Literacy Loveliness is literally just that! For those who know me as a teacher, they KNOW just how obsessed passionate I am about ALL things Literacy. For me though, it has to be fun and at this age it should be led by the child. About a month ago, I found this adorable suitcase in Homesense for £5 and just had to have it. I knew it would make a gorgeous activity box for Literacy play but I had to wait for the right moment. That right moment would be when J showed a natural interest and curiosity about sounds/letters and words. J loves being read to and regularly asks what words say but over the last week, he has been asking what sounds letters make and having a go at rehearsing the ones he knows. THIS was the right moment to introduce the box. Who knows how long this faze of interest may last? While it does, Literacy Loveliness will appear and be updated and changed to engage J’s natural curiosity to learn about sounds. As for me, I’m in heaven! This would be FAB for Reception aged children too.
What was in the box this time?
- Wooden sounds J is familiar with; s/a/t/p/n
- A free poster cut up with those sounds s/a/t/p/n
- A box of beads
- A collection of pictures printed from various places online of things with s/a/t/p and n as the initial sound (first letter)… on the back of each picture, I hand wrote the corresponding word. Whenever our children have the opportunity to see print, they should.
- Envelope for each sound
I put the suitcase on the table next to a wooden letter alphabet frame. I had no preconceptions about how or what J would do with the contents of the box. It was open-ended. The ONLY thing I knew I would encourage was thinking about rhyming as this is a crucial aspect to Literacy development and J needs rehearsal with it. It would all be through fun and giggles though.
Whilst J is showing an interest in sounds, I will change the contents of the suitcase and surprise J each time with something new.
Another thing I made sure of was hiding the suitcase away. Part of the excitement is that it is something J hasn’t seen before. Obviously, when we use it again, J’s will get this excitement from seeing the new contents of the box.
J began straight away by lining up the beads on the letter ‘n’ from the poster. As he did so, he said things like, ‘nnnn is for Nancy!’ This wasn’t prompted, I was just listening to him as I folded MORE washing!
Although J started with letter formation with the beads, he then moved on to each of the beads being a character; going on adventures and playing football. This does not mean he wasn’t learning. As he role played, he created his own world and constantly talked as the characters. Speech and Language is Literacy right?!
After a bit of role play, J rummaged through the suitcase and found the envelopes. J began by putting the beads in the envelopes and counting how many were in each…
After declaring he needed to post them, he shocked me by ‘ding donging’ the door bell for each envelope using the letter frame. For example he pressed the ‘n’ when delivering the ‘n’ envelope and said ‘DING DONG’ proudly! I honestly didn’t know if he’d even interact with the letter frame let alone use it in this way.
After putting the beads in, he went on to put the pictures in the corresponding envelopes, again this was completely independent. Here was one letter he posted to me saying, ‘ppp pen!’
J loved sorting all the pictures into their corresponding envelopes. As well as being able to recognise that the letter S makes a ‘ssss’ sound, it is also important for children to hear these sounds within words. J is always saying, ‘s for…’ or ‘p for….’ and so on. His understanding and ability to hear initial sounds is really developing well. As well as this though, children need to be able to identify rhyme, patterns and syllables/ beats. This will be incredibly useful later on for his ability to spell. Spelling patterns are much easier for those who are good at rhyming and breaking words into syllables.
There is always a point in J’s play where he says, ‘will you play with me Mummy?’ I’d finished folding so practically leapt on him!! Hahaha! Never one to shy away from Literacy play and I really wanted to play rhyming! I started by modelling silly rhymes like, ‘I can put my thumb on my tum!’ ‘I can blow my nose with me toes!’ This really got J giggling and he couldn’t wait to have a go. So to help J come up with the rhymes, we used the pictures from the suitcase as an aid to think of words… Here’s what J came up with…
‘Nose on my toes!’ Followed by lots of belly laughs and repetition of the same thing!
‘Peas on my knees!’
‘Pie on my eye!’
This game came to a swift stop when my new mobile phone was delivered wrapped in bubble wrap! J loves bubble wrap and as it is SO good for developing his fine motor skills, I love it too! Around the dinner table tonight, Daddy asked J what he’d been playing. J replied, ‘I played rhyming Daddy, do you want to hear one???? POO ON MY CHIN!’ LOTS of laughter from us all! I think we need more rhyming games!!!!!!
What did J learn?
- Letter formation
- Letter/sound recognition
- Hearing and using initial sounds
- Matching sounds to their letter representation
- Speech and language through role play
- Fine motor development