Tag: auditory learning

Letter Recognition Activities for Preschoolers

Letter Recognition Activities for Preschoolers

It’s hard to believe I’ve been involved in education for nearly two decades now. I’ve gone from working one-on-one with struggling students to a classroom teacher, from tutoring small groups to teaching “mommy and me” sign language and early literacy classes. Again and again, I come back to working with preschool and primary grade students (and their parents) because it’s a crucial time to instill a love for learning that lasts a lifetime.

In our Facebook group and in my one-on-one chats with parents, I’ve noticed one skill comes up more often than others: learning letter names and letter sounds.

In my mind, the best early literacy activity is simply reading aloud to our kids. There is no program or app that has a better track record than the powerful connection of a caring adult, a good book, and a willing child.


Click here for our favorite read aloud resources.


However, in my experience both as a teacher and a mom, some skills do need a little extra direct instruction. When it comes to teaching letters to toddlers and preschoolers, I will always recommend hands-on, FUN learning activities.

From an early age, our younger daughter showed us that she preferred choosing her own activities. By rotating her toys and setting out invitations to play every afternoon, she has become confident at directing her own learning.

What is a parent’s role in teaching letter names and letter sounds?

It’s simple, really.

Filling your home with books, stocking your toy closet with open-ended toys, and understanding how your child learns best will go a long way toward early literacy success.

So which books and toys are best for letter recognition?

Read on!

Letter Recognition Activities for Preschoolers | ABC games, learning letter names, learning letter sounds, early literacy, tactile activities, learning through play

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

By nature, most young children are hands-on learners. Our five favorite TACTILE (touch) letter recognition activities are:

Wooden Letter Puzzle

Magnetic Letters

Foam Letters

Letter Stamps

ABC Cookie Cutters

My older daughter (a visual learner) also loved these two-piece letter puzzles and our ABC books:

My younger daughter (an auditory learner) loved this CD and our sign language DVDs/CDs:

Finally, some of our favorite letter recognition activities come out in our seasonal play. Leftover plastic eggs are great for making homemade ABC games!

 


Download our plastic egg activities here.


It is my sincere hope that this post has sparked some ideas for letter recognition activities that you can do at home! If you need MORE ideas, I would love for you to join our Facebook group or schedule a one-on-one chat with me.

 

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Flexible Family Schedule: Fall 2017

Flexible Family Schedule: Fall 2017


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Just last week, I posted on Instagram that we had hit our summer “sweet spot.” My two girls have been getting along, playing creatively…for long periods of time…with very little direction from me.

Now it’s time to switch gears and get back to school (home school, that is). Cooler weather is coming, and so are our family routines.

For the last month or so, I’ve been reading The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families for our online Mom’s Book Club. Thanks to Lindsay’s wisdom, I’ve been getting up an hour earlier to set the tone for the day.

Mornings are the key to it all.

Now that I’m awake earlier, we’re gradually moving toward our full fall school schedule, which will kick off officially the week of Labor Day. Addie is going into 4th grade this year, and Katie will be a 1st grader. For the first time in our six-year homeschooling career, we have TWO school-age students, and we’re so excited!


Related: My Biggest Mistake as a Mom


All summer long, we have done read-aloud time first in our day. For our fall semester, we decided to move read-aloud time (and other fun topics!) to after lunch. Since both girls will have a heavier workload this year, we’ve decided to do our core subjects immediately after breakfast, when we’re all feeling our best.

Here’s a peek at our fall homeschooling schedule:

  • Morning chores & breakfast
  • Classes will start at 9:00 a.m. (I’ll start with K’s first grade lessons while A completes her independent work. Once Katie has finished, Addie and I will do fourth grade math and grammar together.)
  • The girls will have lunch and outside time from noon until 1:30. I’ll use most of that time for lesson-planning and blog-writing.
  • At 1:30, we’ll come together for read-aloud time, music, art projects, and AWANA memory work.
  • From 2:30-3:30, the girls will have independent reading time, finish up any school work, and play quietly.
  • At 3:30, they’ll be officially “dismissed” until dinner time.

