As for his letters, the child usually teaches himself. He has his box of ivory letters and picks out p for pudding, b for blackbird, h for horse, big and little and knows them both. (Charlotte Mason Vol 1, Pg 201)
True to the word, XXM self taught himself the letters of the alphabets with minimal help from me. I have read how many mums designed letter of the week curriculum for their toddlers with music, rhyme, craft etc. I was very impressed at their dedication. That weekend, I bought all the necessary materials I needed for the curriculum. I did letter ‘A’ with Xxm. Then, as I had no time to revise with him, we were stuck at that stage for a long time. Eventually, we didn’t make it to the other letters as the learning aids I prepared for him couldn’t outlast his hands or saliva.
Learning with iPad
As I researched for more time efficient and better ways of teaching Xxm, he had unknown to me, acquired the knowledge of the alphabets all by himself. A large part of this was thanks to starfall. I downloaded the starfall apps on his iPad and somewhat this apps really appeal to him till now. I introduced starfall to Xxm at about 20-21 months. By 2 years of age, he could recognise all the letters and he will eagerly display his knowledge reading the letters off signboards, books etc.
An effective toy in our household is the abc cookies by learning resources. He saw one of these at kiddy palace and was very fascinated by it. I didn’t buy it immediately as I felt it was too pricey. I ordered mine from Amazon U.S. However, it was a bad move as it worked out to be more expensive than to purchase it locally due to the hefty shipping charges. The alphabets in this series are in lower case which experts says it’s better for children as most of the print are in lowercase anyway. The letters are attractively colored and the letters are great for little hands to grab. It provides 4 leveled games that support and challenge early learners as they grow. My boys like to play letter search with this.
I have only recently introduced leapfrog fridge phonics after reading many rave reviews about it. This is a nice complement to the abc cookies as the letters in fridge phonics are in uppercase. However, both boys aren’t really into it at the moment.
Learning with puzzles
To make learning fun for Xxm, I usually make our learning sessions a competitive game between he and myself. He relishes on such activities. Take for example this abc puzzle.
I will say, “d for dog.” He will have to find the correct letter and picture. Most of the time, I will pick up the required picture piece and pretend to seek for the letter but never finding it. Xxm will find the letter while I groan at my bad luck. He will then laugh at me cheekily.
Learning with books
The only set of alphabet books I have at home is the learning resources alphabet books A-Z. However, they are not very durable for my boys’ present usage. But it’s a great resource to have. Each individual book offers several activities that focus on a particular letter of the alphabet. It has a teaching guide that details additional alphabet activities that will help children continue to develop valuable pre-reading skills. The value of this book stretches till the kids are 4-5 years of age.
I’m going to leave you with more quotes from Charlotte Mason with regards to learning the alphabets. They make so much sense to me.
- “There is no occasion to hurry the child” to learn all the ABCs.
- “Let the child alone, and he will learn the alphabet for himself: but few mothers
can resist the pleasure of teaching it; and there is no reason why they should, for
this kind of learning is no more than play to the child, and if the alphabet be taught
to the little student, his appreciation of both form and sound will be cultivated”
- “When should he begin? Whenever his box of letters begins to interest him.
The baby of two will often be able to name half a dozen letters; and there is nothing
against it so long as the finding and naming of letters is a game to him”