Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Path to Literacy

Sandpaper Letter with Salt Tray (Photo from Peaceful Parenting)

This weeks parent teacher meeting has brought to light some slow progress on working with letter tracing, so I'm committed to giving some continuing support to my little boy who has just turned four.   There are some fantastic DIY letter tracing projects which I've included above, I've gone with the paper and felt project provided by Themes for Learning and Play on the fantastic Playful Learning blog.  I have a house full of sick people this weekend so this project has been slow to progress.

Things you will need include:
  1. fabric glue
  2. four sheets of felt 220x305mm sheet (I've stuck with the same colours used by Joey from Themes for Learning and Play, for my little guy there seems to be some anxiety here so the more calming the colour, the better)
  3. fabric scissors
  4. hole punch (I've used a scrap booking punch which makes a much smaller hole than I intended to use but they've worked out well)
  5. white cardboard 300 GSM A3 sheet (with 9 cards per sheet)
  6. sewing pins 
  7. a tin or box to keep them in once complete.
Joey suggests using some additional tools, this version relies on what I already had available.  The cards turned out less than perfect but they look great and serve their purpose well.  The following are a4 sized JPEGS with the alphabet in 245 px Arial Narrow Condensed Bold.  The lower case 'a' works better as a d with the tail cut off, as one extra pin and cut.  I tried using a stanly knife but that just butchered the acrylic felt so I just pinned them all and cut them out with fabric scissors.

The card would have been great to cut using some fancy corner cutters but my sub standard stanley knife was no match for the the 300gsm card and I do not have a corner punch, so I just divided the card into nine equal rectangles and cornered them by hand.  They were all a little irregular but not so that it is even really noticeable unless you suffer from OCD.  The a little fabric glue, a toddler patiently waiting and moving the cards to a spot to dry as I stuck them on and some time later I was ready to have dinner.

Thanks to a brand new Razor Zone gaming mouse I had a nice cardboard box to customise for the job of storing the cards.

As is suggested by the Montessori home schooling blogs above we have started by just sitting together, at the moment it is just me picking up the cards, making the sound and going through some words that start with that letter and separating the sound to accentuate it's value in the word and tracing.  My son is very disinterested  at the moment so we are traveling around the word like a racing car on a track, always starting at the red dot as our starting line, this seems to be engaging him a little more for now.  There is a learning block that I'm seeing here and like many Mum's I can see where this might have been my fault.  I probably started too early with letter and number  card games and with a salicylate child who preferred to run, move, tip things all over the floor and tear things apart, I did not approach it as calmly as I should have. 

Thanks to Playful Learning's post 8 Literacy Apps for Little Ones, I have tried and love the Demografix Australian School Writing app for ipad.  My four year old and two year old both love it.  One of the previous complaints about this product was the lack of encouragement which the developers have taken on board and released a new version with customisable encouragements.  Can't wait to spend some time finding and recording some encouraging sound bytes.

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