Guest post by Shelisa from Think Magnet.
When it comes to comedy, I am a hard nut to crack. I can count on one hand the number of movies that have actually made me laugh out loud. So when I stumbled across the blog Think Magnet a couple of months ago, I was shocked to discover that I was actually giggling my way through her posts. Shelisa’s writing is so entertaining that I hardly noticed I was gathering a big bag of early learning tips. I’m excited to introduce you to the witty and memorable Shelisa. Enjoy!
There’s no better way to teach your child the alphabet (or anything?) then making it about them. There’s a reason the letters they often learn first are the ones in their name. It’s all about ME, ME, & MINE. Sound familiar?
When my daughters were 4 & 3, I came across “blank books” at a local teacher store. A hundred ideas ran through my head, but I knew I wanted my children’s first “picture dictionary” to be something they made themselves over time. They knew their ABCS, so this was a perfect step towards reading fluency. A treasure of words and pictures that meant something to them. A book they would look at again and again because they made it.
I pulled out my scrapbooking scraps and stickers. They decorated their covers while 2 year old little brother napped. I put my feet up and stared at the laundry. It stared back. We put a layer of Modge Podge on it (the book, not the laundry) to make it last and give it a fancy finish.
I set out a pack of alphabet stickers to label each page in the top corner, much like a dictionary, and helped as needed. I made a big fuss about how this was their OWN dictionary. I let them put in 3-4 inaugural stickers, then we broke for lunch. Attention spans noted.
We kept a slow and steady pace with the girls’ in charge. It was rewarding when someone would stop playing, run in to find me, and say “Mom, I need a picture of my drum for the D page!” If we didn’t have a personal picture of say, a yak, we’d print one off the internet. A few times I would set out some new stickers or a few newly printed pictures for them to respark an interest. If they brought home a sticker from the dentist or doctor, guess where they wanted to put it?
Writing Practice: Each time you (or your child) writes in a word, it’s an authentic time to practice writing skills like sounds, letter formation, spacing, etc. While I used developmental spelling most often with my kids, for this project I did the writing and they helped sound it out. I wanted it to have that “published” feel and readability. Then I used the ABC book as a platform for other writing experiences such as building a word from their ABC book with play dough or making up a story.
Reading, Reading, Reading: Set this in a special place and shine a spotlight on it for awhile. Have them share with anyone that walks through that door! We’d also make text to text or text to life connections with their ABC books. “You added a giraffe to your G page today, do you want to find a book at the library with a giraffe in it?” Boo-yah!
Real Deal: I love to share the real deal with my readers. Real Deal Time. I meant to make one of these with the 3rd kid. We moved instead. A lot of things didn’t happen that year. No biggie. He sure loved looking through sisters’ ABC books and he learned the ABCs just fine. Something I’ve learned as a parent who survived 3 kids under 3, “equal does not always mean same”. Translation: I don’t have to do the same project with each child. My son and I found many other ways to celebrate and personalize the alphabet. I hope you do too!
Shelisa, from Think Magnet