On my hunting… I mean shopping trips, I have managed to pick up some beautiful textured paper in a variety of colours, patterns and textures. I got mine from ‘The Range’ for a couple of pounds and have been dying to use it.
Firstly, I cut out a letter from the textured paper in lower case.
Next, I put the letters in a basket and grabbed some beads from my essentials cupboard…
Finally, I put a tray and a letter puzzle (without the letters) out on the table for an open-ended learning experience that could be completely led by J.
J began by rummaging through the letters and feeling the ‘bumpiness!’ He loved running his finger along them and ‘ooohing’ and ‘aahhing’ about how lovely they felt. Next J started doing something he has done before in another phonics game we played… ‘Sensory letters.’ He verbally rehearsed the sounds the letters made and told me words that started with each sound. This was completely J’s idea and therefore a very powerful learning experience.
After a while, J started matching the letters to the shadows on the letter puzzle. He was a little put out that they didn’t fit the size but we talked about how they could ‘overlap’ and this gave J a new word to add to his vocabulary. Again J talked about the sounds the letters made.
An unexpected turn happened when J started singing the ‘ABC’ song. He began putting the letters in alphabetical order on the tray. After placing a letter down, he would go back to the start of the song and sing it again to find out which letter he needed again! Good problem solving there. There were a fair few he didn’t know and asked me what a ‘dee’ looked like. I told him it was the letter name of the sound ‘d’ and then he was able to find it. Letter names are not as important, at this stage, as the phonetic sound the letters make as they will not help J to read. However, this is something he will need to learn and as they interest came from him, I definitely encouraged it!
Not only did J have to think about what letter came next, he also had to make sure the letters were the right way round; not back to front or upside down. This was great for J’s ability to recognise and recall what each letter looks like.
J was utterly delighted with himself when he had completed it and ordered me to take a photo!! Ha!
It came to a point when J looked to me for ideas of what to do next. He still wanted to play with the letters but asked, ‘what can I do now Mummy?’ I offered to play a reading game and he happily obliged. On the tray I formed a CVC word using the letters and for every one J was able to sound out and read he won a bead. The very competitive nature in J meant he loved this concept! To help J with his reading, I used spelling/rhyming patterns to form the words. So for the first few, they all ended in ‘op.’ So we had, mop, hop, top, cop and bop and next we had things like, hen, ten, men, pen etc. This gave J confidence to keep on going. J is going through a phase where his confidence is a little low, so anything to build it is a bonus right now!
This activity is lovely as it is so open ended. I know we will use these lovely, tactile letters again and will keep you posted as to how we do!