We have gym class on Wednesday mornings, so our schedule will be a little different one day a week.

Check out our homeschooling schedule for this fall! (4th grade and 1st grade) | flexible family schedule, homeschooling, design your day


A quick note:

We believe STRONGLY in learning through play for young children. (See here and here for more details.) As a not-quite-6-year old, our Katie will have LOTS of opportunities for free play throughout her day. I’ll also be using invitations to play to practice her skills while Addie and I are doing lessons together. Since K is an auditory learner, I know she will enjoy playing nearby.

Addie (9) is a visual learner and benefits from direct instruction and lots of repetition. We are working on building confidence and independence this year, as well as breathing through frustration and practicing positive self-talk. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that each of our girls can get a personalized education!

MotherStyles is one of our favorite parenting books!


Create a Flexible Family Schedule | family time, indoor activities, outdoor activities, back to school routines

We like to use our weekly calendar template to create our flexible family schedule!

The benefit of a flexible family schedule is that you can adjust your routines any time, regardless of the season. Some families prefer to have a full calendar, with lots of extracurricular activities…while some families prefer a more relaxed, spontaneous approach.

And then some families–or MOST families, I would imagine–are a mixture of both when it comes to their weekly schedule: some crazy busy and some that are totally light!

For that reason, I found that using a blank calendar template is best for our family. It allows me to see, at a glance, those open pockets of time where I can be a more intentional mother.

Fill in your information below, and I’ll send you a FREE copy of our calendar template, along with a menu of twenty, fun family activity ideas! This template is great for ALL families, not just homeschoolers.

Incorporating Reading into Your Daily Routine

Incorporating Reading into Your Daily Routine

We all agree that reading to our children is valuable, right? (Check out the benefits of reading aloud here, if you’re not sure.)

When it comes to actually sitting down and reading to kids … well, that’s when things can get a little tricky. Usually, parents mention one of these three obstacles to reading with children:

  1. We don’t have TIME to read aloud as often as we’d like.
  2. I get tired of reading the same books over and over again.
  3. My child won’t sit still for story time.

Incorporating Reading into Your Daily Routine | reading to kids, family activities, read aloud, stories for kids, importance of reading aloud


If any of those obstacles sound familiar to you, I hope our read-aloud series has been helpful for you. Here’s what we’ve covered so far:

In our family, finding time to read aloud with our kids is a tricky business. We have to be intentional parents, making sure that reading to our children is a priority to our schedule.

Incorporating Reading into Your Daily Routine | reading to kids, family activities, read aloud, stories for kids, importance of reading aloud

Here are some of the ways we can all incorporate more stories into our day!

Choose just one or two a week to make reading to kids more fun.

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

  1. Start the day with a story. Invite your little one to snuggle with you, and read a great book like Sandra Boynton’s Hey! Wake Up!
  2. Read aloud while your little one gets dressed. Blue Hat, Green Hat is a family favorite!
  3. Make teeth-brushing time fly by with a fun book!
  4. Keep a children’s book of poems or nursery rhymes at the dining room table. Read one or two if you finish eating before your child. We love Tomie DePaola’s Mother Goose.
  5. Stack books up next to the couch in the living room. Act surprised when you find your little one browsing a book!
  6. Make a personalized playlist for your children. Record yourself reading a few favorite books.
  7.  Buy a CD player and some books with CDs for your child’s room. My daughter enjoys Farmyard Tales from Usborne Books & More.
  8. Leave a few books in the car for the carpool lane, waiting at the drive-through, or for taking on errand runs.
  9. Visit the library or book store at least once a week. Find a new book by a favorite author.
  10. Read a book outside while your child takes a water break.
  11. Share a book while your little one is in the tub.
  12. Snuggle up together for a book or two before bed.

 Can you think of anything I missed? I’d love to hear your favorite time of day to read with your child!


Grab our FREE Guide for Parents of Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers!

Grab our FREE Guide for Parents of Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers!

Raising children who love reading doesn’t just happen. So let’s be more intentional together, okay?