to the "proper" way of creating letters =) Best of luck to her (and you!) once she begins pre-kindergarten!

LillyShayStyle said...

Sounds like a great idea!

You have an award on my blog!

Unknown said...

Thanks :) I'll have to go see, Lilly Shay :)!
Iti s tough for a free spirit to get the idea that people can't read it if you make up your own letters! LOL

shannon said...

What an adorable way of teaching your daughter to write.

Cara said...

Those are great! I love that book. We're doing more just plain "Mommy teach me!" but we have both :)

Jessie, The Education Of Ours said...

I'm just now finding this blog, a customer of yours on etsy.

Those letters are lovely. I'm a Montessori teacher and mum, and the letters that you made are great. How are they holding up to time? I'm considering making a cursive set for my oldest.

Unknown said...

You know, they have really stood up well! I just found a stack in the bottom of my purse LOL and they are a little dog eared but otherwise fine~ I have tucked them away now that my little one is reading and writing :)

Heather @ Montessori Buddy said...

My son is starting Kindergarten this fall and the sandpaper letters have helped him so much. Yours look great!

AsylumTanya said...

My son starts kindergarten this fall too. He's been reading since he was two (no, I didn't use any method), but they would be very useful for the students that I tutor. Thanks for sharing!

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