Tuesday, February 2, 2010

P for Me!

Recently I was reading a blog post about getting preschoolers ready for reading. The writer advocated helping kids prepare in the early years for a lifetime of reading. (I fully support this idea!) The writer's tips all involved helping young preschoolers learn the alphabet. I think that learning the alphabet is an important part of building a foundation for literacy. However, learning letter names with no context is not the best way to build early literacy skills.

My wife, a nanny, was running errands with her young kids in tow. As they pulled into a parking lot, the 2-year-old began calling out, "I see a P! P for me!" She pointed to the large Publix sign. 

Her name begins with P. She knew that letter. Because that letter was "hers." The letters that will be most meaningful to child are the letters in his name! He will want to know those letters, both what those letters are and eventually how to write those letters.

Look for ways to talk about the letters in the child's name. Offer materials that will help a child identify and use the letters in his name.

















Photos by R. Scott Wiley

8 comments:

  1. Good point. Our youngest, at 2, learned many letters from her babysitter because they were the first letters in friends' names. She would see an H and say, "H! That's for Halley!" or a J for Jillian or an S for Sydney. I was amazed by it. It didn't take long before she knew all her letters because learning so many with her friends for their names piqued her interest.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the way you think about children, Scott. I've never thought of this before, but you're spot on!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree Scott - it has to be meaningful to the child and the interest and motivation has to come from the child. I love your photos - shows how literacy just pops up all over the place. I love it when it all explodes!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sorry I am so slow to comment! This is a great post Scott! Isn't it so amazing how powerful a child's name is to the learning process. You got me thinking now - I am going to have to blog about this too:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Totally agree. Children at this age (at least my child) don't think abstractly that much. They need something to connect it to them or something they know. Very well put and a good thing to remember.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love your posts! They really make me think! Thanks for all you share--I gave you an award on my blog today. :)
    http://littleilluminations.blogspot.com/2010/02/beautiful-blogger-award.html

    ReplyDelete
  7. LOVE this post! Parents think I am crazy when I ask them to keep the labels off of everything they eat for a week and then send them in...EVERYTHING(the McDonald's bag, the Oreo wrapper, etc.). We take the labels and make a book...it's the first book they can read! I teach children with disabilities, so for some it will just have the Oreo wrapper and the word Oreo on the page. For more verbal kids, it will be I like Oreos. These words are powerful and the kids love to be able to read to a friend or a parent! Names and foods help them make the connection!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Stacy, you are so right. Using familiar "print" as well as names makes kids interested & excited about literacy.

    ReplyDelete