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Mommy & Me Mondays: Tactile letters

 We are in full swing here getting ready for Pre-K to start this Fall. We have been practicing our letters and flash cards a little here and there trying to prepare Kaitlyn for back to school. Kaitlyn like most 4 year olds struggles with her letter recognition especially when using flash cards. Which as a first grade teacher I am here to tell you is totally normal and will not be an indicator for how quickly your child learns to read. Just like all children walk at different times, cut their teeth at different times and learn to talk at different times they will learn to read when they are ready. But there are some things you can do to help them prepare without getting them burned out or stressed.

One of my favorite ways to review letters is by using pipe cleaners. I let Kaitlyn pick these out at our local craft store, she just loved the sparkles. I cut them into thirds and a few pieces even smaller than that. I pulled out our flashcards and separated the letters that were found in her name. When working with letter memorization its best to focus on small chunk of letters rather than all of them at once. I helped her with the name of each letter and we put them in order to spell her name. I then gave her the pieces of the pipe cleaners and had her make the letters. I had to show her how to twist the pipe cleaners at first but once she got the hang of it she was able to make them on her own.

After she made all of her letters and aligned them onto the flashcards. I had her trace each letter with her finger. Making connections using the sense of touch helps little ones to retain verbal information. By repeating the sound or name of the letter while tracing it with their finger helps them to link their tactile (touching) experience with the auditory naming of the letter. Connecting these two senses helps little ones to retain what is taught.
After we worked on naming the letters I mixed them all up and placed them into a pile. I had Kaitlyn put them in order, spelling out her name. This is a great way to get them ready to write and spell their own name.
This is a great way to provide a tactile experience and help little ones to learn their letters. Each night introduce 3 or 4 more letters until you have introduced the entire alphabet. Keep them in a ziploc bag for them to pull out for some quick letter practice. These are great to keep in your purse or in the car for a little learning time while doing errands. it will keep their little hands and minds busy. Just have them pull out a letter and try to name it. For older kids have them tell you something that starts with the letter they pulled out.


Take a few minutes out of your Monday to spend some one on one time with your little ones. Choose a skill that they need some practice with and work with them. As we gear up for getting ready to go back to school  we will start featuring a few more ways you can get your child ready for the classroom.

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