PARENTS

'
LITERACY
LAWRENCE
2111835
EDUCATION
ISBN 0-609-80335-2
-
Montessori
Read & Write
1\ Parents' Guide to Literacy for Children
Lynne Lawrence
THREE RIVERS PRESS
NEW YORK
DEDICATION
To Steve, Tom and Jamie
Project editor Isabel Moore
Goldie
Copyright © 1998 bv Lvnne Lawrence
/\11 rights "eserved. No part of this book mav be
reproduced or transmitted in form or by :my me8n;;;,
cIccrrnnlc or mechanical. 1nr!nding rhOWC0p)r1ng. reCOf(1-
lng, or by any ;1nd rctrlcval systern,
\vlthout pC'rm1S"i1flTI in '\vritlng 6-om tht'" publisher.
Published bvThree Rivers Press.
a division of Crov,rn Publi:;:her<). fnc..
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Originally ruhlishcrl hy Ebury Pre". 1998.
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ISBN 0-609-80335-2
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Contents
Introduction
About Maria Montessori 7
CHAPTER ONE
What you shouLd know about your child 12
CHAPTER Two
Developing a Montessori approach 24
CHAPTER THREE
Preparing the way 39
CHAPTER FOUR
First steps towards reading and writing 62
CHAPTER FIVE
learning to write the letters 85
CHAPTER SIX
Starting to read 104
CHAPTER SEVEN
Reading for meaning 117
CHAPTER EIGHT
Creative and accurate writing 127
CHAPTER NINE
Templates and other resources 136
INVEX 158
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I should like to thank Billa Patell and Muriel Dwyer for
their support, c-nCQnragc'mcnr :md lfl<.;pintion over the--
last 20 years: Renilde r-,'\ontc"ori
the -world insF1T-ing those \VhD Montessori
educarion is an educatlon for life, ::md for taking time
out from a busy schedule to advise me on the
hiogr:lphy; ond Rmcmary ')"ssoon, wh,,,e und<:rstanding
of children·s hanchxTiting is outstanding :md
passion is infectious l Jesse Scott,James Irwin and Eve
Lawrence kindly worked their way through rhe carll'
hook too, to Hilary \Vhire
for her shared lnrerf''1t :mrl expenise. I ;:1m very gratcfiJI
to my editor I'lJbcl ?vloorc for her enthusiasm and
understanding :md 'Co photographer Ron Sutherland
whose hc:wriful rhotogr:lphs proof of his :lhility to
work well with children. Isabel. Ron and I had an
intense but hugely f'njoyJhk rime working ,-vith
children of the Maria 'v10ntcssori Children', Home
Thanks must also go to the childrcn, parents, studcnts
and staff of the ]\!laria \ionressori Training Organization
who colbhoratcd so enthusiastically, and to Scilla lown5
for help in compiling the f-ook lists, Finallv. I must thank
rny fJrnilv :1il the they so
\vl1lingly as I \\TOtc this boole
Publisher's note
The f'llhJisher \vould to thank and \\lilliams
for pcrmls';10n to u<;(' the Sassoon Tacri1c
on pages 142 to 15 L Every etlort has been made to gain
pernl1,)<:lOn other rublicT(ions qlJ0tcd in the text; SJll
details of the SOurces of ail quote-d mJteTiJl
RihliogrClphy
uction
children master the arts of
reading and writing in an ctfortless Jnd enjoy-
able way. There are no big secrets to this - it is
noc a question of money and it is not difficult.
What am certain of, is that the process is easy
and natural under the age of sLx.After sLx it is, at
best, an uphill Struggle.
This book is not written for mv peers or for
the studems I teach; nor is it written to
persuade sCf'ptics of the value of the Mome)Sori
lJ1rroach, or to challenge any prevailing notions
of what the hest method of teaching
reJding and writing. It is simplv written for
those parents who want to offer practical help
to their children along path to literacy.
Many parents locked out of the process
of helping their child to read and write beCJuse
our cultural attitude t("lls them that it difficult
and that it is somerhing tor reachers to do. This
really should not be so. The preparation for
reading and writing begins long before formal
schooL and parents dre the first and best
[cJchers.
I am also convinced that literacy is the only
\Vav children to burst our of the cultural and
social hmdings which cO!1Stnin their lives, to lift
their sights and extend their horizons, and
ultimately to plav their part in advancing our
SOCIety.
The ability to read and write is not, in itself,
a sufficient ambition. What is of supreme
importance is bringing about, in J child, a desire
to read and write: this is the Holy Grail.
This book is not for just dipping into as the
whim takes you. It charts a developmental
process with activities ,hat tit with the matura-
tional process in a young mind. It is like
building a house on solid foundations, each
brick upon another and tInally a roof. If you
build precarious tower on sand, may look
good for a while, but it will fall down.
The foundations for literacy are love and
encoungcment. The basement is constructed
from the joy of being read to, knowledge of the
world, a langmgc-rich environment. develop-
ment of the senses and control of the body. The
ground floor rooms arc made from an awareness
of the sounds in language. The upper Hoor is
created from the ability to attach symbols to
sounds and the attic is made from the skill of
using those symbols to express your own
thoughts. The roof is reading and writing. In
such house a child's mind can reside for a
re\varding lifetime :md no hurricane can blow
down.
In each chapter of this book you will find
important activities which are the huilding
blocks of literacy; they rdeet the kinds of acriv-
ities, but are not necessarily the as those,
thar go on in a Montessori school. In <lddition,
there are lots of games that are ideally suited tor
parents to engage in with their children at
home.
INTRODUCTION
Read each chapter before you embark on
helping your child rc:tding :md vvriting,
as it will give you teei for the overall
approJch, which requires you to foilow a
number of paralkl paths, As a rough guide you
will find that Chapten 1 and 2 relate to the
general Montessori JppTOJch; Chapter 3
provides actlvities that underpin reading and
writing; Chapter 4 contains three essential
activities that are the gareway to reading md
writing; Chapters and 6 must be read in
paraUel with each other as they deveiop Your
child's ability to read and write; Chapters 7 and i
8 must also be read in prallel as thev develop
more sophistioted skills in reading and writing;
and Chapter 9 contains advice on how to make
some of the activities referred to this book
and provides you \vith templates to
Please rcmC'mher you go that, in young
children of three or tour, reading does not
precede \vriting these abilities pregress hand
in hand, with writing initially slightly ahead
leading the way, Children who have learned in
a Montec;sori cnvironn1cnt '>;tdrtlng at ahout t\yO
iON
and a half years 'old will, quite naturally, write
before they read,
I have written this book as an aid tor parents
to use at home, and although it is compler", in its
own right will also supplement any work
being done in schooL While parents are always
the main educators of a young child, the role of
the .. teacher is also important, A Montessori
environment for a young child is a very appro-
priate solution to the pressures of modern life
where parents seldom have the choice of being
at home full-time, However, Montessori is more
than just a kind of schoo!, it is an attitude, an
approach, and I hope that in reading this book
you may come to understand a little ;]hom this
approach and will feel inclined to tollow it with
your child,
Any shortcomings that you encounter in this
book will be mine; they do not reflect on the
Montessori approach,
If, as a result of reading this book, one parent
helps one child to learn to love reading and
writing then, tor me, wriring it will have been
worthwhile,
Lynne Lawrence
About Maria Montesso
M
aria born in 1870 _in the
town at Cmarvalle, Italy. Her tather,
Alessandro, made a career in the civil service
and her mother, Renilde Stopp;mi, was well
educated and forward looking, Their house was
apparently full of books for Renilde loved
reading, a passion which she passed on to her
:\1omcssori family moved to Rome in
1875 and the following year the young :\1aria
enrolled in the puhlic ,chool on the Via di San
Nicolo da Tolentino, As her education
progressed, she began to break through the
barriers that constrained women's careers
from 1886 ro 1890 she cOlltillL1t'd her studies at
the Regio lsti1'mo Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci
initially with the intention of hecoming an
engineer, unheard of tor a woman, At some
mnmem and for reasons she herself was unahle
to explain, she changed her mind about
engineering as a career and decided to become
a doctor of medicine,
At that time it was nnrhinkahle that a
woman should emer medical schooL However,
it seems that Pope Leo XIII interceded on her
behalf and in 1890 she enrolled at the
University of Rome, initially studying physics,
mathematics and the natural sciences; in 1892
she passed her exams, receiving the Diploma eli
Licenza, her passport to the Facultv of

