Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A,B,C, easy as 1,2,3

I had great plans of taking a Montessori approach to teaching K the sounds and letters of English. I intended to carefully introduce the written alphabet (lower case only) in an ordered manner, focusing on only the phonetic sounds and ignoring the letter names for now. What I didn't take into account was K teaching himself the alphabet...

Due partly to the alphabet song being on several CDs we have, and largely to one of K's favourite toys, he can now recognise and name all the letters of the alphabet with ease, lower and upper case. It's not a great picture of it, but here is The Toy That Taught My Son The Alphabet:

One of Mum's great Oxfam finds, it has buttons to press and it makes noise, so it was bound to be a winner with K. Above each button (shaped like the letters of the alphabet) there is a picture of something beginning with that letter, and the name of that thing is also written there. The toy has several different games and at first K amused himself by pressing buttons in response to questions like 'Where is the letter 'a'?' and 'Where is the apple?'. Once he'd mastered that though, he was determined to play the spelling game. I suggested that answering 'How do you spell 'apple'?' might be a bit beyond K's capabilities, but he simply made me answer instead. As I did it, I pointed out that the words were written on the toy and that I was pressing the same letters in the same order.

Having figured out what I was doing, K soon got the idea, carefully pressing each letter he saw written under the pictures mentioned. With practice he soon memorised some of the shorter words (cat, dog, yo-yo) and can now remember a lot of the long ones too (xylophone, umbrella). Even when he's not playing with that toy I sometimes catch him chanting 'u-m-b-r-e-l-l-a, umbrella!'. Now I'm not quite such an obsessed parent that I believe he truly knows what he's doing when he's 'spelling' - it's obviously just rote memorisation. But he is very interested in the written word now, pointing out letters he sees when we're out and about, and short words he recognises in his books. We do need to move on to phonetics though - ask him to spell 'cow' and he'll reply 'o-x'....

1 comment:

  1. wow, that's pretty clever, isn't it amazing how their little brains learn!