Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The plan behind the letter A

A few of my notes about the letter a: places, animals, soccer, food, colors.

I have mentioned before that my son and I will be working on letter a for a while.  In fact, it will be as long as it takes him to realize what a letter is, how a letter is form, and what he can do with letters.  I was thinking about it for a while and felt the need to explain something else. I am not just teaching the letter a. I am teaching him the foundations for reading and writing.  While doing it, I am also exposing my child to new vocabulary, and concepts in his target language.
A few things come to mind when planning what to do with him.  First it's the need to remain flexible.  If he gets into something, I have to go along with him.  Second, I want him to be excited about it.  I don't think kids like to fill in worksheets repeating letters; but if they are excited about the letters, they are more likely to practice them.  Finally, the notion of fun.  No I am not about to tell you that they have to only do fun activities.  I think that if your child is interested, he will have fun. But if you have fun, you are not necessarily learning. They should be encouraged to want to learn, to want to practice a skill, and to want to expand and question what they are learning. To encourage them, all you need to do is provided materials, and time that correlates with their interests.  Hence, I believe just cute activities -like the ones on the letter of the week- are not enough.  The activities need to be meaningful to the child.  You can't expect a child to learn to write the letter a just by painting, and using markers. But if you help them see how letter a is used to name their favorite things (animals, colors, food, toys..etc), or that by using letter a they get to do their favorite activities (cutting, gluing, drawing..etc), then you have the right approach.
With my son is easy.  He likes to cut.  I try to get him to cut something everyday. He doesn't do it perfectly yet, but he practices, and loves it.  He also loves colors (but not so much to color), animals, food, and dot markers. That is what I m using at the moment.  I get to re-introduce colors, help him learn other animals, and enjoy tasting food (He loved eating almonds).
At the end, it is all about making him realize that he WANTS to learn the letter a because it is useful to him.
I hope this helps you realize that what I do with my son, might not work for your child/student.  Each one is an individual with different interests, skills, and attitudes.

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Thank you for sharing!