At mediol school her male colkagues
hostile to her presence and no dnuht somewhat
For [he sake of propriety, Maria
found herself excluded from anatomy and
di"ecring classes it was comidercel unseemly
for a woman to look on a naked body in the
r:ompanv of her male colleagues and so she
undertook her dissection work on her O\vn after
hours,
:\1o:1tessori's hiographer) rcbte the story ofa
seminal moment in her studies when, after an
isolated evening in the dissecting room, she
departed with the imention of ahandoning her
medical On her way horne she '.'las
confronted bv a beggar woman with a two year-
old child who was playing WIth a piece of
colored paper. She was deeply affected bv the
expression of harrinc" on the child's face ;1l1d
by its toral absorption in the activity with the
piece of paper, and later reJared that she was
moved bv emotions she could not herself
explain to turn around and return directly to
the dissecting room, Perhaps in the activity of
this poverty-stricken child she had found her
vocatlOl1,
In 1896 Maria Montessori grJdmtcd trom
the Uniycrsitv of Rome with top honors as the
first woman donor:n Italy. She was immediate-
ly ('mploycd in the San Giovanni Hospital
attached to the University. Later that vear she
was asked to represent Italy at an International
Congress tor \Vomen 's Rights, and in speech
to the Congress she developed a thesis tor social
A 0 lV1/\R! /\ i"v10
reform, arguing that women should be entitled
to equal wages with men.
In Novemher 1896 :'v10ntcssori added the
appointment as surgical assist:lnt at Santo
Spiriw Hospitdl in Rome to her portfolio of
tasks. Much of her work there was with the
poor, and particularly with the children of the
poor. As a doctor she was noted for the way in
which she "tended" her patients, making sure
they were warm and properly fed as well as
,jiagnosing :md treating their illnesses. In 1897
,he vohmtccred to join research project at
psychiauic clinic of the University of Rome
and it was here that she worked alongside
Gimscppe Montcs:mo, with whom a romance
was to develop.
lis part of her work for the clinic she would
visit Rome's asylums for the insane, seeking
'l]hjecrs for treatment at the clinic. She relates
how. on one such visit when she saw a group of
children a bare unfurnished room, she
realized that their cnvironment deprived them
of the sensorial stimulation tor which they
naturally craved. thereby contributing w their
condition. She began to read all she could on i
the suhject of mcntJily retarded children, and
particlllctr she studied the gro\lndhrcaking work
of two early 19th century Frenchmcn. Jean-
Marc-Gaspard Itard and Edouard Seguin; she
was so keen to understand their work properly
that she tr:mslatcd it henelf from French into
Italian.
During the 1897-98 university terms she
mught to expand her kno,vledge of education
by comses in pedagogy and studied
the work of Rousseau. Pcst:Jlozzi Jnd Froebel.
Froebel had in 1837 estahlished a school for
voung children
which he called
a radical innovation.
Kleinkinderbcschadh-
s::ngsanmlt. ,m appropriate but nther un-vyicldy
nde that has given way to the modern word
Froebel, convinced of the value
early learning. developed a series
13 (; U : .. Nt 0 NT E S SOft I
toys or apparams which he called "gifts" and
these anticipated the development of Montes-
sori's materials.
In 1897 Montessori was asked to address the
Narional Medical Congress in Turin. where she
advocated the conrroversi::ti theory that the lack
of adequate care for rctJrded and disturbed
children was a cause of their delinquency. She
cxpnded on this in 1898 and in September of
that addressed the National Pedagogical
Congress in Turin, presenting vision of social
progress and political economy rooted in
commonly supported educational
notion of social reform through education was
an idea that was to develop and mature in
thinking throughout her life.
Bv the end of 1898 a committee had been
formed to generate funds for a national
medical-pcdagogiccal institution, the National
League for the Education of Retarded Children.
As a representative of the League, J\1ontessori
embarked upon a lecture tour in 1899 which
gave her the opportunity of svnthC'Q7mrr her
arguments ror the emancipation of women, the
:llleviation of poverty. the education yery
young children and the tOtlndation of a peacenll
and prosperous civilization. Were she alive todav
promoting such ideas she would be considered
ahead of her time, so it is worth reflecting for a
momC'nt that she was a young woman of
0.venty-seven speaking out a century ago.
:vlomessori's involvemcm with the National
League for the Education of Retarded Children
led to her appointment as co-director with
Giusseppe Montesano of a new institution
called the Orthophrenic School. This school
took children with a broad specuum of different
disorders and disabilities, and by July 1900 these
children \verc showing such progress that official
visits were made from various important insntu-
tions. Montessori spent tWO working at the
Onhophrcnic School. She brought a scientific
analytical attitude to her work. teaching and
ABOVE Maria Montessori.
observing by day and writing up notes by
night. She acknmvlcdged this period as hemg
the time she truly came to understand
pedagogy, and it was here that she first devel-
oped ideas tor her ",dllcarional materials. gomg
beyond the ideas of Seguin, Itard and
Froebe!.
The relationship with Giusscppc :'viontcsano
had developed into a love affair, and in 1898
Maria gave birth to child, a boy named lv1ano,
who was put into the care of a family who lived
in the countrvside near Rome. Maria visited the
child often. but was not until he was older
that Mario came to know that lvlaria was his
mother. Certainly a strong bond was maint:l\fll,d
and in later vears he ,ollahorated :md
with his mother, corlt1DUmg her work aiter her
death.
In 1901 Maria leEr [he Orthophrenic School
and immersed herself in her own studies l!1(Q
educational philosophy :md anthropology;
U R r
11)
in 1904, she wok up post in the
Pedagogic School of the University of Rome
which she held until 1908.
Rome during this period was growing very
rapidly and in the of specui:Jtivc dc\'Ciop-
ment some construction companies and
13nciowncrs were falling into bankruptcy,
leaving untlnishl"d hllilding projects which
quickly attracted squatters. Onl" 'l1ch develop-
ml"nr stood in the San Lorenzo district behvccn
the old Roman wall and the cemeterv. The
building project was rescued by a group of
wealthy bankers, the Beni Stabili gronp, who
undertook a basic restorJtion creating a
iencmcnr block containing indi\'idual apart-
ments, which soon occupied by
impoverished working f1ml1ies. With parents
out at work all day, the younger children
wrnked havoc on the newly completed
huilding, and Beni Stahili s011ght help from Dr.
;\1ontcssori to provide ways of occnpying the
children so that they would not damage the
premises
!'v1ontt";sori grasped the opportunity of
working with normal children and. bringing
some of the educatioml materials she had
developed at the Orthophrenic School, she
f>sobii,hco her firs( Casa dei Bamhini or
"Children's House." Within three months a
second Casa was opened. There was no expec-
tation that she would achieve ;mything with
[hese children, which gave her the opportunity
to experiment. She put many things into [he
children's environment hut kept those that
engaged them.What Monte,sori to rC;llize
was tlut children who were placed in an
env-:ronrncnt de'slgned (0
suppon their natural development had the
po\ver to educate thcn1sclvcs. She \vas to refer
II mcrhi1d of Edliraticl1, I
little r-fiildr(,tl a dr,1l1rC to liv('.!
ABO
It is a t(,stament to her insight thar contem-
porary discoveri,,, ahont the ,vay chilrlren groy\·.
develop and learn consistemlv reinforce her
conclusions.
The children in the CJsa made extraoroimry
progress and soon five-year-olds were writing
and reading. News of Ivlontessorj's new
approach spread rapidly and visitors arrived 1:0
see for themselves how she was such
results. In the summer of 1909 she gave the tIrst
training course in her approach to early educa-
tion to about one hundred students. notes
trom this period developed into The Montessori
Me1:hod, which was 'llhsequcmly published in
the United States in 1912 and has become one
of the most influential hooks ;:over written in the
field of education.
On December 20,1912, her mother died at
the age of sevemy-two. Maria was deeply
affected by this event, and in the year t()llowing
her mother's death she brought her son Mario
to Rome to be with her.
A period of great in (he Montes-
sori approach now followed. Montessori
societies, training programs and schools sprang
to life all over the world, and a period of travel
with public speaking and lecturing occupied
'vlontC';sori, much of it in the United States, but
also in Britain and Holland. Thomas Edison and
Alexanoer Graham Bell had invited her to the
U.S. where;} hurgeoning !\1ontessori mo\-cment
was underway; Bell himself was the president of
the American !\Ilomessori Society and JVhrgaret
Wilson, daughter of the then President of the
United States, was its secretary. Much of the
expansion. hmvcver, was ill-t()lmrko oisrort-
ed by the evems of World War 1. It lTlUSt have
been very difficult for Maria, who had no
independent income, to remain in tollch with
the broad spectrum of devl"]opment that was
going on in her name in so many parts of the
world, and she developed a growing concern
about her legacy that was to c111minatc in the
cstahlishmcm of the Association Monte5'ori
internationale (AMI) in 1929 in Denmark.
Todav ANI! monitors the standards of 45 full-
time training schools around the world for
teachers of children !Tom 0-3.3-6 and 6-12.
On returning from America in 1917. and
after Mario's marriage to his firs( wife Helen
Christie, she based herself in Barcelona, Spain
where a Seminari Laboratori di Pcdagogia had
been created for Her son and his new wife
joined her and her four grandchildren were
born there: tWO boys, Ivlario and Rolando,
and two girls, Marilena and Renilde. Renilde,
her youngest grandchild, is today the General
Secretarv of AMI.
Maria nursed· an ambition to create a
permanent center for research :wd oevclopmcm
into her to earl:: years education, but
ing. In 1939 Mario and Maria embarked on a
Journey to India to give a three-month tnining
course in f\'hdras followed by a krtmc tour; they
were not to return f()[ nearly seven years. \Vith
the outhreak of war, as Italian citizens, Iv1ario was
interned and Maria put under hOllse arreSL She
i spent the summer in Kodaik;mal :md expcn-
ence guided her thinking toward nature of
the relationship between all living things, a
theme she was to develop until the end of her
life and which became known as cosmic "duca-
tion, an approach for children bNv,:ccn six :md
12. Montessori was well looked after in India,
where she met Gandhi, Nehru and Tagore. Her
70th birthday request co the Indi:m government
- that I'vlario should be released and restored to
her was granted, and together they gave
courses to which hundreds of stuoents
any possibility of this happening her hfNime i In I'L+6 they returned to Holland and to the
in Spain was thwarted by the rise of fascism in gnndchildrcn who had spent the war years in
Europe. By 1933 all Montessori schools in the care Ada Pierson. In 1947 Montecsori,
Germany had been closed and effigy of her now 76, Jddrcssed UNESCO on the theme
was burned above 3. bonfire of her books ll1
Berlin: the Third Montessori Congress, q;hed- i
uled for Berlin in 1934. was cmcclled. In the
"Eduotion In 1949 she reccived the
first of three nommatiol1S for the Nobel Peace
Prize and at the UNESCO Conference in
same year, after Montessori refused· to i Florence in 1950, the Director General Jaime
operate with r\1ussolini\ pLms to incorporate I Torres Bodet procbimcd her as the symbol for
Italian Montessori schools into fascist youth
movement. he closed them all down. The
outbreak of CIvil in Spain forced the family
to ahanoon their horne in Barcelona and they
sailed to England in the summer of 1936. From
England the tnveled to F!olland to stay
in the familv home of Ada Pierson, [he
of a Dutch banker. Mano, by now
estranged from his first wife, was la[er to
marry Ada.
Plans were made to create a model school
and research center at Laren in Holland. and
with Amsterdam now the headquaners of AMI
the future for the looked promis-
eduCJtion and world peace.
Her last public nl(T;WCmrnt was in London
in 1951 when she attended the Ninth Interna-
tional MontessOTl Congress. On May 6, 1952, in
the house of the Pierson family in Holland, she
died in company of her beloved son Mario
to whom she bcqucJthed the legacy of her
work.
That work continues in all parts of the
world and with children from all cuitures
i and backgrounds, and it as relevant today as it
ever was.
r\130L'T JV1/\RlA 1"v10NTESSORl 11
CHAPTER ONE
you should know
urchild
is one of the most fJscinaring of
attributes. \Ve watch it develop in
voung children but as undcrltand very little
about the proceS'. We do now know that
voices, particularly those of the mother and
father, are points of reference for a newborn
child: songs sung to a fetus in the womb will
have a calming "Hect a distraught newborn
baby as she recognizes something that is
familiar. After birth, the attraction a child has
the ground well in advance of these abilities
developing, and you will need to spend time
I building up all the skilIs that required for
these two complex processes.
, Don't be tempted to rush her. Your aim is to
i help develop a love of reading and writing
i so that throughout her she will choose [Q
read and choose to write. If chilclrcn d<:vdop a
love of books and of reading, the'lNorId's
knowledge becomes avaihble to them, all the
coward bnguage, even when ,he
'.JndcntJnc1 a \\'orc1} is
cannot i stories, myths and legends, in fact and fiction.
As a parent you are the first and most
important teacher of your child. The more in
tune you are with the way ,he develops. there-
fore, the more successful you \,vill be in
providing what she needs. Language develop-
ment in ail children follows specific and
patterns. once you underst:lnd
what is h:;ppcning you will feci confident about
the help that you can otfer your o\Nn child.
To help to write and read well, you v"ill
need to begin to develop her ability to commu-
nicate with others about the things that she
knows. It will be essential for her to have good
voc:tbuhry, to able to express herself contl-
ientIy ;ll1d to have heard a variety of sources of
rich lnterestlng Research no\-v
shows that children with these good verbal skills
find reading and writing easier.
If you wish your child to become a good
and "writer" you will need to prepare
You SHUCLD KNOW ABOCT Yo
Each time they open a book they will become a
time-traveler. For a moment, real time is
suspC'ndcd as they become engaged in the story.
A book can take them to explore worlds known
and unknown. can help them travel forward and
backward in time. Children who become good
readers will haNe the power to pursue their own
interests beyond the limited information avail-
able from the adults around them. and children
who become good writers will haNe ways of
expressing their thoughts and teelings in more
tangIble and lasting torms.
There are many things thaI need to be done
betore vour child can read or write and it is
helpJ1.l1 if you do not have in mind a definite age
for her to have m;lStereQ these skills.
Preparing vour child to read and write
means that you must first start to prepare for
RIGHT If you can help your child
then not only will she be able to
choose to do 50 throughout her life.
CHI LD
reading and writing "[cadiness," and to do this
you must haVe' some kn(),ylcoge of the basic
:vlonrcssori principlcs that applv to child oevei-
opment in this area.
In the tlrst SLX years of life all children:
• Have ;10 :lbsnrbent mind.
• Have moments of acute toward
their environment, which are called "sensitive
periods."
• Have strong urges to communic:ltc, (0 be
independent ,mo to explore.
• Learn primarilv through their senses and
through movement.
The absorbent mind
A child in the first six years of her life has a
lTlind that functions very differently trom an
adult mind: it appears to absorb vast JmOlmts of
information without any effort on the part of
the child. How does a child injnst three vears
manage to create all the basic clements of
bnguJgc?
birth she cannot speak any bnguage, yet
by three she has formed [he basis of her
and by six has command of a wide
vo(·ahubry. Of C01me bnguage will srill develop
alter but not in the same way. We also know
[hat provided a child has an opportunity to hear
I:mgl1:1gc in this period, she will learn not just
one hngmgc hut as as she is exposed to. In
many parts of the world children of six arc tluem
111 as manv as three different bngLuges: children
in Kenya. for example, may come to a i'v10nres-
,ori school at the age of three knowing a tribal
such Kikuyu, their African bngnagc
Sv\:ahIli. and English. Could you an adult, in
three short years, do as much? Not only do the
Kenyan children learn the vocabubry of each
they can also produce perfect sounds.
No matter how long you took as an adult to
learn a
you would never quite pedect
the sounds in [he way that a child can.
For the first three years of life a child is able
simply to take in information from her
surrounding environment withont
tion and \vitho\H effort. creating and huilding all
the basic huilding hlocks of her personality md
forming her mind. From the age of three on, she
is still able to take in information but bringsw
this an element of choice and selectivity, and
theretore makes a more COYlSciOlll exploration of
the world around her.
Imagine that a child's mind is like a sponge:
if you place a sponge in water it will soak up the
water, whether is it clean or dirtv.A child's mind
is like this - it will absorb, without effort.
it finds in the A sponge,
very ditferent from
when it was drv - you could say that it has
transformed itself; it is different undenvJ(cT, it is
soft and pliable. A child's mind is also trans-
formed by what it takes in from the
environment. The sponge, however, can only
absorb so much water; the child's mind is not
like this it can absorb huge quanrities of infor-
mation simplv by living.
Looking at a newborn baby you will nO[ice
that from the earliest days oflife her IS
tocused on the mouth of the person speaking to
her. She appears to be drinking in the whole
person while listeni:1g looking intently at
the mouth that speaks. We know that talking [0
a baby a lot signific:mtly speeds up process of
learning new words.
The mind only fimcrions like this in the first
six years of life, and not only will a child acquire
such obvious human char;lcteristics as
but J.!so knowledge about the world and how it
works and kn()\vlcdgc about values and
cmtOl11s. Basic attitudes toward life will be estab-
lished ,lIld the foundation of the indi\'idua]
p<'rso11;(liry estahlishC'd.
This onlv serves to underline the import:mc<,
of your creating a rich cnyiwnmcnt from the
very beginning, where good convers;ltion,
I WHi\T Y()U SH()Cl,]) KN()\V L'1.BOUT YOLJR CHILD
reading and writing is already taking place.
Perhaps it's time to turn off the telcyision and
read more for YOllrsC'lf. and with your child.
Perhaps it's time to write letters and not simply
make telephone calls; to send cards and thank
you letters; to enclose first dra\vings and "fforts
at mark-making in em'clopes to seno to gr:md-
parents. uncles and aunts as messages from your
child. Perhaps it's also time to convene with I
vour child rather than instruct and to collabo- '
rate using language the medium, to use rich
and marvelous whenever possible ,md
to sing and rhyme. So much of what your child
will learn during this period is done uncon-
sciouslv, that making a start means starting
yourself.
Developing your child's mind
Studies of the brain have gradually revealed
what educators and parents have known
instinctively £:)r years: that the experiences
children have in the early years of their life have
a direct etfect on the quantity and quality of
connections made in their brain. In addition,
there is now evidence to show that, as Dr,
Montessori ohscrvt'd many years ago, there are
times during this period when the brain is
more susceptible to different types of experi-
ences than others, creating what are called
"learning windov1is, of opportuniry"
or "Iensitive periods."
When Dr. Montessori made her observa-
tions of children and responded to what she
saw, she had recourse only to words and
imagery to try to alert p:ln:'nt\ and educators to
the extraordinary influence that the environ-
ment could have upon the formation of a
young child's mind. In her book The ,1b.'orbcnt
.Hind. she said.
may be said that we (adults) acquire
by the (hiid
ahsorbs b1(l1l'lcdgc ilirt(ti}, il1to his psyrhic
do /'lot I11crriy (,11(('r
they form it.
At no other time have we had more compelling
scientific evidence to show us that a child's
dcwloping hrain is directly dependent upon the
quality and quantity of experiences avaibblc to
her in her earlv years.
Scientists have also idenritlt'd the important
role that repE'Jted experience plays in the
strengthening of these connections. Pathways
that are repeatedly used become strong and
resilient dnd continue to retlne and ocvelop;
those that are not reinforced wither awav
around the age of 10, leaving only what is strong
and flmctional to develop.
\Vhen you watch your child repeating an
action, persevering until she has tlnished, you
will realize that she is doing ,0mNhing far more
important than it may appear. So otten we
cannot understand Ollr child's need to repeat,
what to us, appears to be a pointless action, wirh
such tlerce determination and concentration.
What you are watching, at this moment, is the
action of "life huilding up."
Windows of opportunity
In her observation of children Dr. Montessori
pointed out that as a child developed there were
certain periods of time that appeared to be the
most favonblc ones for creating and retlning
particular human cbaracteristics such as
bnguage. She called these special periods, "sensi-
tive periods," a term she had borrowed from a
hiologist. Todav the latest research tends to
describe them as windows of opportunity.
Sensitive periods ,1[e import:mt bc.clllse at no
other time 111 a child's life will she be able [()
acquire a particular ch"racteristic so easily and
well. Once the window of opportl:nity closes it
becomes much more difficult and sometimes
impossible tor her to acquire these abilities
WHAT You SHOULD KNOW AUUUT YOUR C 15
The etfectiveness of each wmclovv relies i The sensitive period for language
entirely on the enyironmcntal stimuli that a The sensitive period for appears co
child finds in her environment in the case of operate mainly during the first six years ofhfe.
language, the more linguistically rich her I During this time your child will namrally rocus
C'nvironmC'nt, the greater is the opportunity for I on those experiences that will best serve this
dt'velopmt'nt. particular window. i\.s a consequence you will
Dr. tvlontessori referred to sensitive
periods that she observed in the young child:
Lmguage
• Movement
Socialization
• Order
Sensory perception
.. Fine detail
We shall look at just two of these periods:
see that she n:)[ur;;lly focuses her attention on
the human voice and is both enthralled and
fascinated by it, excited and soothed by it.
From very early on she will focus her atten-
tion on your mouth as you speak and observe
intendy the movements mJde by your lips as
I BELOW All children experience these sensitive periods. The
bold lines beiow show the window of opportunity that
exists for each period. During this time. the experiences
offered to a child directly influence the way its mind forms.
\V HAT You S H 0 U
KNOW ABOUT YOUR CHI
well as the sounds produced by them. In each
sensitive period there will be a period of inter- !
nalization hefore there is anv active sign of the
chJrJctenstlC
Through focus on her bngllage environ-
ment your child acquires ,he ability to
reproduce sounds of her mother tongue
with ali its nnances, dialects ;md intonations.
intensity of contact that she makes in the
cr:Y1rOnmCnr concentrated on L1thc:r
than on gencr:1I1y, no matter how
she to other sounds: she does not
reproduce the whisde of a train or the barking
ABOVE From the very beginning children are fascinated by
the human voice.
ofa dog instead ofbnguage. The ;;hility to learn
a second language is highest dnnng this "vindo,,"
of opportumtv.
All children :lrotmd the world will produce
speech in much the same way, lrrespecrive of the
complexity or simplicity of their
there appears to be general timetahle of readi-
ness that they follow. All the funC1:;mcnr;d
constructions of language take pbce before the
age of three:just atter this age an "explosion·' of
WHAT You SHOU KNOW ABOGT YOUtz CHIL 17
18
speech, and evidence of a real hunger for words,
shows. And gradll:dly after that, attention to
language expands from spoken bngu:lgc to an
exploration oflangeage in a form.
TVhat can you do to heip?
One of the easiest things you can do to help is to
make sure that you talk to your child from the
very beginning of her life.You can engage her in
conversation long before she herself has the
capacity to understand the
vour words or before she has the ability to reply.
Those close to a child, particularly the main
caregrvers such par:nts, will otten wait nafllnl-
ly for a response which may be glVen
with a little wave of an arm or movement of the
lips. Use and varied language 'when
talking to your baby. Tell her what you are doing
and give her the proper names for the things
around her - tor example, if you are cooking her
dinner. talk about wh;\t you are doing, ,-,vhat you
are using and how delicious ir will be!
You should sing, rhyme and to your
child as often as pmsible. Very often children
who have an older sibling beneflt as they are
read to from the moment they arc born simply
because tbey arc present while you read to your
firstborn.
You should make sure vour child is included
in social situations where she will have the
benefit observing conversation and social
BELOW Sing songs and recite as many nursery rhymes with
your child as you can - it's both enjoyable and an essential
part or the process of preparing her to read and write. The
better she rhymes, the more in tune she is with the
patterns of her language,
WHAT YOu SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR CHI
interaction. Try to put her in a position, either
held in your arms or propped up, to give her
good vantage point where she can see what is
happcnin:;. Encourage her in com'crsation. Give
her <:'nollgh time to express herself - children in
their early years search for the right words to
use to express their ideas and this takes time. If
you guess what it is you think wants to say
and it wrong, she will usuallv have to start
all over again. She may get frustrated around
two, when what she wants to say and the
vocabulary she has to say it with don't match
up.Try to remember that children have a much
Idrger "'passIve" vocJbubry th:tn an actlve one,
and that they can understand much more than
they can say themselves.
Listening to what children to say gIves
them a feeling of value and self worth. Being
listened to wiil also encourage them to listen to
others, too. Listen scnsitiyc!y to what your child
is saying and help her to extend her vocabulary
through a gentle questiomng process. When
you haven't mmaged to underst:md what she is
saving, you may have to ask, "Did you mean.
or did you mean .... " In searching for [he
correct lmerprnation, you give the message to
her that you are trying to underltJnd what she
is saying to vou, and at the same rime you are
helping her to hear how she could have
expressed herself. If she says something that
could have been expressed differently don't
correct her - simr1y provide a "model by means
of confirmation." For example "Me like milk
no!"You may reply, "Ah, you don't like milk."
Remember you arc a role model for vour child,
if you want her to read, you should read; if you
want her to write, she needs to you doing
so, too.
your child acquires it - having an ,mdc-rstanding
of this will help you to provide the appropriate
stimulation tor her.
is the unique pmscssion of the
human being - it is imro"iblc to conceive of
anv human society functioning without
language. Human language is primarily crotive
and produces forms of itself continuallv if
required.
We use language for two basic illHctions: it
helps us to comr;H1nicate with one another,
e-;tJbhshing J.nd maint;1ining social rebtlGns, Jnd
it provides a svstem of symbols ;md patterns thrit
being in its own way limiting. The
is rhat CriD help to structure
in the !'v10ntcssori context, children arc helped
to identify problem, them,clves and to work
am to their questions. L1l1guJge can
also determine the we perceive rhings. Thi,
can be both helpful, by clantying cone-cprs and
by creating a new level of thinking, or it can be
a limitatl'1l1, for it reqUIres intellectual effort to
see things in any other way than our hnguagc
,ugge,ts
Your child's mind is being formed at a rapid
rate In earlv vears and wha( is clear is that
the quality and qUrintity of connections made
depend upon imprc"lOns of the \yor!d rccci';ed
through her senses, reinforced through activity
and repetition. It is what she experiences for
herself in the "real" world that will shape her
mind for the fUture.
of opportunity ror developing
by which we mean physical coordi-
First steps to acquiring language nation, "pprJ" (Q begin ,hortlv after birth when
Having focused on the fact there is a I basic motor ,kills are dn'eloped, and the
Wi!ldov: of opporn:nity for the dcwlopmcnt of refinement of these skills seems to
look at whrit bnglngc is J:ld how begin around 18 months. The period
WHr.T You SHOULD KhOW ABO YOUR CHILD 19
of dev-clopment seems to take place in the first
four years of life. Giv-ing your child many
possibilities for development in this area in
these early will therefore pay dividends.
It is through mowmem that your child's
pcrsonJlity expresses itself. The more
cd her mind and body are, the better able she
will be to bring into reality the thoughts and
feelings that she has.
There are many reasom why you shouid
help your child develop good coordination.
• When reading and writing she requires a
knowicdge of the \vodd - ,vithotlt it she will
be a disadvantage when it comes to
interpreting books and may be sruck tor ideas
when she comes to write.
• If she has developed good tlne hand control,
she will End it easier to turn the pages of a
book. control a pencil, illustrate and so ('11.
• Increasing your child's independence
through her own will her sclf-
,',"1"hri0nr'p She will know that. generally
'peaking in hcr life, she is able to tackle things
on her own and be relatively Sllccessfill. She
will be more likely w try things and w have
had plenty of practice at solving problems, ali
of \'vhich will help develop of the
cttirudC's ,113t are helpfi11 if she is [Q bec()me a
reader and an author.
If your child has gained control over her
physical c()ordimtion, she will find it easier to
sit and uo things some children iInd it very
difficult to keep their bodies still or to sit, and
this hampers their ability to give auC'nnon to a
task or activitv.You cannot force her to be still;
is impcmihic. \Vhat you can do is to help her
[() gam enough control over her bodv to allow
her to \vill to be still. This reqm;es lots of
bring greater control to her T1l0VCments.
Your child needs to be omside playing
games as much as pmsible so that she learns to
move in increasingly well c()ordinated wavs.
Taking her into the park. going for walks and
letting her explore as much as she is able to will
contribute gready to her development. Games
such as Gf3ndmother's Footsteps, Statues, Tr;Jffic
Lights and "What's the time Mr.Wolf?" all help.
I Devel()ping ball skiEs. the ability to skip, hop
and run should also all be
development.
yital to her
Since coordinated movement is a result of
experience in the environment, you will need to
undcrst:md that. as much as pmsih!e. your child
needs to be helped to do things for herself.
Although in the bcginniI1g this will mean that
you will need to invest more time in helping
her, once she can do things for herself and in her
own time everyone ',Vill be pleased.
You should try to prepare your home so that
she can explore it in safety and in relative
freed()m. It is worth remembering [hat she
learns to control her movements through being
active herself: sho\ving her to do ,,,,ill
have a more positive effect than stopping her
tram doing things. And you will tInd that it is
easier tor "no" to mean '"no}' "vhen you are not
using it all the time.
for give her a small pitcher with a
sluaU amount of juice it so that she can pour
her own drink. This will give her the ability to
use her hands with judgment and with little
drama should she spill some in the beginniI1g.
DevclopiI1g this small skill will mean that
i cn·ntually she ca n help herself to a drink when
necessarv, put milk on her cereal in the
morning, or water plants - or in Jo
;mything that requires that panicular level of
motor coordination. Helping her to toilet and
teed herself, to dress herself. in fact to do almost
everything that is helpful for a small human
being to know, 'Nill also help her reilne the
control that she has over her body: it's much
quicker to put her shoes on than to help her to
do it for herself, but once she can do it you are
\V H
You SHOLJLD KNOW l1.BOUT YOUR CHILD
not needed unless she is reeling tired or in need
of help.
The more iI1dcpendent your child becomes,
the more she will be able to participate in life ,
and the more you will tlnd that she will have a i
positive attitude to all its c1ullcnges.
Developing a good ability to communicate
and to move with control will greatlv enhance
her ahilirit's to act indcpC'ndcmly to explore
ABOVE Don't be afraid to let your child do as much as she
wants to for herself - even pouring her own milk at
breakfast! The better her general hand control is, the
better her writing witt be.
the world in which she lives. You will notice
that she has strong urge to do things as you do.
for parents
of course. [he natural educators
of their children.
\'II/HAT You SH LJLD K ow A13 UT YUUR C ILl)
Developing Language
0-8 weeks
Watches the mouth of the speaker intently. Makes
mainly biological noises - breathing, eating and
those that will hunger or pain.
8 - 20 weeks
Good social response to sound of familiar voices.
Coos, smiles, enjoys singing, chuckles. May turn
head to find source of voices. A variety of sounds
made, many sounds being produced.
5 - 8 months
Vocalizes tunefully, begiris to put syllables together,
repeats a variety of sounds. Goo, gaa, muh.
Responds to tone of speaker's voice. Gradually over
a period of 24'50 weeks the range of sounds become
more specific to those uttered in the particular
language of your child.
8 -12 months
Uses sounds to communicate with others, babbles
tunefully to self and others. Understands the sense
conveyed in language and begin to respond to
show that she understands. Can sign "goodbye,"
"hello: etc.
12 months
Starts to use words intentionally. Shows under-
standing of what is said. "Where is your hat?" "Bath
time." Can hand known objects to the speaker on
request.
12 - 18 months
Use, simple words to convey sentences. "Dada"
could mean, Come dad, Dad where are you? There
you are. Sometimes it is the intonation that will
convey the full meaning.
18 - 24 months
Loves nursery rhymes, books, likes to sing. Moves
from pOSSible 6 - 20 words to simple sentences and
vOC<lbulary around 24 months. Wants to know the
names of th;ngs and will point and ask, "What's
dat?" "Why?"
ASOVE Make books easily available at home so that your
child and her friends can discover them together.
2 - 3 years
Loves to be read to. Enjoys rhymes and poems, has
favorites. Many sounds still not pronounced accurate-
ly, but huge increase in vocabulary and complexity of
sentence structure. All basic language structures in
place, Refinement and expansion now possible. Talks
to selfwhiie playing and to others.
3 - 4 years
Able to use language to convey more abstract
thoughts such as likes, dislikes, bad dre;Jms, etc. Can
speak logically and grammotically, tells stories and
continues to expand vocabulary. nonsense
rhymes and jokes, and sound games.
4 - 5 years
Uses language to coordinate activity with other
children while Begins to use language in
more abstract forms such as writing.
5 - 6 years
Asks the meaning of abstract words and uses them.
Can use to describe future past events.
Very ciear on tomorrow, next week, etc. Precise about
age. address, telephone number. Loves jokes. Most
grammatical structure is complete by this time.
Enjoys listening to stories and "reading" them.
I W-HAT You SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR CHILD
coordination
0-8 weeks
Head lags when pulled to sit but gradually develops
rontml ilS an object may be visually tracked, or turns
to the sound of a voice.
8 -12 weeks
Head and chest are held off the floor when lying on
stomach. When lying on back enjoys watching and will
begir; to play with hands. May begin to coordinate
hand and eyes. f{eaching for interesting mobile.
12 - 24 weeks
Will learn to rollover. When pulled to sitting keeps
head firm. Once sitting the hands are free to "piay"
and so needs stimulating objects that are close
enough to pick up: a wooden egg and eggcup and a
soft knitted ball are useful. Can pass toys back and
forth bctw0cn
6 - 9 months
Becomes more able to sit sturdily. Likes to play. Tries
to crawl. Loves to poke things with fingers. Uses
one hand 10 reach for toys, beginning to use fingers.
Mav begin to pull herself to standing position if there
Legs seem to
position. Feeding herself
on tnn environment! 15 beginning to
build obiects. Enjoys books and likes to point at
pictures. Enjoys
paper.
moving it across
15 - 18 months
Enjoys moving things that require strength. Can walk
up and down stairs with a little help. Likes to be busy
with things in the home. Will heip unload washing
machine. Likes to fetch books and will try and turn
pages. Begins to practice running.
18 - 24 months
Exploring environment. Wants to take part in life. To
dress herself, to toilet herself, to eat for herself. Likes
to hold pencil or crayon and make marks on paper-
usuaily circles, lines and dots. hiwd often
used for picking things up, Wants real work to do.
2 - 3 years
Likes to ciimb. Enjoys cycling on small bike. lumps and
runs with confidence. Kicks balls. Likes TO use hands in
increasingly coordinated way and a variety of
tools. Enjoys gardening, cooking, cleaning, washing.
Wants to use your tools and do everything herself.
Loves finger rhymes.
3 - 4 years
Increases large movements through Likes to
play games that challenge her physically. Has good
billiskilis good balance. Climbs further and more
confidently. Uses hands to increase her
independence. Relutively fine hand control when using
scissors, paintbrushes, pencils. Loves finger rhymes.
Loves painting. Enjoys feeling objects. Likes
Sandpaper Letters.
4 - 5 years
Has learned to skip. Moves with greater rhythm to
music. Draws recognizable figures. Enjoys writing,
both pretend and reai. Can color outlines well and is
good at sewing. Is always busy. Likes to practice
writing.
5 - 6 years
Hand really begins to become the tool of the mind.
Your child is busy bringing the i-)anri under ever more
perfect control of the mind. Will work on topics of
interest for hours provided that the hand is also busy.
Perfects letter formation.
WHAT You SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR CH!LD
CHAPTER TWO
ping a Montessori approach
you may think !Ylonte5sori
'" ("lll",n){HI is :l mC'thod, a word that encap-
much better is :lppro:lch. The sulates it
'\10ntcssori approach cmbodi;;s attitude to
life and particularly to young children as they
grow and dC'vc]op. It is quite p05Sihk to do
without 5pecialized '\10ntcssori materi;)1 and
still have a Nlontessori approach; it is also
pnssihle to haw' all the specialized Nfo!1(cssori
matenals in the world and the
There are many activities in this book. snme
reflective of the Kind of experiences ynur child
would have in a Montessori school and others,
mostly games. that will provide extra support
Jnd more tun tar as she gains in knowledge
and CC1ntjdence. In all these activities it will be
important principles that reflect the '\.iclJ1tes;;ori
I :lttitude toward educating children, all of which
I hope vou will find reflect good common
sense.
Children have the power to
educate themselves
I Simply living in an environment that contaim
appropriate and heir, your
child learn. esp('ciallv in the first six years of her
life. \Vhat is important is to create the right
conditions for learning. Resed.ch shows us that
children who are relaxed and happy learn much
more easily chan those who feel stress or
tension. Much of what your child can learn will
be :wtom:ltioily picked up from you in rhe \V,W
important for you to maimain right atrimde that you go abom your life. If you wish
about her learning. A.t all times you m.ust your child to read and write, then she should
remember that you cannot learn for your child, live in an enyironment in which sees you
only she can do that! \Vhat you need is reading and writing. In addition, when you do
'lppro:lch that helps her to learn for herself. one attempt [Q give her a "lesson," it should always
that makes learning fun. Above all it is impor- 'I be plcamrablc Jnd fi.m in itself and not part of
[ant to realize that you helped to learn to I the "If you don't do this. you won't learn to
walk, talk, become sociable and so much more.
by prcwiding a mood for her to copy and learn
from. Your child absorbed your model and in
her own tlme practiced and mastered it. You
doubted tar one nlomenr that she would
be to do all things, and vou never
made her feel a failure if she didn't v ~ a l k or talk
tol1ovv'ing your tinle frame of expcctJtl0n.
\Vhat tollows in this chapter some of the
read," syndrome:
Children learn best when
so at their own pace
All human beings learn besr when
do
are able
to learn their own pace. What your child's
i pace is will depend on many ditferent things: in
part it will depend on her being able to use
! prcvlOus experiences to support new Ideas,
D r ~ VEL () P [ ~ G >\ !Vi () N T E:::, S 0 R I A P PRO A C H
concepts or skills; in part it will also depend on
the of day, her mood and the interest she
brings to the activity. Some things she will learn
very quickly and some things will take much
longer. You cannot judge her by the rate at
\'Vhich she learns. Fast is not ncccss;;rilv better.
nor can \ve say that the :raster she learns, the
brighter she is
l
What coums is chat
your child learns, she must feel secure in the
knowledge ,he has her pace
requires vou to be aware of her and aware of
ABOVE Children like to do things for themselves, learning
to cope with everyday things like dressing gives them
confidence in themselves. Confident children are always
ready to embrace challenges.
your own cxpcct:ltiollS. In this way you will be
able to slow down or speed up according to her
learning patterns.l'crhJr' you will spend
days exploring something that you thought
would five minutes, and five minutes
doing something that vou thought would take
several davs.
DEVELOPING :\ lViON S 0 R I A p P l ~ 0 A C H
The ages Jrrrii<l1tC'd to each of the activities
in this book are "best guess" gUIde and should
be treated as approximate, What is certain is that
all of rhern can be enjoyed and played by
children under the age of six,
Children need to make their own
discoveries
Can you rememher the last time you made a
No matter how small it was, a great
wave of pleasure was;-:ed over you, Sometimes it
felt as if a light Hashed on inside your head.
Whatever is that you now know, you know
because you discovered it younclf - it is first-
hand experience, You get quite a different
feeling if you are about to discover something
and someone else helpfully reveals the ;'n5vver to
you! All the effort you put in while you were
searching for the answer now seems wasted,You
often hear children saying, "You shouldn't have
told Ine, 1 "vas going to that!" You get a
grumpy response rather than a grateful one,
i coming up to rne and saying:
Child Do you know, three rimes three is nine
and that's a square, and three of those is and
that's a cube,
M.e My goodness, how do you know that?
Child I don', know how I know, but I do
know,
I did, of course, know how he knew, but
wouldn't have dreamed of robbing him of his
discovery, or of the confidence he had gained in
I the knowing,
The art is to learn how to lead your child to
the brink of discovery, then leave her to it. It
may be a discoverv vou vourself had nO(
I th;ught of yet! In th'is ;vay cilildren will begin
to love learning for its own sake and not feel
that learning depends upon adult intervention,
Children learn when they are
interested
i If you want your child to get the most out of
Children love to tlnd out things for I the games that you will plav together, you must
thcmselves.Yom Job is to try and help them to be sure she is interested in what you
do so, not to do it them, It is extremely hard ,hm"in£; heLThe tollowing gnidclines will also
to hold back an answer when to you it's so I help,
obvious, but hold back vou must and give your .. Choose [he right time of the day, Games that she
child time to make the discoverv tar herself I alreadv knows and enJoys can be played at
The skiH is in providing just the right 3motmt I almost any time; those that are neVi will need
ofhclp and no more. The form this "help" takes ail her attention dnd should only be played
will vary: occasiomlly ir may mean thaI you ask
her a few leading questions; sometimes you will
nced to provJC1c a tew extra steps for her to
reach her goal: most otten you will be required
to do nothing other than give her more time
and observe her more carcflllly, Doing that is
very hard, So otten, as adults, we like children co
teel that \-ve are the reason they learn
when she is fresh and ready for a cllalknge.
.. Be prepared to ,'rap a pame ifshe TO
play, or hcromil1gfi1.I.,-tr,1ted, You \-vill have maDY
more opportunities to intr'oduce her to it-You
need a positive response, not negarive one, If
YOU have spent some time preparing the
activitv, it can be difficult to accept that she is
not interested when you are dying co show her
something, This gives us good feeling, but ie I something ne\v'
doesn't help children teel ,hat they have the I .. Cliilrirm ,ire il.'Haily interested ill
power to learn and discover things for they can use some or ddl they
themselves when It comes to more farmal I have to play the game, Always trv to playa game
learning. I a child of just under tl-ve that builds on previous achievements,
2G ) 1) E L C) P 1 G ;\ I'v1 0 N T E S S 0 R! A P PRO ,A., C
.. rVithollt interest there is no but withour
iffort there is no interest. If you plav a game with
your child that is too easy, she will play it once
and not bother to play it again; if you plav a
game with her that is too hard, she will be
discouDged am: not play it again either.
Getting the amount of challenge just right is
quite a skill in the beginning, To do this, it's
helptul to assess how much of what you are
doing is known and how much is new, For
instance, you willneeci to judge the size of the
"steps" that you take when you move from
one activity' to another. Knowing your child
will help: children who find new things
daunting will need to take little steps while
those who need a challenge if you are to get
their attention need much larger ones!
Children need to develop
concentration
Children need to develop the ability to concen-
trate without it, it is very difficult to achieve
ABOVE When reading to your very young child, wait until
she has finished looking at the picture before you turn the
page, In this way, you wilt help to nurture her ability to
concentrate,
very much in life. The more we able to give
our full attention to a task, the more likelv we
are to succeed, Concentration is simibr to any
other skill we possess: the more we prrictice, the
berter we get,Young children otten already have
the ability to concentrate and adults often, quite
unwittin£;ly, do not help to strengthen it, Before
your child can begin to concentrate, she needs
to be able to give her full attention to g:lme
or task at hand, Once she is able to do that,
provided the challenge is right, she will begin to
focus more and more deeply on what she is
doing, It is this deeper level ofattention thar we
cali concentration <
When your child was a baby, she would
often look intently at the page of the book you
were reading, or at some object that had attract-
ed her attention, Did you wait until she had
changed the focus of her attention, or did you
distraCL her from So often, when children aTe
very small we do not consider the txt that they
might be concentrating, When your toddler is
1rnmcrsed in a game, do you interrupt her
without thinking, talk to her and c!em:md her
attention? When she wants our :lttention, we
will otten ask her to wait until we are finished;
when we want hers, we often insist on it
instdntl); no matter what she is doing, In many
ways, quite unintcmionally, adults disturb the
concemration of young children and then
worry about it years later when they teel that
their children lack it!
There are a number of things that vou can
do to help,
.. ellt down [he !1umhrr of trlcdsirm and video
programs that your (hild lIA11(he8, Tclcyj,jon in
particular is designed to keep her no
maner how boring the program, It does mis by
flicking from one thing to the next to keep the
audience cntertained. It's very difficult for a
child to learn to concentrate in this situation,
Do not confuse occnpation with concentr<ltion
- they are not the same things at all, In
DEVELOPI:'.J A MONTESSORI ApPROACH 27
when your child does watch
tclcyi,ion. do try' to make it a more active
experience than it might otherwise be. For
instance. talk to her about what is happening
and ask her to predict what might happen
next. Extend her interest in a prognm by
doing something practicai or creative relating
to it Don't watch for hours on end.
If you have the time to w:ltch tcln'ision with
your child, be brave, turn it off and read her a
story instead. her a story will
her to create im:1gcs in he-r ovvn
with the viords. Television
ability to visualize their own
pictures in the mind .
.. If you are pl,1ying !l gmne, fry to have the table or
floor clear of orher distracting items. Put on the
pbying surface oniy what you would like her
to give her attention to. T'f not to turn on the
television or raclio as this will make it more
diffiClllt for her to focus on what you are
doing. Music can be good to have in the
background, ;lfoviding that it forms a gentle
hackdrop Jnd is not jarring.
lHake sure you ,'1'crythil1g j'01f will need to
play the pame be/arc )'au .,·t,1ft. Getting up and
down w Gotch things can be verv distraCling. If
you have other chi]orcn in the tJmilv, it may
be wise to make sure thev are occupied with
solTle[hing that guarantees that you will not be
.. your child is attit'it)j
try to avoid interrupting 170: Without 1L
we can interrupt even by praising at the wrong
lTlOmC'm. The result of interrurtion is often
that she will 'rop ,vhJt ,he h;], been ooing.You
may :1.lso need to make sure that other
111Clll hcrs the do not interrupt her
of this the
t'arly 1110mhs of her lite on.
There of course times when you are in a
hurry or needs to happen urgently.
'These l11()J!lC:lltt;; 1>C(,0111(, the exceptions in
! your and your child's daily lite, and can be
:lccommndated more e:lsily If you see that she
concentrating on an betare you
need to go out, give her advance or
the fact 'lOU will be going out soon. Tell her
that this will mean she will need to think ot'
stopping what she is doing quite soon.
Children learn by doing
When children learn, they need to be active. not
passive. They learn far more by doing things tor
than they do by just watching others.
Apart from the times when you are to
your child, ,he should be more active than you.
In addition, in the lirs[ six years of her your
child learns preoominantly through reccivi:1g
impressions through her senses. The more that
i [here is to see, hear and touch. the betteL
Children need praise and
encouragement, not treats and
stickers
It can be very tempting to offer some kind of
I trade-otT to your child to encourage her to
i complete a given t1sk. The "If you do this, I'll do
thaI" kind ot'blackrnail may appear to work, and
it orten does in the short term. but it gives her
the wrong message: that there is no intrinsic
value in the activity and the only reason to do it
! is to gain a reward at the end. Very otten
! children who do things became there nuy be a
cookie, candy or toy in it for them. do not enjoy
the experience ano dn not jt':lrn so well
of it. Children are also expert at bargaining and
i usually hold more aces up their sleeve than you
do, so it's a tricky road to start down. Praise and
cnc'ourac:ement are ali that's needed. task is
worth doing, then it should woreh doing for
its own sake. If not worth doing, you
RIGHT Your child will team most through her own activity.
Try to give her experiences that will awaken all her
I senses: the more she can touch and see, hear and smeil,
the better,
:::g i D
P!Ne :\ I\·10:-JTESSORI ApPROA.CH
"bnllldn't be doing it :1nY"Y:1Y·
When prJi,ing your child beware of simply
telling her that everything she does lovelv,
brilliant, fantastic etc. Mos[ often children enjoy
a real recognition of their effort more than
blanket praise, Comments 5Uch ;1,:
You found that quite difficult, but you've
managed it.
That took a long time; you must feel
proud of yourself.
[like the way you ""rote that "e" which
one do you like best?
Manv years ago a little girl of four hrought me
a she had been working on, and asked i
me what I thought of it. I didn't reallvknow
what I thougbt of it and, pbying for time, I
asked her what she felt about it. This was her
answer: "Well it's not the best! can do. but it's
the best I can do today!" A fantastic judgment.
dnd not one I could have come close to
matching.
If your child begins to concentrate on ;m
activity, you will also begin to realize that, with
('('n,('nrrrltion, ,he will otten dt'velop the ability
to persevere and work things through even
when they are difficult. The ability to persevere
in an ilttempt to solve a problem "vill be a very
useful ability for her to acquire, especially when
she is engaged in more formal learning activities
that may require a little If children
have had the opportunity to persevere and
generally arrive at a good solution, they will
have a great deal of confidence when tackling
the new and the unknown. They will also not
mind so much when things don't work Out, or
they need to call for J"istance.i\ child who teels
that she can soke problems is i1hle to
take the fact ,hat occasionally she can't in her
stride. However, if she believes, before she starts,
that she won't be able IO manage, she will either
not start at all or give up at the first sign of diffi-
cultv.
Mistakes are an opportunity for
learning
It is important that children and adults feel at
ease when they make a mistake. A mistake or
error in judgment is an opporwnitv tor learning
,orncthing new. If we never make mistakes. we
don't really push the boundJ.rics of our skills or
knowledge :md we stay well within the limits of
what we know. So often children (and adults)
are made to silly or stupid when they make
a mistake. We carry around with us a fear of
making an error even though rnost are acciden-
tal or unavoidJ.ble.There are mamr ways you can
help your child develop a friendly relationship
yvith her
.. Even when she is very young, you can
cultivate a positive to
occurrences. If she spiEs or drops somethin);,
don't tell her off - show her how w clear it up,
or clear it up vourself, then take the
opportunicy to show hovv to carry or use
the object next time. You'll be amazed at how
! responsive she will be. In ;lddition, YOll will find
that next time she spills or drops something,
-:.n ! J) E LOP I G r\ IV1 0 N T E S S 0 R I A p PRO _A. C H
she will know what to do IO clear it up.
• It can be very irritating when somcone
always points out our It's mnch better
if we have some possibilirv of recognizing we
have made hefore someone dsc
comes along and rells us! Whenever possihle,
try to have some kind of self-checking
mcchrlnism in [he games your child plays. In
!\!lonte-slori terms this is called a "control of
error:'There are varions ways of providing rhis
self-checking mechcmism:
You could prepare a "finished prod1lct"
which vour child can use to check at the end
of a gan1e. For (;xamplc, if you have a game
where she is reading matching ,vords to
pictures, a checking device could be added.
Write the appropriate on the hack of the
picture or make a second set of pictures \\ith
the name attached. These can then be used to
check at the end of the game. (See
Cards, page
You could add some kind of color code cO
mdicate if an activity has been done accmarciv.
For ('xamric, when playing the Sound Boxes
(see page 57), you could put matching
colored dots on the bottom or' each pair of
OCC;tsional1y, von could show your child
that she could check what she has done by
using a reference book. Once she is able to
write, you will be able to show her how to use
a dictionary to check her spelling.
The of helping your child to check
feel dependent on other people's judgment
about her efforts: she will instead be able to
judge herself.
Even when there is no means of providing a
self-check, you can look at things together to
see there is anything that needs attention,
rather than pointing out what is wrong
imn1colJtcly.
unafi'aid of making
thev will develop an attitude that
allows them to try some-thing even if it looks a
I little difficult. We know that children who
develop this attitude find it easier to read. The
reason. for thIS is that they don't mind if they
don't get each and everv word right; they simply
i cry reading what's in front of them and will
quite often make a guess at vvhat an l1nknovcn
i word could be from the various clues thev pick
, up from the rest of the page. Then they check
for mcani'lg as they progress on through the
sentence. Children who are afraid of making a
rnistake will otten dwell on each and every
sound in the word, or simply spend a long time
staring at it trying to figure out what it savs.And
thev will do [his at the expense of nn dcrstand-
ing what the words arc trving to say. These
chiioren will need a lot of help when they start
to read and will need to have their contlckncc
and self-esteem boosted.
Repetition is important in
children's learning
herself rather than having you check everything i
is that she will grildually develop the ability to '
ask herself how she thinks she has done, and this
will develop her ability to make a judgment
about her own ettons. Learning to ask the
question, "How have I done?" can be very
helpfUl. \Vhen we are faced wirh becoming the
active partner in our own learning, we feel
more in control of oursclv-cs.your child will not
As we have seen in the previous chapter, repeti-
tion IS important in strengthening and
reinforcing neural connections. Even without
this k-lmvlcdgc know ho,\! the act
of repetition is if we wlsh to make some(hing
our own. To be able to do something well,
without a great deal of effort, we need to have
pracriced iL The old ;l(bge that "practiCf makes
perfect" is [rue. Young children often engage in
repeating actions, much to our puzzlement. You
can watch your toddler putting something into
DEVELOPING A :VI0NTESSORI ApPROACH :11
a box and taking it out over :md over again,
apparently without purpose. However. if it
keeps her ,memion, there is something within
her that is being cst:tblishcd and worked out
that we can only guess at. Enco:1faging your
child co practice will be especially important
when it comes to wriling. She will want to
practice if the practice is made interesting, and
she definitely won't want to if what you suggest
she does looks boring and pointless. Here are
t'"vo <)uggcst1ons:
• You can pro\'ide a nricty of different
that help your child practice the same skin. For
example, there are many types of games you
can play to reinforce her letter recognition.
(See Chapter 4.)
• :\void anything that looks horing. A good
rule of thumb to ask vo urs elf if you find it
boring. If you do, then your child probably
will, too! Don't give her page page of
ktters to or dull, boring workbooks or
TC'Jriing prinlcrs!
Children learn best when they
have chosen an activity
themselves .'
We all tend to be much better motivated when
we choose to do something ourselves. It's
eaSler to ch1l1enging
want to, rarher than because we are told to.
Helping your child to choose will stand her in
good stead later in her lite. Choosing is not
really an thing to do althongh \ve orten
it for granted that everyone can do it. Think
c;;rcfiJlly ;1hout your Do they all have
the ability to make choices. or do some of them
find it difficult 1nd try to avoid making them at
Jny cost? It is, of course, easier to say that we had
to do something due to force of circnmsLlncc or
oecause sonlC0nc us to. say
they \;vere1 "nlade to do SOHlething."
If we wam to make a choice, we must have
SOlne "-IHJWiC"S,C ohyhat the options before
I we make it. Witham this any choice we make is
really made on impulse. For msrance, in need to
make a choice between two things and! only
:mderst:md \vhat one of them actually is I can
either opt for the one I know, which keeps me
safe. or take risk and opt for the one I don't
knOw. This is not really more relving
on luck or chance. Equally, if I wish to buy a
box of candy and find myself in a huge candy
store, it's almost impossible to choose
Too much choice usually leaves us feeling we
still made the wrong choice, no matter how
long we took to decide'
Helping your cbld to make choices needs to
be done slowly and carefully. It can begin by
otTering her choice of two "known" things.
You could otfer her a choice of socks, dunga-
rees, etc. Show her a green pair and a blue pair
and ask her to choose \vhich one to wear.
Gradually, over time, she call choose from a
much wider selection. Perhaps you could pm
selection of clothes you'd be happy for her to
choose from into a few drawers or shelves. Don't
be ccght am bv summC'T things in
the wimer! And do be sure that
once she has chosen what to wear you don't
complain. If you don't want her to we;;r ::m
orange sweatshirt wlth pink trousers, don't
include them a choice.
There will be many occasions when you will
be able to involve your child in making choices.
During mealtimes you can ask, "\Vould you !ike
to have juice or milk today, cereal or fruit?"
"Shall we do some or shall we learn
more of those letters today)" Gradnalk she \vilJ
develop the abiiity to make reallv good choices
as she practices weighing up
of many different :;:inJ3rlOn<:;.
pros ;tnd rons
Very otten, offering your child a choice of
:lCtlvitv, clothing or food CUtS down the number
of times you enter into contl-onrarion with each
other.
• Ke::p an area such a shelf or table ready
i DEVELOlJl0iG A i\10
SORI ApPROACH
ABOVE Helping to sort and organize her dothes will help
your child to become aware of the choices that she has
each morning when she gets dressed.
RIGHT Make sure that your child feels comfortable when
she comes to draw and later to write, A table and chair
that aHow her feet to touch the ground and her arms to be
at the right height are best,
with ali the things that your child might need.
The sheif could have a variety of gJl11es.
pencils, paper Put the current Jcriyiticcs
that you are using out. Inaking that she
can reach the shelf herself. Try to keep the
things she uses regularly in the ,8me ;-,1ace so
that she can always find them. In this way she
D LOPI0IG t\ !v10:\'TESSORl ]>PROA.CH
will be able co choose for herself what she
\vould like to do and when would like to
do 1t. If possIble - and this is a rather expensive
option - try to let her have a small table and
stool of her very own.
.. Take time to check that everything on the
shelf is complete Children like to be able to
on with what they have cho,en. and if
something is missing they be di\Trted
tram practicing or plaYing the altogether.
One additional wav of helping yom child to
make choices is to make sure whatever she
chooses to do has reasonahle chance of
If she choose:;: something rh8t Vv'()rks out
well, she will more like choosing again. If
what she chose was unsuccessful, she will feel
less like choosing again. That's nor to say that all
choices ,hould have favorahle ontcomes, hut it
is wIse in the hf'ginning to limit choices to
those activities that are within her reach rather
chose thai: are difficult.
Learn to observe your child
Knowing what to show your child
when she needs practice, when she
needs praise. when she needs a challenge. all
these things rely on vour knowledge of vour
child. Ohscrving her is essential if vou WIsh to
her the help at the right time. Perhaps
this skin alone is the art of a good teacher: to
know '.vhat to vvhen to gIve It
and how to it. The follO\ving guidelines
will help
Trv not to let your child know that you are
w:1tching hcr.\Vhcn people fccl ,varched they
do not usually h",haYc naturallv. Develop the
skill oflooking Out of the of eye.
Try to watch out for small details rather than
more things. If you are watchmg
your child dr::wing, rather than concentnting
on what she is drJ\ving, concentrate on how
she IS Ohserve how she holds her
34 i!) E V U P [ "C .A :'vI 0 CJ
OR! i\PPRO!\C
pencil, \vhich mn\·,'TnCTlrs (0 come most
easilv [Q her, which ones she might need extra
practice with. the IS 111 right
position, whether hodv is rell.xcd. Note
time. Does she like lo do trus kind of activity
this time every day? If so. would be a good
moment to introduce similar activities that may
provide more experience in handling writing
tools?
.. If she finds something to do. try and
isolate exacdv what it is that is causing her a
problem. If your child always seems to spill
milk when she pours h(,T>clf a
to Judge the following. Is it
pitcher is too full.
pitcher too large.
vou need
She fails to center the lip of the pitcher
over the mouth of the glass.
She starts pouring before she centers the lip
of the pitcher.
She moves the pitcher before is turned
upright again.
pours lOO (1Sr.
She doesn't hold the pitcher securely.
She rests the pitcher on the rim of the
glass.
does the pitcher actually work) Many
of them seem to be
without dripping
l
not to pour
Learning to obsen;e which of the above is
causing the problem means you are halfway to
solving it; the other half is solved when vou
show Your child how to master the part chat
causing the
It can also he helpful to observe situations
that cause your child to react in a particular
Learning to recognize leads her to enjoy
or dislike an activity be very useful. Differ-
ent children have jitferent 'pace requirements
Some like to work almost on top of other
people while others prefer to keep quite a
disr;mee between themselves othcn; ,ome
are quite happy to work in a confined arf'a and
others need to spread out.
Learning to observe your child will enable
you to become even more sensitive than you
already are to her needs. her likes and dislikes .
and to the \vay she reacts and interact;:;, \-vith
others. You will sense when she is ready to
learn something and when she needs
rC;lS'llranCe and a chance to repeat what she
already knows quite well. It's well worth
rcnlrrnhcring the old saying that "Childhood is
a journey, not a race:'
aPlprC)ach to reading and
Before hCf:;inning to your child to re:ld
,md write there are a few other pieces of infor-
mation that will be useful for you to know
about the Montessori approach. Knm,,-ing them
wili help you adapt any of the 111 this
book, and any others that you come across, to
'lour particular child wit!iom losing the integri-
ty of the approach.
lZeading and writing are both complex
activities that require a child ro develop many
skills and abilities, and to use them all
In concert. It is better to master each skill, one
bv one, especially the skill is easy to learn
bcrausc it belongs [Q a g:Jme that's to play,
whether vou are learning to read and write or
not. It is very important to play of the
games in this book Its ovvn and not
pan of a long, never-ending slog toward
learning to read or write. You mav know that
each activity you show your child Will help
her to do these things, but vou don't need to
tell her that! One day using all the skills and
abilities thar you have helped her to build, she
D
shouid just find herself able to read and write
spontaneously, as you will see in Chapter 4.
To help your child overcome diftlrulty
at a time, you will play games that make use of
things that she can :l!re::d\\' do and which
encompass only one new skill or ability. In this
way she can progress fi-0111 mmcthing she knows
to something that is new in small, attainable
steps. Should she need more help, you should
simply make the steps smaller, and if she finds
things too easy, you might find vourself taking
two or three steps at a time. The important thing
is to fo]]ow her lead.
To begin to judge the different steps you
need to rake to prepare your child to read and
write, look at both of these complex activities
and try to assess all the different skills, ;jbiiities
and she may need to accomplish
them. In doing this you will be able to develop
chese skills in advance of when they will be
needed, helping her to practice them for their
own sake. She will love pbymg the g;1mcs in an
atmosphere of fun, under no pressure to
produce an end result.
Skills and abilities required for
reading and writing
Your child will need
.. To love and enJoy books so that she wants to
learn to read and write.
.. To have knowledge of the world around
her so that she can make sense of the hooks
you read to her. and use this knowledge to
express herself in writing.
• To have rhe ability to use her own
well and to enjoy the sounds, rhymes and
patterns in it. as this is the starting point for
both reading and wrinng.
• TO develop a knoy';kdgc of print and how it
is used in both reading and writing.
• To develop good control OVEr her bodv, and
OR! Al'PRU/\C
in particular her hand. if she is to tlnd writing
relatively easy
Specifically she "vilI need
.. To be able to iink the sounds of her
'lnguage to letters of the alphahet.
.. To be able to write these letters.
.. To use her kn<)w]"d,re of the ,,;orld and of
her language to extran meaning trom written
text and to give meaning to her own \wiring.
+- To use a variety of str:1tcgics to recognize
words, somc>times instantly through their
pattern or her f:nniliariry .\vith then}, or
her ability to work them out.
Finally, once she can read and
write, she will need
+- To explore how
convey meamng .
.. To discovc>r accur;1te
is used to dfc>cr to
of spelling ,yords
based on regular and irregular patterns.
.. To explore rhrongh her o\'.'n writing and
reading the different tGrms that text can take,
i.e. stories of fact and fiction. poems, letters.
diary entries. hooks and q) on.
.. To explore the use of pllncmation as a
mc;ms of helping both and writing to
DEV LOPIN .-\ l'v10
ORl ApPROACH
become more
Throughout th;, hook you will tlnd activities to
support all these strands oflearning, and each of
them builds one upon the other until they all
combine to contribute to the reading and
writing that your child do.
Although there has been a vast amount of
research in the fields of reading Jnd writing,
are still ,omcwhat in the dark as to how it all
comes together. Increasingly there seew-S to be
some support for children being encouraged to
learn how to read through their own writing,
and this approach is one rhat Montcs'ori schoob
for children under the age of six have rollo\vcd
since they were founded. Dr. "v1omc,sori was
probJbly the first educationalist to suggest that
child, with sufficiem knowledge ofletter-sound
correspondence, would tlnd it easier to write
down her own thoughts as a first step rather
than read the thought, of others. She said in The
Dis(OFcry Clf the Child:
~ F r i r i l 1 g is del/fl0pcd ill the small (hild Pasil)' and
'!'ontallfotlsly, ill The
also a motor
lain:
HmVC\Tr, it is worth noting that she
also suggests children who do
not have good hand-eve coordi-
nation may prefer to read first
because they may find the act of
writing too onerous. What is certain
is that both writing and reading
are fused together in a kind of
dance, the presence of one
ing the other.
LE FT Help your child at the right time and
in the right way and he will enjoy
discovering the different ways that words
can be spelled.
To understand how it is possible for \"Titing
to precede we could look at a simple
version of the two rroce,ses.
\'(lriting using [his model appears to be
Reading
When we read, we look at text that has been written
by someone else. We start with something
unl<nown.
in order to read we look at the print and try to figure
out what the word is. We may do this by letter-
sound correspondence, which we must then fuse
together by recognizing the word as a whole
or by guesswork.
Having identified the word we must cast
back and forth in our minds to give it a
meaning. and this will depend on our own
experiences, the context in which the word
appears and the role it plays in the sentence.
I When we need to help children to associate a
name and an object together in a Montessori
cla"ronm, we follow a procedure which we call
The Three Period Lesson (it is so called bEcause
the lesson falls into three dimnct stages). The
amount of time spent on each period will
depend on your child - usually. hOWC\Tr, most
time is devoted to the second stage since this IS
when child practices as)ociaring the object
closer to spoken language than to reading, and I
more immcdi1tely accessible. From child's
point of view. to the sounds she hears
in her head and working out which letter she !
will need for each sound requires only a little
and name together. It is a simple procedure,
which can be applied to almost :myrhing once
you have it.
knowledge. In these verv early days
young children are not concerned with accurate
spelling and many do not particularly care
,vhether you can read what they have written or
not. (You will soon get used to trambting what
they have written.) They are jnsdiably proud of
the fact they can wTite and that seems enough.
I The three period lesson
Having begun to words into their
component parts, it is a verY short step for your
child to read what she has written. She will do
Usuallv about three different objects are intro-
duced during the lesson.
Stage 1
Place one of the objects in iront of your child
this pardy from memory and partly from a ! and say its name clearly. Do the same for each of
growing of the way that she has made the other two objects.
the word in the first place. This stage is characterized by the words 77,is
Throughout the book you will find activi- is a ..
ties that require your child to acquire specitlc
information: the name of an object, the shape
and sound of a lener. [he of a word.
Stage 2
Place all three ohjects together and ask for one
DE\, E LOP I N G /\ 1\1 0 r-,,; T E S S 0 R I A p P lZ- 0
of them by name. Once your child has identi-
fied the object you want, mix all three up
together :md ask for another one. Repeat this
until she is able to identify the objects swiftly
when you ask for them. her to
repeat the name of the object after you from
time to time, but don't at this poine ask her to
try to remember the name. Keep chis stage
interesting and fun by varying the reqLiests you
make, and keep them short so that her attention
is not distracted by the command.
This stage is chJncrerizcd by the words Gil'P
me the.,., Show me the ... , Put the "., Hold the,."
TOuch the., , Point to rhe ..
Stage 3
Point to one of the ohjcC'ts and ask your child if
she knows its name. Do the same for thc other
two objects. Repeat this step a few times Lintil
she is really convinced that she does know the
lumes of the objects.
This stage is characterized bv the words
vVhat this? Do yNi whar rhis is?
The lesson follows logical process, which
helps children objects and ideas; and
through a more tlexible application, it can also
be used to great etTect in learning any new
knowledge.
The first stage clearly sets Out the parame-
ters of what is to be learned.
The second stage gives your child time to
actively connect the new information to her
own experience. If you don't give this phase
long enough, she may not have had enough
time to gain the new knowledge. she is
we tend to use it as a springboard for further
exploration - your child may use her new
knowledge to extend her ideas and experiences
in ways that you haven't yet thought of]
Should your child not be able to tell you in
the last stage what she has learned, or if she gets
verv muddled in second stage, don't worry -
simply tell her what the object is and bring the
lesson to a plrasant clme. It doesn't matter
l
You
will have many, many more oppormnitiC's to try
again on a different day. This activity is not a test
i that must be passed; it's simply a good way
i of helping children learn particular concepts.
Following the developmental
route
Before we move on to the nexe chapter, it's
worth remembering that what follows works
i because it account of the develop-
ment of your child,
.. The tremendous power of a mind
i appears to be limitlc:ss in the amount that
take on board, particularly through sensory
i
.. Periods that relate to specific
developments in the ,vay tb::tt a child's mind is
formed. In particuiar, scnsiti,'ities to
:l1oVC'mcnt, order, social dcve'lopment ;md the
developmcnt of perception through sensory
expcnences.
.. A strong urge tor indC'pendencc
.. A desire to communiCltc
.. .A strong desire to find purposeful activity or
"work."
unable to remember the names of the objects i All of these can be nunured in a loving and
during the third phase, this usually means she supponive enVlfonment, an enVIronment ill
has not spent enough time them which adults mmt recognize that, if thev are to
properly in the second be successful in helping their child to learn to
The third stage heips your child to identif)' I read and write, they must follow the lead of their
what she now knows that she didn't know
before. To know that vou know eives confi-
dence. When we are in our i
i D ELOP!!',;G i\ ,\rio OR; PROACt--i
child. She is unique on this earth, someone \vho
has never been before nor ever will be again,
CHAPTER THREE
paring the way
you prepare yom child to read and write,
role \"-111 be rather like that of a
,0ndllClor rc.hcar'ing an orchestra tor a concert,
She will need to draw on manv cliffC'rcnt pieces
of knowiedge, and in order to do so, you will
need to help her interpret and slot the dispafJte
pieces together in the correct way so that she
can succeed.
As parent you have a unique advantage
over teachers. You are natural e>duc:1tor and
you have a very special rrlatiomhip with your
child. You know her in a wav that a teacher
never C:ln: you her and
humor. You have rim_es when you can be
together witham the diseraction of ocher
children and wirhocr timetahle to tollow.You
know that your child is man'clous, and all
children thrive in an 3tmo,phcrc of love and
Pablo Casal.s in Joys and Sorr,1I1'( C'xprcssed it
well:
Each second we is a new and 'mi'lu/'
a moment that n.ever
was before alld I1fl'(r !I)i/l be ag,1in And u!har do
lUI' teach our 111 Hie them
rhat and 111-'0 make jOllr and thar Paris is
the ral'itai or France, lYe shmlid say fa them: Do
you
are Imi'lue. In all the ,{'orld illiTt 110 other
child exactly like you. L-ind 1001, at your body -
it is! Vil1lr leE-', your arms, your
the way you 1nove! You Fnay
11Namr a Shakesrrarc, a ,'\1iri7rlal1gf'io, a
BeethovClt. Ynu haw the (,lrari!y J11' anything
Yes, you are a marl'ri.
From the very beginning of life your child has
learned many things trom you, by 1nd
:iltening to you, bv being with you and by
sharing her life with you, She learned them
simply by living. You can help prepare her for
reading and writing in the same way.
What makes children want to read
and write?
Your child will want to read and ,vnte if she sees
that you C'njoy writing, JUSt as she
learned to speak bcc;msc you spoke to her, so she
will WaIl[ to read and write if it is lomcthing that
she sees rhat you do. This means thar she needs
EO see you enjoying good read or writing in
the natLiral course of the dav so that she will
come to realize it is something cnjovahle that
you do tor yourself. This is not to say that vou
have to be seen only "good" literature or
writing a sonnet I It won't matter to your child
what it is that VOl! like reading: light
fIction, nineteenth-century novels, comICS,
poetrv or the sports pages, Nor wili it maner EO
her whae it vou like Writing: lists, letters, notes,
crosswords, word puzzles, competition Entries or
poetrY. Just seeing you read and write will make
aU the difference.
The other single most important factor in
helping your child EO read and write is to read to
PREP_,\R[!:'G THE WAY 39
her. Read \vhencvcr you can and whatever you
can - but don·t read Jnnhins boring. Read to
her at least once a day and continue to do this
for as long as evervone enjoys it. One family I
know still reads togerher c,nd the children are
now 12 and 14 years of age respectivelyl
There are many children and aduits in the
world who are unable to read and write and,
tragicallv, there arc even more who can read :md
write but never choose to do so. Don't let that
be the tate of your child. From the very begin-
ningvou need to a love of the printed
word in all its forms. You need to help create a
desire in her to become a reader and a writer.
and the best time for this is before the age of
SlX, during the period that is the most formative
of their lives.
at home
H:lving a book is rather like having a passport
that allows you to travel without ever leavmg
home: it can take you to another country and
can transport 'lOU eirher b:lckward or forward in
time. Books can make you laugh om loud and
they can make you sad; they can help you
llucin'f;llld more about yourself and more
about other people; and they can help you
nuke sense of personal situJrioIlS or help vou
discm'cr new facts ;cbout the world. Books call
also help us co fInd om things for
we can have access to evervthing that has ever
been written down should we require iI.
Fil1dil7g a place to read
You will need to identify at least one place ill
the house where you will be comfoft:1hle
enough to read to your child on a rcgubr basis.
i\ comfy sofa or large armchair in the living
room is often a convenient place, :mci it can also
be useful co have a comfortable SDot in
bedroom., too. Tty to have a se!ectio; of books
close to the place or places you have chosen as
your reading Spot or SpOts.
Pk R! '"'IG \Vi\Y
\\Then your child is very young, create a
small bookshelf at her own height so that she is
able to choose books for herself when she w:mts
to read. Children can choose books long betore
they can walk, so the shelf shouidn't be very
high, If you don't have room tor a shelf, prop
some books on the t100r up against rhe wall,
making sure the IrOnt cover of each book is
visible it's nearly impo"ihlc tor child!'cn to
choose books when they can only the spine.
You'll find that when books are swred with
onlv the spine showing they will tend to end up
in a heap on the noor more often than nor,
because children pull off the shelf as they
hunt for the cover of the book they have in
mind. Change the selection of books rl'0111 rime
to time, too, making sure that the favorite one at
that particular time always remains. to have
least one book of poems and rhymes and one
factual hook on the shelf at anyone time.
display the books, you will have fewer
than YOU actually own, but as vou change them
around you'll soon discover what your child·s
particular tastes are, which ones she likes and
which, tor the time being or even
not appeaL
ever. do
If you put a little shelf in her bedroom,
arrange a few soft pillows, a rug or beanbag
nca.rby; everyone needs to be comfortable
they read. Some children like to stretch Out on
the floor to look at books, and all children like
to sit on their parem's lap,
Reading together
Read aloud as often as you possibly can to your
child, and at least once a day. Reading a story
out loud is a shared experience and it is
important that she teels included. Physical
comaCt often vital and both of you must be
able to look dt tbe book at the same time.
Pictures are an important means of engaging
her attention and in the he ginning ,hey will
help her to visuaiizc \vh:!t it that the text is
ABOVE If you want to encourage your child to read, try to
organize a small "reading corner" in the living room. AU
you'l[ need are some low shelves that he can reach by
himself and a comfortable place to sit,
CClnvcying. If vou orJy have one child in the
family, this is quite easY to do: but when you
have lnore than one, a certain amount of
organization is essential so that no one feels
left out.
Reading together has a value that goes
beyond rhe simple experience of reading a
book. It is possible that IS the
onlv shared activity in day for busy, working
parents and II can help create a special bond
between YOU and your child. It is a very rare
occasion tbe a chiid will not want to listen to a
story!
You can sIart to read stories to your child
shortly after she born, Younger siblings are
otten verY lucky as thev get to listen to stories
trom birth. As adults we teel a bit strange
looking at a book with a child who is not
talking, but children of ,lIlY age can appreciate
books. In any event, start reading as soon as you
feel able w.
Here are a few simple tc,"hn'ql1cs to help
your child learn to handle books. Spend a little
time prJCficing them with your tv'io-vear-old
and she will take very good care of her books.
PI\RING THE WAY 41
the pages of a book
Your child will \yam to begin [0 turn pages
herself very quickly, so ,how her hm\' to do it.
Children sometimes try to use their whole
hand to scrunch up the page and turn it, or they
may hold the page close to the spine, which i
quickly leads to split pages, Show her how to
litt the top or bottom corner of the right-hand
page bel:\veen her thumb and index finger, then
slide the whole hand under the page you
turn it tl'om right to left. Practice this together.
Board books, illtho1lgh ,turdv, arc too thick for I
the pages to be turned properlY so you will '
need to show her how to do this with ordinary
books.
Carrying a book
Show your child how to carry a book using
PREPARING TH \Vr\Y
ABOVE Take time to show your child how to turn the pages
of a book (or get an older friend to show him), It wiU
foster his tove of books, as he sees exciting new pictures
emerge each time he turns the page,
two hands to grasp both sides firmlv, Children
will often hold only the trOnt or back cover,
causing rest of the pages to flap about.
Ll'arning to put a book back 011 the
shelf
If your books are propped up with the cover
facing out vou will need to show her how co put
the base of the book fi-1Ither out than the walL
then tilt the top edge of the book back on to
wall, If vou have books' spines
you can show her how to make room for the
book betore trying to slot it into place, This
pf'2Vcnts one book being forced on [Op of
another.
With experience, your toddler will get to
know which way up a book goes, how to turn the
pages and in which direcrion they ,houtd :-urn,
and how to return it all by herself to the shelf
'-X1hen your child begins to go offby herself
and choose a book, gets comtortable and starts
to look through It in a world of her own, you
know that you have succeeded in creating a
reader - a child who chooses to read, A child
who hal knmvledge of the hooks have
to otTer. She is a child who understands rhat the
'llustrati01ns ;md print carry a message for her to
enjoy. When you see that the book is the right
way up, that the content is being studied and
that the pages are being turned in the right
dirt'ction, you know that YOU have achieved the
single most important step in helping her to
read and write,
Choosing a book
When choosing books for your child.
that a loved book is one that YOU
wii! read many times over. It important that
you are not bored by it. as she will ask for it
time and time again. If the story, or the pictures,
seem lifeless or dull. give the book awav to
'omcone '.vho may appreciate id If the book is
a gitt. don'[ feel bad about putting it away for
later. prohahly much Iater.Your child needs to
listen to books that you value and love; never
read a book out of duty. Trust your own
- if you think book is boring, it
proh;]bly is,
There is nothing wrong with telling your
child that there afe some books that do not
appeai to you or books you feel are not well
WrItten, I have a real Jve"jon tor the sugarv-
sweet, ,Emmed-down of children's
classics that have been re-written in order to
cash in on the larest carmon release, They seem
to me to be very badly written, lacking in any
real emotion;]] coment and otten inaccunte, My
children, on the other hand, quite like the
pictures hecause they recognize them from the
cartoon and all the other merchandising
offs they find in the stores, I would rather read
the original versions to them when they are a
little older.
Because children enjoy the same book over
and over again they very quickly remember all
the words, If you are reading last thing at night
to your child, do not be tempted to paraphrase
book because you are anxious to get to the end,
Nor should you attempt to miss out certain
pages to get it over and done with, If you do,
I you will have to rely on your memory every
tIme you read the story again, Worse still, if your
partner takes over the rca ding f()[ one night he
or she will discover that the version your child
wants to hear bears little actual relation to the
story in the book
l
Be clear before you begin how much you
are going to read,With small children the stories
tend to be quite short and you can decide
together whether you read one or two, Once
you are reading books with chapters, you will
have to agree on the number of chapters you
will read per night. Your child ,vill always wam
to hear just one more chJptcr and you can
explain to her that this is sign that the book is
written by a verv good author. The only other
hazard you have to avoid when reading to your
child at night is falling asleep before she does,
and there are no tips that I can recommend to
help you avoid doing that!
your child grows older and really begins to
listen to the words of the story, look at the primed
words on the page and ask her open-ended
questions about what she thinks might happen
and what she believes the characters might be
thinking, This will encourage her to give active
attention to the story, and active participation of
this kind has been shown to have a good effect on
I reading ability in young children,
PREPARI01G THE 43
It's also good to discus' the of some
words as you come w them so that she under-
stands both the and the look of the
word.
When words repeated as part of the
repecition of the story, let your child begin to
help you say them. This is especially easy if the
words rhyme.
a love of the way
larlgllag;e works in books
you read to your child over the years, she
will develop an undcrstJnding of the way
language is med in stories and the form which
stories take. Book bnguagc is different
ti-om spoken hnguage and has its own rhythms
and styles. Children soon begin to realize that a
swry begins with words that set the scene and
build ;mticipation, words mch as "Once upon a
tin,e," and "Long ago," are favorites for older
children, while often for younger children a
more direct introduction is made. They also
begin to tmdersrand how a story ends: that
there is always some kind of resolution, [he
cqni','alcm of";md they all lived happily ever
after" or simply "the end." Writers use many
other ways to help them predict what is coming
next and children grasp all of them as they are
read to. In reading stories 'iNrittcn by six-year-
olds. I notice that manv of them seem to start
with "One day," and all are brought to a conclu-
sion, sometimes very ahruptlv'
Book hnguage is much more descriptive
and more Thyrhmical than spoken language. A
good book will help your child, through its use
of words pictures in her mind.When
1Il speech would you ever say the following,
from The IYlwles' Song by Dyan Sheldon and
her a
'Once lipon a time,' she said, 'the ocean was
.filled il'ith !lJilalcs. TIley as h(g as the hills.
Tiley "'CIT as as the moor!, They llJere
PRE!' /\ it: N C E \VA.Y
the mOSi fl'ondr(Jus
1111(1,51i11(,.'
),(1U ((luld C1-'cr
books can also give children experiences
that will help them to move on to more
complex forms of books as they
The author Mem Fox describes how in her
book :\J'1gir she deliberately bcgim with.
"Once upon a time ... " in order to link it to all
the stories children will have heard before they
read her story, and those stories that will come
after. She also makes Possum ;\1agic an archetypal
quest swry, in preparation tor the nnny
stories that children will meet in the future. such
as Homer's Gdpsc)' the Arrhuri;m legend;;.
It is worth mentioning that children also like
the sensa,ions that a book otters. The size of a
book, the smell the type of paper that the
book 15 printed on, the illustrations, all these
clements play their parr. There no doubt that
some books make J. deeper impression on
children than others. and in part this can be due
to the fact that more senses have been
by these books [han just the ear and the eye.
The importance of illustration
Illustrations play an enormousiy imporunt role
as vour child listens to vou read and begins to
read herself. Good illustrations will help her to
work out what is happening in story. The
vounger your child is, the more vital the
pictures are: it is very often the p1ctures that first
fix her attention on a book, and she will use
them to help her to predict wha[ the story line
Helpful illustrariom will clearly ,hmv what is
h:lppcDlng in the text. Long before your child
can read she will sit down with a book, study
the pictures and use them as a way of "reading"
the storv. It is possible [() see children as young
as 18 months doing this, and by the time they
RIGHT Book illustration should be inspiring and absorbing
- like this one from The Whale's Song by Dyan Sheldon
and Gary Blythe. Pay as much attention to the quality of
, the illustration as you do to the text.
+6
are about nvo, you '\vill ,,)()1l1crin1C'\ bear them
telling a story to go along with the
There are very good pIcture books for
young children - some use photogr:1phs and
some illustrations. Try to find sorne that tell a
story using pIctures onlv, then your child can
help you to tell the story also '''read'' it to
herself and others,
Illustrations can also inspire children to
create artwork of theil' own, so it's a good idea
to choose books with beautiful examples of
different I'm not in the least artistic
but many have appealed both to and the
chIldren that I have known, and I have listed
them later m this book, in Chapter 9,
l\rt activities
You can use a good book iilustraticlJ) as a model
for your child to look at to Geate her own
picture - all you'll need to supplv is some
dnd penCIls in lots of jolly colors), or
a small hlackbmrd and chalk<;, The fact that you
have chosen i]]\1stLltion from;) rook to act as
your inspir;Hion fmv in turn inspire her to tell
her own swries using pictures alone, She may
also decide co :md pm her own words w
her <m:work. Depending on her ahilitv to write,
vou may down words as she dictates
them, she may put "marks" on her own illustra-
tion or she rnay vvrite a {e\v vvords or \vhole
story to go with it.
In some books the illnstl':ltious tell the story
in more detail th:m the words, and can be
particular tor your voung child. For
example in classic book by Pat Hutchins,
R,'sie 5 H41k, the story very simply teils us of
Rosie's '\v-alk h0l11e through the farrnyarrl to :he
hen house. The humor of the story lies with
vvhich sho\v the disJstrnus :1ttcrnpts
of Ihe fox to Rosie as she on,ohliv-
lnentions the of the
jokes contJined in the
PRE KINe THE \VAY
once
pictures, and atter one or two pictures are able
co anticipate the of the fox.
A guide to the content of
children's books
To help you to get to know the choice of books
J\'aibHe for young children I would recom-
mend that you join your local library. Librarians
are trained to kno\v what is :n;aibhlc for young
children and should be able to suggest tirles for
your child that will revolve
they also have :lCcess to all the latest tides.
Libraries also sometimes have storytelling
sessions tor young children, and other events
that revolve around books, all of which can be
fun to attend. \vllen your child is around three,
she may be able to have her own library card.
Recent studies show that children seem to
benefit most from text that is slightly more
complex than theIr own speech, and that they
love to hear lllore complex voc;::thulary than
they themselves use
A good rule of thumb to tallow is that the
tlit' child, the more realistic tlie content
should be. Trv to limit the fantastic and
grotesque stories umil your child is six or over-
many of the traditional Brothers Grimm or
Hans Christian Andenon fairy rales are more
understanding of the differences between the
two. Around the age of four most children will
start to tell you the between
something that is pretend and that is
real. Mv own children identitled the
by adding the words "in true life" when [hey
were speaking of something really had or
could happen. Around the of six, children
clearly
\rvith
good
to enjoy the tensions that come
adventure have a really
to ;tpprcciatc the ""rightness" or "\yrongncss1' of
human anions at this age and can put
into the position of others, so they
arc ready tor this kind oflitcr:lturc.
Choose conrent for your child that is life-
affirming and that helps to explore the
facers of her world and extend
her :mdcrstanding of it. Repetition cmd rhyme
are also important factors in choosing books
that appeal to this age group.
What follows is a rough guide to the type of
content that children may be
according to their age. There is a fuller list of
books you may tlnd useful in the book, in
Chapter 9.
Up to Two
Very young children will \vam to go backward
as often as they wam to go torward when they
look book. The pictures win catch their
attemion. This is absolutel,- in the early
stages they need tirne to comprehend chat a
story has a hcgmning, mlddle and end.
Try to toilow your child's Jlthough
not p0inting
the illmtT<ltion,s and
talking about them, then look 3t more
complex aspens of the dnwings.You em art<lch
a little story to the dr:l\vings dcscr:bing what
is haprening in them. The next step is to
summanze rexr dnd eventually vou will be able
to read the text.
to set aside a panicular time each day on
a regular basis for "reading" and don't be disap-
p01nrcd if she loses interest quickly. Songs and
rhymes will be \'ery popular at this stage, and
'well-illustnted books which contain those
songs and rhymes fanliliar to your child can be
helpful.
Books rontdining photogr:lphs of well
known evervday objects and can ;Ilm be
of interest this age. Particularly popular are
"flap" books thar reveal all manner or things
hiding under the t1ap. Board books are swrdv
and last well, although they can be difficult to
manage wh,:n your child begins to want to turn
the pages.
Two to Three
Books that expand the range of nursery rhymes
and poems that they already know are partiCL1-
lady popular with this group, as are everyday
events made into stories. Subject matter that
centers on things that happen in and around
horne will help your child's sense of securi(y
. develop as she finds herself able to predict what
bppens in her life. Look out tor books that
your environment, whcrher it be inner
You should now be
simple plot that will
and so on.
storics with
be learned bv
heart. Don'c try to skip any pages!
Rememher to look factual books as well
as tlcrional one,_
Three to Four
Stones should conrinue to follow [he everyday
haprc:nings of your child. At this stage
,:n!1[C!1[s of some of her books should not only
support and confirm her knowledge but aiso
stretch it.Trv to tind :lCCuLlte, inf0rmJrive hooks
based :lroul1d your child's interests. she will
now be cunous to till out what she knows with
much more detail. Books that deal wi(h
emotions are also very helpful for children of
this age group, as are chose that help her deal
with new situations. q1ch preschool,
going to the doctor or havmg a new brother or
sister. Humor tends to he enJoyed if it is of the
>\;Jap<:;tick" variety.
Four to Five
Now your child needs books to help develop
understJnding of the \vorld, books that open
\vlnoo\vs infO other pc('\p1c's liYes, ho'.,v they
and what they do. Stories should be getting
longer wich more complex storv lines, and
PR THE WP,Y
should have more than pictures so that thev i As always, respond sensitively to vour child.
can be read aloud. Provide lots of reierence I If she seems imerested in spending some time
books. You will also need to search for books looking at "print" then do so: if she is singularly
that she can start to try to read and remember.
She is more likely to read about some'thing she' I
is interested in than something that is easy.
Choose bOOKS where the bnguage is simple but
well written. Humor hecomes even more
lacking in curiosity aboH[ it, it tor another
dav.You will be to her almost every day
tor at least six years and during this time many
of the points below will arise quite naturally.
important now than it was before children are I • Help your child to see lI'hirh
able to identif.j when 'omcthing pre'dictable is I
used in an unpredictahle or inappropriate way,
and rherefore enjoy more subtle sense of
humor. Many poems offer children the chance I
you read. In the Western wodd children need to
know that print is read from lett to right and
from top to hottom. One of the ways that vou
can show this is to let your Hnger run along
the page as you read. Only do this from t'lffie to to appn:(iate a m01'e humorous vit'w of life and
also t'xet'llent for the heginning rt'ader. I time, however, and be carerul not to let it inter-
fere with the rhvthm and pace of the text as
Five to Six
Your child ,hould now be able to enjoy longer
you read. She will soon
.. Tell her who the
irritated if it does!
Explain that the
books with tewer pictures and more complex author is the person who thought up the storY
plms: you could start to read books that have and wrote it down; explain what an illu"rator is.
chapters. She will apprecia,e books that give • H'I1fIl yuu read to your child, don)tjust start
instructions on hO','1 to make things or do i where thc'h'ry ,tarts. Read the title of the book.
experiments, dnd an atlas and perhaps first then the names of the amhor and the
clictlOnary could be useful additions to her illustntor. Show her where this information
library. Humorous poetry will be enjoyed, too.
particularly where there are subtle \vord plavs I
which affect the mc;ming of tht' mbjecr matter.
Books by Roald Dahl also brilliant for this
group.
can be found. If there is a dedic?tl0n. read this
and e:\:plain to her \vhat a dcdicltlon me:1ns.
• Do the sillne with any poetry that you read. Look
at the different lavout of the words, check
where the title of the poem written and
where the poet's name is.
• Look ourIor the i!!/Cml1dtien rages. The contems Raising children's awareness of
print ! page, chapter page numhers
Alongside the sheer pleasure of teading to your
child, vou can take the opportunity to help her
to become aware of "print" itself the more
;lware she is of it. the more this knowledge \vill I
support her when she comes to read and write.
In drawing attention to print in the
books that you read, to avoid making
::-eading into a tormal teaching experience. And i
nO[ to spoil the How of the story or the
special magic of the moment simply to point
OUt, for CX;tn1rle, the use of a capita 1 letter!
HE \VAY
can all glVe you a great deal of
information aboLl[ the book.
• Study the words on the page as you read. If you
read a long word, find it on the page al"ld have
a look at it. If you read a very short word, do
the same thing. Ask your child to [ell you
which of the written words is the long word
that you have Just read.
• Study !rokingjor ,mf thing
ar Ii time. Look at periods and ask what thev are
for. Find question marks. Ask her to tell you
whether all the print on the page looks the
same. Point out when capitalleaers are used
after periods or D)[ names.i\sk her how can
tell vvhen son1cone is
Becoming aware of print in the
environment
The printed word is found evcrv,,,-hcre in our
environment.Your child is constantly absorbing
all the aspects of the world in which she lives
and it will not take her very long to work out
that print symholizes bnb,1age.
You can help by explonng it ,\lith her in the
(ollmving
• ),otlr rhild's name of the
most potent ways of dmll'iug her aftel111011
Use her name in appropriate places around the
house, for instance on her bedroom door. Or
you can \vrite het name on the refrigerator
door in letters and on special items
of clothing. The possihilities are t'ndless.
ABOVE Making your
child actively aware of
the print in her
environment is easy
and fun. This little girl
can already recogniz"
the different kinds of
print her mother has
taken from a
newspaper and is now
cutting up individual
letters to glue them on
to paper to spell out
an important message
- her name!
PREPARING TH \,'vAY
50
.. Let her ruT out ail the letters in her name from
al1d nC1!'Spal'CfS- This will enahle her
to notice all the cliffcrc:1t of writing these
letters. Let her choose which she likes
best and glue them down to make her name_
.. Children quickly become thor print is
10 idi'l1tify Store names,
foodstuffs and signpoS[5 arc jnst a few examples
that your child will encounter on daily basis.
/\s you go out and about with her, look at
these names :md p0im them out to heL When
you are in the ask her to collect
well-known items and use the opportunity to
poim out the names on the labels_
.. Draw or cut nUT mad signs. !'v1ake t\yo sets to
playa simple game with vour child. Turn all
the cards face down and see if you can find
pairs bv taking it m turns to turn up t\Vo cards
at a time. The one who gets it right gets to
keep the pair; the one who gets it wrong turns
her cards face down again.
.. Play this l.'Crsion on spy. Choose the first
letter of your child's name and
tImes you can things that
how manv
'Nith the
letter when you are out for a walk. Choose
other letters on other days.
Collect Il'hen you ill rhe post
uffice or bank. Keep similar forms that get sem
through the post. Your child will have fun
filling them inl
FX1.lmining print
be ?urposeful
your child should alW1.lys
part of a wider exploration
of l:ing\lage. \Vhat vou must not, under any
circuill<;tJnCCS, do is pTovide for her
to learn by he;1rt. One farnily I attached
! to your child learning isolated mc:mingle"
words has no value at all. Children do not
become readers for the ple;lmre of decoding
words. Thev of course, learn to recognize
words on paper. and their minds have such
fantastic capacity that they will, if you make
them, recognize words taught in this wav. But
what value do they have; Will they help her
choose to read when Ihe time comes or will
they simply make her precocious?You will be
wasting vJluahlc: reading time if your trv to
teach her in this way. Print conveys meJning Jnd
meaning must connen with experience of life
i to have any value. Kr:o\vlcdgc unacr')tJnd--
ing of the world is of vital importance in your
child's conquest of reading and writing.
Why your child needs knowledge
and understanding of the world to
help her read and write
\Vhenever your child reads or read to. she
focuses her ;lttention, not on the words
! themselves, hut on the that lies behind
the words. Children when they read are in search
of me:ming. In order tor your child to grasp the
of \vords j theretore, ;;;he must have
ences that corn:'spond to the that hears
or reads. She does not need to know ail there is
to know_ but lllust have
to make some sense out of them. No child can
does
there is a \yondcrful floT<\Tring
of imagmation. This Dowering is valuable for
children whether they are interpreting words
written by c1sc or trying to \\Tite dO,\\Tn
primed names t.O all the items offurnitnre in
