Fall: Apples, pumpkins, and early literacy development

It’s that time of the year again!  Fall!  My favorite time of the year!  Apple everything, pumpkin everything, sweaters, coffee.  I mean, what is not to love about Fall?

There is that whole pesky “summer is over and school started” thing, but I mean, how bad is that?  Pretty bad if you have a kid who struggles with reading.  Literacy is a huge part of school.  It is a huge part of life.  It is just huge.

Families spend hours and countless dollars on getting their child the best help they can find when it comes to literacy.  I was beyond blessed to work with some of the leading women in literacy development during my time at Children’s Mercy.  They taught me so many amazing things, some that I use as a therapist – and some that I use at a mom.  All priceless pieces of knowledge.

And guess what, I am going to share some of my favorite tips to get your little one on track with early literacy development!

My first and most interesting tip (I think anyways) is that you should always be teaching kids in lower case letters.  Turns out the majority of what they will read in a lifetime will be in lowercase letters…so introduced those first!

Second, make reading “normal.”  Research shows that kids who become excellent readers are just around books.  Not even necessarily read to…just around.  So keep books on your shelves and your coffee tables, hang out at the library, and yes – read books.

Teach the sound the letter makes, not the name of the letter.  Each time you show your little one an “s”, don’t say “s.” Say /s/.  They aren’t reading names of letters, they are reading sounds of letters.

And then the big one.  How to get them to really remember which letter makes which sound.  This is a tricky one for a lot of kids.  Especially kids who have a history of a speech or language delay or disorder.  (That is for another blog post).  I love introducing these sounds in a multi sensory fashion.  My favorite way to do this is to access what you have in your kitchen.  Pie plate, pan, tray, even tupperware will do.  Then pour in some flour, salt, rice, sugar…you name it.  And tada….a literacy sensory bin.

I just print off a lower case letter (make sure you use a font that has a typical “a” for your little one, I use comic sans.)  Place the sheet in the bottom of the container and cover it with your choice of powdery food.  Show them how to trace it as you produce the sound – not the name – of the letter.

Your little one ready to start putting sounds together?  Print off sight words and place them in the bottom of the container!

Let’s remove the stress of reading – and make it fun again!


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