Early literacy education for preschoolers should stimulate children’s interest and imagination through story reading sessions and frequent sharing of picture books. Children who experience fun story sessions with their parents will quickly notice that books contain printed letters. You can then build on children’s curiosity about print by introducing sound awareness games and phonics activities that focus on individual letter sounds, initial letter sounds and blending of letter sounds to read simple two- and three-letter words.Items you will needNursery rhyme booksCloth bagsAlphabet flashcardsMagnetic lettersMagnetic board.
Create a simple rhyme about your child’s name. You can use real or nonsense words. For example, say “William, William, I love you a million, billion, trillion, zillion.” Or link your child’s name to a nursery rhyme, such as “Georgie, Porgie, Pudding and Pie.” For example, say, “Amy, Pamy, Pudding and Pie.” Rhyming activities help to stimulate children’s listening skills and awareness of the onset, or initial sounds of words. Sing nursery rhymes frequently to your child during routine activities. For example, sing “Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub” at bath time, or “Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John, went to bed with his trousers on” at bedtime.
Focus upon a letter that is of special significance to your child. For example, choose the letter “S” if your child’s name is Susan, or the letter “B” if your child likes eating bananas. Select four, child-safe objects that begin with the chosen letter sound and place them into a cloth bag with one object that has a different initial letter sound. For example, you could place a sock, a sponge, a saucer, a spoon and a cup into the bag. Show a flashcard of the letter “S” to your child and emphasize its sound — “Sss,” rather than its name “Ess.” Invite your child to dip her hand into the bag and take out an object. Sort the objects into those that begin with the letter “S” and then identify the odd one out.
Help your child use the letter sounds he has learned to form two-letter, vowel-consonant words, such as “on” and “it,” and three-letter, consonant-vowel-consonant words, such as “mom” and “hat.” Place a selection of magnetic letters that are vowels into a cloth bag and a selection of consonant magnetic letters into a cloth bag that is a different color to the vowel bag. Take turns with your child to choose one vowel and one consonant from each of the bags and place them onto a magnetic board or on the door of your refrigerator. Show your child how to point to each letter sound from left to right and help her blend the letters to sound out a word. It does not matter if the word you create is a nonsense word or a real word as it is important for your child to gain confidence with the phonics method of blending sounds.