,helr house in hope that, as their toddler
h:mped into them. she would focus on the I
printed word and learn it. This is at best sad and
their own words. It is in the "gap" bet\veen the
words on the paper and your child's own experi-
ence that something and creative
able to reflect
upon the resonance hctwC'en the world [lut ,he
knows and the world that she is ilTI1.lgining.
1.1 real misconceptlOn of the role that the orinted
word plays in reading. '
Print is only v:11u;:1hle ifit conveys mC3TIlng
"Vhat your child will get out of d book will
RIC E "l'/ A Y
depend very much on what she brings to it. In
addition t.O general of the
world. she will bring her own preferences,
tasIe" interests, humor :md hum:mity. Who said
listening to stories was ('1.151'0
You can help by making sure that you take
her out and about and give her experiences of
the world that she can talk about and have all to
herself. Incontrovertible! Take her out at night :
tion that the size of our adult vocabulary can be
predicted by the number of words that filter
through us during the tirst three years of life_
Reciting the dictionary to your child everv
morning is not, howe,-cr, going to achieve the
desired effect. Words must have meaning, even if
the meaning needs refining and developing
through experience.
to look at rhe stars; SIt in the park when the To help you can:
grass has just been mown: listen to the rumble i .. Use your II'rll. Use
of the trucks thev go down your street: taste different words to describe events, feelings, tastes,
lemons. Let your child explore the world : in short everything. \Ve sometimes Iny when
through her very own experiences - you can't
sn'lell mo"\vn grass on
Developing language
Experiences need bnguage :lr:d needs
to be precise, varied, fia'-orsome, structured and
rhythmical.
Your child's ability to use spoken bngu1.lge is
the foundation upon which all other torms of
will rest. The importance of helping
her to develop a good \-ocahubrv cannot be
·m;1crC'stimatcd. Of equal importance is the
,h8ping and structuring of the form languagc
takes. its and texture and
quality of her LmguJ.gc development will
depend very largely on the kind of speech that
she hears in her social environment.
Children love words. they love the sounds of
words and. dare say, they love the taste of them.
They want to know the names for everything
that surrounds From a very earlv age they
point and ask, "Wots dat?," or simplv raise the
tone of their voice in a quC'stion, "f-Iuh?"
There IS no limit to the number of words
that vour child take on board, nor is there
anv limit to the length of words that she can
understand. She may nm, of course, be able to
produce a long word accurately for herself. but
this does not mean she lacks understanding of
its meaning. Recentlv there has been a sugges-
we choose words to describe experiences.
.. Ttl1'oln' rhild in rl{S
-,1rilm day". Talk through what you are doing.
Ask questions. Use llllcsrions to build
thinking. "What shall we do next'." "What do
we needo,""How many shall we buy?" I used to
I tell mv three-month-old child that I was going
out of the room for a short while and would be
back.i\lthough I knew he didn't the
words. I'm sure he understood the message.
.. Give
.. Play games that acr·rl"f'l11f11l.
See pages 52-53 for some ideas.
A
thev were three and four was to use unconven-
tIonal words to replace name-calling. "You
teapot. you glass of milk, you empty sugar
bowl!"\Vhen we began, the words we used
were alw;rys randomly chosen hut gradmily, as
\ve became better at it. thev had to be conncct-
ed. All their anger very oIten d,,,mr)('1.l'CCd in
ho\vls ofl::-iughtcr as each chiLi to
tind more and more bizarre words to hurl at
the other.
If vour child is redding and is faced with a new
her mind will JutomJtically select aU the
meanings that she kn0\vs that cO\1kl be connect-
to the word. One of these will be chosen as
PREPARl,'JC E W
"nr,-or,-;",,' based on other clues conrained in I
the sentence. A child with a poor grasp of
vocabularv will draw a blank very easily.
Equally, a child who has been used to hearing
quite complex sentence structures will use her
knnvvlecige to get at the meaning of semences.
Cnmmatical and syntactical knowledge will
help her to predict the meaning of words and
unlock the meaning of Sf'ntf'nces.
obey: when it isn't preElced by "Simon says,"
you must nor obey.
Simon says "Touch your thumb." Child does
so.
Simon says "Bring the milk pitcher." Child
does so.
"Turn your head."
Child does nor do
so.
Children's use ofhnguage helps in other
ways, too. Without necessarily having a
kn()wiedc:e of nOLlns or verbs, etc .. a child can
often predict what kind of word is she is
looking for trom the place it occupies in the
sentence. For ,;xample: Rachael dortrand the
boat. A child who hasn't come across the word
dortrand before will search for words that
have some kind of "action" to them. This is
based on her deep knowledge of the particu-
lar word order in English: she knows she is
h11l1ting for a verb.
I Naming the
parts of objects
Here some games you can play to help
with bnguage development.
Naming objects
This is like a treasure hunt.You name an object
and your child has to find it and bring it to
vou.
You can choose to ask for
objects, such as a corkscrew, ladle, or spaghetti
tongs.
Naming your body
Name all parts of the bodv. Don'tjust stick
the ubvious one). Remember ,hin, instep,
earlobe. cheekbone, shoulder hbde, cllf. etc.
Simon Says
Once your child has acquired the
both of the above games can be played as
Simon Says.
It's easv to plaY: when a commanci
pref'1Ccd bv the words "Simon savs," you must
p;,,:: R r N G
Take a single object
and see if you can
name all the pans on
it. Choose anything
that you can stand in
front of for instance
car: radiator, door,
\vheel, steering
vvheel. rearvie\v
mirror and so on.
Guess the object
Age: around 4
You will need
large bag or
ABOVE Choose an everyday
object such as a door and
see how many of its parts
you can name. Here you'll
find a handle, lock. door-
frame, knocker, fanlight,
number and panels.
blindfc)]d. Pur several different but
objects into the bag ifyou're using that instead
of the blindtolcL If you're using the hlindfold,
put the objects on a table or orher surface.
How to Play
Your child purs her hands into the bag and
describes what she can feel \vithout actmlly
saying the name of the objecLYou try and
guess the name. Mer a while change places
vvirh other.
the lllincHolci makes rhis game a
little simpler. particularlv if you put on the
blindfold.Your child can look the object and
I trv to describe what she sees; you have (0 guess
I what it is. After a while change places with
each other.
Guess the word
around -+
How to Play
This is like a very silnple game of charades.
You can do it with "actions" to begin with,
then later you can do it with prepomions.
You act out an action - for instance. hop.
Your child guesses ,yhar the "vord is. If she
gets it right it's mrn.
You will find that she will alltorrntiC311y
choose a verb to name what you are cioing.
Start with very obvious things, then become
more subtle as you go along. Other actions
you might use are:
run, smile, laugh, cry, dance, think. sleep.
To play the game with prepositions.
couple of toys from your child's collection, or
you could act it our yourself ming your body
and a chair, bed, table or
seems rnr}V!"'lf",t
Assume vou have small can
and a marble:
ask -
'W11fre is
Your child WliJ say, "In the can."
PUI the marl)l, on top of the lid the
and as/" 'Tl/licre is
Your child wiiJ say, "On the
can.
"Vllhere
Your child will say, "Next to the
or perhaps they will <ay,
"Beside can.
Continue until you have
exhamred all the possibilities, Take
turns.
RIGHT Playing Guess the Word can involve
a lot of activity - even if all you're showing
is
The question game
Age: aDou( 3 on
This game will help your child to develop
relevant vOClhllbrv logical thought
structure around a theme well-known to them.
Even though the questions you ask should
provoke logical ans'wers, they very often do
not. Keeping her on the topic and gathering as
much inform anon as you can is quite an
achievement. At the end of the questioning
period you can weave the informacion you
have g:lthered into a story.
Choose a simple event that she will have
experience of. for example D:ldciy
baked a chocolate cake.
Nrltalie
Ask her a series of Cjuestions around the
event to build up as much background as you
can. Try to keep everything logicaL
PRE P i\ R 1 H E \V ,\ Y
If you start by asking qu eshons ;) bout the
subject - Daddy and Nat:llie in case you
should receive information that will be useful
for setting the scene.
vVho is this srory all about?
IVhat do v:e know about them?
Move on ro ask questions around the verb - in
this case baking. This should be usel'l11 for
gathering inform:ltion aronnd the action of the
story. Now ask tor iuformat;on dbont the cake.
were they baking a cake
How?
l/Vhen?
f·111crr?
IT/ith what?
f"l/7wt kind of cake?
Finally ask some questions that wili bring
abom a ,·onclmion.
So wh.at iWl'pcncd iii the (11(/1 How did cuerymlf
JeeP
The follm;;ing game "\vi11 also helr your child
to events ten stOry.
Jlliaking a storyboard
Age: about 3 on
You will need
Picrures you hlVC out of a or that
you have drawn. You don't need to be an artist,
h0\Vc\"t:r - you (oulcl. for instance, llse
rhotogr:lphs of your chilcl during the course of
her dav: of her getting up, brushing her teeth,
getting dressed :md so on. The important thing
is that rhe pict11res should form a
How to Ploy
,'\sk your child to place the pictures in the
she thinks they should go intG. Once
m sequence, you can make up a storv
to go with them and she should be able to
help vou do this.
If you take photographs of your child's
you could make them into a book to create a
n10re record of the story (see
P l:t. R! >...,J (; T \VAY
Chapter 9 for simple ideas on how to do this).
She will enJoy looking through the pictures for
many years to come.
You can become quite :lci-,Tn1t:ln}US in
choosing your theme: you could draw the
sequence that neecls to be to;]owed to
cookies or oat bars. Once your child has put
them in order, she can stick them down or
make a book out of them, and make the
cookies following her recipe!
ClassifYing
Another type of game that helps your child
develop a "<;vider \'oClhlliary is one in which vou
sort and classify objects that belong together.
Children org:mi7t' and order their experiences
all the time, along with the words that they jearn
to describe them with.Yoll can prepare a whole
range of pictures or objects that could help them
to do this see Chapter 9 for more ideas.
Classified cards
Age: around 2 - 2112 on
You will need
Collect a set of pictures that belong together.
For example, for younger children
of objects from each room in a house;
possible, have one card that shows the room as
a whole.You could also use pictures of things
in a street, in a park, in a supermarket and so
on. On the back of each picrure
write the name of the object it contains. For
older children you could put together set of
J.TIything th:1t they \,-vere In:
motorbikes, wild animals. garden flowers.
How to Ploy
If your cards are of rooms a house. start \'lith
one room - say the kitchen. Take out the picture
that shows the kitchen as a ·whoL,. Talk abom it.
Now SflO",,; pictures of objects in the kitchen and
see how many your child name. Use the
cards as opportunities for di,cusslOn.l\rrange the
cards that she knmvs uncler the picture of the
whole room. Help her learn the ones she
doesn't know using the three penod lesson
descnhed in Chapter:2 (see pages 37-8). Ifshe
looks at a picture of a chopping board .md
','oluntcers "bath mat" use the opportunir:y to
"classiJ:Y"You could ask her whether it was likeiy
that the bath mat would turn up in rhe kirchen
l
\\iben she can the (,:lrds from more than
one room, nlix them up and see if she can sort
the objeCLs into their respective rooms.
If YOLl place a little idemification symbol on
the back of each set before you play the game,
she will be able to check herself whether or not
she has sorted the cards correctly.
Sorting objects
i\ge: around 2112 on
You will need
A selection of any items that can be sorted or
tor instance:
Objects that sink or float
Objects that are magnetic or nor
Objects that are hard or sott: feathers, pebbles
and so on
Objects that are used for ebjens
that useci for PJlnting
Objects that are heavy or light
,'iow to Ploy
Show vour child how to sort out the objects
according to the Y\7aV you have dJ\slfied them.
You can S(:rafatc the group' ontO each <ide of
a table or a plastic mat.
If Vall want to prOVIde her with a
ror self-correction you con1o
tbe objects, in their groups, on a piece of paper.
The importance of rhyme
Children who have a \vide experience of
are knmyn to do at reading and to
a strong sense of hmv co spell. The greater
your child's J\,\,TJfCncs". of sound and its
the better the fit will become between the
patterns of letters in words and her abili tv to
predict \,'hat it is thev say. It is impossible to
rhe importance that a good
of poems, songs and nursery rhymes
will play in helping her to read and write.
Children love the humor and predictability
that comes with rhyme and they love the
rhvthms that it sets up. They also love playing
and making rhymes rhclmelvcs. You should,
therefore, have a wide repertoire of nursery
rhymes and poems. In the event you find that
your memory does not serve you well, there are
many good tapes you can buy. Play them and
learn them along with your child; no matter
how good tape there is really no suhstih:te
for singing or poems and songs YOlmclf
with your child.
In addition to focLlsing on rhyme you can
help her to recognize clusters of sounds snch as
"str" or "br.""ing" or "ake."
.. Plav games to see how many words you can
rhink up with "str" at the beginning.
.. See how manv ditTcrcm words your child
can think of that rhvme with, say, cake.
.. iVlake ,emences using the sOlmd at the
bcginn1ns of each vvorG. For In<;tdnce, Sister
Suzle sat singing sons'S by the seaside.
Poems and rhymes will also provide a wonderful
resource for early anempts at writing and
reading. Knowing what word should come next
will certainly be a great help when your child
first begins to read. Poems and songs are also
good to write down when you first begin to
make words. Poems that have lots of rhvme and
repetition help children to pick up rhe look of
the ,,'ord and ,hal' can help them to write
relatively accUf:1tely when rhey first start: writing
words down.
Alan fat
lop hat
Fellj7at
(Anon)
hat
PREP_ARI:".JC THE \VAY
ABOVE from the very beginning. help your child to solve
problems for himself. In Classified Cards. for instance, he
can first sort the cards, then use already identified control
cards to check Whether his pairings are correct.
This is a favorite of mine and one that is easy to
wote.
Rhymes and songs em also teach children
the order of the 1lrhabct and it's fun and
mst.rucnve to them otten with your child -
vou can start domg these as early as possible,
from about the of t"vo on, and continue
until they don't want them any more.
PR R[i'(C T!--jE \1/
Games with rh
Y
l11e and rhythm
Chapter -+ has a selection of rhyme games, or
you could try the ones given below.
Clapping game
Ciap the rhythrn of the words and sylbh1es
alongside the poems and songs you know.
Clap the rhythrn of all the names of the
mcrr:t'en f::mily.
The echo game
You ciap a rhvthm and your child b:1ck
,-,vith :he saIne rhythnl. i\n alternati-ve to this
game is to collect a number of different object'
that would make a sound. Each of you has (he
same things. Sit back to back.You pick up your
(say) chopsticb and tap a rhythm. Your child
picks up her chopsticks and echoes you. You
pick up your spoon and glass, and tap a differem
rhythm. Your child has 1:0 echo you.
Games to develop listening skills
Other games can develop listening
skills - plays an important role in
dcwloping speech and in helping the ear to
become Tocused on fine in sounds.
The follmving 'Nill :ell help your ehiid to
listen. which will later help her to recognize
sounds attJched to letters.
The bear and the honeypot
You need at least three people to play this
ganle. One child dons a blindfdd pms a
pot (the honey-pot) just in front of her. One of
the other childrt"n (or adults) tries to approach
very honeypot. If the
that
1:0 sit down. Another plaver
then tries [Q grab the pOL If a player manages
to grab rhe honc\'1'ot, rhe l:Jiindf()ldcd plJy-cr
w'iinnll1shr's the hlindfold to him the
other players.
l..istening to sounds
Get your child to close her eves and try to
identify what she can hear. Suggest that she
focuses on ,mlUds that arc far then
nearby, then inside her body and so on.
Identifying the sound
Choose a lot of familiar. everYday ohjects. hide
then-:t behind d or ask your child to put on
a blindfokL Pour water iuro a glass, crumple a
piece of paper, put the lid on a S:1u(cpn, drin k
f1-om a cup etc.Your child has to what
the sound is.
A moving sound
Use something that makes a very soft sound -
a clock that ticks; sand in a container. a p;11r of
chopsticks. Ask your child to close her eyes and
point at the sound while you rnoYe around the
room with it.You must move very Cjuietly. If
your child to point at you then it is
her turn to make the sound.
Sound boxes
i\ge: trom about on
You will need
Collect eight idmticaJ wi,h lids -
cardboard tt:bes. pLlstic pots with lids, used film
c;,nisrers arc all suitable. Norhing should be too
large. Make four pairs by putting different
mbs[Jnces into of two containers: qnd.
sugar, rice, dried beans and macaroni would all
vmrk. Identify each pair by pntting matching
colored dots on the bottom of the conuincrs
(This will enable her to check whether she has
idcmificd the
How to play
Separate out
p;]iri correcdy.)
tvvo sets of containers, ~ o w
show your child how to shake each conr;;incr,
prcfc1":lbty in each car. then search for its
match.
Help her to remember the sound by putting
one set filrther away. perhaps in the kitrhen.
Then listen to one contJincr, go to the othcr
set and listen through to see if the same sound
can be found.
Story tapes
Having a book and story tape that match can
be very useful, although it's no sllhtitme for
direct contact with you. There many
excellent tapes and stories 1vailahk now Jnd
these can be aseful on trips. If
fona of.
you could actually tape the story yourself.
PREPARING r \VA Y
Song and rhyme tapes
These can be lovely to lisren to, particularly on
journeys, and help to expand the nnge of
nursery rhymes and songs that vou can sing or
sav ,vith vour child. i\s vour child gets older
remember to look om for "grown-up , poetrv
tapes.
Sound lotto
are many good sound games
COlnnlC'rCl:111y 'l1ch as sound lotto. See
Chapter 9 for a list of [t'commended
Pl'Ie:p;rritl2: the hand for writing
Before vour child can be
her hand well enough to write she must
have lots of pracnce in guiding it. Children
need actlvities that will help them to move their
hands more precisely and carefully. You can
P i( EPA R I C E WAY
begin these anivities from as young as 18
monrh'),
There are many things that you can shovv'
her ho\v to do that: \vill give greater
inncpcnc1CDce. Learning hovv [0 pour can be
Ha\'ing the abilir:,r to pour things for
herself w111 allow her to take Clre of her own
needs: can have drink when she is thirsty,
PUt rnilk on her cereaL \vater plants, pour ingre-
dients into "mcepam and do many other things
that require rhat kind the same
time the m.ore control she gains over her hands,
[he easier it will be for her to control them
when wishes to write.
Try to give your child some pouring to do
at home. Begin wid1 ,omething simple, then
increase tht' difficulty, step at a
.. Using two small pitchers, put ,ome fairly
large beans in one and encourage your child to
pour from one pitcher to the other \vithout
,pilling any beans. Have them on a tray so that
if any beans spill, they won't go allover the
floor.
.. Using a finer grain such as rice, pour just
enough into a pitcher to fill three cups.
Now ask your child to pour the rice into the
egg cups. rf she ends up with rice. or
runs out of rice, she will knO\y that she needs
to try next time. Encourage her to
repeat these activities as often as she likes.
.. You can now do the same activity but using
water. Have a cloth nearby so that she can
wipe up the ,yarer if she spills iL
"As soon as she is able to pour, encourage her
to use her uc,vfmmd by looking
around your home you will discover many
other, similar skills she could learn. tor
to learn how to butter her own
bread. Make sure vou limit the amount of
butter in
.. Show her how to her own truit.
• Show her how to cut up her own fruit. Start
with soft such as
knife. You will need to demonstrate how a
knife is held and carried, then where tIngers
must be \vhen you use a blade to chop fruit.
She \'vill be very serious about
responsioiliry very enjoy being
allowed to do something as "grown up" as
cutting fruit.
Puzzles
Look around ror puzzles that have knobs on
each of the pieces. These can be very useful
because they enwunge child to ht'f
ABOVE Being able to do things for yourself gives you
confidence, Cutting up your own fruit can lead to a greater
wiHingness to have a go at acquiring other new skills,
such as reading and writing.
rhumb and index finger, which she will
c\Tnmaily usc to control a pencil. The knoh
heromes substitute pencil and her hand
develops ,;;trcngth anct
te-w fingers to accomplish
Drawing
h3hit of uc:.ir.g only a
Your child will have begun to draw using
crayons when she was about 18 months old.
The patterns and shapes that she draws 11at11ral-
are lines and circles. Slowly, however, her art
will become more representational. ChiJdrt'J1
will first draw something give it a namf',
then decide what they are going to draw and
try to represent It. When your child is between
tour and five, you can suggest that she looks at
real objecr with you, then tries to draw it.
will help her eve focus on a shape
direct her hand to try and
Writing patterns
Incorporating wrlting 1nto arnvork
can be a very worunvhile activity. Through
PREPARl!'lC
59
6(1
practice your child will graduaJly
learn to make all the )Crokes neces-
sary to torm Once agam,
however, don't make her draw
writing p:1ttcrns without some
other purpose attached. Encourage
her to incorporate them into
otJ\vlngs, use the]TI to make
picture frames for drawings :md
other, similar uses.
Use patterns that are based on
the \V:lY letters formed:
Stirals: (ircles)" scmi[irries;
vertical, and s!.-::uued
Finger painting
Age: from around .3 on
You will need
Liquid or powder paint. \Vater-
soluble paste (the kind usually llsed to bng
\valipapcr works \v(11). /\ clean shiny surtace.
such as a formica table or tray. Paper. Children
:llld tloor surfaces should be \ve11 protected!
How to Play
l'vl.ix the paint wlth the wallp:lper paste until it
has the consistency of thick Put a few
large spoomfnl on the shiny surtace and ask
your child to spread it around. Now she can
PT;)ct1ce \vriting \virh her tlngers (:111l0ng other
things) I If she doesn't like what she's done, she
Cl;:1 ;;;n100th the design with her hand and
start again. \Vhen the design is complete, lake :l
large piece of paper and pm it on the table
over the design. so that it takes a print of the
['aiming. At this stage you can either start again
with another dollop of paint or Upl
Sewing
There are J. nunlber of different
;)niVlties your child can do to develop good
hand-eye co()rciin;)tion.
+ Draw shapes such as circles and squares on a
P l ~ E P .t;,. l ~ I N GTE \V A Y
ABOVE You can use finger painting to create writing
patterns - it's even more fun than crayons and feit-tip
pens, and you can create a picture of your efforts when
you've finished!
heavy piece of paper using a thick pen. With a
small pllncwre holes at intcryals ;J.J]
around the perimeter of the Show vour
child how to a thick tapestry needle
with yarn and how to put the and
thread in and om of the holes. Once she's got
the hang of this, show her how to fill in the
holes right around the perimeter. Later draw
the letters of your child's name in the same way
and ask her to sew them. ;\!lake sure the lines
follow the way in which the should be
\,vritten (see the diagranl on·rage Put a
cross where you waTlt the sevving to begin. If
you're worried "hour using needles and thread.
Start her off with shoe laces. vvhich she can
thread in and om of the holes.
.. Buv cloth holes already it (Binea or
Aida,! and [each her how w make the different
ABOVE The more things you can think ofto do with tetter
shapes - including sewing them - the more easily your
child wi\! learn them,
stitches. Always remember to go from simpic
stitches to those that are more difficult.
.. Ask your child to draw a picture on some
muslin. Put it into an cmoroidc;ry
have her sew the picture.
Dough Of Clay
Pbydough or clay great tlJn to use and CJn
also help dexterity. Like finger paiming (and for
much [he same rcason'; 1['S probahly best done
on a formica table or on tray.
+ Roll om long sam:lgcs :md form
letters.
mro
.. Show your child how to toll spherical sbpes
and sausages. Make :mimals, houses, pots,
whatever comes co IniEQ.
PREPAKINC T w,-\\
CHAPTER FOUR
ps toward reading and
that you have taken the first steps ' 'NiH have created a Vel-Y sound basis tor literacy.
toward giving your child the foundation In playing these games you wiH accompii,h
she needs to become a good reader and writer, I the f"ilmying:
there are some games you can play with her .. Raise your child's
of sOlmds :md
that will have a more direct impact on her i
acquisition of these skills, The activities
in this chapter are those that you would find in
any good .'Y1onrcS)ori cbssroom (or children's
house, as Nlaria \10ntcssori called it). We call
them "keys" to reading and writing, The word
"key" is very important: it is something that
gIves access to things. When we want to
make sense of a map we look up the to
help llS make it more ;nrclligihlc. A key doesn't
give you the whole picture, but it docs pw\-ide
you with some basic tools which help you to
interpret the map more acCUr:ltC]V. IVlaking use
of a key provides you with additional help if
vou want to make the best use of the map. A
reallv helpful "key" is one that proyides you
witb just enough basic information to help you
to find things out tor yourself.
The following - the Sound
Game, the Sandpaper Letters ;md the .'V!ovc:lh1c
-bulld one upon the other. Don't be
[en1pted to hurry thenl or skip tor'.vard to
actiVIties that ll1ay appeJ.r n10re tJn1iliar to you.
11lay appear to be very easy. but don't
11ll,;icrcst1m.lrc rhelf "",,,,,t>,,.'-'" in the devclop-
the way that words are made up of units of
sounds.
.. Help her recof,,'TIize the symbols that
represent those sounds.
• Help her begin to develop the correct hand
movement for
.. Help her use symbols to write her
thcughts.
.. Help her use her own writing as a bridge to
Raising your child's awareness
of the sounds in her language
i You \vill have already begun to read with your
child, and manv of the books you enjoy
together will be ,torV books which have rhvme
and rhvthm in them and some will be poetry
and rhvme books. These wlll help her to recog-
sound rhymes. which will be important
later on when she begins to read since she wlll
be able to predict many of the words she comes
across because she knows they rhyme.
In to this wav of listening to
mc'nt of your child's abilitv to read and write, If I
sounds and rhymes, you can play vanety of
games to focus her attention on them and to
raise her awareness of the role that sounds play. she 111dSter these three sinlple activities, you
FIR STEP') T0\VAJ,D ,I>o...ND \VRITiNG
How the sound game inter-relates with the sandpaper letters and
the moveable alphabet
Level 1 Initial sound, one object at a time, no opportunity
for mistakes Age 2';'
Initial sound, choice of two objects or more.
Only one object can be identified as the correct answer Age 2 '/,-3
Level 3 Initial sound, choice of part room or room.
Many objects can be identified with the same
initial sound.
SJndpilper Letters
---------
or 3 as appropriate. Age 3'1,- 41<
with any objects or any words. The object does not
have to be "spied." Age 3 'h - 4 '!, Alphabet
Level 6 Take a sound and think of as many words as you can
that contain the sound eitrer at the beginning or end of
the word or have the sound somewhere in Age 4'/'- 6
first in spoken 1nd then in
vvriting.
The sound game
Age: from 2 on
What you need to know
and
This game will help to make yom chlld aware
of the sounds that make up words. Playas
otten as you can; it is one of the most
important ways of prcraring her tor both
writing and reading.
Nlake sure you say the sounds correctly'
Your child will use the skills she develops in
this game to help her sound out ,he tIrst words
she writes and reads, so if you're careful with
,he sounds the rest is eaw.Thev should
shurt, and you should try !lot to have much of
a vowel sound to tollow. For eXllmple "b"
should be '\ol1ndcd as in tub. not >lbu" as in
"bun.'l
lRST
i
Sound Chart
a at huh! 0 on v have
b tub i in p tap w win
c tack fudge quit x fox
d mud tack r rat yes
e egg mil! 5 russ buzz
f off m hum at
g peg n hen u up
Note that "c" and "k" sound the same.
If you can think of words where the c<'n'lon/mrs
come mainly at the end of the word and
vowel sounds at the beginning, you will hear
sound you need to make.
Sadly, many alphahet books and pictures do
not ponrav all the sounds accurately. Check
through [he books you have at home to make
I sure that objects chosen to represent the
ps TOWARD RE:\DINC j) Wit! T! J'..;C
ABOVE level 1 of the Sound Game helps your child to
(onnect sounds with familiar objects - here the sound "b"
with balL Start with just one object at a time so that he
won't get confused.
sounds correct. The sound that is most
corr!r.only mi,)"cp1"C)entcd is "x" which should
cill these digraphs.
Common digraph sounds in fnglish*
ai train play
ch chip
ee sleep leaf
ue
er
00
blue shoe zoom
her fir turn
cook
sound does in "fox" not as in xylophone
I th
is pronounced "z'"
path
pie sky
ng ring
hard part for you will be listening to
the sounds and forgetting (for the moment),
ie
th with
ou pout clown
or far raw
bow words are spelled. Don't panic! Children at oa
this have no idea that words can be speiled :
loaf window sh fish caption
oy boy spoil
from the they ,inee thcy
yet.
Engiish in all i[s various dialects is a
llor1-PllorlCClC Llnguage, you yvill also need to I
ar car
* Parents in the United States and Canaaa, and in
Austraiia. New Zealand and South Africa, wilt need to
decide ifthere is a difference between the sounds "or"
and "au."
TEPS TOWARD RE/\DI G \ND \VR 1 G
l'v1any other sound combinations will crop I
up as you stan to explore language wirh your
child, so be relaxed and usc your o\vnjudgment
as to how they should sound. What you are
building in her is an a,YJ1TnCSS of rhe different
sounds as they are heard in your own language
or dialect.
Let's practice!
Cover over the letters in each of the right-hand
columns below and practice sounding the
words in the left-hand column.
Can you give the first sound of the following words?
cat bat
chop ch think th
is older than twO and a half when you start, you
should still begin with level 1 and move her at
her own pace through the different leyels of the
game.
Level 1.
:2 on
What you will need
Gather together a few objects which your child
can na.rne and put them on a table in from of
you. In the beginning avoid ohjects that '>fall with
similar sounds, such as "p" and "b," "v" and "w:'
Purpose
To help your child to hear inciividlJ:ll sonnas at
the of words.
knock center
I How to Play
acorn ai phone
owl ou australia 0
can you give the last sound of the following words?
mat lamb m
dance window oa
bench ch cage
tap p party ee
cake books
Can you give all the sounds in the following words?
dog d-o-g bottle b-o-t-t
pamper p-a-m-p-er tough t-u-f
house h-ou-s since s-i-n-s
shoe sh-ue parrot p-a-r-u-t
fetch f-e-ch quiet qu-ie-e-t
Once you 've mastered ,he art of hearing "nd I
articulating the sounds of your language, you
ready to play the Sound Game. which is
based on "I spy." There are six levels [0 the
game: level 1 can begin as early as cwo and a
and levels 5 and 6 should be played at
around four and a half to live. Even if your child
Choose one of the objects, tor example a pen,
and hold it out to show it to your child.
spy something in my hand beginning
with 'p.'"
Your child will say ·'pen." Confirm that she is
"p" for "pen.'" Change the object and
place where it can be round to
"I spy something on the table beginning
with "d'" .... (perhaps doll)
"I spy something f ;un toucbing heginning
with .... (perh1ps cup)
"I spy something on finger beginning
with ... (perhaps ring)
'f something I am waving heginning
"h"' ... (perhaps hand)
She will quickly grasp the rules of the game
and happily tell you the names of the objects
fOLYou will rrobahly need to
of the for several \veeks
beti:;re she actuallv makes the C0nnccnon
the that you say and the sound
of the object you have
FIRST STEPS TOWARD lZE/\J)ING
D WR1TINC 65
66 I
ehmen. \Vhen she appears to be heginning to
listen to sounds, you can lTIOve on to
Level
Level 2
What you will need
objects you have gathered from
house. In the begmning the initial
sounds should be contrasting, hut as the game-
proceeds over the you em choose
with similar inicial sounds.
Purpose
help your child distinguish one initial
sound an ocher.
How to Play
sounds (this could be, tor
car and a motorbike, as in the
photograph, or cup :md mug, and so on).
"I spy something beginning ·'m.
now has to make a choice, and you
to hear hO\v well she distinguishc<
«)Unds. Continue changing objecrs bm
onlv two at anyone time. To increase the
place three objects in front of her
and build
to having as many as five
objects at once. You can now become much
more subtle and show her objects beginning
with similar sounds, tor example, ring, watch
and van.
i Level3
i Age: around
What yau will need
does.
Purpose
of the game can be played
and is closest to "1
is good one to plav on car
tired ofit before your child
To make your child aware that many objects
may begin with the same sound. Once she has
to introduce
her to (See Sandpaper Letters
on pages 69-70 of this chapter).
How to Play
Choose area of the room or :nck.·vz,rc, and a
sound that r"presents than one ohject in
it. (If you run out ofimpirariol1, me the photo-
this game')
"1 spy things over there by the
that hegin with 'b.' "
I She will otter only one word, since this has
been what has been expeCTed
should
more and have her join in ,"'ieh
you (basket. bottle, books. balls and
on). Now move on ro anmher
sound in the same or a different
Rememher you are not asking
her ro search for one object rhar
you thinking of any item
with that sound. As soon as
LEFT In level :I of the Sound Game, you can
show him two contrasting sounds, for
instance for car and for motorbike,
and ask him which one is which.
TEPS TOWARD R.Er.DfNG AND
ABOVE For Leve! 3 of the game, look for a variety of
objects in the room that share the same sound - here
you'll find "b" is weH represented in bird, basket, bottles,
books and balls.
enough items have been named, move on to
another sound.You don't have to insist on your
item being found. Move to other parts of the
room or garden, then gradually move to the
whole room or outdoors in generaL
She can now take turns "l.vith you to choose
the sound for the objects and, of
course, you can begin to play "I
spy" in the more conventional way.
Level 4
Age: around 3
What you will need
At this stage you will need to
temporarily cither to a
collection of objccts or to a part of
the environment as in Level 3.
What you do will depend on vour
child and what help she needs for
this sLage. R..:gard1css of whether
you choose a coileccion of objects
or parr of the room, you will be
looking for objects whose ipitial
sounds are the same but whose last sounds are
different, for example hall, hag, bracelet, or pen,
peg, puppet. Choose enough objects to keep it
Purpose
To help develop your child's awareness of
ofall the sounds in words is essential
You say, "I spy something on the table (or in
part of the room) that begins with 'b' and ends
WIth 'g:"To begin with she may take a little
time to learn [Q listen to the last sound. If she
says "ball," be positive in your response. "Yes,
ball does begin with 'b: but I asked for
something that hegins with 'b' and ends with
'g'; let's listen to the last sound in ball." Say it
slowly and Now help her to listen to
the sounds of the other objects until she finds
"bag."
BELOW it's important to help your child to listen for both
I first and last sounds in a word: in Level 4 of the Sound
Game, YOIl play with three objects, alt beginning with the
same letter but ending with different ones - bag, ball and
bracelet.
FIRST STEPS TOWARD READING AND WRITING 67
68
Once she has mastered listE.'ning to the initial
sounds the last sounds for 0bvious objE.'cts.
move to the whole environment and take it in
turns to search for the objE.'crs, always giving
the and last s011nds.
l.evels
Age: 4'/2
What you will need
Nothing at all unless you wish to use objects.
Purpose
help your child to analyze all the sonnds in a
word. This skill that ,vill be helpfill when she
and write. She will need to
this level before using the !\10vcablc
Alphahet (scc page 76 of this chapter).
to play
stage should follow on natun!1y +rum the
one betore. Once your child can readily find a
word that begins and ends with a particular
sound, Stop and listen for all the sounds in the
with fairly sl10rt words. For
\vord is "cup·' and she has
idtCnrifitCd that it begins with "c" and ends in
could say, "Let·s listen to all the sounds
say it slowly. C-u-p. Did you hear
the sOLlnd after 'c'? Let's say 'cup' again."
two of you slowly say the word and
so LInd. C-u-p.
know all the sounds in 'cup: let's
tlnd all the sounds in 'pan: then 'corree.'"
Gndmlly become longer
longer. and the two of you can h:ve lots of fun
more and more difficult words to
sound OLlt.You have stopp::d spying the objens
:md think of any words that you like.
Levei6
What you will need
Nothing!
Purpase
designed to use all the knmyldgc
in words.
How to Play
to p13y with the sound"
Think of a sound. for example "m." Now t..hink
of all the words that have the sound "m" in them
somewhere. Think of words with "m" at the
beginning: mat, mlmch, mother; "m" at the end:
farm, ham, clnlm;"m" :lIlj"evhere w1thin them:
n1arm:lJadc) nUITther. 111inin"lUlTi, etc. Have fun!
Note
Remember to use the ages given above as a
guide only to at your child's pace.
Some children will manage to listen to the
sounds easily and quickly while others
will take some will not need to progress
in such a steIP-b,v-step wav.You know vour
child and will be able to make the appropriate
judgmem.
More games to help vvith sound
recognition
I spy rhyming words
This is a simple game where, instead of spying
things that begin with a sound, you find things
[hat rhyme with word. For example,"\ spy
something that <0\111ds like jug:'The answer
maybe or "rug." Alternatively, "I spy
IOmething that rhymes \yirh bee."The answer
could be etc.
Inventing poems
You can invent some funny nonsense rhymes
with vour child - this often appeals to her sense
of humor.
High lJ1 a
I saw (your child says ·'bee·' or '·knee"
or "Uea" or anything else that springs to
mind)
r PS TOWARD RE.A,.DING A ~ D WRITrN
Using all your pmvers of invention vou now
conC1nue
a tree High in a cree
I saw a bee I sa"v a t1ea
saw me It said tee nee
And flew on to my And then bit .....
Sorting pictures that rhyme or begin
with the same sounds
Once again a mail order catalog can be very
Cut OLlt groups of objens
rhyme and that are familiar to your child. If
good at drawing, you could draw your
own pictures of familiar nbjcCIs. For example:
Jug, rug, mug
Bat, mat, hat, cat
plane. chain
Pan, van
Ask your child to SOrt the pinures occnrding to
the wav rhyme. On another day you could
do the same for initial sOllnds. You could also
lIllX all LIp and play rhyming snap.
Odd one out
Once you vour child is able to judge
which sounds rhyme, you can play this game
L1sing one group of pictures only :rnd ~ d d i n g in
a single picture that is the odd one out. Ask her
[0 find the that doesn't rhyme.
P,bern.1ti\·elv, ask her to idemity [he pICture
that starts with a different sound to the others.
For
Jug, mug and bat
Book. ball., boot and car
Books
You can Llse any beautifully illmtrared book to
piay"1 most of those rCCCOITllTl,encied m
Chapter 9 would be 'lJltahlc. To make the
game more try to tlnd illmtr;ltions
objects that begin with the same sound.
FIRST S PS RD READI!'..:G /\f'.:D
R! T J "-.J (;
70
containing lots of derail and a variety of
objects.
The sandpaper letters
Once your child can play the Sound Game at
level 3, she is ready to begin to idemify the
letters of the alphabet. It is important to wait
until she has reached this stage: whenever we
learn something new. we build or gratt it on to
existing knowiedge. so if your child is secure
with the sounds hears the beginning of a
word. she evil! find it easier to understand that
the lerter or symbol you wish to teach her is
simply the way the sound that she already
knows is written. In this way new learning
becomes more straightforward, since it tests on
foundation of previons experience.
You will need to make a set of letters· for
your child to learn, and !Tom a substance that is
tactile because you will teach her to feel [he
shape of the letter as well as to recognize it
visually.
In using this approach, your child will have
both a visual and tactile experience
of the letter, which means she will
use more than one sensory channel
to receIve information and
remember it. Often a child who
strugges to remember the letter
visually \vill reme:nber it immedi-
ately when she is encouraged to
feel again.
In addition to receivIng
m"X1mum sensory input to help
her recognize letters, her hand is
learning, well in of actually writing
letters, how each letter is formed. You should
make sure, therefore, that each letter can be telt
in the way that it should be written. The more
practice a child gets at feeling the letters, the
more her hand will "know" how to stan and
form a letter when writing it.
Making the letters
TraditionJlly, these letters are made from the
finest grade of sandpaper, which you should be
able to find at your local hardware swre.
HO'wever, if you prefer you could also make
them from velvet or even a coarse-quality paper.
The important thing is for your child to be able
to experience the tactile quality of the letter.
The lerters should be enougb to allow her
hand to get a really good feel of the shape of the
letter. (There are ternpbtes in Chapter 9 of this
book, which you could use w JTl..ake the lerters.)
You will need to mount the letters on
board or thick cardboard, and vou should have
three colors of crrdboard to distinguish berween
vowels, comonants and digraphs. Vowels, tor
fttST STEPS TOWAR AND WRITING
instance. couid be moumed on blue. COllSOTums
on pink and digr:lphs on green. The color
distinction will help your child to become
a\vare of the between of
letters. Choose colors that appeal to you but
make sure you continue to use these colors for
the ocher lener games in the book. too'
If you know that your child is right- or left-
handed, the letter can be placed more to the
right (tor a right-hander) and more to the left
(for a lett-hander). This creates a wider space on
the board for the child to hold it steadv with
one hand while she traces over the letter with
the other. If you are unsure whether she is
right- or left-handed, you will be safer placing
the letter centrally on the board.
Make the following letters:
Ilowels
(blue hackgrouncl)' a e i a u (y)
i(lI1S0nants
(pink hackground): bed f g hj kIm n p (q) r s
tv 'vV X (y) Z
In some languages is a vo\ve1. and in
.'q" is ahvays f011o\yed "'u."
digraph instead of a single letter.
In non-phonetic Ibng:13gcs
where there are more
represent them), children will re-quire addltion-
al help. English is non-phonetic and, depending
on the countrv in which it is being spoken,
there are approxim:ctclv 40-45 differcl1t sounds.
IdentiJ:Ying these sounds, or digrllphs, can be
very helpful, although untortunately they can
often be spelled in several - for
the sound "ai" as in train. can also be spelled
"cake" or "reign" or "plav." Choose the spelling
that seems most common or appropriate for
your child's early reading when you create your
digraph letters, or follow the suggestions given
above. (See Chapter 3 if you want check the
sounds they make.)
Digraphs
(green background): qu ee ie oa LlC ar er or eh
sh th oy au 00
In North l'\merica and Austrdlia, New Zealand
and South A!Tica an additional digraph "au" may
be userlil. The sound would be represented by
the word "awful" while the "or" sound would
be rq::rcscnt:cd by"tork."
Note
It is impornnt to give your child only what is
essennal to her writing and reading; if you
try to give evelY' possible digraph th;]t exms.
task wIll be overwhelming :lIld instead of
helping her vou will slow her down and even
hinder her
There is currently much debate as to what
kind of letter shapes children should learn. In
the it was felt to be important to teach a
:Cenci write printed letters in
the first instance. then when she was older [0
teach her to \vrite with a more 01[SlV(:, or
joined-up hand. However, research has now
show-n us that children can learn to read very
well. even if thev do learn WIth a more cursive
style ofletter, since they are used to seeing prim
of all types around them and have no dit11culty
in translating one style letter to another.
Equally, new research shows that it is just as easy
as it is IO learn the "ball and stIck"
the end does not
need to learn everything tI.vice. Indeed_ ( hilde''''l
or;;cn will not tonn primed letters they
should be wntten because rather them
JS a line rhey see a circle and ,1 stick
(hence the description ball and snck), and will
forn1. the letter Jccordingly. This can bc very
di±Iicult to undo ae a stage when
IRST STEPS
REA D ! N CAN D Y!J i r IN (;
the correct formation ofletters.
Try to avoid teaching your child to write in
capital letters as her first experience. Usuallv
capitals present no problems tor children as
there arc many ways of writing them correctly.
They can easily learn these after they have
mastered lowercase letters.
It is lowercase letters that require careful
learning. They will determine the ease with
which children will forrri a good flowing hand
later on, so it is worthwhile [Q begin at Ihe
right moment, offering Sandpaper or velvet
Le[ters that will prepare [he eye and the hand
for both writing and reading.
Teaching your child Sandpaper
Letters
Age: about 3-3 (when your cj-,jld can do level
3 of the Sound Game and while she is intense-
ly interested in touching things). If your child
has very poor hand/eye coordin:lrion, continue
to practice the activities in Chapter 3. It is
important that she does not find feeling rhe
letters too difficult.
Teach only Ihree leIters :my one time and
mix vowels. conson:mts digraphs rogether.
For each lesson choose letlers that sound ditIer-
ent and look different. (In addition you may
wish to look at Chapter:) to choose letters that
come tram the same writing group.)
Choose a moment when your child is ready
to sit down for a while, and never force her to
learn the letters. Don't be disappointed if she is
unable to say them at t:.':te end ofLl)e first time you
play the game. Be positive and use praise at all
times. Some children rrecd to play the game a
llnmhcf of ti;nes hdorc they begin to shmy you
that they remember the letters yon arc
them.
If vour child seems unable to the
letters the end of the first lesson. don·t be
negatIve m any way. Don·t go back to the
beginning of the lesson and try to repeat the
! whole thing again or she will swiftly feel some
sort of compu1sion to '"get it righe" Don't go
back to the same letters next dav either.
simply choose three ditIerem letters. You must
not risk giv-ing your child a sense of tailure just
as you are about to cmbcuk on one of the most
rcvv;miing activities of her life. Having
fully helped her to achieve so much in such a
short space of time. don't risk turning her otf
Deemse of your own expectations. So if she
seems nnimercstcd, you mmt stop and wait unnl
she is
l
During the lesson cncourage your child to
feel the letters as orten as pOSSIble, but. make sure
she is feeling them correctly. Ifvou can manage
to find 10 minutes a day to play thIS game she
will soon be contldcnt about r('cognizing the
letters. Try to play the game when she requesIS it
- she \vill progress much faster if she has chosen
to do the activity herself. can help to remind
her thaI when she is ready to play the letter
game she Just has to teil you.
How to feel the letters
Feel lerter using the index and middle
fingers of your dominant hand. Ifvour child is
left-handed, you should them with your
left hand. Feel them in the way that they are
written (see the diagram opposite). Make a
point where vou scart and complete ac:t1()n
in one smooth movement. It may also be usefUl
to add a line at the base of the board so that
your child knows which way up to it.
How to Play
To play this game you will need to [he
three-period lesson described in Chapter 2,
rtdapting it as outlined helmv to teach the
letters. lYlake sure you are mung beside your
child and not opposite she must always
be able to see the letters the right wav up.
Stage 1: Choose three letters.You may want to
choose them from the same writing family (see
Chapter 5) - for example: and "a.!'
STEPS TOW/\RD READING WRITIN
Begin by plaving Sound Game, asking your
child to spy am·thing beginning with (Cat,
cup, card etc.) You can join in to help. Now
shmv her the letter "c."
This is how we write "c." Feel the letter and
say the sound oIthe letter (not the name) and
help your child to do the same. Feel it. using
BELOW It is important to fee! each Sandpaper letter in the
way it is written. The dot marks the place to start, then
your child should follow the direction indicated by the
the index and mIddle fingers of your writing
hand (use the hand she wii! write with: these
will be the fingers she will use to guide a
pencil later on). So have your left hand hold
the letter steady and trace over the surface in
one ,mooth, £Iowmg movement with your
right hand if she is right-handed and do the
reverse if she is left-handed.
Do the same for each of the other letters.
Stage 2:This stage is the longest one hecmse
!ii'.;,ll
I
l,.
psT 0 W i\ R D R j) 1 c; :\;--. I) V/;:;. I t (
your child needs time and plenty of repetition
in order to 4<:.;sociate the sound and letter shape
together. Be Each one of us requires a
different :lmount of practice time
we learn new.Your child is unique
and vou need to sense how long she needs to
feel confident of recognizing the letter you are
asking for.
l',sk at random for the letters. using their
sounds. Ask in many ways but keep the
instructions shorr :lnd simple. Each time the
letter is COH('Ctly, encourage her to
teel it and repeat the sound.You will need to
do this, too.i\l,vaVI return idcntitlcd letter
[0 the group once it has been felt, and
continue ,vith your J'vlix the letters up
each time to add excitement to the game and
to help her really look tor the letter you are
asking If she does not want to feel the
letters vou should do so :1nyway. Be inycntivc
'and have fun I Some examples:
Touch "m"
Put over here
Where's "In"
Hold·'t"
Be cardLll not to follow the same order each
tlme, to look at the letter you want, or request
the last letter you t01.,encd. Children very
quick to work out patterns and
Stage 3: Point [() one of the letters and ask
your child if she C(,1011',.,-1I")"'r5 \vhich one it is. If
she can rf'nlC'rnlicT, her to feel Ie
once more. If she can·t, enCO\lr:lge her to feel it
Jnd see if this Jogs her memory. If she does not
,"ememher, say It for her and don't dwell on
the fact that she rouldn·t tell you "vhat it said.
Focus on the letters that she can remember
I ABOVE Once she's got the hang of letter shapes and
sounas, you can move on. Ask her to match the sounds
(and letters) to familiar objects in the house; she may
bring you several things beginning with "mOl in addition to
a mug!
and make her feci pleased she
them.
rernernbcr
If she gees muddled, don't worry. Perbps
you didn't spend enough the
sound and shape in the first stage: perhaps she
lost interest. Whatever the reason. she has at
least three years to make this connection, so
you must not see it as a disaster. Feel the letters
and her the names again, then h'lppilv
bring lesson to close. Come back to it
another day.
Reinforce what your child knows
Each day. before teaching your child any new
letters, always go over the ones she knovvs
ctlready so that she can see the hum of her
efforts. This can be very encouraging tor her.
and by the letters she knmvs, you are
cDCOUT:Jging her to learn a more. If she is
unsure of any letters prCViOllSh- learned. include
them once again in [he next lesson but still keep
to a maximum of three letters at a time.
STLPS TO\X/:\R RE:\DI0JG AND \\1R1 NG
More games to play to help
with letter recognition
You can play many games with the Sandpper
Letters as they grow in numher, which will help
to encourage her even more. As the number of
recognized letters increases, you can encourage
her to count the number she knows. She can
tiptoe back and forth betv,reen rooms collecting
and feeling the letters you ask for. Encourage
her to feel around (he edge of :my she
sees on posters, T-shirts and magazines.
Letters and objects
Have a basket or bag of objects that begin with
the sounds of the letters she knows and a set of
Sandpper Letters corresponding with these
sounds. See if she can match the object with
the correct letter.
Ask your child to collect objects from
around the room that have the same sounds as
the letters she knows. Again have a set of these
IR.ST
letters handy. EncOlJr:Olgc her to put the object
next to the correct letter card. Whenever
possible encourage her to feel the letter in the
way that it should be written.
Choose only one letter and ask her to collect
as many objects as possible
sound.
begin with
Remember you will be continuing to
play the Sound Game while you are
introducing the Sandpaper Letters, and if you
are still on ievci 3 you could ask her to spy
objects beginning \vith the sounds of the
letters she recognizes. This would mean
holding up the letter card rather than saying
the sound out loud. Perhaps your child could
choose a letter and ask YOLl the question I
Letters and actions
Hide some of the letter cards in the room and
ask her to find each one. "Can you find 'to' "
Place the letter cards around [he room and
ask her to hop to "m," jump to "1," tiptoe to
"oy" and so on.
Letters and books
When you are reading books to
your child, point out some of the
letters she knows. Perhaps, if she is
interested, you C;111 encourage her
look at the pages of the book to
see if she can recognize any of the
lefters herself.
Making an alphabet and
other books
Write one of the letters your child
knows on a pIece of paper and
look through pictures and
LEFT Making an Alphabet Book is easy. The
letter "c" is going to be illustrated by
sticking down a picture of a crown and a
cat. both cut auf of a magazine. The letters
in this case have been written by an adult.
TOWARD READING A0JD V/RITI G 75
:6
mJg:lZHlc':S her. Cut out those objects
start with that letter. (A mail order catalog
be very useful for this.) If she isn'r able to cut
out the herself, then you do it, but let
her paste it to backing paper to make a
"page." If she able to. you could encourage
her to draw own pictures of objects she
can think of that begin with the letter.
Encollr:1ge her gndmlly to build up her own
alphabet book. Tie it together when it is
finished so that it looks really nice - see
Chapter 9
Make a
some '\imple \"i.lggCSfl0r.S for
book "Dd \vrire a letter at
top of each section. Then ask your child to
to find (and paste under the letter) pictures of
objects that start with the letter. Another
version of rhis '\vould be to vvrite a \vord across
the top of each section and paste in pictures of
objects that with each of the letters of
each word.
The jolly mailman
NL:tke an envclope cach letter of the
('(len one to collect pictures
that begin with that sound.
jigsaw puzzles
There are many different jigsaw puzzles
JV:libblc objects and iOY\'crca",
attached you buv them, make sure [hat
the objects the pictures reflect the sound
the letter accuntely As your child gets better
and bener fitting the shape of rhe piece into
its socket, you can begin to find out how many
she
Do VOLl
of an arroyv you place your feet on a
colored on a pbying m:lt \Juril onc
pbyer could no longer stand up. This is the
~ : . l n 1 e garne, only this tilne you need to
some of the letters your child knows on
FiR S T
TCW/\l:-z.D RE!\D!
paper circle on a n1J.r in vvash::1ble ink. Play the
game in [he same way, spinning the arrow, but
this time call out rhe sound of [he letter that
[he foot must land on. Write each letter at least
once on each half of the circle.You can play
withjusr three letters as many as your child
knows.
I Jigsawmat
Sponge mats put together like jigsaw Fuzzles
are lots of tun to build and play on, and many
of them have the leners 11phaber as
separate insets. Putting whole mat together
can be great fun on its own, but you can also
invent lots of games to play on it.Your child
could match objects to different letters or
jump from one letter to another: or she could
see ifshe could touch ,Jl letters of her
name in one go with aU the parts of her body.
The resr I leave up to you!
You will find that within very short period of
time your child will be co recognize many
of the letters of the by playing just
two simple games: rhe Sound Game and the
S:md,npcr Letters. You will have prepared hc:r
well t-;',r writing ;ind reading.
The moveable alphabet - the
I bridge to reading and writing
Once vour child is with aoout three
quarters of the Sandppcr Letters, you can
begin to encourage her write down words,
sentences J,nd poems set of letters you
have made for this purpose. We call it the
:\1oye:,ble Alphabet. game provides the
vital link £01' your child benveen reading and
vvriting.
Your child must cx;)cri.cn,:e for herself the
po\.ver of USIng
swries and poems for
leave messages.
to read. The act of
rf"rm:lnence and
therefore importance to vvhat may other.visc be
WRfTING
spoken and forgotten.
Giving her letters that have already been
prepared divorces the creatIve and expressive
side of writing from the slower and more
m-;dcrdcvcJoped skill of writing by hand. The
development of both ofrhese arcas \.vill progrcss
along parallel lines for a while: in this way the
actual act of handwriting, which needs practice
and repetition, doesn't hold up her grovving
ability to use language in its ,vritten form to
express thought.
The t\vo parallel paths
• Expressive and crearive writing. which is a
vital foundation for reading deld writing (for
Wllich we use the !Viovc;lhle Alpbhet).
• Preparing the hand to write letters fluently
and easily (for which use tile Sandpapcr
Leners: see Chapter 5).
These parhs will join wgether quite nat\1[;,lly
later on. You will ±lnd ,hat your
child will spontancously begin to
label dn\',;ings and
and eventually as
a mrunl physical
thar you used wallow for the
nowering of her creative writing
will nor need to be used.
In addition co the henefits
tha[ accrue to vour child from
being able to writc as
she begins w write using the
Yiove:Jhlc Alphahet letters, she will
directly experience
which letters make
way in
and how
prim goes from lefi: to right and
from top w bottom. It will give her
an opportumty to ,\yritmg
LEFT The Moveable Alphabet can be
invaluable in helping your child recognize
letters. Get him used to it by encouraging
him to take out and put back individual
letters in their compartments,
FIRST
wi[h speech and, in
easy it is to make words by she
will be very quick to make the leap between
writing things dovrn and actlully heing able to
back what she has written.
Don't make your child read back any oEher
work with ,he !viovC'aHc /\lphahcLTrust
in all the prepar;](ion vou have done and in her.
To begm with she will rememher what she has
written and "teel" that she is reading, and this is
:1 boost to her a child who teels
shc is a reader can become a reader. But one day
as she is composing her stories vou will notice
dut attemion co each word as she
"reads" what has been put down. Words that can
be easily rccmcmbcred are being studied and
pronOlmced more siowly. Some words will be
rec<ogrllzcd as "sight" words. some worked out.
I She has taken the magic step all by herself and
now you have both an author and a reader.
R D l=t E c\ D 1 :-J (; !\ 01 I) \X/ R IT: :-J C;
r"Vhat your child needs to know before
using the mOlleable alphabet
The Sound Game: She must be able to break
words down into their differem sounds.
Remember that doesn't mean as they are
spelled. but as they sound. This is around level 5
of the Sound Game.
The Sandpaper Letters: She should know
three-quarters of the letters. including some I
digraphs and cert:linly all the vowels. Working
with the Moyeabk Alphabet encounges her to
learn the remaining letters as she discovers that
she needs them to write down the words IS
thinking of.
What you need to know
for tbe dots). If possible try w have compart-
ments large enough to take each letter flat and
glue one w the bottom of each space so it is
easy to replace the letters in their correct
compartment. Make the letters a reasonable size
- if they are too small, they become too hard to
vvork vvirh, and your child \vill
crying to use them.
Before you play the game
frustrated
Bring Out the box and playa game to help her
find where each lener is. "Can vou find'm?'"
"Let's if you know this one?" (This is a good
indicator of how many letters she knows and
may encourage her to set about learning the
ones doesn't.) Take some letters out of the
box, mix them up and ask her to find their
"homes:'\Vl-.ile you are busy doing other things
This activity is fun.You supply the letters your
child needs if she doesn't k.'lOW them. Spelling
doesn't matter this stage - yOU vvill help your
child to spell using other games that will appear
later in the book. Gradu:llly, as your child plays
the other parallel games (Puzzle \Vords and Key
Sound Envelopes, Chapten 6 and 7) the words
that she sounds out in the beginning will start
to be spelled more accurately. This aCIivity is
coilaborative in the beginning, so if your child
wants a permanent record of what she has
written, you will have to write it down for her.
However, you must make sure you write it
down using the correct spelling.
I have her find different letren trom the box for
vou. The farther away you are, the more fun it is.
I Let her ask you to do the same ching. Take
letter and see if you can find it in her favorite
book. Link the letters in the box to the leners in
How to make the mOlleable alphahet
the same shape ofletter you used for the
S;m0paper Letters, only slightly smaller (use the
tcmrbres in Chapter 9 and reduce them on a
photocopier). Cut Out 10-15 copies of each
Use one color for consonants and one
color for vowels. (It helps if they are the same
color that YOll chose for the Sandpaper Leners.)
Remember to out appropriate-colored dots
tor tbe "j" and the Place the letters in the
compartments of a large box (it needs to have
:26 separate ones for the letters and an extra one i
the book. While you are yourself
and her with the letters, point om which way is
up on the letters and show her that the "i" and
"j" have dot added to the top.
Playing the game
The writing down of words should stem from
a spontaneous conversation with your child
and should be done tor a reason: all writing is
purposeful. Perhaps you might decide to wrire
down the names of all her favonte toys, foods,
people; you inay \.vish to ".vrire J menu for
lunch or supper: or perhaps you want [Q leave a
for a rebtive or remind yourself ,hat
the oven is on. Decide to vvrite your cbld a
message which you will then read and she can
WrIte ans,ver. i\ simple "yes" or "no" may
be enough in the beginning. Have your
digraphs nearhy, as you will protnbly need
tnem.
IRST STEPS TOWARD READING AND WRiTING
ABOVE When she can recognize and sort Moveable
Alphabet letters easily. your child can move on to create
words phonetically. Don't worry about her speUing! This
Ilttte gict is creating her favorite shopping list.
Your may '1omcthing like this.
"Let's go shopping - you can help me write a
list. What. do vou think we needi r know, eggs.
Can you tell me the sounds in 'eggs?'"
Your child should be able to sound Out eggs.
She may sound it or e-g-z doesn'[
Inatter! Ask her for the first sound again:
Adult What did it start WIth?
Child e
Adult Can you tind e?
Your cbjld finds it and places it on the table or
£loor, wherever you are. Move it to the and
just under the box.
,1dult "\Vhat sound COll1es next?"
Child "g""
,,4dult UCdIl you find
Show your child how to place it next to
tirst Be carerul not to ask tor rhe second
F I It 5 T S r s To \V A R l) REA D ! N C; /\ \YJ!t! ! C
sound or the third sound: she will not have a
concept at there being" certain numher of
letters in a \ivord. By asking tor the "next"
sound you can explain that the "next" sound
must go "next" to the other letter.
Should your child produce a "z" for the last
sound, accept i[ and carry on. You should not
be concerned with spelling at this stage.
Look. you've \.vritten ·'eggs." Let's
vVfite another word on our list.
Choose another word or let vour child choose
one. Very soon you'll have a terrific list of
words that you have written together.
Throughout the game encourage her to take
the lead as much possihle, ,md try to choose
shorter words to start with, and if possible
those that are mostlv phonetic tor tlrst few.
If she cannot find a particular letter-sound
corresponder:ce. simply give her the letter. This
process should he smooth and effortless and a
I real delight to your child who is truly able to
write and e}"llress thoughts with very little
erlort.
I Dealing UJirh sounds such as "ch," "oy,"
etc.
\Vhen these crop up, produce the S;mdpaper
digraph and have vour child identifY the cwo
letters [hat make this up. Prior to [his she
learned these as" one picture," but as we are
now ,maiyzing the )ocmds in words she should
be able w identifv that cwo letters go together
w make a single sound. Keep them handy so
that she easily to them.
Don't worrv about spelling at this stage. The
important thing for your child to feel is that
she is able to write easilv and tluentlv and that
her is understood.
Now you can encourage her to use the
alphabet everv day. You can write down poems
and nursery rhvmes that you both know and
gradually little swries - ,,'metimes
a good story can last three
senrences and sometimes they
much longer. Don't worry about
capital letters this stage. Keep
everything very simple and just
watch your child become
'\vriter:"
Very quickly, as your child
becomes more practiced in her use
of the ;yloveablc l\lphabC't, she will
become aware of a number of
importam things. By taking out
letters and putting them together,
she becomeS aware of how words
are tc)rmed ;md made. She also
nncter<.;t:1Uc1S that she should place
LEFT Kum to mi party! Once she
understands the principle of creating words
from the Moveable Alphabet letters, your
child can have lots of fun writing messages
for her friends.
80 i FIR
STEPS RE/\DING AND WRITI"z.:;.
them tram left to right, that there should be a
gap between each new word, and that the gap is
usually about the space of one letter. Don't be
tempted to use objects with the Moveable
Alphabet - you will hinder the creative devel-
opment of her writing and limit it to a very
mechanical level.
Give her lots of cncoungcmem. she
wishes, she could illustrate what she has
"written." Don't encourage her to copy what
she has written just yet; it's too soon for the
hand to write accurately and at speed. Of
course, if she sp()f:tancou<sly begins to i;:vrite you
messages, then be very and
supportive, but try noc to suggest that she copies
what she has written with the Moveable
Alphabet as this will make a chore am of
,omething that is a ple:tsure. \Vhen she Gn
write easiiy and well, she WIll not wam to use
to him and how he would like to describe it. I
hope I need not add that this poem was not the
I product of hIs teacher suggesting that the
children might all like to write poem about
Autumn! He chose to write it himself
Please remember not to ask your
child to read what she has written
If we return to our vision of the two procf"ses
of reading :md you will that
yvriting is very close to speech and in the begin-
ning simplv [(:qn;rp rhat we analyze sounds.
Reading has to make use of a number of
additional srrategies, You will find that when
your child writes with the !y10vnble ""'lphabet,
she will need you to read back whar has been
written in the beginning. Sometimes she will
"chant" the words she has written becmse she
can remember them. Be delighted with her.
the i\lphahct anv more and her ability to write One day, however, .she will begin w study
well and creatively will quite natnnllv make it i the words she has written and will stan to read
ohsolere.
You will be surprised at the varietv and
quaJity of what vour child may write with ;:he
:\10vc;]blc Alphabet over a period of time. This
poem \;vas written by a child in a Monte"ori
school when he was four and a using [he
!\1m'CJble Alphabet.
/\mum iz cool and culrlill
Thai raik leavz
And maik homtlerz.
This is a \'vondcrfully CfE"::ttlve poem for child
ofrhis age to have written. I have long since lost
contact with him, bm the beauty of his poem
remains pcrrr::mcmly with me. He could not
have physically \vrittcn dovin the letters for this
poem - it would have taken too long and been
too laborious for him. He could have asked one
of his teachers to be his scribe, but I suspect [hat
in order to write this poem he needeci to be
alone, quietly thinking or- v,lhat autumn meant
RST S
,hem back to you ,pontaneonsly. Usually YOu
can easily tell the difference between the
I moment of rerncmbcring and the moment of
reaciing, as she seems to spend longer actually
looking at the letters and linking them together
imo a word, and her attention seems different
when she is reading.
This is a magical moment and can happen as
quickly as a few days after the first introduction
to the Alrhabet, although often it takes longer.
The important thing for you and your child is
that it happen> spontaneously; she ,henld simply
find herself able to do
Suddenly yom child not only feels herseif to
be a reader, she is a reader! Her eyes will linger
on words tha[ you have just read: her a[[emion
will be caught by a single word. Silently you will
see her lips moving as she confirms her kno\.yl-
edge of hOy,," that word sounds. You
\vill also notice her be cOIning lTIOre
! in recognizing '""\vhole" \cvords that she seen
trcquemly in books or when she is out and
TOWARD ! N G 1\ j) \'V R i T I 0: c:
about \vith you.
\Vhen your child has rcached stage Computers
described above, she wiil be keen to progress I Don't in a hurry ro introduce your child co
her reading skills; this ,vould be goml rime to
begin to play the games in Chap[er 6 vvith her.
Games to that involve
messages
letters on the (ridge
may have to buy more than one of
magnetlc letters to get enough vowels to
chis work vvell.Write simple mt:'ssagcs to your
child and her to wricc back.
Sponge letters in the bath
letters are fun as they stick to side of
the bath. Your child can write aD)vvcrs to
questlOD) mch "Have your brushed your
your hlue bucker?"
Magnetic pictures with words
Well-chosen puzzles with \vords. such as those
by Joily Learning, are cleverlv done the
I the computer. Unless you can find a keyboard
wirh lowercase letters on it, wait a lide bit
longer. Most children have an uncanny vvay of
"knowing" many of the uppercase letters and
once your child seems to recognize them easily,
a simple lesson in how to write messages using a
computer can be useful. Beware, however,
because computers also need a lightness of
wuch and a knmdedge ofho\y 'paces,
and you do not wish to extend the time your
child spends in tront of the Children. as a
general rule, find that writing by hand is much
qmcker tnan writing on screen to begin with,
and this should be encouraged. An error on the
compllt('r can be quickly corrected; the hand,
however, needs to develop to a stage where
accurate ,"Tiring is not a chore.
your child to send mcss;]gcs to
other people:
letters can go in order and your will I .. A thank-you card for presents received.
have to sound them out to get the word right.
Printing and stencils with letters
Simple printing sets and stencils can help
chiklren to their ovvn letters
their o\.vn labels and mess3gcs.
Junior Boggle
This is an excellent game to encourage
cbildren to form words. The cards that come
\vith the g;:une have a huge nUlnber of
phonetic words addition to othen .har vou
can use as your hecon1cs more proficient
spelling. In addition. the words are
\vritten clearly on each card, she is :lble to
herself if she doesn·r quite manage to
get it right.
PS TOWARD RE.ADING .,\ND WRITING
.. A hello, how are you
• A birthday greeting.
• A stOry abour ",,,hat she has done t..hat day.
Ask her to dictate to you what she would like
you to write for her.-Write down exactly what
she then read it back to her so chat she
can decide if she agrees with what is written.
Perhaps she would like to include a picture or
some "writing." Encourage her to decorate the
paper that you have written on so that the
FIRST
AaOVE Letter stencils can be employed in lots of ways and
5Iml ... ":O il!;i!. Labels for a book or ciothes shelf, or
Cards, are only two
note is truly a collaborative venture
two of you,
As you play these games, watch the way
which your child, although speaking,
aware that she has become a writer. She 'Nill
I search for the right words to use, and as
STEPS TO\VARD READINC AND WRITINC
becomes aware of the liILi( bct\vcen storles and
her own dictated story, she will begin to use
story convention. Many wili begin with "One
day ... " or even "Once upon a time .. :' and the
words "the end" can come very suddenly!
Similarly, as she uses rhe Alphabet to
rom pose stories, you will observe the way in
which her language changes to a more authori-
al style rather than conversational. Because you
have read to her so often, you have given her a
lot of experience and knowledge about books
and how they work. She quite naturally assumes
the role ofamhor, and an importJnt toward
literacy has been :lchievcd.
Your child's own writing
When your child begins to write with ease (see
Chapter 5), you can encouuge her to plav all
the above games by writing them herself. A.nd
leaving her fun messages should encourage her
to leave you tun messages, too.
An received from one of mv own
children is: "I hav left."
A message sent from the six-year-old to rhe
four-vear-old went as follows:
"Will the person in the bottom bunk bed
please not disturb me when he wakes up in the
morning, Tom."
Wei!, the tour-vear-old woke up early and
realized that the "nO[e" must be for him. He
came to mv bedroom and woke
me up at 6.30 a.111. to ask me to
read it to him - I must admit I
felt like adding my name to the
bottom of the note as well! The
act of writing (he note was heipful
and benefieial to bO[h children,
though. The four-vear-old was able
to learn more about the nature of
the printed word and im:mc,diaicely
lCLl'sUlZed, even though he couldn't
that the note was meant for
him. The six-year-old felt happy and
confident that he had expre'sen and
conveyed his feelings in a nonverbal
way, and that the had been
received and noted!
Think of as many ways as you can to
encourage your child to write, Here, a chHd has
written a menu to accompany the family meal,
Fr
T c) WAR 0 REA D I G :\ N 0 \V R I T I :"J G
CHAPTER FIVE
Learning to write the letters
begun co teach 'lour child to reach, but nO[ in the way of either the paper or
-A.:reC,[1gTuze the letters of the alphabet, you her arm. Don't sit too close to her as this may
can now also start to help her write them. In j cause her co swivel or turn her body into an
addition to all the general preparations vou've I awkward position.
been making to create a "readiness" to write, i
vou should now also concentrate on some Writing tools
specifie skills: handwnting is an art that has to I Provide a varierv of pens or pencils. These should
be learned. As with anv skill, if you begin by I vary in color, allowing her to exerClse aesthetic
forming bad habits, correcting them can take a I choice. Children seem to develop strong prefer-
lot of time and effort, but with the right help at ences for colors at a \'ery early age and fJvorires
beginning, you ""ill be ::ible to help her
acquire good handwriting habits and skills
which wili stay \,v1th her all her life.
Here are some points to bear in mind before
you start.
Posture
are pink, purple, reci, blue and green! Pl'Ovick
ordinary lead pencils and also S0l11.e felt-rip pens.
The of the impleOlents should
also vary as some chiklrC'n tlnd eaSIer to gnp a
slightly rhicker pennl while others may prefer
those that are triangular or hexagon:tl in sha],f
You will need to observe which pencils your
child seems to preier and which she feels most
comfortable holding. The points of the pencils
should be sharp but not brittle.
Make sure she is sitting comfort:lbly at a table - I
it's helpful ifher feet can reach the t100r. The
height of the table and the chair should allow
her arms and hands to be a good angle to the
tabletop so that her arms are free to move across : Storing pens and pencils
the paper without being cramped or tense, You
should also check that she is not sitting wo
close to the table or lOa dVvav. If she leit-
handed, you may need to seat her slightly
higher so she can see the marks she is making
over the top of her hand.
Space
Make sure there is plenty of space on the table
so that pencils or crayons can be placed within
Have a container of some kind for
and pens - a jar or beaker will serve
pencils
well. as
they can be taken out and put back easily. Pend
cases can be tun to use a little later on. but :.It
I stage the pencils tend to be out and get ill
the way or drop ott the [able. of vV!1ich wiii
interiere with your child's abili[y to focus her
anemion on the task.
Don't be cempted to cran, toO nlany
and pencils into one container as [his will not
HE L
help her to make a choice. If you really want to
observe which pencil or pen works well for her,
she needs to be able to see what's on offer. If
there are too many pens to choose frOln, she
will find it impossible to know which choices
she has and will settle for whatever catches her
attention,
Tty to keep this container and the p::tper that
you have selected in place accessible to your
child. She can then choose when she wishes to
"write" by in addition to the rimes th:1[
you choose to wTite together.
Paper
Whether you choose to start writing on paper
or on a blackboard, try to make sure that
select is of good quality - there is
nothing more frustrJxing than flimsy paper or a
shiny blackboard. To encourage a good hand,
R:'-;[NG TO WRITE
RS
the surface being used should not be
nor should your child be forced to press hard on
it to make a mark. Don't anchor the paper in
any way as she will need to svvivel i[ to suit the
hand she is writing with. A firm table mat can
serve as a good surface to put under paper, or a
plastic floor tile if you have one large enough;
failing this a large piece of blotting paper or
heavv-grade painting paper may do.
You may need to help her place the paper in
an appropriate position, Usually right-handed
children need the slightly to the right of
their body in front of their right hand, while
left-handed children need the paper slightlv to
the left in front of their left hand. Some children
like to angle the paper: a right-hander mav angle
the top slightly to the left and a lett-hander may
angle it either slightly to the lett or slightly to
the right. Try not to have paper that is too large
to manipulate - a 5 x 7-inch
right to begin with.
Decorating the
will be about
If you decide to use a table mat or heavy-grade
paper under the paper your child will write on,
you could encourage her to decorate it to
provide markers so that she'll know where to
position her writing paper. Once she has found
an optimum angle for her paper, ask her to put
a little star at each corner on the undermat or
paper to mark her position,
PencH hold
Check that your child is holding the pen or
pencil appropriately. There are a number of
acceptable holds: good one will usually
involve her holding the pencil between her
thumb and index finger v,ith middle finger I
cramp his hand.
good contro!.
acting as support. blunt end of the pencil
can be relatlVcly upright or along
of the child's forearm. Any tension in the of
the hand will not help her to write and may
indicate that she is not holriing the pencil in the
best pmition. The imporolll to remc;nhor
that there are several ways she can hold i[ -
most of us were taught that there was only one
way and we either conformed to it or were told
that we held it "incorrectlv." Your child may
discoycr a hold \'IOrKS but has not tr;1CiitloD-
ally been acceptable. For ex;tmple, a cornf,xtable
one may involve [he shaft of the pencil resting
between the first ;md second fingers rather than
hetween the first finger and thumb.
Light
Last of all. make sure that your child can see
what she is writing. Is there enough light falling
"[0 W/Rl r H E: L ERS K7
on the paper? Does her hand create a shadow
over her ,vriting?
Having prepared yourself as carefuily as
possIble you can now start to help her to
develop good h:mj\vriring rechniques.
or left-handed?
It's not always easy to teil if your child nght-
handed or left-handed when she is very young.
Be relaxed about whichever hand your child
uses to draw or write with. Some childYC'n use
both hands for a variery' oftasks.You might like
to your child to use whichever hand she
feels will make the best job of writing the
letters. If she appc;;[s to be favor1ng her left
hand, here some tips to make life a little
easier for her.
.. Sit her slightly higher on her chair so that
her lett arm is able to travel freely across the
paper. A rcicphonc directory can give the
necessary st:lhi!ity; pillows could make her feel
Insecure.
• If pmsihle arT3nge things so that hoth of her
feet are on the ground.
.. Place the paper slightly to the left of the
mid-line body. The slanting of the paper
should be left to the child, but try to make sure
she has a relaxed and comfortable body
pO,\1t10n.
Enconrage her to use a \vriting imrJerncnr
that Hows smoothly over the page, such as a
felt-tip pen.
Make sure she has enough space to place her
paper to the lett.
.. Check that she is able to see what she has
wntten - the thumb ob5cnrcs it.
Suggest that she holds pencil litde higher
up the shaft. fllrther from the point of the
pencil if she seems to be having problems
It.
""rn-",.., ... the letters
When children write letter, it is important to
Rl'\fNC TO WRIT TH
RS
rCl1lerr:bcr this is largely to do with
opmg, from the beg:nning, the hahit of forming
the letters in the right "vay.Your child can learn
to do this easily once she has relativelv good
control of her hands. Letter wriring is learned
and,just like learning to walk, once YOU can do
it, it just comes naturally. It's very important for
her to get off to a good start, and the followmg
3cti\'i1'ie5 will help her hand to develop natural-
ly the kind of movemem to write the
letters. The more practice she has, the easier it
,vii! be. Remembec it is much more diftl-
cult to undo bad habits than to learn good ones
from the beginning'You will need to make sure
that she starts starIS a letter in the correct place
and is able to vvrite fol1o\,ving the correct £lo"\v
of the letter. (See the S:mdl'aper Letters
on 73.)
Choosmg a script
There are many differing opinions 1hollt what
kind ofletters to use. It IS nor advisable to teach
your child to write using capital letters she
will learn these fairly easily at a later stage.Your
first concern will be to teach her to yvritC' :.1sing
lowcrclse letters, and you must decide on the
style or' these trom the start. The two mam stvles
are prim and cursive (see temphtcs, p.142).
I would recommend that you reach your
child some torm of cursive scnpt trom the verY
beginning for the following reasons.
• Cursive script j70ws and it easy for your child's
hand to move across it mlONhly Pnnt tends to be
more abrupt movement, ;md prmt h,ners
often lead children to look at the letters
write them using what is called the ball and
stick formula. This will trequently lead to
letters being formed incorrectly, and bad habits
can quickly become C·'U·lJl,·,,"C'd.
.. The shapes of cursive letters ,lre less likely to make
letters look like you
can see:
b d,
bd
pq
pq
easily. She will therefore only need to learn
how to form letters once. Letters that aren't
formed properly become hazard when she
gelS to (he s(age of joining them up.You
shouldn't expeer her to join her letters until
she can easily achieve the correct moycmcnt
for each leIter (that is, starting the letter in
right place and moving her hand in the right
di.rectioll to
letters, it
will allow her the j?o."ihility ojjoining
il1 rhcJirrurc. This is another reason for
preferring cursive script. When tormmg a print
letter. children will tend to exert most prcs'Clrc
on the pencil when tlnishing the letter on the
"i\Titing actually requires
the hand to do the oppmitc.Whenjoining
ieeters together rhe hand needs less as
it moves trom the t:nishing point of one Jet(er
to (he s(arting point of the next. i\lthough
most parents wlllnot need to be concerned
aboUt (heir child joined-up writing, it
as well to prepare her hand now, rather than
create a habit that will need to be altered in
the tuture. Be wary, hmycver, of letter styles
that have too many loops. The writing s(yles
produce look hut often
onlv work if there pknty of hme to write
ana no pressure.
isjasrer to write. Ifh:lnd;vriting
the purpose for which it is
or crc;1nng a
Finally, it is up to you. If you are tmc:ot:vinccri
bv the I would suggest that
YOU trY to (11<cO\'er what of script your
child will use when she begll1s tormal
Lctters.
The tollo-wing games are fun to play and will
make sure that your child's hand is moving in
the right direction in for using
pencil.YoLl can start playing them when she is
able to recognize and feel many of the Sandpa-
Leeters well. You'U need to play ail of these
games at table, or on the HooT.
Sorting into families
Age: around 3
You will need
set ofS3mipapcr lctters
Purpose
This game will help your child to explore
which letters belong togcth.er because of the
way they are written. Although it would appear
that most leotteTs have theoir own individual
shape, are distinct t8milv groups and
getting to kIlow them will as a key to her
und2manding;. Instead of I'here heing 26
in(11Vicin;:d each of which is a distinct and
separare shape, she will come to understand that
mastering the shape of one letter gives you
of how to write othen.
How to play
Separate out ail the Sandpaper Letters your
child knows. other than and suggest
that you sort them into families. It's probably
best to do one family at a time to hegin with
until the sorting process hecome' easier
Take the letter lie" :md ask your child to
it and say the sound "c"You might suggest that
needs to find all the other of its
family, as they seem to have got lost in
letterbnd' l\sk her to be detective and find
the other or YOLl may prefer to be
more straightforward about your search! The
NING TO WRITE THE 89
1)0
only way to find the family is to feel all the
other letters until vou find one that makes the
shape "c" as you begin to feel it.
Feel the letter" c," then choose another
letter "a" (pre-arranged in your pile). This
begins in the same way as "c." Have your child
feel the letter and discover that in £1.Ct "e" and
i\S soon as a group ofletters has been
identified, feel through them as orten as
possible. Play [he game orren enough for your
child to be able [Q sort out "her" groups of
letters very easily.
Making letter shapes in sand
"a" are related. Pur "a" on the table where the I Age: around 3 - -I- '12
family will go. Feel "c" again and choose
another letter. Graduallv the cable fills up ,'vith
all those letters that belong to the "e" family
and your pile of rejects gets put to one side.
are the families that you should be able
to find
The fanuly
cadgqo
rnmhbp
The "i" family
1 t 1 u y j k
T"he "v" group
V \tv X
Certain letters will not fit into any group and
these can be called the "odd" [tInily. Some
letters, depending on the way you have drawn
them, could belong to one of several families
"k" for example, mav belong to the rather
than the family if it has a curved rap.
Ifyou are using the templates from Chapter 9
Letters, the odd letters will
Be ;mdd by your child's decisions about
odd children are happy to put
s mto the' c group because of the rounded
shape made at rhe ami some
happy for "z" to belong to the
it contJ1ns. a di3g0t1lL
RNING TO \VRI R.S
You will need
lI. small ttay or something similar - [he lid of a
, cookie tin will do, but don't use anything ,hac
h3S high sides. A small amount offine sand,just
enough [Q cover the base of the tray. If you
i don't have sand, and if you can s[and the mess.
I you could try dour your child will love i[!
Salt maY be better al[ernacive, but make sure
she doesn't put her tlngers in her mouth! A few
I Sandpaper Letters.
Purpose
This game wiH help your child to practice
I writing the shapes of letters using her hand
directly, before she begins to use a pencil to do
so. Gradually her hand, using the model of the
Sandpaper Letters. becomeS rnore and more
able to make a good attf'mpt at writing the
shape ofletters.
How to play
Let your child choose a Sandpaper Letter chat
she can feel "vvell. (You may vvan-c to limit the
choice [Q those you know she can manage.)
Take the letter of her choice to the table and
put it beside the trav w-lrh the sand. the
checkbt opposite to make that her
postnre is good. Feel the Sandpaper Letter. then
show her how to make the same shape in the
sand tray using: your nvo vvriting (your
first and middle ones), saying the sound out
loud. either as VOl! trace it or immediatei\'
atterward. Admire the result, then gently shake
RlGHT Drawing Sandpaper Letters in sand is effortless and
I makes learning letters more interesting. Make sure your
child follows the 'correct' movement when tracing the let-
ters, (See the diagram on page 73.)
Ifit is,
paper?
at using the lightly in other situations is do more drawing and coloring,
reeling of :'le Sandpaper Letters emphasizing "tightness of touch."
draw the pen/pencil across the paper?
the right position? Does she have the right kind of pen or pencil? Is the size of her chair
observe what works for your child. Remember that her "nnds are a lot sm311er than
unique in their own way. Try the alternative hold mentioned in this ;:;nd see if you find
light source and the size of her paper.
difficulties that are apparent are nor caused by tension on the pert of 'lour chiid to
before she is ready to form them will result in stress Clod tension, so
is ready - vvhen she wants to write, rather 7han when you want her to.
pre'writing experience to in control of her
in which the lettEr is written without any clifficulty,
,he tray to make letter disarrcar. Do the
same thing again few times, ,hen ask her if
she would like a mrn.
Encourage her to repeat the or the
letter as many times as possible hefore you go
on to another letter. Alwavs give your full
"Jttemion to ,he start of the letter and
cncoura.ge her to continue the lllovement o(
letter to leave her alone
to explore the letter in sand. IVlake sure she
always feeis the
first berore she traces the
shape in the sand. You lTlay like to her that
can teach write bv feeling the
letter. In this \Nay she will r a'-'great
of achhc\ocl11cnt.
\VR 1 KS
Feeling and writing the Sandpaper
Letters
Once your child's hand can make a reasonably
good attempt at tracing a shape in sand. there
are manv other steps you can take co help her
to develop good It be
nccessJry to practice 'v1lTiting in cc);lil;:nctlOTI
\yith the SJndrapcr Letters until her hand no
longer needs co learn the correct
rnaking the snape; once this has the
Sandpaper Letters are no longer useful.
I would recorr;;;tcnd that you progress
through the follo\ying g:nnes as to
your child's skills. They vvill helD her
to master the fOllowing:
.. Handling a writing implement.
.. Controlling a writing onpper.
.. \10ving the writing implement in a
particular direction and forming particular
.. Producing letters that are in
Feeling and writing the sandpaper
letters on a blackboard
around 4 on
You will need
A set of Sandpaper Letters.
Chalk - different colors, but preferably not
long, thin pieces they break easilv.Try to
find chalk that is short and stubby. You may
want to dusrfree chalk. Most good
)uppliers ';Nill have these as will most good
children's toy stores.
A really good hlackboar,iYou could use
those that are often found on the other side of
pamtlng easels happen to have one at
home,11though ;lre some onwbJcb to
,his. The moyerneritl that your chIld's ;lrm.
and fingers make when writing on a
surface, such as table, is very to the
made :::t:1nding up an
easel. Standing up to practice isn't the
best solution but may be the onlv one that you
have to begin with. Ideaily, vou will buv or
a hlackbo:mi that is "bout 8 x 10 inches.
It should rest firmly on the table and should be
heavy enough nor co slip and slide about. The
mrtace must not be shiny. Don', buy one until
you have tried it out - dmningly stores do sell
boards ,hat are sometimes almost impcl'Sible to
on:
If all else tails you should go to your local
supplier. and buy
painted the side
children had a wonderf',ll bbckboard to dId\v
on and she fdt that her ugly mJchine
had been put co good use.
You will also need a really good hhckbo:ud
eraser or a damp sponge .
How to ploy
Ask your child to choose a SJ:1dPJper Letter
that she likes and can feel easiiy. Ifshe needs
heip, give her a choice of some letters in her
name or any mhers that may have particular
for her. Place the letter slightly to
wilinot
twist her body into an position \vhen
she feels it. Now you feel ,he letter, pick up the
several times; fill ,he board with as many
as you trying each time to form a
heautiflll sh:Jpe. Now ask your child if she
would like to do the same. Rub out your
letters and let her start. In the beginning it
doesn't matter where the leerer is written on
the board, but her to fiil the bo"rd.
size of the letter doesn't matter either.
some nrne wili start to write the
letters at a size that she feels comtortable with.
When she has rilled [he board, ask her to look
all the letters she has written and choose [he
she likes best!
Children have a clear idea orhow they
e:\-pect their letters to look, and the bbckbo;;rd
provides a helpful start letter that
your child is with c;ln be
:rnmcdidtc]y ifshc doesn't like it. It's much
better tor her to practice on a blackboard
betore she moves on to paper.
Writing letters on paper
around 4-
c:ont1dent ahout
on. when your child is
on a blackboard
When she starts to practice \Nntmi;
she ,hould be rebtivelv happv with what
she writes. Do no, encourage ,he use of J
pencil eraser.
You wiil need
A set of Sandpaper Letcers.
You could offer a choice of colorful
TO WR! TEL
')4
crayons. snnIlar size to the chalk,
or a limited choice of fe-DeiJ" and
felt-tip pens. Don't have too many
to choose froin.
Plain (i.e. unlined) pdper - this
-;hould be 5 x inches and
you could offer choice of colors.
Make sure, however, that all the
crayon colors will show up on the
colored paper.
How to piay
Firs[ make you have run
through the checklist on page 92
regardIng :1nd the position
of the paper. Then you could do
L t ~ t t c r s as YOll
did with the hlackhoard.
.. Create a border around the edge of the
paper and. when the middle has been filled in
,-vith b('auritlll
decorarc the border.You '\vill have
R N I N G 'J/R I T E
ABOVE Writing on lines using the Sandpaper letters .
BELOW Drawing a border around her work and then deco-
rating it will help your child feel proud of her work and wilt
also help give her the idea of margins. And the middle can
be used for a poem, a thank-you letter or a message.
modern day sampler
l
.. Choose one of the letter (see
Sorting into F:Jmilies earlier in this cbrtcr)
and write all the letters from it on one sheet of
paper. Repeat for the orher t;,milies, each
family of paper.
Now the'
Llmilies, too.
+- Observe her "'Titing to see what size of
letter she generally produces. Use this as a
guide. Fold (he paper over as if you were
creating accordion or fan - width of the
first told to be determined by size of her
letters; first fold should be about twice the
size. If your child's letters are much too big to
allow you to do this easilv. then she is not vet
ready tor this activity. A good indicator of size
is otten to look at the size that writes her
own name. Ask her to write her letters in a
iine. using space betv;;een fold,. This
acrivity should encourage her to start her
letters on the left-hand side of the page and
will help to regularize their size. Please
note that you are nor asking to write on
the line, rather you are cnC:0urJ.gmg her to get
letters moving in a line.
If she tinds it ditEcult to to
start, and this may be particularly difficult for a
lett-handed child. she could decorate the
margin down the lett-hand side of the page -
you could make a simple hookmark and
decorate to fit on to the side of the
page.You can do this easily using a strip of
,:Jraboard cutting out a at the top
- the V can fit over the top of the page and
remaIn stable vvhile she is \-\Titing). If
your child is not in doing this,
might like to draw a colored line down the
side of the page to remind herself instead.
Writing in the air
Have vour child sit on your lap. Hold the hand
that she writes with and draw a letter in the
air, using her hand as the pencil. See if she can
guess which letter you viritten. Be sure
you write in one smooth movcmC'nt, ,qrting
the letter in the correct place. This is a great
way of making sure that your child really
"feels" the vvay the letters are wTitten.
Fingerpainting the letters
rfyol! were brave enough to organize tlnger-
painting to encourage making in
Chapter 3, it will be a natural step for vour
child to draw the shapes of the letters in the
paint with her fingers, and to make a prim of
these on paper. Those she isn't satisfied with
can be "iped away easilv. Don't let her use the
LC1:ters as a for this activity
they're almost certain to get spartered! She will
probably start to paint the the letters '.vithont
any prompting from you, but if she doesn't,
only suggest it when you are fairly sure she can
make a reasonahle at forming the
shape without using the guide of the letter.
NING TO \VF..1
Painting the letters
If your child enjoys painting, you might like to
provide her v,;ith smaller pieces of paper and
finer brush. She can sit at table and paint
letters on paper. Once again, you would not
really be wise to use the Sandpaper Letters as a
guide as they will prob:ll,ly get painted
il1JdYertJntlv'The main purpose of this should
to make sure hand is able to control the
brush J\')llowing the correct letter moyement.
The letters do not have to be perfect.
and paint
Use really waA)' crayons. Encourage her to
write the letters on paper, then cover the paper
with a light wash of paint and watch together
as the letters appear through the paint.
Gluing letters
You will
\Vater-soluble glue. Either buy some or use
w:1ilppcr paste, which is cheap and easv to
n'lake. Use a painthrush nthcr than glue
brush. which has a blunt edge, If you can find
theul, there are :1vaib.blc glue
Fens Ihat v(lOrk well with this activity.
You will also need glitter, or sand
J.nd good-guality colored FapeLYou mav tInd
it helpful to do this over a trav since it carl be
qUIte messy.
How to play
yom ,:hild to write letters in glne
over the paper as guickly as she can. Now
her over ghtter, sequins
or sand and shake. Watch the glue letters
appear.
j.\re 50111e nlovcrncnts more difficult than
others? .A..IQngsidc her practice\ encourage
n,ore pattern making and still-life dr:r\Ying as
R ['-..; [ G T (, W R ! T E
oudined in ChaFter 3.
Revisiting the sound and letter
recognition games
If you look back at some of the games you
played in Chapter you will see that many can
be rldarted for your newly t1cciged to
write. For instance, she can label the picmres in
the rhyming games you played: she can make
her own alphabet book; she can ,tdIt to use her
own hanchniting to send mCSSJges: Jnd she
\vTite lists and menus, and gcncT:llly
incorporate writing into her play.
Worksheets and workbooks
You will have noticed, I hope, that I have
avoided suggesting you pro\'idc dotted lines for
children to trace over or use the many commer-
cially av:!ihHc workbooks on the marker.
Schools often send children home with
photocopied sheets on which to practice
writing their letters (not good Montessori
schools, I hasten to add!). Manv schools,
because they have to teach brge numbers of
children w write anyone time, otten are
unable to Ihe kind Jttcnt10n
i you can give to your cbld. Repetition does, of
course, help children. but repetirion that is
boring will not help anyone. Sadly the problem
with "tracing'" letters is that very often children
do not trace them correcclv in the first place.
They tJ.ke their hands off the letter at the
wrong mom em, have to conform to the ,ize of
letter on the sheets ;mn the 'pace provided for
writing, and frequently these sheets are
produced with print letters.
Your ch11d's h:mchvriring is and ,he
should feel as proud to produce a bClUtittll
letter as she does a beautiful or
painting. There should be no. sense of dUey
attached to dnwing letters. You can make
practicing her letters and fun bv
I proyiding rnJny different v'lays of doing it.
Helping your child to control a pencil
on paper
Age: around
You have encouraged your child to ciraw and
color in pictures, and you have also been
helping hcr to explore patterns and shapes on
paper. There is now one ;Jdditiol1J1 activity that
you could introd!lCe just as she is getting ready
to do more comrollfd writing on paper. In a
Montessori class it is called Metal Insets,
although the children otten call them mental
insets or metal insects' is possible to buy
them, but vou can just easily make use of
things around the house to achieve much the
same etIect.
You will need
Some good-quality colored pencils. Some
good-quality plain \mJined) paper in lots of
colors.An object, such a small saucer or lid
to draw around, or use insets from puzzles
your child had when she was smal1cr. (These
would be ideal if Ihey were Wlm
knobs hecause the knobs would steady her
hand.)
Purpose
This activity will increase your child's control
of the pencil on paper whIle prJCticing
techniques that \Nill be
How to play
for writing.
Have your child draw around the outside of
the chosen shape as carefully as possible. This is
quite difficult as her hand ,vitI tend to shoot
off in differem directions at the
Then show her how to color in the oudine,
moving the hand from lett w right and
in an up and do\vn
imiGlreS the flow of the
\vriIing hand as it travels across paper. From
quite long lines at the beginning you can start
to color in bands. then gradualJy introduce the
idea of shading the
Before you move on to help your child to
write on lines, it may be useful to summarize
ABOVE You can use any object, like this box, to draw a
shape to help your child control a pencii on paper. After
she has drawn the shape, encourage her to color it in,
using up and down strokes and traveling from left to right,
the range of activities she is already engaged
on:
• IVriting creative!v with the ;vl(wCJhle
Alphabet lists, stories, poems and messages.
, • Practicing writing letters using
Srlndpaper Letters, through a number of
different
., Drawing and p::tlntlng, Jna to
I refine her hand control.
I • Starting to use her own handwriting (as
opposed to her earlier mark making) on her
drawings, and she mav use her own
hand"\vriting to send rncssagcs and \.vrite
lists, etc. Many of [he garnes yon
piayed earlier for sound and
I can be plaved agam at this poim
Chapter 3) and she WIll now be able to
her own len::ers.
.. Cor:tinuing to be read to.
• Starting to read fer herself.
F" N 1 NG
\1/ k JET 1-! I
Helpine: your child to write on
lines ~ . ;
Giving your child lines to help her to write and
space \vell can be very useful, 35 long as you are
to :l(bpt the ,ilE of the lines to the
of her wrinng.You will be able to judge what
size the lines need to be if you check her
writing on plain paper - a very good indicator
is to look at the size she writes her own name.
There are various types of lined paper you
can to help her pr;.cticc on. e<lch with a
slightly different purpose (see Chapter 9 for
you can use). Choose which type
you'd like vour child to try, but be prepared to
change it if what you've chosen doesn't work.
You will also need to change the size of the
lines as her writing devciop" until a single line
is adc'luatc. Use') x 7 -inch paper to start off
wilh. Don't encourage her to use lines for all
her WrIting, hmvcvcr: there will still be some
things that are bes( \vritten on plain paper.
The lined p;iper templates in Chapter 9
each geared to proVIde a slightlv ditTerent
3CtlVltY·
Graph Paper
This provides a general guide for your child and
\tvill not lirnit the size of her letters.
Line
This gives a guide for the main part of the letter
leaves the height of the ascenders and
descenders to the child.
Double line wirh darker base line
This focuses attemion on the base line and gives
guidallce for the of the mam part of the
lines: color coded
ThIS guid:mce for ascenders and
ders as well the main part of the letter.
LEARNiNC \Vru
Placing letters on a line
Age: around 4 5 on
Before you start the following actiyities, your
child should be able to mClke the correct
movement of the letters by herself withoU(
needing co refer co the S;tndpaper Letters
there are srill one or two that cause difficulty.
She should also be keen :md eager to write, and
you must strike a balance ber-ween providing
the necessary practice and making sure that the
writing has some purpose. She should now be
writing easily with the l\1on:ablc AJpnahcL
You wi/I need
One of each of the letters of the aiphaber -
vou can remove them tYom your Moveable
Alpbbet. !fthese are too large to fit on the
paper, reduce them on a photocopier. The
letters will only be used for a short space of
time in this activity so they don't need to be on
cardboard paper ,houle! do.
Decide which type oflined paper you are
going to try first; any of the templates - with
the exception of the paper - wiil
Take a large sheet of paper (11 " inches
"vould be about right), and dra\v the lines
you've chosen on the paper, using the size of
the letters vou have made as your guide.
If you're using a two-line Iormat, ,he middle
two lines should the" c" size: if you're using
a four-line format, the top line should be at the
height of the ascender in "h" and the bortom
line the depth of the desccndcr in "v."
How to play
SorringJor size
Explain to your child that she has been vvriting
in lines and now you are going to show her
where letters go when they are written on
lines. Ask her w son throl1gh all the and
leave all the letters that fit benveen the shaded
or blue lines on the paper. Those that do nO( fit
should be put aside.
acelmnorsuvvv
ABOVE Discovering where to place letters on a line will
prove valuable when your child comes to write on paper.
This little boy has discovered letters that descend below
the line, and those that sit on the line. He wi!! discover
those that ascend above it
Clear these away after enough tIme has been
spent looking at them.
Novv ask her to sort out all the letters that
have ascenden that go 1hove the shaded area
or reach the top line.
b d h
Clear these away atter sufficient time has been
spem looking at them.
Sort out all the letters that have descenders that
go below the shaded
line.
or reach the bottolTl
g j p q
You will be left with two odd letters
which ne\'er qlllte catches up with the
ascenders. and "C' which may above and
below the main lines.
Now ask your child to m:x up all
ana see if she can sort them out
to
size, placing them on the line as she goes.
Ask her to place all (he letters on the lines at
LE,>\ R:-.II :--""G \V1'. i LE
lOd
random and see can rCIT1C'mbcr
placement of each let(er.

l\sk her to son the letters out onto the line but
in their "movement" fa.tnilies (see the Sorting
into F;lillilies game. page 89). The letters that
begin" c," those that begin "i," and those that
begin "r," then the odd ones.
on rhe
Take some lined 5 x 7 inches paper and ask
your child to sort out the ,'\'loveable Alphabet
letters in any of the vvays outlined above. Using
the soned letters as a guide. she can write
down the letters on the lined paper.
You must now tlnd a variety of ways to help
her pnctice writing using lines. Try to avoid
asking her to repeat rows of a particular lener
since this hccomcs boring. You could
choose groups ofletters according to way
that they are wrinen or '·move." For instance.
from the farnily lTIO\'-Cmcnt group, and
''1'' could be practiced together, and "u" and
couid be practiced together. Expiore the
possihilities together, taking family group
a time, then look for similarities ",herher by
or by shape. The combinanom are
and <1uring the titne you are studying
the letters together. her kno\:vledgc :1nd
of the way letters arc formed and
written will be
As she increases in confidence and speed,
she \,vill \vant 1:0 'evrite on the lines more often,
aud vou \vill need to be needs
dnd the paper to suit grO\Vlng
clpahilities. \Vithin rEhtively short period of
she may able to write all her letters on
one Ime.
To alSlSt this process, keep all kinds of
paper on a ,hclf so ,he can choose
(he kind that suits her best, as different tasks
\vill require difterent paper. She \'lill \vant to
L E t\ R i'i!.'J G \YRITE TH
begin to write down longer messages and
stones, and gradu:illy (he dttr;Jction of the
;Vtoveablc Alphabet dwindles as she IS
able to write JUSt as quickly by hand. Over the
period of time between to \HUe
v,rith the Moveable Alphabet and being able to
write well using her own
erratic, purely sound-based spelling she
began with will graduallv have changed.
influencd by a number of differt'nt things. As
she to read, her awareness of the way
words look when they are written down
begins to change. She meets w-ords that are
not easv to sound out. and she meets words
that she can recognize bv looking at them as a
She vvill meet \vords chat require some
special knowledge to help her to crack the
code, such as those ending m "tion" or those
that have a silent letter such as "k" - knee,
knot. etc.You will see from the next two
chapters that. as she has reading,
you have encouraged her to become more
caretlil about which letters make up particular
words. At no time, howc\'er, during her v,,'ork
WIth the Alphabet have you cmrhasi7cd
correct spelling over self-expression.
Nevertheless, there will have been a subtle
change in how spells those words.
Once she is vVl'iting well on lines, vou expect
her spelling to be quite good. \Vatch out tor very
common words that are repeatedlv mi"rclkd,
however. and show her how to write them.
\Vhen she writes certain words by hand. the
form 'Nords take can become a habi(, and
while not correcting all the spellings, you need
to watch out tor that might hecome a
habit. The activities suggestc.d in C-:hapters 6,7
and 8 v'l'ill all have 3..c'1 impacr on speiling.
\Vhen your child first starts on
it can be very helpful to provide her with some
written models [Q follow, in addition to her mvn
Writing models
/\.ge: around 4h-
What you will need
Provide paper your child seems most
comfortable with see me samples in Chapter
9.\Vrite a variety of words, sentences, poems.
jokes, messages that you think would appeal to
her. These first
but should increase in length and move on to
different paper as her interests and needs
develop. You will also be readv to "scribe"
:mything she may want to write with the
"proper" spelling. In this \lvay, some of the
will remain for a period of time
while some wiUjust be required once.
How to play
You may like 1:0 begin with your child's name,
which is alwavs very special. or :mything else
you think she wili like seeing written on the
line. but do not begin w-ith something
lasts longer than a line. Equally, don't reduce
this 1:0 another drill, whe,e words are simply
copied without purpose or mc:ming. She has
been writing her name tor some
time, bm now you have an opportunity to
show her what it looks like on a line.
Cm strip from writing paper and
write her name, making sure chat you art
writing the letters with good mOVement.
Place your strip of paper directly above her
own lines and ask her to copy it. Move the
strip down as each line is completed. Once
you have are more than line
long, you can either put them above her page
i)[ beside (To the lett of a right-hander and
the right of a lett-hander so that they can see
and "vvrite the Salne time.)
Leave some paper strips witl-: or
names on an shelf so that if she feels
like WrIting and wants a prepared model to
follow rather than own thought;, she has
access to it at any time.
Some possible ideas tor e:-.:amp!es could be:
,. Simple rhymes and poems that grow in length.
I ,. The days of the \veek, months of the year.
,. The families of letters.
,. Letters grouped according to their
,. The names of all the mcmhen of yom
,. Capital letters and lo-wcrcase !etten
side.
If your child is lefi:-handed, you should attempt
to write with your lett hand, too.Jl.Jld don't
worry if it doesn't look all that good - it isn't
the perfect shape of the letter that matters hut
the
the way the letters are formed that counts! If
vours doesn't look all that cncollngc
her to make a betterjob of it than you did.You
can explain, if you need to, that you feel !TlOre
comiortable writing with your right hand. If
vou are lett-handed, then you will have the
opposite problem if your child is right-baneled.
Spacing
\Vhen helping your child to space her words, it
can be helpfuL if she seems to need guidance. to
IS to
is doing normally. Do not space
as this will cause small writing to be unnecessar-
ilv spaced out and large writing [() be too close
together.
Capital letters
A simple explanation for a capital Jetter is that
we use it when we wish to draw attennOll to
'omcthing important, i.e. a name or the begm-
ning of a new sentence.
Capital letters very rarely need to be taught
- most children wiiI pick up many of them ftom
their everyday exposure to them: the 1\1 f<')r
?vlcDonalds is just one example. Many capital
letters also very similar to their lowercase
relatives. You may need to teach a few capitJI
letters but your child will know the lIlJ)Orltv of
-=.-0 \VF...i E L
lUI
them. Helping her to write them is also a much
simpler task than helping her to learn to wrice
lowercase leners as they are mostly, bar one or
two styles, written using predominantly straight
lines that can be written in a variety ofwavs.
What you may need to do is to teach the
names of the letters to your child. Up until now,
you will have mostly concentrated on the
sounds, but once these are secure you can
BELOW Make recognizing the differences between capital
(etters and lowercase ones into a game. When your child
feels comfortable matching them, take away the control
cards and ask him to do it from memory.
L ARNJ G TO WRITE
LETTERS
explain to her that [he letters have name as
well as sound.
Use anvaiphahe[ -;:ou kno\v to the
names with the shapes of the letters. Invite your
child to "vrite the capital and lowercase letters
belonging to, for example, D, giving the naTIle
and not the sound.
Matching lowercase and capital letters
Age: around 5
You will need
Two sets of26 alphabet cards, each of which
has a capital letter followed by a
letter. TaJee one and em it down the middle
to separate the rapita] letter from the iowefcase
leneLYou now have three sets of cards.
How to ploy
Layout the large cards, then the capital
letters and mateh them underneath the
cards.As they are laid down, name the letter.
Do the same for the letters. When
this has been accompiishcri, pby the game
again, only this time layout the capital letters
first and match the 1.0"\\'C.rc:1se letters to them
without the guide. Use the large cards to
check at the end to see if they are all matched
up. If your child knows the order of the
11phahct. then she can sort them into the
correct order.
Encol1!"'::lge her to practice
and together, then watch as
they gradually become in her
writing. Be sure not ro introduce capital letters
until she bas no difficulty writing the
In all the vvriting
vou have done in front of her. you have used
letters if they vvere ann
through her reading and vour cXClmp1e she \vill
soon how to them.
l\1ore games to encourage writing
Notice board
Pm up notice board at your child's height
and leave for her to read.
her to write her own nlcssages or Jnswcrs to
your mcssJges on the hoard.
Letters
Children love envelopes. Wrire her
little messages Jnd P:l'( Into envelope
with her name on. :Ybke 'UTe vou also provide
some on her writin
b
l!lelf so ,hat
she can wrire letters w you.
Books
You can now to wrire real books
together. Look at real book and discovc'r
what you will need to do. Where does the tide
appear;; \Vhat is on the inside cover? Will you
need pictures? What will the story be abom?
Don't be too ambitions 111 the beginning-
some very good stories can be written with
very few words. Perhaps your child like
to make little diary tor recording one
panicular event thar she remembers a day)
her to make card, to send to friends
::'-Ji0iG TO \YJRITL THE
CHAPTER SIX
ng
the moment when your child is I
co read is very exciting for all
concerned. By now you will have made sure
.. She has IrCTSCU: Through
\vriting do\vn messages and "tories \vith the
'vlo\cT"ble AIr habet. she that pnnt
that she has had different experiences
w1th words which. together, have created in her
to read.
>$> YOti have gillen her h"/0l1kdge of the II'arid.
Through taking her Out and about :mci
of C011Ycr':1tion you have
given her experience of the ·world. You have
used ;:ichlv md well. and attached it
to realEfe and real-lite experiences so that
'.vhen she reads 1"vords. s1tl1:1t1.0ns and
nn'ClH'll1Wnr, have some' resonance.
.. Un! halle given her a uj i'e,,!::s. She
thc importance of print to convev
thc forms that srories
take. She knows how to handle books. She
feels a sense of ownership of ,nme of her
hnnks will choose to look at
chern even when there 15 no prospect of
someone reading to her. She has experienced
rhrtt can be had fronl or
bemg read By sharing books with you she
learned to recognize SOlne ""vords alrcJdy
withom any effort.
$ She has a kl10wlfdgc c:f '-(lund;;) ,711d
She hcts learned these through the
songs, pOelTIS and rhY1l1CS you
recited together. ::rifongh ,,(jund g:lITICS
you have played with her and through iearning
svmbols that are JtTJchcd to "
conveys her thoughts, that words are sound
units that can be strung rogerher into
flil units, and that she is able to read what she
herself has wrinen.
• She feels like a reader, Having written her own
I messages and read them. having "read" many
stories. and having a fanuly vvhere books are
valued. your child will rhat she is a reader
I and will be eager and readv to
more and more.
reading
I Ho\v vou help to get her started: The ability
to read will depend on her being able to do a
number of different things at once. Perhaps the
Erst question you must ask voursclfis rhis:"\Vhy
should choose to read?"
\vhat she reads interests her and gives
a sense of :lccornplishmcnt. It gives her
lTIOre ;-1utononlY vvnat she can find OUt for
herself and a greater sense of indercnccnce, She
will be able to discover for herself and she
will be able to take herself ott into other vvodds,
\'vhich \vhat she reads has only her o\vn
ilTIJgin:1tlon as its lirnit. She \vants to read
I because reading has d purpose for her. The
reading that you do \vit:h her lT1Ust then be of
to her. it cannot simply be reading for
Don't be tempted co buy a of basic
readers or primers co help you through this
stage. The value of these books is usually only
to help a teacher know what level of re:lding a
child can do. All too often they rely on very i
limited language, which is often removed
from either real language or real book
with stilted rhythms and awkward
word sequences. The limited nature of the
YClclbulary can often make the £low of the
words boring. h is also rare to rInd contem thar
actually interests children of this age in these
books. Although there are some that are above
lvcr;;ge, havi:g to read through books all !
about the same family can be extremely boring
a while I
choice of all possible known to the
reader. In a split second. betore vou are even
aware of it, the mind able to choose what
believes is the most suitable for the
comext. The wider your child's cxpcrifnces and
vocabnlary, the more options WIll pop into her
mind and the more likely she is to find the
that fits- the sentence.
She wii! also use her own natural under-
of hnguagc to help her guess what
wight be COIning next, what would make sense
and what any given word might be. As she
reads, she uses her intrinsic knowledge of
gnmmar to help her to get to the meaning of
the words that she reading, A very good
of how we use our knowledge
I 1,mguage to help us to crack the Children rarely rerum agam and again w
these books and they hold no real pleasure tor
them other than to encourage a c01Tlpetitive
clcmem to reading, Rather than discussing the
content of these books with each other,
children t('nd to what number or color
level thev have reached. Recent research has I
of a
revealed that :llrhn\1gh these bonks trY to focus
on a limited vocabularv, ordinJrv storv books in
sentence C:in be found in the wonderftll
nonsense ,hvme by Edward Lear, The Jabber-
wocky. The tlrst hnes read like this:
Ttvas hrillig} and the slith}' topes
Did gyre and gi'llhlc in the ,mhc,
give a child more pranice at the most I
;\Iiany of these words are not used in [he English
language. But can you pick out the words that
describe the action? Can you discover
commonly used words.
When children read they \vill use a variety
of strategies to help them ,"vbt they
seeing. They \vjll, for rely quite
heavily on anv clues they can pick up tram the
surrounding 'Nnrds, pictures or <irnation: we call
this the context. A child coming across the
word "kangaroo" may look at the picture for
help: if she doesn't find it much help, she may
use her kn(1wledge of the siwanon and her
ability to predict what mav tollow on from it as
a natural cnr""(llh'lnCp
She will also reiv on kn()\vledge of the
\vorld to hel? predict a 'Nord is
likely to Inean.'JJe kno\v \vhen Vife come across
a word that could have a variety of meanings
SLlch as "bear" mind presents itself with a
subject of the <cntcnre' \Ve not recoglllze
j the "vords, but our unof"fsranding of our
language can help us to go some way toward
of the semence. \\lh"n
we search tor m rhese lines, we cry to
imagine what "slithy toves" would look like and
then what actions best fit "gyre and gimble." I
use this poen1 sirnply as an l11ustration and not
because I think yOU should use for your
children to read at this stage;
Pb.y the fol1o\\'in; games [0 launch your
child easily and relatively eiTordessiv inw
, re:1ding. You can play thern 4t
: yOU begin to share the
together, They are
putting sounds together w make up words,
which will enable her to read more iluentlv
R T 1:'.J '-; R IllS
on you will begin to
that -;he on her o\vn
\v"ith the \lovc:1hlc i\lph:1hC't.
This relies on your child ha\'1ng
-..:njoved Sound the S:1ndp:lpcr
Letters and the l\10veable AlphabecYou aren't
ro teach her ncw pbying
von 'will simplv build on her past experiences
Jnd T1TllTI three
Your child dlready knovvs that sounds can
R"f'l:"1 G
Writing down the names of favorite toys or other objects in
front of your child wiU help her make the connection
between objects and sounds, and writing and reading.
be reFf'scnred by \\Titten symbols and by
placing them dOvvtl in a particular order \vords
are made. She has also begun to blend these
sounds together tor herself :mel reael her
vwiting.
What you will need
Two different sets or'smail objects (have least
eight things); they COUld be garhered from
around the house or you could visit a my store
that sells if you really wa.t"t to to
townl The objects [hat you collect should all
be objects of desire and they do nor need to
relate to one another.
The first set should be objects that are
spelled phoneticaliy; that is. where each sound
the ,vord is represented by one letter only
so that as it is sounded out, it can be blended
together to create the name of the object
\vithout
';ounQ\).
distortion or change to the
you did a quick round of the
kitchen and your child's bedroom, you could
end up ,'I/ith the toUo,ving objects:
cup lid lamp pan nut
pen lemon van jug drum
milk pasta panda Gog
COIIllC nutmeg meion can mug
cap hat bag clip vitamins
As you can see, YOU don't have to stick to
three-letter words; a few would be helpful bm
don't try to use this game to move from three-
letter words to four-letter words and so on.
You could also introduce \vords that have
double letters in them aiter a short while, such
carrot, doll, bell, clock, egg, brick (although
the "c" and '"k" look different. the sound that
they make is the same).
The second set of objects should be objects
that contain a digr:lph in them (those that your
child already knows from ,he Sandpaper
Letters). In every other respect the words can
be out the objects in thE first set.
Examples could
train cloth brush ketchup toy
star book letter !OrK coffee
pie coat blue quilt trout
As soon as your child has read these a few
times, you could introduce
more [han one digraph such as squash or
cheese (the silent "e" doesn't present a
difficulty as it doesn't alter the way any of the
other letters sound).
If you want to make a game thaI she can go
back to, you may want to shop around for little
objects to supplement what you have at home.
Montessori schooll have little boxes for this
galne with all sorts of delightful objects in
them, which means they can change the
objects around so children are always
interested to rcad is in them.
If you were reallv stuck, you could always
just collect pictures of ohJects, but the objects
themselves arc much more fim,
You will also need some paper strips and a
pencil so you can write the names of the
objects down.
Purpose
The purpose of ;>bying is to help
your child realize how easily she can put
together the sounds ,hat she alreadv knows and
read them the objects are used w create
"context" for heL She will know that the word
has to be trom the group of objects in front of
her and this should help her to read the labels
you will her.
How to ploy
One of the most important clements of thIS
game is that you are going to write down the
names of the ohject'; in front of your chiH so
that she your thought iitcrally
Onto paper in front of her eyes. The
mC'ss3gc you are that when v"lie
read we are reading the thoughts of someone
else. The tact that \vritten \vords are :lhvays !.:he
i product of someone's thought is importam;
value to the written word and links
together "Tiring and r'-CKeSSt's.
Your child will value the littie labels you Wrice
for her to read far 111Dre than does ready-
prepared labels.
10N
Collect the ilrst phonetic of objects
together, "jther on the floor or on tabk (A
table would be prctcnhle hecause you are
going to vvrite.)
Vocabulary check
.i\1ake sure your child knows the names of ail
the objects are using. If you have chosen a
tov cat and she uses the word "kitty" to
describe it you will need to give her the name
you wlil use for the game.
"Well. that is your 'kitty,' but for this game
we need to call it 'cat.'"
You couldn't use the word kitty
not phonetic.
ltis
Write your thoughts do\vn for your child to
read
Tell your child vou are thinking of one of
the objects on the table. Ask her ifshe knows
which one it is. Some children will pick up an
object if she do not
accept it as the objecr you were thinking
"\Vell, that not the one that I was
rhinking of Let me give you clue:'
Some will ask for J. clue tram the oU(sec.
rrntches the style rhar you have chosen to
teach your child, the name of the ohjC'ct vou
vY;lntec1.
"This is what I wamed."
Let your child see vou wnte down the
letters on a strip of paper. In this wav she will
see the conncet10n hCf'Yvccn \\-har you ;:ire
thinking and what she will be reading.
:,oundln'a out
Give your child the Strip of paper and ask her
to sound om what she sees on it. She will
[Q run then1 to;Nhrr
Elster until. vvith of:ilcnding
sounds ,md looking to see which of the objects
n"ldV relate to, she will ohject. Be
<;;ne
R AD
knows what you thinking ofbccJUiC ,he
was able to read your mC":l;e. Pm the object
and the label togcrher "lnd cominuc an
the objects have been labeled.
You "vill observe that she will partly be
';;reading" the vyords and partly using the objects
as "contexT." She knO\vs that ,vhOlt written
relates co the choice of objects placed in from of
her. She will combine a of,tratcgics to
read the word in front of her -
that begins with "p," for """"I"")',,,,,,n."'''''
she will sound out rnrnni"otFiv
Repetition and confirmation
i\sk your child to read over all the objens and
their labels. This will help her to tocus on the
word as a whole. She will, of course, knovv the
object and will then "read" the word easily. It
helps if she can poim to each label as she savs
it, bringing her eve to a of the whole
vvord.
You will tire of this game long before she
does. If you wam to see if she can do the
activity bv herself, you could prepare some
labds for her to use. If she is writing, she could
write her own labels for the objects. Don't
expect her to read the labels withom any
contextual She may be able to do so, but
you should nor It.
Reading the digraphs
You can imroduce the second ,ct of ObjCClS
containing the as as your
finds it easy to read the first set: chis could be
the nexr day or the day after for some children_
-You must rcrncmbcr that she doesn't have to
iearn nc\v to do these She
only has to apply the kn.owlcdge
alreadv gained the Sound Game and the
Sandpaper Letters, and use her experiences
\vith the :vloveablc ar:d the
i that you have been doing with her.
How to play
Do exactly the same with the second set of
objects as you did with the tirst. Howcvcr,
vvhen writing your underline the tWO
You \,vill note that some are easy to read and to
do, and others require a little more
interpretation. If she gets stucK with the
imcrpretation of a carel. you will also need to
letters thar bct\'\'ccn th('m make a single sound act it out! Don't simply read the cards; they
for example, book. i have almost no value unless they are acted out.
Depending on your child, you might wam \Vords that could be written on the cards
her to idemi(v the sound hefore
trying sound out the letter. As you continue
to write the labels, accordir;g to your child's
abilitv, Stop ,mel have her identify
digr-aph on her ovvn.
If you ,vould like to make this activity more
Dermant'rlt. you conld collect little objects that
you have found to buv or among her tOys and
keep them in a box with the words that were
originaily wrirten oy you inside. Add different
objens and their labels from time to time to
keep her imercsted in inside.
Reading without using objects
IVl3.J.1Y of the \vords !hJ.t describe actions in
English em be written using onlv Sandrarer
Leners and dignphs. You can make up some
verv imert'sting \-vords that your child vvill be
able to read and act our very easilv she wlll
love .:tcring out the words vou have
and in doing so she vvill have to
df'moTlstTd[e that she has ;mdcr<Tood
What you will need
rite out on small cards as rnany
action words as you can think of that can be
read using only Sandr::tpe-r Letters and the
digraphs. (You will be using the same
knowicdge your child employed to pby the
two prc\'ious There should be
onlv one action word per card. ThIS time,
however, there are no objects w provide a
context: her experience ana the fact that she
will act am the words on the cards should help
her test her under>randing of the
Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
i include:
Jump run hop skip stand wink
blink think drink yawn spm
grunt moan Grag np tap hug
sleep gnn clap smg groan tap
: How to play
I You can either write these down you go
along or have them already prepared. As with
i all the other rlctivirics, it would be be,,:er if you
wrote them down as you went along, then kept
them in a box so dut your child can to
them when she feels iike it.
Explain to her that you are going to write
down some words and the :mportam thing
i about them is that she must do what thev 'dV.
\Vrite "run."Your child reads the word and VOll
encourage to do the action. When she
returns, write another word. Contmue until
she has had enough.You will find that re;lding
these words leads imo all kinds of disCll"inns.
Be as dramatic as po"ibk.
, Writing sentences to be interpreted
If you have child who loves actIng out, vou
I could extend this activity into one in which
you write out different semences for her to
read, interpret and do.
For instance:
Ferch your best doll/car/book
Find a green marble/red sock/blue
Tickle Dadi?vlom/Grannv/Grandad
READ
l iO
RIGHT The better he can
read, the more complicated
R T! G RE A f)
Pretend you are a doctor
Pur your toys in the basket
Run your bath
Find three things for us [Q munch
Plant a seed
Fix vour truck
Put on some music.
This game can go on all morning - perhaps
even all day. The amount of cllJoymem gained
from reading these 'imple semences is
:mmcnsc, Be prep:m:d for the game to be
so that vou are on the rccei\ing end
of messages trom your child
l
These activities shoulel gi\.-e yom child 1ms
of confidence when reading vou. There
some suggestions for the kind of hooks '-ou
might like to read with her in Chapter 9,
although you should ahvays remember that she
will be most keen to read what she lnterested
in, even if this means thaI she \viU choose
books that look too hard for her. If this is the
case tor your child, use some of the tips offered
later in this chapter to help her accomplish it.
have watched learn to read suhject
Inatter ac levels of rC'Jdlng were much
harder than I would have chosen for them.
From this point on vou will see that her
ability to read will progress in leaps and
bounds, foEowcd by periods of c:lim. On your
[rips to the library, your librarian should be
encouraged to
of reading Jnd your chiid has. Be
wary of the librarian or hookstore cierk that
points you in the direction of a particular
reading program!
If your is a rhonctic one, you can
Jump tonvard towad the end of this chapter,
which de:lls \vith helping your child to rC:ld
bOOKS. Bm if your first language is English.
which is non-phonetic, you need to consider
how you can help her to recognize quickly
some of the words that cannot be sOlmded our,
and you should therefore read on.
Recognizing common words that
cannot be sounded out
(Puzzle Words :1.)
Age:just after you have tirst imroclllcee! the
reading boxes and while your chile! is
still enjoying doing them. This will be the first
game in a \ynilc is going
to offer something totally new to learn.
Purpose
/\5 with everv other activity in this book, the
aim here is not to'try to provide difficult
word that your child may come across in the
course of her early attempts at rcae!ing.We will
try to choose some COlmnon ones that it would
be useful to know so that, once again. while she
word,
more easily. To try to give too manv would
cteate more clifficlirics rhm it would solve,
as a nJTHr-C'JH1er, not as a
mountain She is at this moment
gliding through air, lmking Llse of the
now been beyond her reach. She uscs what she
needs to extend and expand her horizons.
to c1in:b,As she
has progressed
enjoyed each
because it "vas
has arrived '.vithout ever kno\ving
and she
:,ct out.
There have been no failures and no dlfEcuit
goals,just 3n exploration oflanguage m verbal
;Jnd written form.
\vords that [-rinnot e;lsiiy be souncied out \ve
cali puzzle '.vords because r:he;/re such a
What you wiii need
You will need to discover which words are
impossible to sound out yet appear most oite;]
Iii
i 12
books your child \vill be reJ.ciing.
! h::tve given S0I11e for you to drayv on.
C:hoose- cibout ten or t\velve the most and
make them up into indi"idual cards,
To be \ve by the are
you anv your they vvas some my
like here do
How to play
Cboose about three of the \vords you \vish to
tocus on: make sure that they are very different
in the \Vav they sound and look.
'Tell your child du.t these \vords are quite
because Clnnot sOlll1d them our -
out the \yoro ';your" for eXrlillple.
Explain to her that she must simply be able to
;md
that ir wlll reaily help her co read if she knows
whar they
You are once again going to follow rhe
model of the three period lesson, first diKussed
in (see page 37). This is ho\v you
could go about it. Before you start, you will
lleed to make sure what the words mean and
vou can do [his as tallows:
.. 'Today you can learn to recognize S0111e
\:\/o1'ds tnat diftlcul[ to "{lund out. I-Jere is
one of them. (You write the word "your:'
using the san1e sl"yle of script as the
on a strip of p3-per.)
• This savs "your" can't sound it om verv
casIiy, shall tryO (You try, but it comes om
,is YU a u ru.This lmusc her: Now put
the vvord "your" into a sentence so that she
he<lrs it in context. "Your dress is very
"Your color is purple:'''I like your
grin."
PUt the \-'lord aside and repeat the S;1I11e
\V1t11 [\,vo other ""vords. dnd "like:'
S I' A IZ. r! :'\! ( R ,\])
repeat it, [00 .- "your" "che"'
2
Ask questions:
\Vhich viOrd says "your;"
Can YOU read "like" - make sure she looks
the correct card.
Put the \Nord over here return it to
the middle of the table.
Point to "like."
Continue with ,his unnllt seems for
your child to read the wO;'ds. EnCOllTrlge hn to
repeat the words as otten as possible a£i:er you
have said them: you aren't asking her to
rcn1c;111'CT them at this mornent, sirriply to
"ssoci;][e the mmes with the way they look on
the paper.
Sta2c
You ask your child can read rhe words,At
this stage you careful not to the word
unless she gets stuck, in which case simply
out loud and knovi that you \viil try
with this one on anorher day.
Can YOU read this; Do vou know what this
one says)
This lesson should take no longer than five
minures, Keep all the puzzle words that you
make in a Ettle box since you will need
for the activities that rollo,,\',
Reading sentences using the word that
has just been learned
You should yo-:..:r chilo to rcad the
\.vord in sentences. To begin \vith, you could
v:rite some simple senrences with the words
she has just learned.
Your dress is red,
your doll.
your lunch. Find
The kettle hot. Find the marbles, Is vour
book on the table?
Your rabbits like carrots, Mom and Dad
like bOOKS.
You can fetch a book that you are reading
together and srart to tlnd the new words that
she can read.
Writing sentences using the word that
has just been learned
Using the Moveable Alphabet and puzzle words
Encourage your child to put out letters of
the puzzle words with the .'vioveablc /\lph:lbt't
so that she focuses on each letter and itS
sequence in [he word.
See if, after a while. she can read the word,
turn the puzzle card tace dOWTI and put Out the
:\iove::blc Alph:lbct ]cncrs in limn
memory. You could make this much harder by
putting the puzzle word cards in anorher room
to see if she can still remember ho\v to Fut the
Alphahet letters om when the lapse of time
greater bet\l.,7een reading and \vriting them.
When she is wriring 'pomancomly wuh the
\iovc;Jbic Alphabet, you CJn encourage her to
refer to the puzzle YITords if she forgers how
they go. If they spelled incorrectly, you can
gentlv remind her that she knows how to write
the words, and either help her to sequence the
letters correctly or suggest she finds the puzzle
word that 'lOU 'ATote. Slowly and gently the
\yords that she is writing WIth the Alphabet
will begin to become closer to the accepted
conycnt1Oif:ll spelling of your :Jngu:1gc.
Using paper
Her !1nytcl\1nd
eilect on
;tho
she is writing down using
R!GHT The so'caHed Puzzle Words (see page 112) often
create problems. One way to help your child to become
more familiar with them is to create individual puzzle word
cards and encourage her to use the Moveable Alphabet to
match them,
her ovvn coulri thdt
she might like to copy the words onto some
lined paper. if she is at the iined paper stage in
writing. Bevvare. however, of creJting a boring
activity tor her [() do - always try to make sure
chere is real purpose and [() each one;
mnhing "m.indless" soon leads to the feeling
chat wnting is a chore! You could include the
words that she has learned in sentences she
dictates to vou and which she can then copy.
Treasure hunt
This is a simple variacion on the adult game.
\Vrite simple clues to lead your child trom one
place to the next until she finds the "treat" you
have hidden. Clues such. as "Look in your
boots," "Go to the kitchen:'''Open the
drawer" would all make use or'the words she
had come to recognize.l'tnd if you want
further inspiration, follow the clues in the
rhotogrJrh:
Reading together
You have been reading to your child every day
S T.'\ 1 (; It f.\!' il3
since was tiny, and vou have watched her
deveiop love of books, You have watched her
begin to recognize s"me words in the flmiliar
and much-loved books that you have shared,
She now chooses hooks to read to herseif and
pores over the pages on her own, Her use of
langll;;gc has grown and she is now able not
only to speak well, but also to write down her
thoughts using the Moveable /\lplubet ~ n d to
some extent in her own handwriting, and h"s
begun to read these, too, She can read most
phonetic words and those with digraphs, ;md is
extending her of puzzic words. The
reading that you do togerhcr nnw ,vill gr:tdual-
Iy change in halance: her reading '\vil! incrc:1se as
yours dCCl-cascs with certain books. You will
certamly not stop [c .• ding to her, but you also
need to find time for the two of you to read
together. and you will no",,,, begin 1:0 choose
bOOKS that you em read together. This will
pro"bJhly mean revisiting sorne of your old
favorites and looking out for ne\v bOOKS that
will hold interest for her.
Here :lYe some tips for getting started:
• Reading should
chore.
be a pleasure. never a
Never force your c.bild to read.
• Choose a time when she is not tired.
• Ask her to choose a book she would like to
read, or otter her a choice of books and respcct
choice.
Encourage and praise
don't msist on perfection.
ncceSS:lry;
Don't any kind of times calc - 10 minUTes
of concentrated reading is better than half an
hom of nagging.
Choosing books
You wIll want [Q haw the right kind of books
available to get off to a good start and so, in
addition to your old favorites. you may decide
i S iNG TO READ
ABOVE A treasure hunt can be educational as weH as fun.
Write out simpie messages for your chiid and hide them
around the room to find - and read. The final clue to this
treasure is in the mug.
RIGHT The more you read, the more your child (or grand·
child) will want to read.
1:0 go to the library and come back with d selec-
tion, or visit your local bookstore.
• Choose books that have a strong story line.
Too much description in is not
helpful
• Choose old fwo1'1t('s or new :;ooks rhat you
know your child will be
• Choose bOOKS ,vhere
In.
complemcnt the text: this will help her obtain
extra clues fi'om the pictures.
• Choose books whose content falls within
her experiences. She should lln,cl"r,nrlc1
the book is abom and be able to predict the
likely events.
• Choose books that don't have too many
.. Books \'vith large print not rlcCCSsarllY
easier to read; choose the bOOK tor the content
dnd the pleasing layout of the texL.
• Some books are \vritten with text on tvvo
different levels, both helonging w the story.
Very often the stor, text runs along the page
RTINC; TO REAP I
and the rlctures have
"\yhcn you are a book.
.. Don't exclude conlics and books about
- don't just read fiction.
.. Rhyme and rhythm pIa'\' an importJnt part
in helping children to predict \vhat may come
next.
Giving the right help
• it's heipfUl to run your Enger smoOthly
under the text as vou read, and may help
vour child to do the same. If she has difficultv
Ihe holding a strip of
paper under the line she is reading may help.
.. Do nothing at ail if vour child misreads a
word but gets the sense of the right.
She alight mbscitnre \vord "supper" for
"dinner"This is tlne; she is
lnC:lnlng ;1nct the
altered.
of the "cnrence isn)t
.. If she makes a mistaI;:e in the mcailing, wait
until she has tlnished the sentence :1nd see if
she corrects herself. If she doesn't, you could
ask if the word she used ,mmded rigbt. Return
ro the sense of Ihe :md ifshc can
identIfy the word correcdy.
If she is stuck on a word
rfshes stllck on a word. trv to judge which of the
tol1ol,ving would be mosr hclphl1 for her.The
most imporr;mt thing is to keep the flow of the
story going, so you don't want to stop too often.
If she is rnaking so many It
[he rhvthm and pace of the story, you mav wish
to read \vith her to lessen :::tny frllstr;ttl0n 'She
begin to cxrcricnce.
Supplv [he word so that the tlow of the
storv
\vorried
\vould benefit from your using
one tol1ov-,°lng clues to help her to read
(he word you will be the best judge or-
[N G TO
which one might be most helpful. If the one
you choose doesn't work, simplv tell her the
word rather than ('ontinuins; to dweli on what
she doesn't seenl to know .
• You could ask a question about what has
gone before in the text .
• You could ask her to predict what thinks
it might be.
• You could help her to sound the word out: if
it's long one you may need w break up
into syllables .
• You could to the picture; if the word
actuallv in the picture, you could simply point
[0
Rcmemhcr that praise and go a
long way [0 suppornng your child when she is
learning something new. Don't be tempted to
criticize her reading or measure her against
other siblings. can be so casv to destTov the
confidence she needs if she [0 become a
successful reader.
More games to play
There are lots of commcrciJlly aYJihhle g:lmcs
that ,,'ill build on the skills vour child has
acquired in this "hapter-
of rec(1mmcrdcd ones
Book making
Chapter 9 tor a list
In almost chapter of this book I have
encouraged you to make books with your child
and this one is no exceprion. Bv now can be
encouTrlgcd to write in her own words and
the more she does this, the easier it will be for
her to read "her" book.
CHAPTER SEVEN
..
Reading for m nlng
child is now reading and and
is choosing books to read with you
and spont:mcously writing little stories and
messages. You will see her pore over books by
herself, yvatch as her lips move silently, working
out words that she gets stuck with. She has a
number of stnteg;cs that she can call upon as
she reads, and when she gets into difficulty she
knows that she can ask you to help if she reallv
cannot a word she comes across.As
she begins to simple books on her own,
you can sometimes discU5s story WIth her as
way of discovering how much she has
to the story
You enjoy going to the library '.vith her
when you can, time passes easilv when you
visit the hookstore.
You will :lOt now have to worry about
helping her to read or write, and can turn your
attention to seeing if you can play some games
with that will make reading and writing
even more
Words not only need :0 be read with the
eves: they need almosr to be tasted if we are
reallv to enjoy using them, The activities that
follow here will heip 'lour child get a lot more
irom the words they w-ill focus both
her a feel
do them. As d
result ,hese activities should raise her abiliT)' [0
interpret what she reads her to become
more playful with words when she writes.
Activities to help fluency and
spelling
\Vhen reading Engiish chere are some helpful
clues that we can otter regards the many ways
sounds can be wr;cten down.
If ,ye think of the sound "ai," for It
can be written as in train, play, cake, vem.
Having given your child a start by including the
digraph "ai" as a key sound, you could find a
way of helping her [0 begin to read other Ionns
of··ai" quickly_
Look all the waY' through the S:mdpaper
Letters your child knows, the
sound rhey maKe, ;md choose those that
commonly spelled in more dun one way. For
inst:mcc. from the Jist helow "ai" be spelled
in play (ay), cake (cake' and vein (ei).
Key sound envelopes j
Age: around :3
Some key sounds that can be spelled in
different ways:
aI a-e. av, ci
ee ea, le
le 19h,
Od ow,
ue 00 e\v u-e
ph
R E ,,; D [ C F 0 11.. .\1 :\:"-i 1 (;
118
ge/gi age
ci/ce
aU,dW,
lr. ur
ou ow
You will need to make some or little
paper strips for the alternative ways of spelling
[he key sounds. Write each sound on a card or
strip and on the back put the sound in
small letters 1,., color. Put each pack
mark (ront of the
envelope with [he key sound.
N ow pm a little book of paper strips into
the ElCh paper strip "page" of the
book should carry small scnt('ncc containing
number of words wlth the :iOlmd in it.
For FXample, in the "ai" folder you might
1:::" h. I) I N G r 0 R lVl E A l'>i ! N G
i\S mail train the station. SLarLed
(Q rain
Every day we play hide and seek and then
run away.
Let's bake a cake and then make some
biscuits.
Finally, put little packs of "vords \vrltten vvith the
alternative spellings into the envelope. For
instance.
rain, InaiL tail
lVlake, bake, cake, crate
Vein, skein. ii-eight
Plav. stay, day, awav
How to play
Bring out an em-elope ask your child to
recogmze the key sound you have written on
the outside.
Explain that all the cards inside envelope
arc going to say the same sound. Look the
:1iffercnr rhey arc written:
Take out the pack of little words and read
through the words, putting them next to the
kev sound.
Take out che little booklet and read through
It.
She will find this activity relatively casy to
do and you should compliment her on how
well she able co manage.You should also
keep drawing attention to the different ways in
",-rich the sound can be spelled.
Do this for as many envelopes as your child
\vouJd like. This activity can be spread over
manv days so there's no need to prepare all the
packs at once. it's mee to be 8blc to
orrer her a choice of which key sound she
\vould to explore.
If Vall need to explain the "a-e" card, make
some additional cards that explain how It
works: for instance, cap bcrorr:cs
becomes tape.
dnd [:ip
Next step
Invite her to '.nite out the words and the
if ;;;he ...visnes. either using her own
Ifsne
dnd Write some
the \vord spelled using the correct "'3.i"'
spelling.
You will notice thar having become 8ware
ofche ways in which this can
be spelled when she wriring, she will begin
to ask which "ai" i1: is for play.
To help her to remember
\JVhen she has read a number of the envelopes,
take two or [nree together and take out the
cd.rds or strips. ;vlix them all up and see If she
can sort them back under'neath
they belong to. She will be able to check
herselfbv t'lrning over all the c:lyds to the
key sound written on the back.
This game is quite important to play, as she
\vill discover that the letter "y" can say "ie" and
I it can also say "sky" and "party." dnd
that the let'Cers .• ea" can say''; ee" and also" e,"
e.g. "teach" dnd "bread."This is the reverse
discovery to the one she uude earlier: first she
looked at sounds that were spelled differemly,
can
haye more than one sound, too.
Once the cards can be sOHed out, mix up
the >"ords from the di£l:erem packs and encour-
age her to wnte some more or
stories usmg these words.
Puzzle Words 2
Age: around :5
You may already have made a set of Puzzle
111).Thi5 Words in Chapter 6 (see
variation of the original will on
your child's increasing interest in the In
''1hich words formed - the Key Sound
EnveloDe game above will have helped
stimulrlte this.
For this vou wiH need to make
i second set of puzzle words which this \vil1
focus on com!TIon patterns vvorcis that l once
learned, can be applied to d wide range of
otner words (see Chapter 9).
Choose some of the to
second
could
through
all - call, fall, hall
air - fair, hair, chair
silent K - knee, knot, knit
silent B lamb. thumb. comb
silent W write, wrong. who
tion - stationl natioD-

This set of puzzle words is to show sm8U rules
i that may be useful for her to know. Begm by
ivi
elre thar vou to be the
archetype: Choose three
anv one time dnd imrodure them as you did
the mher puzzle words - first bv putting them
into context then by tnllo'.ying ,he three
period lesson. I\1ake sure you examine
letters to see ho'.v they go together.
When your child is able to reau these three
archetypes, introouce ochers that are like For
example "Now that you can read you
read 'fair,' 'lair.' 'hair.·" Either have
prepared oros for these or simply write them
down and see if your child can of anv. It
'Nill be easy for her to come up vvith rhylnes,
but more (hfficult tor her to which
words have silent
Classified cards and labels
help your chi'd's nuency, it can be
he1pnll to m:1kF me of the cards that you used
ongimlly dewioping YO cabl1larv. \Vrite the
name of the object on the
R
of it and make a label that is seprirare. PUt out
the cards and ask your child to read and match
as manv of the labels as she to the cards.
She can turn chern over to check if she has read
them correcdv: if the words match, she knows
she's got right.
Naming the house
You could write all the names of the objects in
different rooms of the house f()[ her to read -
usmg post-It notes tbs is fun and very
com-cnienr.You write and she a
\vhile she '..vill "vant to \\'Tite, too.
Using books
Af\nother '"'lay of extending this experience is to
aack to the books that you used w1th her
when she was around 18 months [Q two years
old. Many of them were single pictures on a
page with a word undcrne1th. Cover words
\vith posr--it nOles and \vrite labelS on nl0re
post-it notes. She can read and match the
names. There are some \\'ClDdcrtul
books chat you can buy that are
designed for incrc;1::ing vocJ.bl'-bTY
in particular subject are;;s the
in Chapter 9.
Reading for meaning
Your child has an intrinSIC kno\vl-
ecige and syntax and
how words work together. It is
rh:1t Iorma1 gr:nnTn:1r and
syntax lessons can beconle so
boring and obtuse that most of us
believe thar cannot do it.
an lin,jcI'standi:lg of the
way words work for us, and what they do, will
help us get the taste of what read and will
give us the opportunity to play with words.
You ,honld have no intention of teaching
gnmmar to your child. At this stage it is nor
only unnecessClry but even undesirable. \Vhat
we can do. however, is to give her a direct
c:xperience of what words can actually do, to
explore how they work. The preparation you
provide at this stage is simply to expencnce
em a level at "vhich she can have fun.As you are
rhe way that: mind works means that
these experiences arc not lost they will help
to support and bolster the more formal ideas
she will be presented with at a ]:Jter date. The
r;\l]o\ving are des1gned to gi\Ve an
experience to help her appreciate the way
word, can be made to "York.
Thev are done based on
some w1th dramatic overlay.
Using descriptive words
around 5 - 6
What you will need
one of the toil owing: a child's t'irm, clolh-
house, garage collection, Playmohl people,
Barbie doll. or Action-man in short,
beion1:,'S together. Also mrtKc: sure
that there are several copies of some objects
but that they look a little ditTerent - ror
irl'lance, if you have garage, you will need
some of the following: :1rge truck and a small
one. t'NO dit1t:-rcnt-colored a heavy van
and a dirty/clean van; a fast elf, racing car. a
yello\y J.nv other color car.You don't need
several of ail the objects, but there should
more groups of obje'c[s than single objects.
You \vill also need paper and scis>ors, dnd two
pens or penc11s. one ordinary color like blue
or black (or lead), the other a bright color not
usually used for writing: red, orange, purple.
How to play
Tell your child she is going to be able to find
the VerY object you are thinking of without
any difficulty. Think very hard and write down
mc,s:lge for her. This says "The van."
Your child reads the message :md collects a
van from the garage. You agree thaL it is a van
but not the one you were thinking of Tell her
that you will give another clue. In a
different color pen write down the'
word that will the orjecL It couid be
read the word.
Chop the original label in half and put the
in choosing ,he' :lppropri:ltc obie'et.
Do this for several other objects. She will
ahvays ask yon to put in the special word that
helps her [Q find one object trom many similar
objects.You can continue writing down
descriptions of ail the objects tor her to read;
tor if [here is only one man you can
novv vvrite busy :nan:' rather than just
"The man."Trv to use lots of different types of
descrirtions for the objects - very to
stiCK with just color and size, so see if you can
be a bit lllore If!1J.gin:1t1yc vvords
such as kind, gEntle, angry,
[0 really stretch her :mcicr(t:;nriing of type
of word. You have the ideal oppnrnmiry (Q
discuss them \Vltn
Discovering how important word
order is
Ihis activirv is hilarious for children to play.
i\dults don't ahyays quite
[he hUl110r
that children fInd in nonsense! Take CIne
your stnps of paper and mix up (he word
order. The old van becomes: old the van
old the, van old.·Try all the con-:l'1n:H1()llS
and then together put it right.
Do this tor other descriptions.'louT child, ('If
course, llDl:krvands \vhich is the correct
verSion she kyo",,,, what sounds right.
Bv doing dm you emphasize [hat words, to be
effective, must go in particular order.
Using more than one descriptive word
You can develop this garne on another day
into one in "\'vhich you use several descriptive
worOs. For example, you could write, "The
van"; she you then have to
another word a different color: "The
yellow van'1 (if there are [\VO
Now you need to another word: "The
old yellow van." and if there lre nyo old \Tllmv
vans. you may need to vnite yet :lI)other
"The dirty old, yellow van." Hopetll11y, you
have now identified the van ,be vou
You can have fun playing derectives roge::her:
either vou your child add one word at a
time until the objecr that you were thmking of
is idf"ntifie-d.
1'( E A !) ! c.; FOR MEA I N G
To your to in rhis vvay
about the ohjects, see if she would like to
create her own labels tor her farm, garage, etc.
You could then use [hem to combine them
into a story, which you can either tell, write
togethey- or she can write, depending on what
suits the moment.
In a MO:Jtes,ori I(hoo1. children play the game,
that tollow and use symbols as
line. The purpose of the symbols is to highlight
the pattern created we
in a panicular way. If your child attends a
school, then the school will do these
actiVIties and vou will just need to follow up at
home using all the different objects [hat you
have there. If she does not go to a ]\;lonressori
school. you may wish to make the symboh
add them co the semences.
Making the symbols
this activity \vill need to
make three ditTcrcm-lized
in three difie-rent colon.
When cutting them Out, you couid
make them trom
paper so your child call
stick them on to sentences that she
has constructed.
You will need
Small light blue tri:mglcs, medium-
sized dark blue triangles and large
black triangles - the templates
provided in Chaptf'r 9.
RIGHT Certain words join other words
together. Choose toys or objects from
around the house to provide a context.
Here the differently colored Leg-a blocks
and the smail posy of flowers remind your
be
R INC; FOR E r\ N l N (
Ten your child i::hat you are going to D1.ake a
pattern out of the by asking
Take a phrase such as "the large van."
Ask her to identifY the word that told her
what it was you were thinking of. If you need
to make clearer you could ask her, "Did I
\vant a car, bus or .:::omcthing ('he?" She
should be Clole to identifY the word "van" md
put the black triangle above it. Now ask her
what word told her which van you wanted. Or
you could ask, "What kind of van did I wane?"
Your child 'houie' point to "old." Pur the
rncchum-hlne tr1:1nglc over that \'vord.l-hen
you could explain [hat the word "the" tells us
chat there was a particular van that was
required, and if it had been any van you would
have written "a."The symbol you use for the
word that tells you if 'lOU wanted a particular
van or just anyone is the small blue triangle,
Continue to ask the and pidce the
symbois tor
Wrltten.
Looking at the
joined together
words can be
We are going to ,imply look at the word "and"
since other joining words such as "bur" would
be rather too difficult this
'fou will need
Objects that can be Join"d (see
below). Two pens, paper and pink symbols that
look like hyphcm.
How to play
Take several objects that literally be joined
together, such as lego blocks, flowers and so
on. Write out label each
tDr inst;)Dre) "the red lcgo "the blue
]ego block:' ",he vellow !ego block."
Ask your child to read the labeis, then to
match them to the appropri:1(e biocks. [n a
co:or "\vord Hand
l
'
Place the first "and" between two
she has idenrified, then have her read and join
R I\D NG cOR M
the tvvo bricks together. "The red lego block
and the blue lego block," Now add the second
"and," the last phrase and the third objecc. Have
your child read and join them all together. Of
course t\vo ands is not gramrnatilcally
but it serves to make the poine.
Find out where the "ands" need to go by
moving the phrase around. "The blue Ie go and
and the red lego yellow lego." Keep going until
it makes sense again.
Ask her to put on the symhols for the words
that knows, then ask her which word told
her to join [hem all together. Show her the
pink bar, which 'lOU now place over the two
"ands"
Using the phrases that you and your child
have ",rritten for the garage, farm. etc.,join up
as many different pieces as she wams to. She
can make up sentences, using the Joining word
and stick the syrllbols over the tOp.
Using the comma
i At a later stage, around the time when you are
iookmg at punctuation (see Chapter 8), you
could create a long list of objects the
"and." then show her how to avoid using "and"
all the time ov using commas until vou to
the last object.You can plav around with chis
idea using the "ands" wi[h a variety of diffE'renr
objects, tor your fridge, frOlTI the
toy box and so on, then removing them all
l except the last one and putting in commas.
Investigating the preposition
Use any objects in which you alter the
place of one set of objects easily. For exan1ple,
I [he dolls' house would good, or simplv use
some pencils and a pencil case.
I You will need
The objects ::is above, some crescent
: moon shapes [he same way as you made the
i tri::lngles).You'll also need pens, p8per and
as before.
How to play
Write a long phrase such
The red pencil and the blue
green pencil.
and the
Have your child read and put the pencils in
their appropriate place above the phrase. Then
write "The long pencil case." Have her put the
case over this phrase. Now. using differenr
color. write the word "in." Place ir betwecn
the two phrases. have her read it and place
pencils in the pencil case. Write the ,vord
"beside;' have your child read ir and takE
pencils out of the case and put them beside the
case. Finally, write the word "under" and have
her read and intcrrrct Continue in this
\vay for as long as she enJoys it.
;Vlix up the phrases you have written to see
if she can read them md tell you what makes
senseYou'li bmh discover thar 'omnimes you
can s'evap rhe objects over and the phrase WIll
still make sense and 'omctimcs vou can·t.
The pencil case in the pencils
The pencil case nex[ to the pencils
The pencils nex[ to the pencil case
Use all sorts of words such as:
beside, beyond, next ro, with, behind and
so on.
Ask your child to put over 7Jl the
words she knows. then ask her which \vord
told her where to put them. For a word that
tells us '\vhere" \ve place a green moon above
it. Of course there are many different kinds
prcp0sition. but stick to one that she can
physically intecpret, thar of place.
Now put Out the garage, house, whatever
mujdle. Write. or have her write or have
already rrcpared, a great many cards that
describe prepositions of thee for her to use,
and phrases that describe the objecrs.Ask her
to gnclually str:1ightcn the
preposHlons.
up llsmg
Identifying verbs and adverbs
Moving on to look at verbs, you can to do this
with children by acting:.
You will need
Paper, pen and large red circles or disks (made
m the same way as you made the triangles for
the verbs) and. orange circles tor the adverbs
How to play
first to identity· verbs. Write an
action on piece of paper dnd have her act it
act it out. then ask her to guess what the word
is. You will notice that she will alwavs choose
action words to descnbe what it is you are
doing. Let her write down :m acnon word and
act it Out. and you have to guess what it is she
ciomg.You will quite natunlly up
a whole variety or different words that are
actIons. Finallv you write and she acts Out.
When vou have done lots of them,
S;lv111g we use it to
when a word tells vou what to do.
To expand the game to include adverbs, play
as above, but this time vvhen your child has
cor::;p]etcc1 the Jctlvir-y', ;1Ctd :ll1oiher
different colnr. For insLmce. write hop and ask
your child to do it. Then. ho,v
she does write another word in a different
coior to change the "vay she did it. For
if she hopped around quickly, then write hop
slowly; if she hopped noisd:-, then write quietly.
Do as many of these as she interested in
doing, then change the \vord order. <':'ometill1cS
is possible to do IS not:
a question ofjudsmcnt: on fier p:lrr:.
the sYIT1bols, your child to
idemifV the word [hat told what to do and
place a red circle over the tOp: then Jsk her to
identifY the word that tOld her "how" to do it
and place the orange circle over the top.
The t\vo of you can now think up lots of
sentences that actiom and how to do
ABOVE One way of identifying a verb with a red circle
above it is by acting it out for a frjend!
absorb, which tells her more about wavour
them. J\1ake sure that you act them out, as this
allows you to feel what the words are doing.
I, words work together than any explanation that
a teacher could offer.
Becoming more aware of what words do and i
how they do it will help enrich your child's use
.md ability to get more out of I
her re'lding.Actmg or acting upon objects the
Key experIence In dCt1\jtiCS as it begins to
have a personal on how words are felt and
interpreted. Tbe symhols are also very impor-
tam because they otte, a pattern tor the mind to
FOR IvlEA>JIN
The \vhole process one of exploration.
Children already undemand all (he princirles of
at deep level; we Gm tell because they
speak their l:mgnage. these games do is
simply to explore that on different
level an.d in a
CHAPTER EIGHT
Creative and accurate ng
have used children's bnguage
this book: as a point
tor developing their vvriting skilh,
important to recognize that there signif-
icant differences het\C\'een spoken and wriLten
When we speak, we are able to check as we
go along whether the person listening has
ll:ldcrstood what \ve are s;lVing, ami to back
dnd clarifi,', repeat or explain what it was that we
wanted to say. 'lInen we write, we need to be
Iuuch more precise in the \vay that \Ve use
\VOraS, and in logIC and ')cql1cncing of OUf
thoughts. In \ve speak, use
nise an eyebrow, poim our finger or use our
hands to ciabor:1tc our 'reecho 'llhen we write,
our vvords need to convey informa(ion "\ve
would normally pick up through our different
senses; they need to have the power to conjure
up [he :)ituatlon our heads as if vve there.
\Vriting also has the power to use time in
,'lay trom the way that we use it in
speech. \\lhen \vriting, it poss1blc to move
:md backward in tilTH\ to stop still for
long periods of time when the thoughts of
are being the story line
luust be strong, the logical thread maintained.
Stone, also have a specific structure: III simple
terms, they have a beginning, middle and end:
the story moves from a given set of
circnmstances through to a resolution.
The g:unes you have played in the prcviollS
chapters \vil1 have helped enrich your child's
vocabulary, made her aware of the way stories
are 'sritten, and given her a "feel" tor the way
which words can be used to convey thoughts.
You can now go back and play some of these
games in a way that will help your child formu-
late her In <;torv form.
Remember that your child an author.
There are many perspectives ,hat authors can
take when ,hey choose to a S[Dry:
sometimes they are :mtohiosnphicaL fc)r
1l1stance children love to tell stories about
:lnd the that hJ\'C fuppent'd to
them. Thev particularly like to tell
things that amused them. And they t"peciallv
like to write about things
a f'p,,'orltc <;t0ry in
the time [hat my children filled the bathtub
with cold ,vaLer and rricked their fa[her into
jumping into it!
Stories like these can be relatively easy to
structure since neJ.rly always a denoue-
ment. In addition, your child will have lived
event and will be able to cmbclli;;h the S111lple
facts with extra details if you ask ;inout it.
Stories can .;lIso be told through
technique reporter use to retell e,'ents that
have harpened - a straight n"porting of r;;ct. Stories
like Lflls are often chJrac[crizcd b\. \,>ords "and
tnen ... "This type of story couid be written
visir to the park or a museurn, tor instance.
CREATIV /\ND CCURATE ,XlRITING
Stories Cln be rc\YOrkCc1 or retold
stories that she already knmvs. A 'lear-old
Ii-iend of mll1d spent all mornmg wricing her
own version of Slccpng Bf':mty.
There will be times when vour child would
like to 'vi/rite her o\vn story but can't think or
<:;UDJcCT: she vvant:s to vvrite about. not to
discol1IJged when she rejects your sugges-
tions but still wants you to make more
It can be helpful to think of a reason for
writing down story. Giving purpose to your
child's writing is very ;mponam. Most of us
"vvrite things do\vn for a reason anci the same
\vith '.vriring story: either we ,-vrite it bec;1use
we want to ma.ke more permanent
that we are thinking of, or became we want to
have someone read whaI: we have put down.
Authors wrire with the idea that v)meone will
read ""'lhat they have written. Trearing her story i
interesting and important in own right
and to it ag:lin can Important
indicawrs to her that was worrh the effort.
Helping your child to 'create a book from her
story and perhaps "puhlishing" it may be appro-
Here you would need the ofa word
prOC(,S'flr or at very least;] ph()W,COf'ier
11l11stratlons can be very useful ston,\\-rlt-
- they can used to enhance the story i
It has been written, or they can be used as
base around which the story can be I
conSlructed. Be\vare, hovvever, of making your
child think that she is writing story, she
should also be dnwir:g, or ,nee Not all
children like ')onlC don't feel th;:n:
3.re very good at it. tor
\vriting and drav..ring are felt to
hand, the fact of one may
orher.
If
In helping your child to 'write \veIl, vou \vill
to help her structure her
,viii need to her co use
or the \vay \vords function, you \vill
CREATiVE /\.CCURAfE IXTRliI!'<C.:
need to help her to savor the words that she
chooses and you \vill need to give her an ability
co use punctuation effectively. In doing all this
you will give your child the opportunity to
becoHle PO\"\Trttil communicator.
Helping with the structure of a story
around 6
In Chapter 3 you looked at the Question
Game that helped to ahout and
expand their ideas around a tOpIC that was
familiar to them. In order to develop her ability
to relate co one theme rather than many, you
asked your child lots of questions
built up int,r;rrr:atlon that
could be turned into a story.
You can now use this same game to develop
your child's ability to write and structure stories.
What you will need
Paper and penCll
How to play
yourself and Your child.
You can suggest that you and your child are
gomg to playa In the game you are
going to ask lots of qucsriom of
you will write down the answers. FoEow the
same line of questioning [hat you did when
you played this game your child.
First you need to agree on a topic or subject
for your scorv. Sticking coughly to subject
of the original game, you could "Let's '\vrite
about the time you baked a chocoiate cake and
the mixer yvent wrong'" NIake it clear you
intend to write story about this but
that you don't need to stick to [he of
\vnat h:1ppcncd. as this is a "Tory and a \\Titer
can make h:1rpen In .;tory that they
"vouId like to happen!
What could call our story?
The I baked u cake
Let's begin bv thinking who this storY
about.
ail
"\Vhat can vou tell me about
the character?
When did you bake the cake;
Where did you bake the cake?
Why did you want to bake a
cake?
How did you bake the cake?
With whom did you bake the
cake?
What happened when Vall
baked the cake?
How did you teel?
How did other people in
the Story feel?
each of these questions there
will be many answers and, thtough
discussion, you'll discover
of posslbil1ties.liS <-Ire gi\"Cn , record
them on one of your sheets of paper with a
word prompt such as \Vhv? or How? Record
much as is rclcvam. Try to elicit more than
For exampie,
bake u cake?
Because I like chocolate
more than
bcc;}u.;;c I
was hungry; it was mv birthdav; we had
Grannv and Grandad coming tor lunch.
There are no right or wrong answers and
urJess your child insists, you do not have to
stick to ,he facts of a real "true life" story.
Having gathered the raw data for story. vou
need to help her to understand the strnctC.1rC of
the Story.
Planning the story
Estahlish whether this ston; is going to have
pictures or nor. Decide whether to "vrite the
story first or draw the pictures first.
Before you the Story with your child,
begin bv explaining tbe every story has three
parts. The Erst part is the which sets
story you
who it's about
when it takes place
where it takes place
and :myrhing else that might be Importam to
say so dut the person reading the can
lln,cierstorld it trom the
The second part of the stOry is 1111ddl:=:
usually in the expkun
h0I'pens to
about. We shall need to know:
REA. T I
what happens
how things happen
why they happen
Record to JIl
Finally, our story has to have an
ending be happy or tunny or serious.
Bm you need to tinish the story. \:{Te shall need
to know:
how the swry ended.
\Vrite down some ways that the story could
have ended. As you bye read co child
manY tnnes, she w'ill be with a variety
to be very close to (he
abom writing. M:my of them seem, quite
'po,nrJnc()u,i.v. to stones "One
day ... " and end them with the
"ami they allliwci happil\' eyer
Writing the story
of
You and your child can \vrite a story together
using the outline that vou wrote. Explain that
when a wnter wnres a story, she may choose
what she wants to S:lY and how much she
\,vants to say.\Vriting a story does not rnean
everything, bur
suit the \vnter best.
what will
Vhite the title ofthe story, then begin to
choose how to start the Story. Follow your
advice; you could even take turns
writing or vou could act as scnbe on this
Or:C.l:Slon.
Choose what you ,va,l[ to say, the words
that you want to use \yith your
child.
'when you get to the end, make sure that
the story reaily finished. If you like you can
END or THE at the Children
tD like this as it ,hem real
SatISfaction at having finished sOTnerhing.
C 11. E \ l) \VIUTI0i
After this first rlttempr enCOtlT:1gc child
:::0 \:vrlte stories as often as \vishes, bearing
in mind the questions ,hat lllCC'd
story is to be really good.
\V riting poetry
It important not just [Q look at the structure
of story and forget about other
kinds of writing that may be fun to undcrstand.
art of poetry writing also needs to have
some help. Children have always loved poems
and rhymes, and as 'well as these being important
in their 0\"'11 right, they have helped to underpin
illuch vfthe reading and \vTiting that your cl>ild
is now doing. A child's natural love of rhythm
and rhvme will lead her [0 spr,nrane(}us1lv create
poems fi-om her earliest work with the
;'Vlo\'e;Jhle Part of the appeal of a
poem is the wav that it is om on a page: the
way that each new sentence begins on a new
line and in a
deal.
fe\;v' \vords conveys a great
You can also study different kinds of poems,
for instance nonsense rhynles :lnd and
look at the different wavs in which these poems
work.
Having a tr}mcwork tor helping
your child begin to structure her stories and
you "vill need to begin to look at the
"vay in 'vvhich punctuation CJn help to rnake
story more
Recognizing the "val" which simple
pUnCtllJtlon used \"vii1 also help in the vvay
your child unde[sr.mds what she is reading. You
will rrnhablv End thar by the age of six, she is
TI10\7}ng from aloud to [C';1ding to
herself. Don't insist that she reads aloud aU the
tlrne: there IS a very great Dct\vccn
reading aloud tor your own comrrchension of
Iivh3t you read and reading aloud to other
people. Reading aloud to others is great art
and needs to be practiced. Uniess your child is a
t1uent reader. not a good idea to insIst on
her reading aloud [Q orhers unless it hapr cns I
Ho,\yever. a of
puncrualloll
when
how it works will help her
w what
she reads, and will help her to pm more expres-
sion into her voice as a consequence of this. If
yon see. for example, a at the tend
the tone that normal when a question is
asked. On recognizing quotation marks, it
heromt's to on tIl(' of the
person who is perceived to be
yOll read to your child you drew aerention to
capital leeters, question marks, periods and
quotation in a DJtl!frll \-vay .
. A ..s she began \vriting, you e:x:p!ained various
conventions such as capital letters at the begin-
TIlng of and periods at the end.
\Vhen you were looking at the waY ehat "and"
used as a cOIl]unc[ion, you tackled the of
the comma when [here was a list of items
ch::n belonged together. So in many 'Nays you
have informally begun to look ;Ct
punctU::1t10n.
If you wish to highlight this
aspect oiwriting more dearlv, there
are games that YOll can play with
your child.
Punctuation games
You ,,,ill need to decide which
marks you are going [0 iook at.
Don', focus on them all at once. A
possible '\V:1y them up
would be as T()l1ovYs:
.. Capital letters at the
of .;;cnrcnccs and periods at the
end.
.. Capital letters at hcgmning of importanr
nouns sllch as names of people and places.
.. Ql1ot;]tion marks to highlighr \vhen
someone is talking, including PllllCrtl;]tion rh:lt
follows.
.. QuestIon marks.
.. Comm;]s used for a list of lrems.
there arc other marks you may
wish to introduce, such as exclamation points
and commas that art' used in manv more
complex 'Nays th;1Il [hose mentioned
to keep it simple and clear as pmsible: you
aren't teaching your child punctuatIon bur
helping her to recognize in her own reading
and apply when she (eels able co in her story
and poetry \vf1tlng.
What you will need
For ,=ach different topic you vvill need to
prepare a htde story. If you aren't teeling very
crea[ive. it would be alll'ight to look into one
of your children's rayorite storyhoob copy
rhere. ;o111('thing
Depending on which punctuation you
CUR l\ T E \V i<-- I T I t-J (
wish your child to focus on, "'Tite everything
out normally except that vvhen you come
for eXJmple, a Clpltalletter and a period, you
will write that in a different color. On a
second sheet of paper you will write om the
salTle story. \vhenever you con1e to a
capital letter you will wflte it in in
the saIne color pen as the rest of the piece.
Vlhen you come to a period, you will miss it
out altogether bur le,lVe a little gap for it to be
inserted at a later date. You will also need to
"\vrite our each capital letter and period that
you left our on small squ2,res of paper in
coiored pen. (Or ifit would be more
srirmIiating her,just cut little squares of
paper and can rill in the correct
pllncmation on them as she goes along.) Make
sure that the size is correct tor the prepared
story thev will have to fit iuro.
How to piay
Take the correct version of the story and read
it thmugh with your child, using your voice to
show the pause and breath that you take v,hen
vou come to the period. Then
look at the other verSIOn of the
wlry:this it
thtough withoUT pansing at
end of running one into
the other, stopping you
actuallv run out of breath to t;lke
one. This makes the story a very
tunny one and well [he
fimction of the period. Produce
pnnctuat10n ;1nd Jsk
help eNrect story
that has left it all out. Show her
th::-;.t you have capital letters tor the
eRE AND Ac ATE WRITING
beginning of the sentence and periods for the
end. Give her the oppormnity go :hrm:gh
the incorrect srory adding in the correct
punctuation. Read it thrnugh at end to see
if i, sounds right.
To begin with, if your child finds this
difficult she can copy original piece of
writing but if she can manage doing
this, encourage her to do so. When she has
finished she can check at the end what she has
done with [he originaL
Quite often when you have spent a little
time on this activity, you will see :111 over-use of
punctuation tor time in her srories and
poems.Verv often the period, in particular,
turns up in abundance for a while after
this game and also the question mark
very popular, not least because children seem to
like ro drav,l it!
Letter writing
You can now begin to show your child some of
the conventions used when we write letters.
Show her hO'.v to pur her own address on
the leeter and the date. Explain the normal wav
of beginning and ending a letter. Take an
divide it into tour and show her that
the address in the first (Juadram
and that it can proceed verticailv trom that
point. Encourage her to write to other people.
Spelling
Quite and ,pontancou5]v your child
has been developing her ability to speil
accurately: rhe more ,he reads, the better her
spelling has become. You have plaved many
games that will help her to hecome more fluent
in her reading, dnd these coo helred in
spdling. Being ahle to spell. "vell does not neces-
sarily mean someone is more intelligent or
more wdely read than another there are
some good writers who have terrible
trouble ,vi,h their spell.ing and some very good
speilers who can't write at all. Having said that,
of course it's helpful if spelling is more otten
correct than incorrect. The more cxper;ence I
have with children \'vho are naturally good
spellers, the more cOl1\'inced I rim that although
some combin:ltion< of letters need to be
learned, a good speller is one who senses the
patterns in \vords. She is SOlTI('onc who is aHe
to apply a knowledge of pattern to the abstr;Jct I
of spelling. I am convinced that this ability
has been developed from an early age and that
is a combination of:
• The ability to
in
similarity and
• The ability to compare and
patterns.
• To have a good sense of shape.
.. To be able to predict likely
• To be able to make an attempt without fear
of failure.
All of these skills have been developed in
children long before they come to even
thinking about the need to spell.
In rhe sound-letter :lpproach which
your child used in the '\10vcable i\lphahet
helped her to gain confidence in
dovvn vvii:hout \vorry or fear of having :0 get it
right. She was able to build words, sometimes
breaking them down into componC'nt parts
when they were verv long and building them
up syllable by syllable. She J1so has very good
sound and rhyme recognition skills, so she
nmkrsrands thar a word that sounds like another
vmrd may very well be spelled like too.
She can hear the "provi-
sion" and "station" and vvii] be able to apply the
'',;ion'' to words like "tc]eY1S!On" :md the "tion"
to words such as '·caution."
Without necessarilv being aware of it, in
playing the acrivities c:lrlicr in the book you wiH
have been indirectlv preparing your chIld to
heconle good at
Learning lists of spelling at home will not
really be very productive became list has no
real purpose. Spelling games are much more fun
to play. Here are some ideas.
Key sound envelopes 2
Take one of (he envelopes you prq'arcd for the
version of this ga...'T1C that appeared Chapter
7. Ask vour child to write down all the wavs
that she r0nv,,..,,t->ets the sOlmd "ai" could be
written ,he can look at the cards if nCCCSqr::.
Write each cOr!"lbin:lrion at wp of a page.
Now take out all the cards with the words
written on them. Call them om at r:;ndol11 :md
place them face down in a pIle.Yom chIld has
to ,-,vrite each ,"lord under its correct colu111n.
..t-\x the end she can check to see how ulany ::.:he
got right by going through the pIle of cards
Various patterns can be nhcrved 111
for vvith the key sound "oy," \vhich
she has also seen vvritten JS ;'01," a general rule
can be observed - "oy" usually C0111es at
end of a \vord and -'oi" usually COD1C'S in the
CRE,A.TiVE.'\ D
\V R 11' J N (;
middle. Of course there are exct:ptlons
to this rule, such as "oyster" bur: it is an
observaEion that: 'Nil! serve her very '.vell.
Sit7gLrllJjrs and plurals/masculines and
Another of ,tudying words md how they
,1re written is to look words and how tbey
change frorn ,inguL1r to plural or from
11lJscuiine to fcmir:inc
You wili need
For ;mei plunls, you will need to
gather together a number of words as foPO'','s:
Find words where the plural is made by
adding In C3.t bird birds
Find words where the is made bv by
adding "es" catch catches, watch watches
Find words where the piural is made
ch:mging the middle of the word foot teet,
tooth teeth. mouse mice
Find words where there are ['NO parts to the
word and only one clnnges in the plural
'poon!:11 'poons+:tl, bbckbi1'd blJckbirck
brorhers-in-Lnv.
you will need
kl11d such as gnndf:1thcr,
godmorher godhther: words that derived
ti'OlTl one another such prInce prIncess,
c1l1perOr or Th;tr C0111plctcly
difterent trom one c,nother girl, uncle
Junt.
How to play
:1nd give your child two
pencils. Rc:ad and match the cards.
H;;ve her \vrite do\vn the \\:ords in cohnnn'S
put the plural in a differem color.
jf she can do it frOnl memory.
For
fcrnin1nes, vvrite
\:\/ords on cards and have her mix thenl up and
thenl. If you have enough cards, do it
nne set at a time to begin with.\Vhen has
looked LlI thell1 and <.... SOIL rhern, let her take
C ,( E i V t:: :\ cu WI:z.l :'(c
[','170 ciiffcrcnr colored pencils and ',vrite them
dO'vvn.
Collective nouns
Children also like match up collective nouns
and there are some very colodul ones abom.
Yet again rnake small card:- that C;lTI be pbced
in two columns: flock sheep, pack wolves, pr-ide
lions, gaggle geese, crowd people, etc.
How to play
Have vou1' child set out the collective nouns in
one column and match up the correct single
;lnimal to e<lch one. You vVl11 need to have
little matching symbol on the back of each pair
so thar she can check herself.
Words within words
Choose a long word such as clcrbnt
your child ho'vv many \vords
ofiL
can rnake out
pan, pen, hal. pant. pet. etc
Spelling snap and peimanism
You need to make:: set of cards 'with four
words in each pack sharing 'rlme spelling.
For coat, Goat. boat: crush.
brush, push. rush: string, srrap. straw. struggle.
To ploy
:{ou can play snap or you CJn
down and find pairs.
rheIn out race
'fou will find that your chiid is flKinated by
the Vial' words work and will piaying all
these games. Occasionally you may find that
SIX
age
of seven. If you believe this to be the case, talk
to her tcachers md see [hey feel. If vou
are srill worried, then lt llUY be as well to
check turther to be ciisc:nver if she has
i or some other torm of difficulty with words.
Your child is now able to wnte clearly and she is
ABOVE Discovering how words work call be very
interesting, Once your child is writing. he can highlight
the change from singular to plural by writing the plural in
another column, in a different color.
confident at expressing herself in writing. Her
spelling is quite good and she \CHites im:lgina-
tive and well-cratted stories. It would probablY
be (he mr\r()T"';'1'" rnornent to <;ho\v her ho\v to
draft and then produce a fair coPy when she
wants to prodUCt, for special OCCJ'l;ons,
You \yould not have dreamed this
until she was at this level.You wiIi also show her
how to look in a using her knowi-
edge of the order of the ;;lrhabC'f and her ahility
to make good guesses!
She is no\v at the stage \vhen she is :-cading
well and writing well. She enJoys books and
loves reading on her own together WIth
you. She likes to look up things in rcticfcncc
books as much as she loves to read fiction. She
seems to have a way ,,'nh words.You are justifi-
ably proud bccause she did all this by simply
living in an cIwironmcJ1( that was im''''1«''(,(11Iv
rich and had fun with
all
('Help me to do ir myself!" eloquent: is
this parad0xical The adul, must
helD the child but help him in such a way
[hat he mav act himself and perform
real work in the world.
c '-\ N D
\YJ R liN (;
13A
CHAPTER NINE
Te p
iHv''':'';''LUl"' this book vou will find rerer-
er resources
digraphs. The colors tfdchionally med in
Montessori schools are blue for vowels, pink
tor green for digr:lphs; hut you can
use any color you vvish.
to various marerials, equipmem and
information cnntJlned in this chapter, vvhich
vlill help you use and enjoy the garnes and
activities I recommend, Nothing f2atured here
is expensive to buy or very time-consuming w
and all of them 'vvill help you create the
nch c;wironmcnt will lead vour child to
! You will also need:
! a tactile material [Q make the letters from:
sandpaper (as the name 15 the
read <-lUct \,vrice ease and traditional but you could also use
or PJlnring p:1per. velvet
(\vhich is nice to feel but tends to ravel after a
\Ve begin at the beginning, with whole
senes of terr;phte,. which will form the
blocks tor letter recognition and,
reading and vvriting. They can be
used to create the Sandp"per Letters and
Alpbher tcatured in Chapter 3, and
they can even be used as classified cards'
, while).lfvou do <andfJaper, use the finest
These IFmplate, :lre easy to make and will I
only a short inveqment of your time.
Access to phorocopier would make things
even you make multiple copies for
grlt.
The teem plates. which you will find following
these instructions on pages 142-149
What to do
PhotocofJY the templates. Decide in advance
how many of the you want to make
and make sure vou make extra copies of the
the games that require these, or make them letters needed.If you make all the CigrafJhs
larger or smaller, depending on the needs and <l1ggcstcd in Chapter in addition to tile usual
prctcrcnces of vour child. I recommend that 11phaber letter, vou will need:
you one set of originals, 'Chen use photo- ,I
copied sets tor Ihe games themselves. 3 additional letters "a" (4 if vou make the
digrapb "au')
make sandpaper letters 1 addirioml Lrrter "c"
What you wi!! need 5 additional letters "e"
10 make the letters used in this book, you will ' 3 adclitinmlletters "h"
need three dirfcrcnr colors of cardhoard to
rnount letters themselves on: one color for
vo\-vels, one for the C0nson::tnr::; and one tor the
T [;\-1 P t
;\1'-:0 OTHtR RES
2 adcbtiondlleners '''il'
6 adchtional1etters "0"
1 additional letters "q"
3 addiwnalletters "r"
1 :1c1dit10T1J,] len:er
1 additl0nalletter "'e'
2 dddltionalletters "u" (3 if you mal<:e "au
l
')
1 ::1-dditionJ,] letter "y"
Cur our: the black letters. Pin them or
or 12 bottles, and all have c:lrdbmyd dividers.
Cut the box and the down until you
have a tray and dividers of about 2 inches high.
1 Stick them together to create tray that has
cno'.Jgh comparrnlents for letters.
You could also find a cardboard bm: that has
glue them omo the back of the chosen paper or i a lid and use the lid as a tray.
tabnc. (Remember to pm the letters on back to Cut strips oL-,miboard the length and width
ti'om! If you don't, ail your letters will be the i of the box and make slots in them at abom
wrong wav around when you cut them out.)
Cut around the ren1plates as caret111ly as p0:-:'iible
and glue the s:mclparer or other material letters
onto [he :1ppropriare colored card that you have
prepared. Use the to judge SIze of
card you need; the will need card rhat
a little wider than the single letters.
You may wish to PUt a little spot [Q indicate
where to start feeling the letter and also a
shaded line at the base so your child knows
which wav up to hold the letter. See the
4-inch gaps. Slot the ctrdhoard ,trips into one
another to make grid, then fit this into the
box lid.
Other ways of using the
I templates
Sewing
: Photocopy the letters of your child's name and
diagram on page for where to place the dot i
make holes in the letter. Thread up a large
needle WIth colored yarn and tie a knot in the
end of it. If your child is old enough to thread
her O\",n needle. provide her with a plait or dnd the directlonal arrows so that she feels the
leIter using the right movement.
To make the moveable aphabet
This activity is so l1nrCl[unt that you not
think that you can do without it! It's quite easy
to make. Take the letter templates and
their size on a photocopier so thac letters like
and "0" are about 2 inches high. Letters
Eke and "h" should be about 4 inches high.
What you will need
Colored c:lrdboard use the '3me color that
vou used for the backgrou:1d of Ihe Sandpaper
Letters.
Photocopv dOOut 8-10 copies of each
and abom 12 of each vowel.
Don't forge;: docs and Hj."
Making the box to keep them in is a little
more as it needs to be quite
can nYmnPl,'nd two pO'isihilities:
Many liquor stores give away cardhoJrd wine
boxes to carry away botdes. These may hold 6
braid of multicolored yarn to an
1ppropr1:lte and secured looselv at each
end with some varn. Shmv how to pull [he
I yarn tram the middle of the braid, one strand
i a[ a rime. In this way the braid stays intan and
siIe can choose from a beautiful ,uray of colors
without haviIlg to use scissors.
Cutting out letters
Have your child choose her tavorite letters :md
cur them out. She can then pasre chern to
different colored paper and decorate the FJFt'L
Some children like to draw pictllrt's, some
patterns and others dray\! more letters! You
I could use til.em to make a alphabet book if
She is not yet \vriting but can cut out \vell. Help
her create cards w send to loved ones with thelr
I initials cut out, pasted and decorarecl.
To make Duzzle words
Chapters 6 and 8 1ntroduc:ed ll"ing- '.vhar
l'L;\TES AND ()THfR
!38
RIGHT Once sile has made
decorate them in lots of
ways.
Tc PL.A..T S OTHER RES OUR
\ve call Puzzle \Vords (so called beC:Juse tbey
can't be ,mmdcd ont
provided templates lor a possible List of words
tor you use, but don:t be tempted to rnake
an exhaustive list 10-12 for sec is all you
need. Your child will learn many more just by
reading.
What you will need
You need to make two sets of Puzzle Word
(Cardho;lrd is be<;t since you v..;-i11 use
these words on their own, with the Moveable
.'\lrn;]hcr, and as guide for ,pelling.) fVlctke
each card inches long and about 2 incnes
high. Choose one color for set one ;ll-;d
dlfferent one tor set [WOo Keep the cards in a
little box on your child's writing shelf so She
can always find them when she needs [hem.
When writing the Puzzle Words on [he canis
do remember ,ho111d write them in
same type or'letters as the S3Ddpaper
Letters.
To make the classified cards
These cards can be usdul for your child in two
ways: they call be used to help
vocahulary from around the age of two and
also when your child is just be-ginning to reacL
around the age of four and a half.
What to do
You Cdll Inake as Inany different of cards
as you Eke. Ti"y to follow your child's interests.
Each card should have clear picture or the
object that you are going :0 teach the
of and each set should oniy comaln pictures
[hat belong together. For very young children
(hcnvccn rhe- of nvo and collect
pictures of objects rhar rhev will find in theIr
environmem. Group the cards according to
locltion.
You could, for mstdnCe, collect pictures that
show objects trom around the house.
If you do so, each set should be
according to the rooms in your house, for
a set of objects ii'om the hatnroom.
kitchen. bedroom. living room.
You could collect pictures that show objects
fi:om around the neighborhood. For
of pictures froTn [he Qlr,0"rnOl'k-n
street or
\X/hen your child becomes older you can look at
other" groups" of objects that may :ntercst him.
and the pictures can be
rnore speciBc \vays, ahvays folio\vint; hi')
\Vherever link the cards '"vlth your and
your child's c:-,-plor:lrion of the rea] world.
If you collect cards of the itelTIS you Inight
find in the park: bench. slide, swings. Jungle
gY1Tl, tennis courr, etc then do go to a park J.nd
look at them. If YOU have collected pIctures of
animals, try vvhen you dre out, to looking for
them or draw vour child's attention to them
coHeeted a set of pictures of pets perhaps
pictures of J. cat, dog, rabbit, h:1111ster. goidtIsh,
Stick insect. While you are out and aboLlt, you
of
etc.) that she (;In
type of anirnal (say cat), you could In:1ke
or· card, that would show the
of Cdt. such Persian. Tabby, l:z.usslan Blue or
.<J\by')slnian.
'.lila group them
;,.-;.ccording to you Inight ;:i1enl"
garden tlovvers, aipine tloVV"ers, \voodland
tlo\vers, hothouse flc)\vers. j\jvvays try to Ct1ClOSC
T
(\ i\" D () T H
pictures that: reflect your child's In
this you will help them to explore their
\:vorld in more and develop the vocabu-
larv to extend their thinking and help them to
talk about what they see. Perhaps your child
will become expert at recognizing all makes
of car on the road if that is her inrerest!
Where to find pictures for cards
rvlail order are good for ilnding
pict11n"'s of the home and garden.
If you hJYC a you couJd your
Qvvn pictUres. ;}[c a very good ,ource
of pic-tmes and you can find these at good
,t;;conery shops m museun:tS
l\ group I once t:mght ,vere
mfected with my enthusiasm for Monet. and
although none of them were over the of
six, they could recognize many of his paintings
and make judgments on the Kind of subject
matter he seemed to iike
1
How to make the cards
If vou wish to the cards nseful
YOC:lbl1hr; and for re:lding, it would
be best [0 collect caples of each picture:
one will be used to teach the name or the
object and the other Vilill be used as J
,-necking mc:cn:mism, the "comrol of error"
,<vhen your child reading.
Glue the picture, on colored C1rdho,ud.
ivbke [he cards for the 5erond set (han
th.e cards tor the set \)lncc
write the names of the objects underneath
to
them. lV1.ake a set of separate labels for !1.rst
set. You WIll USe the first set as described in
Chapter 3, teaching the names of the cards by
lesson. \-Xlhen your child is
C-:hJpter she "'vViH reJ.d the labels
and match them to the cards of the first set.
COlD_pare \vo!-d;:;, :lno
reacts it correctly. If you aren
1
t able to buy tvvo
se(s of pictures, you shou1d still111akc set of
labels and sinlply vvrite the name of the object
AND OTHER R U RC ES
on the back of the picture. In this way, having
read the word on the iabd she can turn [he
picture over to see if she has identified the item
correctly, It is importam to provide [pjs self-
checking mechani:;m as w11l ll1 charge
of her o\vn \vh-ich is
self-esteenl.
To rnake books
good for ner
Thwughour this book I have encouraged 'lOU
and your child to make books of your o\;yn.
Here are some ideas for all
Picture books
Dra\v pictures that (ell a simple story and 2.sk
your child to organize [hem in ordeLYou can
then tell a swry around the pictures.
PhotClgraph a day in ynl1f
other event) :1nd
life- (or any
her
them into some kind of order and paste therrl
on colored Tie chen) together \'vith
ribbon. If you do this at the corner ie's easv to
turn the over. If your child CJn \vrlre she
1 may like to write a word or two under the
pictures or she may dictd'[e and you can vvTir:e
tor her.
\Vhen she is more able. she have a blaJlk
page opposite to wnte her own story,
Letter books
Fold a of paper 1mo three or more sections
to create zigzag or tan book. Put letters at the
top of each section. These call be cut Out ti-om
letter tcrnplarcs, or
dravvn by you or by your child.1'he letters could
spell her name or an objecL You could find
picmres that hegin \v1fh 50nnd on
each makes, Or your child may want tel
dra\v b<egh'1. with that sound.
You could make an alphabet book with your
child. As she learns more and more Sandrapcr
Letters, you can add thenl to book and she
can fInd picmres to paste in that stan v"ieh
each lemon. Do these on loose pieces of
paper you join togerher so the book can
be added to. RCn1cmbcr that this 'tage she
,\(111 noe know the of the alphahet.
When vou have a book with aU the letters and
she knO\\'5 her ::dphahct scq:lcnCE\ you C3n
suggest she organize, the book accordingly.
Story books
These may or may not have pictures with
them. Don't make your child thmk ,hat
has to be attachcci to Some
love to others do GrJduaily
as your child starts ro teU you stories, you can
begin to vvrite them down for her in the torm
of a book. She sees the words that she has
dictated being \.vritten. Do not be tt'mpred to
change the words she uses or the sense of what
she savs at this stage. However. do make sure
that vou spell everything correctly.You could
illustrate the story or simplv keep it in a
h"amifi11 cover that you have made together.
sure to put a title on the coYer :lnd the
author's name. Read it to her whenever she
wants. She will also take it and "read" it.
Your child may draw many pictures thctt ,h"
'Nill start ro label, and occasionally she mav put
speech bubbles on rhem. See if they can be
nude into a collection.
When she is able to quite well, vour
child may draw a picture that has a story and
you can encourage her to vvrite do\vn a te\,v
semenees to descnhe She should be quite
good at this ifshe has using the
Alphabet.
In Ch:lprer 8 we looked at a way of helping
your child structure :l S(Oly and then \vfite
one. In this else [he story comes first and can
illustrated iryour child wishes. Write J stOry
together to begin with and then cnCOUr:1gc
You can make this into a book bv
tnn'cribmg omo a
;md it together - you caD
buy good binders from q:?[inner),
stOres. Some kinds you simply
on co keep the pages wgNhcr
while others hold the pages
together using a series of prepared
holes.Trv to make the bOOK look
as close w a real book as
AND ()T R l-ZESc)CR, 1 +1
Letter '-L-_lLlifIl(UA-Cl
To make the S1nctp::lre-r Letters co their traditional size, vvhen you
knee templates you should enlarge them until
le'Lter 11lC':1st:rcs 2hoi.H '7 inches high by 6 inches
an eni.HW'''",'nr of around in total.
\Vhere
you
than one version of d letter is given. select: the one
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Puzzle \Vords 2
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on prepared paper
of paper [hat are overleaf
(pagesJ vvill be useful for your child as a guide
to helping her to place her letters correctly on
paper. It is important choose p8per that roughly
m;}tches rhe size of her v/Titing when she is \vriting
on plain paper. The size in which she ·writes her
nalne a useful g1ude.
Graph paper
This paper allo\,vs your crild to write her letters on
the base hoe but it doesn'[ iimit her letters to a
her to try to keep them
coughly the same, using the as a guide,
Four ih'1es that are color-coded
\Vhen vou photocory th",e lines VOll will need to run
over the middle lines in blue and the top and bottom
in red, (You couid use any color, but you will need to
illa[ch it to a hbckhn:1rd if you \vish heT IO use one
colored lirles on ILl
Ihis paper gives for all pans of
:::he letter. The ascenders go up to top red line'
,lnd the to the hotrom [cd
'vvhile the rest of the letter fits
blue
Shaded Line
the
This paper will help your child to form the main
bodv of the letter the ,haded pre and
the height of the :1scendcn :ind to ht":f
Qvvn jl.!dgmer1t.
Double Line with darker base
l-Iere raper serves 111uch the same function as
the shaded line .. dthcugh the doned line is le"
definilc and rnay be left to cventu:dlv
k-aving a single line tor \vriting on.
If you decide to I'1hotocopy m0.re th;-:n nne
of paper, it would be heh)iul to your child if they
rnakes it casier for her to identif)r and 1['5 also nice
to have to '.vrire on \vhite all the time,
T PLi\TES A:-":D OTHE RESOUR
for eXlJloratJlon
of the meaning of words
In Chapter 7 explore ways in which your child
can discover how difterent words have
be cut om and
used to create the pattern of shapes [hat she places
the labels that you write, You will find
for all of these in rhi'
Keep them in little jars so you onlv need to bring
our the ones you need for each garE-e.
6(\(\
/ \
/ '
, \
/ \
10 small Hght blue triangles
10 medium dark blue triangles
10 iarge black triangles
10 pink bars (hyphen shapes)
10 green crescent moons
10 smail orange disks or circies 10 red disks or cirdes
Games that you can buy that
will be both fun and helpful
There are many cOlnrrlerc:laiiy available games
that are useful and tun to play that can support
your child's learning,
Orchard Toys
Shopping List Game
The objecr of the game is to fill your shopping
cart with food, This is fun co play and will help
your child to recognize famili;u words.
Slug in aJug
This is a rhyming player must find
a card that rhymes with one of their cards,
which they to do bv turning over card
tram a selection that has been placed face
dowu. Once your child has a pair, a fUlillY
rhyme must be made up using the words on
the cank
and Learning
I Spy ArOlmd the H0rld
Detailed cards that need dose nbscrvation
provide the basis for this I spy game, Children
spin a letIcrcd first to spy something
on their picture with that lerter gets ro cover it
with a card. first person to cover their
pICture WIth cards is \vinner.
Animal Sound Tracks
Listen to the real sounds of animals the
tapes and match them to your game board.
which has delightfil1 photographs
Galt
Picture Word Dominoes
Picture and word cards linked together bv
cards ,vithjUst words on them,Verv helpful for
word recognition.
Letter lYfatch
\vell-illustnted ('ards have bee'n separated om
into three One part has the picture, one
capical and lowcrc3se version of the first
i letter of the object, and one the name of the
object. Each card is cut so that it can
be correctly asscmbld C:lsily.
Stencil Set
l-" box (nntaining for the clpitJI :lnd
lOY\TTc;J,sc lerrers. Paint and pencils are also
I included.
Jolly Learning
Jiglets
;\1agnetic that \yill ;ltGch to your
fridge or to the small magnetic board that is
suppiied, The letters can fit in any order so the
only wav to do it is to "sound Out" correctly
The words are either phoneDC or have a
digraph in them: Dog, Cat, Hen, Pig and
Boat, Ship and Train,
Letter Sound Games
These games are tor chiHren who (an already
read but need to practice, E:lch one has a swrv
book and the game will use the words and
scenes trom the storv,
Individual games include:
Donkey Niatching SounDS Game
Rook Beg1n:1ing Sounds Game
Rabbir Sounds Qmz game
Goat Rhyming Words Glune
Toad Word-:,uilding G.lme
Cocky Rooster Digraphs
Parker
Junior Boggle
Children try to beat the timer and reproduce
the word on their card using letrer dice, This
game can be played
memory
Spear's Games
Junior Scrabble
by copylng, [hen frOID
A gaII1e whlCh Vall match the letters [hat
you have to \vords already \vntten on the
board. This is a usefui imroducrion to
ordinary Scnbble
01' E R QURC 153
:

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Good books for
children
;\1:.:::roc Leaf (Puffin Books _ rrle Story
''1D OTHER RES l<-CES
Rhymes and Poems
Roald Dahi (Puffin'),
Books for you to
read
oreier book
Books about the ;\1ontcssori
approach
TEI'viPLl\T OTHER RESOURC
Index
Vinci, Rome 7

use 19,36
feeling :md \:<"'T:'ting 92-3, 94
UIJ,,/lll 11
104,111.
gluing letters 96 136
hand control 20,
Hmchms, Pac, 46
collective nouns 13-1-
Key Sound Envelope<; j ! 8,
120
lisr:enmg 19 usmg 0bjects 106, 106-9
158 r N D
IN EX! 159
spelli ng 36. 3.3,101, 117. 133
mabng 122, 124
11
remplates, letter 136-40, 142-9
Three Period 37-8
Treasure HullC 113-14, 114
TV and video, watching 27- 8
1.lnderm;H:, decan ting 87
UNESCO 11
verbs and 125-6. 126
12, 14.19,51,105, 108, 127
15- 16,16,17.
words 36, 5l
descriptive 121, 122
123.124
r:aodeIs
on li nes 98-100. 99
')n 152
p:l tte::-ns in 3rtwork 59-60
SCI; i11S0 ]angl.:;lgc; fe:'l<.iing
160 IN D E X
Useful Addresses
usetul.
USA
.A.ssociation i\1ontcssori TmernJrjon31e
USA.
410 idexar:der Streec,
Rochester,
New'iork 14607
(716) 461 5920
North Amerlcan i\1omesmr i TC:l chcn
,!\S50 cl ;1ri on
J 1424 Bdlflo'.vcr Road NE
education, courses and schoob;
Nienhuis [v1onressort USA.
320 Pioneer \;lay
(800) 942 8697
MOllTItJin View,
CA 94041
This seil s I'vtomcss()ri
and boob
Momessori edncItlOn.
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-

Montessori Read & Write
1\ Parents' Guide to Literacy for Children

Lynne Lawrence

THREE RIVERS PRESS NEW YORK

DEDICATION To Steve, Tom and Jamie
Project editor Isabel Moore Goldie

Contents
Introduction About Maria Montessori
CHAPTER ONE

Copyright © 1998 bv Lvnne Lawrence /\11 rights "eserved. No part of this book mav be reproduced or transmitted in form or by :my me8n;;;, cIccrrnnlc or mechanical. 1nr!nding rhOWC0p)r1ng. reCOf(1lng, or by any ~nf0rmation ;1nd rctrlcval systern, \vlthout pC'rm1S"i1flTI in '\vritlng 6-om tht'" publisher. Published bvThree Rivers Press. a division of Crov,rn Publi:;:her<). fnc.. 201 East 30th Street. New York. NY1 nn22 {'vtemher of the Crown Publishing Group Originally ruhlishcrl hy Ebury Pre". 1998. First US paperhack eeliti0n printed in 1998.
R:md0111 Hou<)e, Inc. New York. Toronto. London. Sydntty, Auckland
'vVW\,v.fand0mhou<;;;::.com

7

What you shouLd know about your child
CHAPTER Two

12

Developing a Montessori approach
CHAPTER THREE

24

Preparing the way
CHAPTER FOUR

39

First steps towards reading and writing
CHAPTER FIVE

62

THREE RIVERS PRESS and co10phnl1 of Cro\vn PuhIi<;hcfS, Inc Printed in Italy Library of Congress CJt;d0ging -in-Puhl cHlon 111t3 upon requt'sr ISBN 0-609-80335-2 ]09876 4321

learning to write the letters
CHAPTER SIX

85

Starting to read
CHAPTER SEVEN

104

Popcrbock Eelitinn

Reading for meaning
CHAPTER EIGHT

117

Creative and accurate writing
CHAPTER NINE

127

Templates and other resources
INVEX

136

158

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I should like to thank Billa Patell and Muriel Dwyer for
their support, c-nCQnragc'mcnr :md lfl<.;pintion over the--

uction

last 20 years: Renilde r-,'\ontc"ori

the -world insF1T-ing those \VhD

Montessori

educarion is an educatlon for life, ::md for taking time out from a busy schedule to advise me on the
hiogr:lphy; ond Rmcmary ')"ssoon, wh,,,e und<:rstanding of children·s hanchxTiting is outstanding :md \vho<.;~ passion is infectious l Jesse Scott,James Irwin and

Eve children master the arts of reading and writing in an ctfortless Jnd enjoyable way. There are no big secrets to this - it is noc a question of money and it is not difficult. What am certain of, is that the process is easy and natural under the age of sLx.After sLx it is, at best, an uphill Struggle. This book is not written for mv peers or for the studems I teach; nor is it written to persuade sCf'ptics of the value of the Mome)Sori lJ1rroach, or to challenge any prevailing notions of what the hest method of teaching reJding and writing. It is simplv written for those parents who want to offer practical help to their children along path to literacy. Many parents locked out of the process of helping their child to read and write beCJuse our cultural attitude t("lls them that it difficult and that it is somerhing tor reachers to do. This really should not be so. The preparation for reading and writing begins long before formal schooL and parents dre the first and best [cJchers. I am also convinced that literacy is the only \Vav children to burst our of the cultural and social hmdings which cO!1Stnin their lives, to lift their sights and extend their horizons, and ultimately to plav their part in advancing our
SOCIety.

Lawrence kindly worked their way through rhe carll' hook
too, to

Hilary \Vhire

for her shared lnrerf''1t :mrl expenise. I ;:1m very gratcfiJI to my editor I'lJbcl ?vloorc for her enthusiasm and understanding :md 'Co photographer Ron Sutherland

whose hc:wriful rhotogr:lphs

proof of his :lhility

to

work well with children. Isabel. Ron and I had an intense but hugely f'njoyJhk rime working ,-vith children of the Maria 'v10ntcssori Children', Home Thanks must also go to the childrcn, parents, studcnts and staff of the ]\!laria \ionressori Training Organization
who colbhoratcd so enthusiastically, and to Scilla lown5
for help in compiling the f-ook lists, Finallv. I must thank

rny fJrnilv
\vl1lingly

~md

:1il the
as I
\\TOtc

::~lpporr

they so

this boole

importance is bringing about, in J child, a desire to read and write: this is the Holy Grail. This book is not for just dipping into as the whim takes you. It charts a developmental process with activities ,hat tit with the maturational process in a young mind. It is like building a house on solid foundations, each brick upon another and tInally a roof. If you build precarious tower on sand, may look good for a while, but it will fall down. The foundations for literacy are love and encoungcment. The basement is constructed from the joy of being read to, knowledge of the world, a langmgc-rich environment. development of the senses and control of the body. The ground floor rooms arc made from an awareness of the sounds in language. The upper Hoor is created from the ability to attach symbols to sounds and the attic is made from the skill of using those symbols to express your own thoughts. The roof is reading and writing. In such house a child's mind can reside for a re\varding lifetime :md no hurricane can blow down. In each chapter of this book you will find important activities which are the huilding blocks of literacy; they rdeet the kinds of acrivas those, ities, but are not necessarily the thar go on in a Montessori school. In <lddition, there are lots of games that are ideally suited tor parents to engage in with their children at home.

Publisher's note
The f'llhJisher \vould

to thank

S3.s~oon

and \\lilliams

for

pcrmls';10n to u<;('

the Sassoon Tacri1c

on pages 142 to 15 L Every etlort has been made to gain
pernl1,)<:lOn

other rublicT(ions qlJ0tcd in the text; SJll

details of the SOurces of ail quote-d mJteTiJl

RihliogrClphy

The ability to read and write is not, in itself, a sufficient ambition. What is of supreme

INTRODUCTION

:s:ori \. quite naturally.~s born in 1870 _in the town at Cmarvalle. Maria apparently full of books for Renilde loved reading. As a rough guide you will find that Chapten 1 and 2 relate to the general Montessori JppTOJch. If. initially studying physics.. it is an attitude. and I hope that in reading this book you may come to understand a little . Later that vear she was asked to represent Italy at an International Congress tor \Vomen 's Rights. she changed her mind about engineering as a career and decided to become a doctor of medicine. Chapter 3 provides actlvities that underpin reading and writing. her passport to the Facultv of Mcdic. Chapter 4 contains three essential activities that are the gareway to reading md writing.chool on the Via di San Nicolo da Tolentino. Italy. in young children of three or tour. tor me.tdrtlng at ahout t\yO aria Mo~t. Chapters 7 and i and a half years 'old will. old child who was playing WIth a piece of colored paper. Renilde Stopp. after an isolated evening in the dissecting room. Children who have learned in a Montec. Perhaps in the activity of this poverty-stricken child she had found her vocatlOl1. Her tather. In 1896 Maria Montessori grJdmtcd trom the Uniycrsitv of Rome with top honors as the first woman donor:n Italy. :\1o:1tessori's hiographer) rcbte the story ofa seminal moment in her studies when. receiving the Diploma eli Licenza. She was immediately ('mploycd in the San Giovanni Hospital attached to the University.\. I have written this book as an aid tor parents to use at home. wriring it will have been worthwhile. in its own right will also supplement any work being done in schooL While parents are always the main educators of a young child. write before they read. she began to break through the barriers that constrained women's careers from 1886 ro 1890 she cOlltillL1t'd her studies at the Regio lsti1'mo Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci initially with the intention of hecoming an engineer. Chapters and 6 must be read in paraUel with each other as they deveiop Your child's ability to read and write. was well educated and forward looking. as a result of reading this book. unheard of tor a woman.Read each chapter before you embark on helping your child rc:tding :md vvriting. one parent About Maria Montesso M 8 must also be read in prallel as thev develop more sophistioted skills in reading and writing. in 1892 she passed her exams. made a career in the civil service and her mother. as it will give you teei for the overall approJch. she departed with the imention of ahandoning her medical studies~ On her way horne she '. they do not reflect on the Montessori approach.teacher is also important.ne~ found herself excluded from anatomy and di"ecring classes ~ it was comidercel unseemly for a woman to look on a naked body in the r:ompanv of her male colleagues ~ and so she undertook her dissection work on her O\vn after hours. As her education progressed. Alessandro. with writing initially slightly ahead leading the way.sori cnvironn1cnt '>. which requires you to foilow a number of paralkl paths. She was deeply affected bv the expression of harrinc" on the child's face . Montessori is more than just a kind of schoo!. an approach.mi. A Montessori environment for a young child is a very appropriate solution to the pressures of modern life where parents seldom have the choice of being at home full-time. and although it is compler". and later reJared that she was moved bv emotions she could not herself explain to turn around and return directly to the dissecting room. At that time it was nnrhinkahle that a woman should emer medical schooL However. and Chapter 9 contains advice on how to make some of the activities referred to this book and provides you \vith templates to Please rcmC'mher you go that. mathematics and the natural sciences. and in speech to the Congress she developed a thesis tor social Lynne Lawrence At mediol school her male colkagues l~TRODU 'xer~ iON A 0 lV1/\R! /\ i"v10 . Their house was intimidatcd~ hostile to her presence and no dnuht somewhat For [he sake of propriety. it seems that Pope Leo XIII interceded on her behalf and in 1890 she enrolled at the University of Rome.]hom this approach and will feel inclined to tollow it with your child. a passion which she passed on to her :\1omcssori family moved to Rome in 1875 and the following year the young :\1aria enrolled in the puhlic . the role of the . At some mnmem and for reasons she herself was unahle to explain.1l1d by its toral absorption in the activity with the piece of paper. reading does not precede \vriting ~ these abilities pregress hand in hand.'las confronted bv a beggar woman with a two year- helps one child to learn to love reading and writing then. Any shortcomings that you encounter in this book will be mine. However.

She acknmvlcdged this period as hemg the time she truly came to understand pedagogy. arguing that women should be entitled to equal wages with men.reform. thereby contributing w their condition. and it was here that she first developed ideas tor her ". lis part of her work for the clinic she would visit Rome's asylums for the insane. the :llleviation of poverty. In 1901 Maria leEr [he Orthophrenic School and immersed herself in her own studies l!1(Q educational philosophy :md anthropology. she was so keen to understand their work properly that she tr:mslatcd it henelf from French into Italian. the National League for the Education of Retarded Children.~ toys or apparams which he called "gifts" and these anticipated the development of Montessori's materials. Nt 0 NT E S SOft I U R r . Montessori spent tWO working at the Onhophrcnic School. Were she alive todav promoting such ideas she would be considered ahead of her time. Bv the end of 1898 a committee had been formed to generate funds for a national medical-pcdagogiccal institution. and particlllctr she studied the gro\lndhrcaking work of two early 19th century Frenchmcn. She cxpnded on this in 1898 and in September of addressed the National Pedagogical that Congress in Turin. In 1897 Montessori was asked to address the Narional Medical Congress in Turin. . and in 1898 Maria gave birth to child. Pcst:Jlozzi Jnd Froebel. Froebel had in 1837 estahlished a school for voung children a radical innovation.vledge of education by comses in pedagogy and studied the work of Rousseau. which he called Kleinkinderbcschadhs::ngsanmlt. JeanMarc-Gaspard Itard and Edouard Seguin. presenting vision of social progress and political economy rooted in commonly supported educational me~si]rcs. She brought a scientific analytical attitude to her work. Itard and Froebe!.~ Fll. gomg beyond the ideas of Seguin.m appropriate but nther un-vyicldy nde that has given way to the modern word Froebel.he vohmtccred to join research project at psychiauic clinic of the University of Rome and it was here that she worked alongside Gimscppe Montcs:mo. she realized that their cnvironment deprived them of the sensorial stimulation tor which they naturally craved. and particularly with the children of the poor. J\1ontessori embarked upon a lecture tour in 1899 which gave her the opportunity of svnthC'Q7mrr her arguments ror the emancipation of women.The notion of social reform through education was an idea that was to develop and mature in :\1ont~. As a doctor she was noted for the way in which she "tended" her patients. The relationship with Giusscppc :'viontcsano had developed into a love affair. U : .jiagnosing :md treating their illnesses. but was not until he was older that Mario came to know that lvlaria was his mother. and by July 1900 these children \verc showing such progress that official visits were made from various important insntutions. corlt1DUmg her work aiter her death. i observing by day and writing up notes by night. This school took children with a broad specuum of different disorders and disabilities. :vlomessori's involvemcm with the National League for the Education of Retarded Children led to her appointment as co-director with Giusseppe Montesano of a new institution called the Orthophrenic School. Maria visited the child often. so it is worth reflecting for a momC'nt that she was a young woman of 0. convinced of the value early learning. developed a series 13 (. M. Certainly a strong bond was maint:l\fll. on one such visit when she saw a group of children a bare unfurnished room. As a representative of the League. teaching and ABOVE Maria Montessori. In Novemher 1896 :'v10ntcssori added the appointment as surgical assist:lnt at Santo Spiriw Hospitdl in Rome to her portfolio of tasks.venty-seven speaking out a century ago.ssori's thinking throughout her life.d and in later vears he . During the 1897-98 university terms she mught to expand her kno. a boy named lv1ano. the education yery young children and the tOtlndation of a peacenll and prosperous civilization. Much of her work there was with the poor.ollahorated :md with his mother. seeking 'l]hjecrs for treatment at the clinic. She relates how. She began to read all she could on the suhject of mcntJily retarded children. who was put into the care of a family who lived in the countrvside near Rome.dllcarional materials.. In 1897 . where she advocated the conrroversi::ti theory that the lack of adequate care for rctJrded and disturbed children was a cause of their delinquency. making sure they were warm and properly fed as well as . with whom a romance was to develop.

On May 6.llize was tlut children who were placed in an env-:ronrncnt .1912.tl a dr. Rome during this period was growing very rapidly and in the of specui:Jtivc dc\'Ciopment some construction companies and 13nciowncrs were falling into bankruptcy. hmvcver. She put many things into [he children's environment hut kept those that engaged them. an approach for children bNv. in the house of the Pierson family in Holland. develop and learn consistemlv reinforce her conclusions. and in the year t()llowing her mother's death she brought her son Mario to Rome to be with her. leaving untlnishl"d hllilding projects which quickly attracted squatters.mything with [hese children.mal :md expcnence guided her thinking toward nature of the relationship between all living things. q. but also in Britain and Holland. a theme she was to develop until the end of her life and which became known as cosmic "ducation. where. was la[er to marry Ada. she died in company of her beloved son Mario the old Roman wall and the cemeterv. On returning from America in 1917. was ill-t()lmrko oisrorted by the evems of World War 1.:over written in the field of education." Within three months a second Casa was opened.What Monte.. she wok up post in the Pedagogic School of the University of Rome which she held until 1908. was its secretary.heduled for Berlin in 1934. Maria nursed· an ambition to create a permanent center for research :wd oevclopmcm into her ~pproach to earl:: years education. who had no independent income. Her 70th birthday request co the Indi:m government . bringing some of the educatioml materials she had developed at the Orthophrenic School. In 1947 Montecsori.sori grasped the opportunity of working with normal children and.! 11) ABO r\130L'T JV1/\RlA 1"v10NTESSORl 11 .ctlvitit'~ de'slgned (0 suppon their natural development had the po\ver to educate thcn1sclvcs. where she met Gandhi. She \vas to refer i i i I in the familv home of Ada Pierson. now 76.c'1ucnth~ in 1904. Mano. Ivlario and Rolando. looked promis- II mcrhi1d of Edliraticl1.. Thomas Edison and Alexanoer Graham Bell had invited her to the U. which soon occupied by impoverished working f1ml1ies. Todav ANI! monitors the standards of 45 fulltime training schools around the world for teachers of children !Tom 0-3. she f>sobii. Renilde.sori to rC. By 1933 all Montessori schools in Germany had been closed and effigy of her was burned above 3. [he of a Dutch banker.:ccn six :md 12. she based herself in Barcelona. daughter of the then President of the United States. her mother died at the age of sevemy-two. A period of great exp~l1Sion in (he Montessori approach now followed. . bonfire of her books ll1 Berlin: the Third Montessori Congress. On December 20. and together they gave courses to which hundreds of stuoents In I'L+6 they returned to Holland and to the gnndchildrcn who had spent the war years in the care Ada Pierson. Her last public nl(T.vay chilrlren groy\·. and after Mario's marriage to his firs( wife Helen Christie. and two girls. 1952..\1ontcssori to provide ways of occnpying the children so that they would not damage the premises !'v1ontt". Iv1ario was interned and Maria put under hOllse arreSL She spent the summer in Kodaik.sori. Spain where a Seminari Laboratori di Pcdagogia had Her son and his new wife been created for joined her and her four grandchildren were born there: tWO boys. who undertook a basic restorJtion creating a iencmcnr block containing indi\'idual apartments. Jddrcssed UNESCO on the theme "Eduotion ~nd In 1949 she reccived the first of three nommatiol1S for the Nobel Peace Prize and at the UNESCO Conference in Florence in 1950. and with Amsterdam now the headquaners of AMI the future for the ~1onte"oris to whom she bcqucJthed the legacy of her work. training programs and schools sprang to life all over the world. News of Ivlontessorj's new approach spread rapidly and visitors arrived 1:0 see for themselves how she was such results. the younger children wrnked havoc on the newly completed huilding. \Vith the outhreak of war. after Montessori refused· to operate with r\1ussolini\ pLms to incorporate fascist youth Italian Montessori schools into movement. by now estranged from his first wife. From England the tnveled to F!olland to stay i ~ ing.S. her youngest grandchild. and Beni Stahili s011ght help from Dr. Maria was deeply affected by this event. The outbreak of CIvil in Spain forced the family to ahanoon their horne in Barcelona and they sailed to England in the summer of 1936. the Director General Jaime Torres Bodet procbimcd her as the symbol for eduCJtion and world peace. and it as relevant today as it ever was.that I'vlario should be released and restored to her was granted. the Beni Stabili gronp. Nehru and Tagore.stament to her insight thar contemporary discoveri. Montessori societies. and she developed a growing concern about her legacy that was to c111minatc in the cstahlishmcm of the Association Monte5'ori internationale (AMI) in 1929 in Denmark. Bell himself was the president of the American !\Ilomessori Society and JVhrgaret Wilson. he closed them all down. In the same year.suh. but any possibility of this happening her hfNime in Spain was thwarted by the rise of fascism in Europe. It lTlUSt have been very difficult for Maria. In 1939 Mario and Maria embarked on a Journey to India to give a three-month tnining course in f\'hdras followed by a krtmc tour. The building project was rescued by a group of wealthy bankers. much of it in the United States. Plans were made to create a model school and research center at Laren in Holland. they were not to return f()[ nearly seven years. to remain in tollch with the broad spectrum of devl"]opment that was going on in her name in so many parts of the world. which was 'llhsequcmly published in the United States in 1912 and has become one of the most influential hooks . In the summer of 1909 she gave the tIrst training course in her approach to early education to about one hundred students. Much of the expansion. which gave her the opportunity to experiment. as Italian citizens. There was no expectation that she would achieve . That work continues in all parts of the world and with children from all cuitures i and backgrounds.3-6 and 6-12.1l1rC to liv('. With parents out at work all day.WCmrnt was in London in 1951 when she attended the Ninth International MontessOTl Congress. Montessori was well looked after in India. notes trom this period developed into The Montessori Me1:hod.} hurgeoning !\1ontessori mo\-cment was underway. The children in the CJsa made extraoroimry progress and soon five-year-olds were writing and reading. Onl" 'l1ch developml"nr stood in the San Lorenzo district behvccn It is a t(. ahont the . I little r-fiildr(. was cmcclled.hco her firs( Casa dei Bamhini or "Children's House. Marilena and Renilde. and a period of travel with public speaking and lecturing occupied 'vlontC'. is today the General Secretarv of AMI.

CHAPTER ONE

you should know

urchild

is one of the most fJscinaring of attributes. \Ve watch it develop in voung children but as undcrltand very little
I

the ground well in advance of these abilities developing, and you will need building up all the skilIs that
to

spend time required for

about the proceS'. We do now know that voices, particularly those of the mother and father, are points of reference for a newborn child: songs sung to a fetus in the womb will a distraught newborn have a calming "Hect baby as she recognizes something that is familiar. After birth, the attraction a child has coward bnguage, even when ,he cannot
'.JndcntJnc1 a \\'orc1} is

,
i

these two complex processes. Don't be tempted to rush her. Your aim is to help develop a love of reading and writing so that throughout her she will choose [Q read and choose to write. If chilclrcn d<:vdop a love of books and of reading, the'lNorId's knowledge becomes avaihble to them, all the stories, myths and legends, in fact and fiction. Each time they open a book they will become a time-traveler. For a moment, real time is suspC'ndcd as they become engaged in the story. A book can take them to explore worlds known and unknown. can help them travel forward and backward in time. Children who become good readers will haNe the power to pursue their own interests beyond the limited information available from the adults around them. and children who become good writers will haNe ways of expressing their thoughts and teelings in more tangIble and lasting torms. There are many things thaI need to be done betore vour child can read or write and it is helpJ1.l1 if you do not have in mind a definite age for her to have m;lStereQ these skills. Preparing vour child to read and write means that you must first start to prepare for
RIGHT If you can help your child then not only will she be able to choose to do 50 throughout her life.

i

i

As a parent you are the first and most important teacher of your child. The more in tune you are with the way ,he develops. therefore, the more successful you \,vill be in providing what she needs. Language development in ail children follows specific and patterns. once you underst:lnd what is h:;ppcning you will feci confident about the help that you can otfer your o\Nn child. To help to write and read well, you v"ill need to begin to develop her ability to communicate with others about the things that she knows. It will be essential for her to have good voc:tbuhry, to able to express herself contlientIy ;ll1d to have heard a variety of sources of rich lnterestlng Research no\-v shows that children with these good verbal skills find reading and writing easier. If you wish your child to become a good and "writer" you will need to prepare

You

SHUCLD

KNOW

ABOCT

Yo

CHI LD

reading and writing "[cadiness," and to do this you must haVe' some kn(),ylcoge of the basic :vlonrcssori principlcs that applv to child oeveiopment in this area. In the tlrst SLX years of life all children: • Have ;10 :lbsnrbent mind. toward • Have moments of acute their environment, which are called "sensitive periods." • Have strong urges to communic:ltc, independent ,mo to explore.
(0

For the first three years of life a child is able simply to take in information from her surrounding environment withont <~F,cn1'nHl1tion and \vitho\H effort. creating and huilding all the basic huilding hlocks of her personality md forming her mind. From the age of three on, she is still able to take in information but bringsw this an element of choice and selectivity, and theretore makes a more COYlSciOlll exploration of the world around her. Imagine that a child's mind is like a sponge: if you place a sponge in water it will soak up the water, whether is it clean or dirtv.A child's mind is like this - it will absorb, without effort. it finds in the cnYironn~ent. A sponge, very ditferent from when it was drv - you could say that it has transformed itself; it is different undenvJ(cT, it is soft and pliable. A child's mind is also transformed by what it takes in from the environment. The sponge, however, can only absorb so much water; the child's mind is not like this it can absorb huge quanrities of information simplv by living. Looking at a newborn baby you will nO[ice that from the earliest days oflife her IS tocused on the mouth of the person speaking to her. She appears to be drinking in the whole person while listeni:1g looking intently at the mouth that speaks. We know that talking [0 a baby a lot signific:mtly speeds up process of learning new words. The mind only fimcrions like this in the first six years of life, and not only will a child acquire such obvious human char;lcteristics as but J.!so knowledge about the world and how it works and kn()\vlcdgc about values and cmtOl11s. Basic attitudes toward life will be established ,lIld the foundation of the indi\'idua] p<'rso11;(liry estahlishC'd. This onlv serves to underline the import:mc<, of your creating a rich cnyiwnmcnt from the very beginning, where good convers;ltion,
CHILD

reading and writing is already taking place. Perhaps it's time to turn off the telcyision and read more for YOllrsC'lf. and with your child. Perhaps it's time to write letters and not simply make telephone calls; to send cards and thank you letters; to enclose first dra\vings and "fforts at mark-making in em'clopes to seno to gr:mdparents. uncles and aunts as messages from your child. Perhaps it's also time to convene with vour child rather than instruct and to collaborate using language the medium, to use rich and marvelous whenever possible ,md to sing and rhyme. So much of what your child will learn during this period is done unconsciouslv, that making a start means starting yourself.

do /'lot I11crriy (,11(('r

they form it.
At no other time have we had more compelling scientific evidence to show us that a child's dcwloping hrain is directly dependent upon the quality and quantity of experiences avaibblc to her in her earlv years.
I

be

'

• Learn primarilv through their senses and through movement.

Scientists have also idenritlt'd the important role that repE'Jted experience plays in the strengthening of these connections. Pathways that are repeatedly used become strong and resilient dnd continue to retlne and ocvelop; those that are not reinforced wither awav around the age of 10, leaving only what is strong and flmctional to develop. \Vhen you watch your child repeating an action, persevering until she has tlnished, you will realize that she is doing ,0mNhing far more important than it may appear. So otten we cannot understand Ollr child's need to repeat, what to us, appears to be a pointless action, wirh such tlerce determination and concentration. What you are watching, at this moment, is the action of "life huilding up."

The absorbent mind
A child in the first six years of her life has a lTlind that functions very differently trom an adult mind: it appears to absorb vast JmOlmts of information without any effort on the part of the child. How does a child injnst three vears manage to create all the basic clements of bnguJgc? ,~,t birth she cannot speak any bnguage, yet by three she has formed [he basis of her and by six has command of a wide vo(·ahubry. Of C01me bnguage will srill develop alter but not in the same way. We also know [hat provided a child has an opportunity to hear I:mgl1:1gc in this period, she will learn not just one hngmgc hut as as she is exposed to. In many parts of the world children of six arc tluem 111 as manv as three different bngLuges: children in Kenya. for example, may come to a i'v10nres,ori school at the age of three knowing a tribal
such Kikuyu, their African bngnagc Sv\:ahIli. and English. Could you an adult, in three short years, do as much? Not only do the Kenyan children learn the vocabubry of each they can also produce perfect sounds. No matter how long you took as an adult to learn a you would never quite pedect

Developing your child's mind
Studies of the brain have gradually revealed what educators and parents have known instinctively £:)r years: that the experiences children have in the early years of their life have
a direct etfect on the quantity and quality of connections made in their brain. In addition, there is now evidence to show that, as Dr,

Montessori ohscrvt'd many years ago, there are times during this period when the brain is more susceptible to different types of experiences than others, creating what are called "learning windov1is, of opportuniry" or "Iensitive periods." When Dr. Montessori made her observations of children and responded to what she saw, she had recourse only to words and imagery to try to alert p:ln:'nt\ and educators to the extraordinary influence that the environment could have upon the formation of a young child's mind. In her book The ,1b.'orbcnt .Hind. she said.

Windows of opportunity
In her observation of children Dr. Montessori pointed out that as a child developed there were certain periods of time that appeared to be the most favonblc ones for creating and retlning particular human cbaracteristics such as bnguage. She called these special periods, "sensitive periods," a term she had borrowed from a hiologist. Todav the latest research tends to describe them as windows of opportunity. Sensitive periods ,1[e import:mt bc.clllse at no other time 111 a child's life will she be able [() acquire a particular ch"racteristic so easily and well. Once the window of opportl:nity closes it becomes much more difficult and sometimes impossible tor her to acquire these abilities

the sounds in [he way that a child can.

may be said that we (adults) acquire by the (hiid ahsorbs b1(l1l'lcdgc ilirt(ti}, il1to his psyrhic

I

WHi\T

Y()U

SH()Cl,])

KN()\V

L'1.BOUT

YOLJR

WHAT

You

SHOULD

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AUUUT

YOUR

C

15

The etfectiveness of each wmclovv relies

i

The sensitive period for language

entirely on the enyironmcntal stimuli that a The sensitive period for appears co child finds in her environment in the case of operate mainly during the first six years ofhfe. language, the more linguistically rich her I During this time your child will namrally rocus C'nvironmC'nt, the greater is the opportunity for I on those experiences that will best serve this dt'velopmt'nt. particular window. i\.s a consequence you will sensitive Dr. tvlontessori referred to see that she n:)[ur;;lly focuses her attention on periods that she observed in the young child: the human voice and is both enthralled and Lmguage fascinated by it, excited and soothed by it. • Movement From very early on she will focus her attenSocialization tion on your mouth as you speak and observe • Order intendy the movements mJde by your lips as Sensory perception .. Fine detail I BELOW All children experience these sensitive periods. The We shall look at just two of these periods:
bold lines beiow show the window of opportunity that exists for each period. During this time. the experiences offered to a child directly influence the way its mind forms.

well as the sounds produced by them. In each sensitive period there will be a period of internalization hefore there is anv active sign of the chJrJctenstlC Through focus on her bngllage environment your child acquires ,he ability to reproduce sounds of her mother tongue with ali its nnances, dialects ;md intonations.
cr:Y1rOnmCnr

ABOVE

!

From the very beginning children are fascinated by the human voice.

ofa dog instead ofbnguage. The ;;hility to learn a second language is highest dnnng this "vindo,," of opportumtv. All children :lrotmd the world will produce speech in much the same way, lrrespecrive of the complexity or simplicity of their there appears to be general timetahle of readiness that they follow. All the funC1:;mcnr;d constructions of language take pbce before the age of three:just atter this age an "explosion·' of

intensity of contact that she makes in the concentrated on L1thc:r than on gencr:1I1y, no matter how she to other sounds: she does not reproduce the whisde of a train or the barking

\V HAT

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SHOU

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ABOGT YOUtz

CHIL

17

speech, and evidence of a real hunger for words, shows. And gradll:dly after that, attention to language expands from spoken bngu:lgc to an exploration oflangeage in a form.

and give her the proper names for the things around her - tor example, if you are cooking her dinner. talk about wh;\t you are doing, ,-,vhat you are using and how delicious ir will be! You should sing, rhyme and to your child as often as pmsible. Very often children who have an older sibling beneflt as they are read to from the moment they arc born simply because tbey arc present while you read to your firstborn. You should make sure vour child is included in social situations where she will have the benefit observing conversation and social

interaction. Try to put her in a position, either held in your arms or propped up, to give her good vantage point where she can see what is happcnin:;. Encourage her in com'crsation. Give her <:'nollgh time to express herself - children in their early years search for the right words to use to express their ideas and this takes time. If you guess what it is you think wants to say and it wrong, she will usuallv have to start all over again. She may get frustrated around two, when what she wants to say and the vocabulary she has to say it with don't match up.Try to remember that children have a much Idrger "'passIve" vocJbubry th:tn an actlve one, and that they can understand much more than they can say themselves. Listening to what children
to

your child acquires it - having an ,mdc-rstanding of this will help you to provide the appropriate stimulation tor her. is the unique pmscssion of the human being - it is imro"iblc to conceive of anv human society functioning without language. Human language is primarily crotive and produces forms of itself continuallv if required. We use language for two basic illHctions: it helps us to comr;H1nicate with one another, e-;tJbhshing J.nd maint;1ining social rebtlGns, Jnd it provides a svstem of symbols ;md patterns thrit being in its own way limiting. The is rhat CriD help to structure in the !'v10ntcssori context, children arc helped to identify problem, them,clves and to work am to their questions. L1l1guJge can also determine the we perceive rhings. Thi, can be both helpful, by clantying cone-cprs and by creating a new level of thinking, or it can be a limitatl'1l1, for it reqUIres intellectual effort to see things in any other way than our hnguagc ,ugge,ts Your child's mind is being formed at a rapid rate In earlv vears and wha( is clear is that the quality and qUrintity of connections made depend upon imprc"lOns of the \yor!d rccci';ed through her senses, reinforced through activity and repetition. It is what she experiences for herself in the "real" world that will shape her mind for the fUture.

TVhat can you do to heip?
One of the easiest things you can do to help is to make sure that you talk to your child from the very beginning of her life.You can engage her in conversation long before she herself has the capacity to understand the vour words or before she has the ability to reply. Those close to a child, particularly the main caregrvers such par:nts, will otten wait nafllnlly for a response which may be glVen with a little wave of an arm or movement of the lips. Use and varied language 'when talking to your baby. Tell her what you are doing

BELOW Sing songs and recite as many nursery rhymes with your child as you can - it's both enjoyable and an essential part or the process of preparing her to read and write. The better she rhymes, the more in tune she is with the patterns of her language,

say gIves

them a feeling of value and self worth. Being listened to wiil also encourage them to listen to others, too. Listen scnsitiyc!y to what your child is saying and help her to extend her vocabulary through a gentle questiomng process. When you haven't mmaged to underst:md what she is saving, you may have to ask, "Did you mean. or did you mean ...." In searching for [he correct lmerprnation, you give the message to

her that you are trying to underltJnd what she
is saying to vou, and at the same rime you are helping her to hear how she could have expressed herself. If she says something that could have been expressed differently don't correct her - simr1y provide a "model by means of confirmation." For example "Me like milk no!"You may reply, "Ah, you don't like milk." Remember you arc a role model for vour child, if you want her to read, you should read; if you want her to write, she needs to you doing so, too.

of opportunity ror developing by which we mean physical coordiI

First steps to acquiring language
Having focused on the fact there is a Wi!ldov: of opporn:nity for the dcwlopmcnt of look at whrit bnglngc is J:ld how
18
WHAT YOu SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR CHI

nation, "pprJ" (Q begin ,hortlv after birth when basic motor ,kills are dn'eloped, and the refinement of these skills seems to begin around 18 months. The period

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[he natural educators for parents of their children. Since coordinated movement is a result of experience in the environment. Although in the bcginniI1g this will mean that you will need to invest more time in helping her. ali of \'vhich will help develop of the cttirudC's . Tr. She will be more likely w try things and w have had plenty of practice at solving problems. put milk on her cereal in the morning. DevclopiI1g this small skill will mean that cn·ntually she ca n help herself to a drink when necessarv. It is through mowmem that your child's pcrsonJlity expresses itself. hop and run should also all be yital to her development.. Developing a good ability to communicate and to move with control will greatlv enhance her ahilirit's to act indcpC'ndcmly ~nd to explore .Jffic Lights and "What's the time Mr. generally 'peaking in hcr life. The more iI1dcpendent your child becomes. she will find it easier to sit and uo things ~ some children iInd it very difficult to keep their bodies still or to sit. the better able she will be to bring into reality the thoughts and feelings that she has. This reqm. • Increasing your child's independence through her own will her sclf. as much as pmsih!e.113t are helpfi11 if she is [Q bec()me a reader and an author. This will give her the ability to use her hands with judgment and with little drama should she spill some in the beginniI1g. illustrate and so ('11. Helping her to toilet and teed herself. for give her a small pitcher with a sluaU amount of juice it so that she can pour her own drink. but once she can do it you are CHILD I i not needed unless she is reeling tired or in need of help.of dev-clopment seems to take place in the first four years of life. move in increasingly well c()ordinated wavs.Wolf?" all help.Vill be pleased.es lots of bring greater control to her T1l0VCments.mything that requires that panicular level of motor coordination. Devel()ping ball skiEs. i ABOVE Don't be afraid to let your child do as much as she wants to for herself .'. going for walks and letting her explore as much as she is able to will contribute gready to her development. You will notice that she has strong urge to do things as you do.BOUT YOUR \'II/HAT You SH LJLD K ow A13 UT YUUR C ILl) . once she can do things for herself and in her own time everyone '.ill have a more positive effect than stopping her tram doing things. is impcmihic. And you will tInd that it is easier tor "no" to mean '"no}' "vhen you are not using it all the time.. to dress herself. Statues. Your child needs to be omside playing games as much as pmsible so that she learns to \V H the world in which she lives. in fact to do almost everything that is helpful for a small human being to know. It is worth remembering [hat she learns to control her movements through being active herself: sho\ving her to do . You SHOLJLD KNOW l1. the better her writing witt be.or in Jo . 'Nill also help her reilne the control that she has over her body: it's much quicker to put her shoes on than to help her to do it for herself. \Vhat you can do is to help her [() gam enough control over her bodv to allow her to \vill to be still.1t~ cd her mind and body are. you will need to undcrst:md that.You cannot force her to be still."1"hri0nr'p She will know that. she is able to tackle things on her own and be relatively Sllccessfill.vithotlt it she will be a disadvantage when it comes to interpreting books and may be sruck tor ideas when she comes to write. Taking her into the park. The more coord-in. and this hampers their ability to give auC'nnon to a task or activitv. your child needs to be helped to do things for herself. the ability to skip. control a pencil. of course. she will End it easier to turn the pages of a book.. Giv-ing your child many possibilities for development in this area in these early will therefore pay dividends.even pouring her own milk at breakfast! The better her general hand control is. Games such as Gf3ndmother's Footsteps. • If she has developed good tlne hand control. • When reading and writing she requires a knowicdge of the \vodd . There are many reasom why you shouid help your child develop good coordination. the more she will be able to participate in life and the more you will tlnd that she will have a positive attitude to all its c1ullcnges.. You should try to prepare your home so that she can explore it in safety and in relative freed()m. or water plants . If your child has gained control over her physical c()ordimtion.

Once sitting the hands are free to "piay" and so needs stimulating objects that are close enough to pick up: a wooden egg and eggcup and a ASOVE Make books easily available at home so that your child and her friends can discover them together. Enjoys listening to stories and "reading" them. Can color outlines well and is good at sewing. address. Feeding herself months Starts to use words intentionally. Likes to practice writing.18 3 . "Where is your hat?" "Bath time. 18 . Your child is busy bringing the i-)anri under ever more perfect control of the mind. books. Enjoys cycling on small bike. Makes mainly biological noises . repeats a variety of sounds. Talks to selfwhiie playing and to others. Has good good balance.Jms. Tries to crawl. bad dre.24 4 . simple words to convey sentences. cleaning. Understands the sense conveyed in language and "hello: etc. months Loves nursery rhymes.breathing. Wants to take part in life. to play with hands. has favorites. eating and those that will hunger or pain. Loves to be read to. Uses one hand 10 reach for toys. or turns to the sound of a voice. Gradually over weeks Will learn to rollover. babbles tunefully to self and others.Developing Language 0-8 weeks Watches the mouth of the speaker intently. Begins to practice running. to eat for herself. likes to sing. I W-HAT You SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR CHILD WHAT You SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR CH!LD . paintbrushes. Goo. Enjoys feeling objects. 12 . washing. begiris to put syllables together. Likes to hold pencil or crayon and make marks on paperusuaily circles. Likes TO use hands in increasingly coordinated way and a variety of tools. Likes to fetch books and will try and turn pages. Shows understanding of what is said. 12 3 years Becomes more able to sit sturdily. Moves from pOSSible 6 . 12 .4 years Able to use language to convey more abstract thoughts such as likes. Enjoys rhymes and poems. 4 . Can speak logically and grammotically. To dress herself.6 years on tnn ~ome environment! 15 beginning to build obiects. chuckles. lines and dots. f{eaching for interesting mobile. but huge increase in vocabulary and complexity of sentence structure." Mav begin to pull herself to standing position if there Legs seem to position. nonsense independence. muh.iopjing coordination 0-8 weeks Head lags when pulled to sit but gradually develops rontml ilS an object may be visually tracked. rhymes and jokes. hiwd often used for picking things up. "Dada" could mean. Refinement and expansion now possible. Loves jokes.18 months Enjoys moving things that require strength. 18 . pencils. Likes Sandpaper Letters. Wants real work to do. months Use. etc. begin to respond to 3 . Most grammatical structure is complete by this time. Sometimes it is the intonation that will convey the full meaning. Can use to describe future past events. and sound games.24 8 - 20 weeks 8 -12 weeks Head and chest are held off the floor when lying on stomach. De~fei. "What's dat?" "Why?" 5 . tells stories and continues to expand vocabulary.24 Good social response to sound of familiar voices. Will work on topics of interest for hours provided that the hand is also busy. 15 . both pretend and reai. next week. Coos. telephone number. Dad where are you? There you are. Enjoys writing. May turn head to find source of voices. Likes to play. moving it across paper.9 months months 2 - Uses sounds to communicate with others. A variety of sounds made.8 months Vocalizes tunefully. Kicks balls. 8 -12 Likes to ciimb. Wants to know the names of th. Relutively fine hand control when using scissors.6 years Asks the meaning of abstract words and uses them. Loves finger rhymes. gaa.5 years Uses language to coordinate activity with other children while Begins to use language in more abstract forms such as writing.ngs and will point and ask. Climbs further and more Uses hands to increase her show that she understands. Can sign "goodbye. Moves with greater rhythm to music. smiles. dislikes. to toilet herself. Many sounds still not pronounced accurately. Loves to poke things with fingers. months Exploring environment. Will heip unload washing machine.5 years Has learned to skip. Enjoys gardening. Come dad. Likes to be busy with things in the home. 2 - 5 . 5 . enjoys singing. Loves painting. Wants to use your tools and do everything herself. beginning to use fingers. Can walk up and down stairs with a little help. Draws recognizable figures. Enjoys books and likes to point at pictures. May begin to coordinate hand and eyes. Can pass toys back and forth bctw0cn 6 . Likes to play games that challenge her physically. Responds to tone of speaker's voice. Enjoys Hand really begins to become the tool of the mind. soft knitted ball are useful. All basic language structures in place. lumps and runs with confidence. When pulled to sitting keeps head firm.20 words to simple sentences and vOC<lbulary around 24 months." Can hand known objects to the speaker on request. Precise about age. Very ciear on tomorrow. Perfects letter formation. many sounds being produced. cooking.4 years Increases large movements through billiskilis confidently. Loves finger rhymes. 3 years a period of 24'50 weeks the range of sounds become more specific to those uttered in the particular language of your child. etc. When lying on back enjoys watching and will begir. Is always busy.

esp('ciallv in the first six years of her life. A." it should always be plcamrablc Jnd fi. then she should live in an enyironment in which sees you reading and writing. and vou never made her feel a failure if she didn't v~alk or talk tol1ovv'ing your tinle frame of expcctJtl0n. What your child's pace is will depend on many ditferent things: in part it will depend on her being able to use prcvlOus experiences to support new Ideas. Above all it is impor[ant to realize that you helped to learn to walk. that will provide extra support Jnd more tun tar as she gains in knowledge and CC1ntjdence.W that you go abom your life. all of which I hope vou will find reflect good common sense. In this way you will be able to slow down or speed up according to her learning patterns.. S 0 R I A P PRO A C H DEVELOPING :\ lViON S0 R I A p P l~ 0 A C H .ori I :lttitude toward educating children.m in itself and not part of the "If you don't do this. you won't learn to read. It is quite p05Sihk to do without 5pecialized '\10ntcssori materi. and five minutes doing something that vou thought would take several davs.he has her pace requires vou to be aware of her and aware of ABOVE Children like to do things for themselves. it is also pnssihle to haw' all the specialized Nfo!1(cssori '" ("lll". become sociable and so much more. only she can do that! \Vhat you need is 'lppro:lch that helps her to learn for herself.ch shows us that children who are relaxed and happy learn much more easily chan those who feel stress or tension.t all times you m. ! are able to learn their own pace. In addition. snme reflective of the Kind of experiences ynur child would have in a Montessori school and others.iclJ1tes. the brighter she is l What coums is chat your child learns. she must feel secure in the knowledge . a word that encapsulates it much better is :lppro:lch. by prcwiding a mood for her to copy and learn from. mostly games. \Vhat tollows in this chapter some of the D r~ VEL () P [ ~ G 'I Simply living in an environment that contaim appropriate and heir. her mood and the interest she brings to the activity. Your child absorbed your model and in her own tlme practiced and mastered it. your child learn. In all these activities it will be important for you to maimain right atrimde about her learning.rilv better. Much of what your child can learn will be :wtom:ltioily picked up from you in rhe \V. Children have the power to educate themselves I matenals in the world and the There are many activities in this book.. \Vhat is important is to create the right conditions for learning. The '\10ntcssori approach cmbodi. If you wish your child to read and write. Confident children are always ready to embrace challenges. >\ !Vi () N T E:::. nor can \ve say that the :raster she learns. one that makes learning fun. talk." syndrome: concepts or skills.l'crhJr' you will spend days exploring something that you thought would five minutes. in part it will also depend on the of day. Some things she will learn very quickly and some things will take much longer.n){HI important principles that reflect the '\.ust remember that you cannot learn for your child. learning to cope with everyday things like dressing gives them confidence in themselves. I Children learn best when so at their own pace All human beings learn besr when i do your own cxpcct:ltiollS. Fast is not ncccss.CHAPTER TWO ping a Montessori approach !Ylonte5sori you may think is :l mC'thod.)1 and still have a Nlontessori approach. You doubted tar one nlomenr that she would be to do all things..s attitude to life and particularly to young children as they grow and dC'vc]op. You cannot judge her by the rate at \'Vhich she learns. when you do attempt [Q give her a "lesson. Resed.

she will begin to focus more and more deeply on what she is doing. Sometimes it discovery~ know.Young children otten already have the ability to concentrate and adults often. The art is to learn how to lead your child to the brink of discovery. For instance. we often insist on it instdntl). It is this deeper level ofattention thar we cali concentration When your child was a baby. Before your child can begin to concentrate. or of the confidence he had gained in the knowing. or at some object that had attracted her attention. I did. or did you distraCL her from So often. It's very difficult for a child to learn to concentrate in this situation.I.Yom Job is to try and help them to be sure she is interested in what you do so. but wouldn't have dreamed of robbing him of his I felt as if a light Hashed on inside your head. or hcromil1gfi1. heLThe tollowing gnidclines will also to hold back an answer when to you it's so help. Cliilrirm . . It is extremely hard . of course.hm"in£. not negarive one. . Games that she child time to make the discoverv tar herself I alreadv knows and enJoys can be played at The skiH is in providing just the right 3motmt I almost any time.You often hear children saying. rVithollt interest there is no ~ffort but withour iffort there is no interest.jon in no particular is designed to keep her maner how boring the program. Concentration is simibr to any other skill we possess: the more we prrictice. To do this. coming up to rne and saying: Child Do you know.. do not help to strengthen it. if you plav a game with her that is too hard. you wilt help to nurture her ability to concentrate. Did you wait until she had changed the focus of her attention. when children aTe < told Ine. In ABOVE When reading to your very young child. 1 "vas going to that!" You get a i If you want your child to get the most out of grumpy response rather than a grateful one. the more likelv we are to succeed. You \-vill have maDY nced to provJC1c a tew extra steps for her to more opportunities to intr'oduce her to it-You reach her goal: most otten you will be required need a positive response. sometimes you will play. know how I know. What is certain is that all of rhern can be enjoyed and played by children under the age of six.. 2G ) 1) E L C) P 1 ~ G . Knowing your child will help: children who find new things daunting will need to take little steps while those who need a challenge if you are to get their attention need much larger ones! very much in life. she would often look intently at the page of the book you were reading.J A MONTESSORI ApPROACH 27 . those that are neVi will need ofhclp and no more.\ I'v1 0 N T E S S 0 R! A P PRO . You get quite a different feeling if you are about to discover something and someone else helpfully reveals the . you willneeci to judge the size of the "steps" that you take when you move from one activity' to another. The form this "help" takes ail her attention dnd should only be played when she is fresh and ready for a cllalknge. a great wave of pleasure was.'Haily interested ill power to learn and discover things for they can use some or ddl they themselves when It comes to more farmal have to play the game. In this way. Tclcyj. not to do it them. know how he knew. I a child of just under tl-ve that builds on previous achievements..it is firsthand experience. When your toddler is 1rnmcrsed in a game. you know because you discovered it younclf . she will play it once and not bother to play it again. Do not confuse occnpation with concentr<ltion . Always trv to playa game learning.vay cilildren will begin to love learning for its own sake and not feel that learning depends upon adult intervention. you must thcmselves. So otten. and three of those is and that's a cube. Children love to tlnd out things for I the games that you will plav together.ly.-tr. In many ways. no matter what she is doing. adults disturb the concemration of young children and then worry about it years later when they teel that their children lack it! There are a number of things that vou can do to help. provided the challenge is right. the berter we get. obvious.A. she will be discouDged am: not play it again either. The more we able to give our full attention to a task. Doing that is activitv. do you interrupt her without thinking. then leave her to it. Whatever is that you now know.e My goodness.-:ed over you.they are not the same things at all.hat they have the I . Once she is able to do that. three rimes three is nine and that's a square.. quite unintcmionally. Choose [he right time of the day. it's helptul to assess how much of what you are doing is known and how much is new.'n5vver to you! All the effort you put in while you were searching for the answer now seems wasted. will vary: occasiomlly ir may mean thaI you ask . she needs to be able to give her full attention to th:~ g:lme or task at hand. M. It does mis by flicking from one thing to the next to keep the audience cntertained.. Be prepared to . how do you know that? Child I don'. as adults. If to do nothing other than give her more time YOU have spent some time preparing the and observe her more carcflllly. Getting the amount of challenge just right is quite a skill in the beginning. when we want hers. I I I Children learn when they are interested Children need to develop concentration Children need to develop the ability to concentrate without it.ire il. but ie something ne\v' doesn't help children teel .'rap a pame ifshe TO her a few leading questions. "You shouldn't have discovery. but I do Children need to make their own discoveries Can you rememher the last time you made a No matter how small it was. C DEVELOPI:'. talk to her and c!em:md her attention? When she wants our :lttention.The ages Jrrrii<l1tC'd to each of the activities i in this book are "best guess" gUIde and should be treated as approximate. it can be difficult to accept that she is very hard.1ted. but hold back vou must and give your . It may be a discoverv vou vourself had nO( I th.ught of yet! In th'is . If you plav a game with your child that is too easy. quite unwittin£. it is very difficult to achieve very small we do not consider the txt that they might be concentrating.. ellt down [he !1umhrr of trlcdsirm and video programs that your (hild lIA11(he8.. we will otten ask her to wait until we are finished. we like children co teel that \-ve are the reason they learn not interested when you are dying co show her something. wait until she has finished looking at the picture before you turn the page. This gives us good feeling.

tclcyi. Praise and task is cnc'ourac:ement are ali that's needed. .1ying !l gmne. r/~~7lett Children need praise and encouragement. I'll do thaI" kind ot'blackrnail may appear to work. but it gives her the wrong message: that there is no intrinsic value in the activity and the only reason to do it is to gain a reward at the end. They learn far more by doing things tor than they do by just watching others. been ooing. . If not worth doing.~ddition. . Try to give her experiences that will awaken all her senses: the more she can touch and see. not treats and stickers It can be very tempting I to offer some kind of i trade-otT to your child to encourage her to complete a given t1sk.·t. hear and touch. Music can be good to have in the background.CH . candy or toy in it for them. worth doing. turn it off and read her a story instead. do not enjoy the experience ano dn not jt':lrn so well of it. In addition. Put on the pbying surface oniy what you would like her to give her attention to. Very otten children who do things became there nuy be a cookie. The result of interrurtion is often that she will 'rop . If you have the time to w:ltch tcln'ision with your child. The "If you do this. give her advance or the fact 'lOU will be going out soon.. If you are pl. the betteL floor clear of orher distracting items.. T'f not to turn on the television or raclio as this will make it more diffiClllt for her to focus on what you are doing. the exceptions in i I :::g i D P!Ne :\ I\·10:-JTESSORI ApPROA. 1>C(.he h. fry to have the table or Children learn by doing When children learn. Apart from the times when you are rc~ding to your child. Getting up and down w Gotch things can be verv distraCling. hear and smeil.]. . and it orten does in the short term. not passive. in the lirs[ six years of her your child learns preoominantly through reccivi:1g impressions through her senses. and can be :lccommndated more e:lsily If you see that she concentrating on an betare you need to go out. If you have other chi]orcn in the tJmilv.. it may be wise to make sure thev are occupied with solTle[hing that guarantees that you will not be .vhJt . then it should woreh doing for its own sake. when your child does watch ! your and your child's daily lite.1ft.he should be more active than you. Tell her that this will mean she will need to think ot' stopping what she is doing quite soon. do try' to make it a more active experience than it might otherwise be. be brave. Children are also expert at bargaining and usually hold more aces up their sleeve than you do. For instance. the better. talk to her about what is happening and ask her to predict what might happen next.lso need to make sure that other 111Clll hcrs oi~ the do not interrupt her of this the t'arly 1110mhs of her lite on. There of course times when you are in a hurry or needs to happen urgently. Extend her interest in a prognm by doing something practicai or creative relating to it Don't watch for hours on end. ! ! your child is attit'it)j 1L try to avoid interrupting 170: Without we can interrupt even by praising at the wrong lTlOmC'm. 'These l11()J!lC:lltt. so it's a tricky road to start down.ion. you RIGHT Your child will team most through her own activity.lfoviding that it forms a gentle hackdrop Jnd is not jarring. Rc~ding her a story will her to create im:1gcs in he-r ovvn with the viords. The more that i [here is to see.0111(. Television ability to visualize their own pictures in the mind .You may :1.. they need to be active.'1'crythil1g j'01f will need to lHake sure you play the pame be/arc )'au .

we don't really push the boundJ. try to have some kind of self-checking mcchrlnism in [he games your child plays. For (.orncthing new. but you've managed it. [like the way you ""rote that "e" one do you like best? Manv years ago a little girl of four hrought me a de:i~n she had been working on. These can then be used to check at the end of the game. Write the appropriate on the hack of the picture or make a second set of pictures \\ith the name attached. The ability to persevere in an ilttempt to solve a problem "vill be a very useful ability for her to acquire.vords to pictures. You'll be amazed at how responsive she will be. brilliant. Even when there is no means of providing a self-check.And thev will do [his at the expense of nn dcrstanding what the words arc trving to say. Even without this k-lmvlcdgc know ho. We carry around with us a fear of making an error even though rnost are accidental or unavoidJ. That took a long time. you can look at things together to see there is anything that needs attention. You can watch your toddler putting something into The i ' ! -:.lddition.There are mamr ways you can help your child develop a friendly relationship yvith her . they will have a great deal of confidence when tackling the new and the unknown."bnllldn't be doing it :1nY"Y:1Y· When prJi. that she won't be able IO manage.tsional1y. In !\!lonte-slori terms this is called a "control of error:'There are varions ways of providing rhis self-checking mechcmism: You could prepare a "finished prod1lct" which vour child can use to check at the end of a gan1e. Mos[ often children enjoy a real recognition of their effort more than blanket praise.: You found that quite difficult.your child will not feel dependent on other people's judgment about her efforts: she will instead be able to judge herself. I didn't reallvknow what I thougbt of it and. Young children often engage in repeating actions. So often children (and adults) silly or stupid when they make are made to a mistake.i\ child who teels that she can soke problems is i1hle to take the fact . Repetition is important in children's learning As we have seen in the previous chapter. . page You could add some kind of color code cO mdicate if an activity has been done accmarciv. For ('xamric. she will know what to do IO clear it up.hat occasionally she can't in her stride. If she spiEs or drops somethin). you must feel proud of yourself. Children who are afraid of making a rnistake will otten dwell on each and every sound in the word. Comments 5Uch . pbying for time. for thIS is that they don't mind if they don't get each and everv word right. YOll will find that next time she spills or drops something. with ('('n. I asked her what she felt about it. Once she is able to write.he will otten dt'velop the ability which to persevere and work things through even when they are difficult. These chiioren will need a lot of help when they start to read and will need to have their contlckncc and self-esteem boosted. If your child begins to concentrate on . we need to have pracriced iL The old . von could show your child that she could check what she has done by using a reference book. fantastic etc. for mcani'lg as they progress on through the sentence. repetition IS important in strengthening and reinforcing neural connections. This was her answer: "Well it's not the best! can do. a checking device could be added. dnd not one I could have come close to matching. (See Cards. you can to accidcm~l cultivate a positive occurrences.xamplc.l(bge that "practiCf makes perfect" is [rue. However. The reason. • It can be very irritating when somcone always points out our It's mnch better if we have some possibilirv of recognizing we have made hefore someone dsc comes along and rells us! Whenever possihle. and asked me what I thought of it. unafi'aid of making thev will develop an attitude that allows them to try some-thing even if it looks a I little difficult. They will also not mind so much when things don't work Out. and this will develop her ability to make a judgment about her own ettons. "How have I done?" can be very helpfUl.n ! J) E LOP I G r\ IV1 0 N T ESS0 R I A p PRO _A.ing your child beware of simply telling her that everything she does lovelv. or they need to call for J"istance. you could put matching colored dots on the bottom or' each pair of OCC. of helping your child to check herself rather than having you check everything is that she will grildually develop the ability to ask herself how she thinks she has done.rics of our skills or knowledge :md we stay well within the limits of what we know. if you have a game where she is reading matching . or simply spend a long time staring at it trying to figure out what it savs. If we never make mistakes. rather than pointing out what is wrong imn1colJtcly. much to our puzzlement.m activity. but it's the best I can do today!" A fantastic judgment. you will also begin to realize that. they simply cry reading what's in front of them and will quite often make a guess at vvhat an l1nknovcn i word could be from the various clues thev pick . especially when she is engaged in more formal learning activities that may require a little If children have had the opportunity to persevere and generally arrive at a good solution. Learning to ask the question. then take the opportunicy to show hovv to carry or use the object next time. Then they check i i Mistakes are an opportunity for learning It is important that children and adults feel at ease when they make a mistake. before she starts. she will either not start at all or give up at the first sign of difficultv.ble. without a great deal of effort. Even when she is very young.\! the act of repetition is if we wlsh to make some(hing our own. A mistake or error in judgment is an opporwnitv tor learning . up from the rest of the page.show her how w clear it up..('nrrrltion. We know that children who develop this attitude find it easier to read. or clear it up vourself. C H DEVELOPING A :VI0NTESSORI ApPROACH :11 . if she believes. when playing the Sound Boxes (see page 57). we feel more in control of oursclv-cs.1. In . To be able to do something well. don't tell her off .. \Vhen we are faced wirh becoming the active partner in our own learning. you will be able to show her how to use a dictionary to check her spelling.

then your child probably will. Don't be ccght am bv summC'T things in the wimer! And do be sure that once she has chosen what to wear you don't complain. over time.vere "nlade to do SOHlething. it's almost impossible to choose Too much choice usually leaves us feeling we still made the wrong choice.CH . Gradually. and she definitely won't want to if what you suggest she does looks boring and pointless. no matter how long we took to decide' Helping your cbld to make choices needs to be done slowly and carefully. The sheif could have a variety of gJl11es. Very otten. apparently without purpose. boring workbooks or TC'Jriing prinlcrs! Children learn best when they have chosen an activity themselves . Choosing is not really an thing to do althongh \ve orten it for granted that everyone can do it. Equally. there is something within her that is being cst:tblishcd and worked out that we can only guess at. "\Vould you !ike to have juice or milk today. (~hildren say they \. (See Chapter 4. This is not really more relving on luck or chance. etc. which keeps me safe. Think c. dungarees. Enco:1faging your child co practice will be especially important when it comes to wriling.. too! Don't give her page page of ktters to or dull. paper Put the current Jcriyiticcs that you are using out. You could otfer her a choice of socks.:inJ3rlOn<:. Here are t'"vo <)uggcst1ons: I we make it.tnd rons of many different :. pencils. with ali the things that your child might need. In this way she us to. Witham this any choice we make is really made on impulse. don't include them a choice. if I wish to buy a box of candy and find myself in a huge candy store.8me .) • :\void anything that looks horing.memion. if it keeps her . RIGHT Make sure that your child feels comfortable when she comes to draw and later to write. she call choose from a much wider selection.' We all tend to be much better motivated when we choose to do something ourselves. During mealtimes you can ask. It's eaSler to ch1l1enging want to. There will be many occasions when you will be able to involve your child in making choices.1ace so that she can always find them. However. She will want to practice if the practice is made interesting.1hout your Do they all have the ability to make choices. or take risk and opt for the one I don't knOw. rarher than because we are told to. A good rule of thumb to ask vo urs elf if you find it boring.C ohyhat the options before DEVELOlJl0iG A i\10 of times you enter into contl-onrarion with each other. Try to keep the things she uses regularly in the . For example. A table and chair that aHow her feet to touch the ground and her arms to be at the right height are best. For msrance.r ::m orange sweatshirt wlth pink trousers.." If we wam to make a choice. cereal or fruit?" "Shall we do some or shall we learn more of those letters today)" Gradnalk she \vilJ develop the abiiity to make reallv good choices as she practices weighing up pros . If you don't want her to • You can pro\'ide a nricty of different that help your child practice the same skin. If you do. It can begin by otTering her choice of two "known" things.. offering your child a choice of :lCtlvitv. clothing or food CUtS down the number Helping to sort and organize her dothes will help your child to become aware of the choices that she has ABOVE each morning when she gets dressed. Inaking that she can reach the shelf herself. Helping your child to choose will stand her in good stead later in her lite.a box and taking it out over :md over again. in need to make a choice between two things and! only :mderst:md \vhat one of them actually is I can either opt for the one I know. of course. Perhaps you could pm selection of clothes you'd be happy for her to choose from into a few drawers or shelves. easier to say that we had to do something due to force of circnmsLlncc or oecause sonlC0nc 1 we. or do some of them find it difficult 1nd try to avoid making them at Jny cost? It is. there are many types of games you can play to reinforce her letter recognition.rcfiJlly .-. Show her a green pair and a blue pair and ask her to choose \vhich one to wear. we must have SOlne "-IHJWiC"S. • Ke::p an area such a shelf or table ready i SORI ApPROACH D LOPI0IG t\ !v10:\'TESSORl ]>PROA.

her likes and dislikes . vou need others. and use this knowledge to express herself in writing. Knm. pencil. hut it is wIse in the hf'ginning to limit choices to those activities that are within her reach rather chose thai: are ~lmpos~ibly difficult. you might find vourself taking two or three steps at a time. She doesn't hold the pitcher securely. but vou don't need to tell her that! One day using all the skills and abilities thar you have helped her to build. and to use them all In concert.lS'llranCe and a chance to repeat what she already knows quite well. as this is the starting point for both reading and wrinng. You mav know that each activity you show your child Will help her to do these things. • To have rhe ability to use her own well and to enjoy the sounds. does the pitcher actually work) Many of them seem to be without dripping l not to pour 'lour particular child wit!iom losing the integri- Skills and abilities required for reading and writing Your child will need . Differor dislike an activity ent children have jitferent 'pace requirements Some like to work almost on top of other people while others prefer to keep quite a disr.A 0 CJ OR! i\PPRO!\C D OR! Al'PRU/\C . .. rhymes and patterns in it.kdgc of print and how it is used in both reading and writing. as you will see in Chapter 4..e which of the above is causing the problem means you are halfway to solving it. If possIble . To begin to judge the different steps you need to rake to prepare your child to read and write. Does she like lo do trus kind of activity this time every day? If so. especially the skill is easy to learn bcrausc it belongs [Q a g:Jme that's to play. when she needs a challenge. which ones she might need extra be very useful. Perhaps this skin alone is the art of a good teacher: to know '. and if she finds things too easy. • To develop good control OVEr her bodv. • TO develop a knoy'.xcd.haYc naturallv. under no pressure to produce an end result.varched they do not usually h". She rests the pitcher on the rim of the glass. The follO\ving guidelines will help Trv not to let your child know that you are w:1tching hcr. Learning to recognize leads her to enjoy 34 i!) EV U P [ "C . Note time. helping her to practice them for their own sake. whether the IS 111 right hodv is rell. If what she chose was unsuccessful. attainable steps. She moves the pitcher before upright again. to Learn to observe your child Knowing what to show your child when she needs practice. position. To help your child overcome diftlrulty at a time.. .mee between themselves othcn.and this is a rather expensive option . If you are watchmg your child dr::wing. Learning to observe your child will enable you to become even more sensitive than you already are to her needs. look at both of these complex activities and try to assess all the different skills.vhat Jssi~tancc to vvhen to gIve It and how to it. To have knowledge of the world around her so that she can make sense of the hooks you read to her. she skill oflooking Out of the cor~er of vo~r eye. she will more like choosing again. pours lOO aPlprC)ach to reading and Before hCf:.T>clf a to Judge the following. It's well worth rcnlrrnhcring the old saying that "Childhood is a journey.try to let her have a small table and stool of her very own. when she needs praise. one bv one. and to the \vay she reacts and interact.. concentrate on how she IS Ohserve how she holds her :'vI Learning to obsen. \vhich mn\·. and if be di\Trted something is missing they tram practicing or plaYing the g~une altogether. you should simply make the steps smaller. rather than concentnting on what she is drJ\ving. That's nor to say that all choices . would be a good moment to introduce similar activities that may provide more experience in handling writing tools? shouid just find herself able to read and write spontaneously. never-ending slog toward learning to read or write. Should she need more help. pitcher too large. and lZeading and writing are both complex activities that require a child ro develop many skills and abilities. the other half is solved when vou show Your child how to master the part chat causing the It can also he helpful to observe situations that cause your child to react in a particular \. In this way she can progress fi-0111 mmcthing she knows to something that is new in small. It is better to master each skill. Develop the is turned (1Sr. The important thing is to fo]]ow her lead. .\Vhcn people fccl .-ing them 111 this wili help you adapt any of the book. whether vou are learning to read and write or not.inning to your child to re:ld . She starts pouring before she centers the lip of the pitcher. try and isolate exacdv what it is that is causing her a problem. . Ohscrving her is essential if vou WIsh to her the help at the right time. One additional wav of helping yom child to make choices is to make sure whatever she chooses to do has reasonahle chance of If she choose:.. Try to watch out for small details rather than more things.md write there are a few other pieces of information that will be useful for you to know about the Montessori approach. In doing this you will be able to develop chese skills in advance of when they will be needed.ome are quite happy to work in a confined arf'a and others need to spread out. all these things rely on vour knowledge of vour child. Is it pitcher is too full.y~ay. she will feel less like choosing again.'TnCTlrs easilv [Q (0 come most her.1mcs in an atmosphere of fun.will be able co choose for herself what she \vould like to do and when would like to do 1t. To love and enJoy books so that she wants to learn to read and write. not a race:' She fails to center the lip of the pitcher over the mouth of the glass. She will love pbymg the g. It is very important to play of the games in this book Its ovvn and not pan of a long. . If she finds something to do. Take time to check that everything on the shelf is complete Children like to be able to on with what they have cho. ty of the approach.en..hould have favorahle ontcomes. you will play games that make use of things that she can :l!re::d\\' do and which encompass only one new skill or ability. If your child always seems to spill milk when she pours h(.jbiiities and she may need to accomplish them.:. You will sense when she is ready to learn something and when she needs rC. \-vith practice with.: something rh8t Vv'()rks out well. and any others that you come across.

letters. Throughout the book you will find activities that require your child to acquire specitlc information: the name of an object. we follow a procedure which we call The Three Period Lesson (it is so called bEcause the lesson falls into three dimnct stages). hOWC\Tr..vhether you can read what they have written or not. she will need +. To explore the use of pllncmation as a mc. I The three period lesson Usuallv about three different objects are introduced during the lesson.To explore how convey meamng . We start with something unl<nown. +.in particular her hand.. it is a verY short step for your child to read what she has written. would tlnd it easier to write down her own thoughts as a first step rather than read the thought. Although there has been a vast amount of research in the fields of reading Jnd writing. most time is devoted to the second stage since this IS when child practices as)ociaring the object and name together. "v1omc. In these verv early days I When we need to help children to associate a name and an object together in a Montessori cla"ronm. This stage is characterized by the words 77. the presence of one ing the other. somc>times instantly through their pattern or her f:nniliariry . are still . the context in which the word appears and the role it plays in the sentence.1te is used to dfc>cr to To understand how it is possible for \"Titing to precede we could look at a simple version of the two rroce. To explore rhrongh her o\'. From child's point of view.. . the shape and sound of a lener. poems. with sufficiem knowledge ofletter-sound correspondence.sori was probJbly the first educationalist to suggest that child. (You will soon get used to trambting what they have written. Increasingly there seew-S to be some support for children being encouraged to learn how to read through their own writing.. We may do this by lettersound correspondence..ms of helping both and writing to I ! lain: HmVC\Tr.\vith then}.e. . and this approach is one rhat Montcs'ori schoob for children under the age of six have rollo\vcd since they were founded. and each of them builds one upon the other until they all combine to contribute to the reading and writing that your child do.'n writing and reading the different tGrms that text can take.yords based on regular and irregular patterns. i. Dr. it is worth noting that she children who do also suggests young children are not concerned with accurate spelling and many do not particularly care . we look at text that has been written by someone else. in order to read we look at the print and try to figure out what the word is. She said in The Dis(OFcry Clf the Child: ~Friril1g is del/fl0pcd ill the small (hild Pasil)' and '!'ontallfotlsly. What is certain is that both writing and reading are fused together in a kind of dance..orld and of her language to extran meaning trom written text and to give meaning to her own \wiring. if she is to tlnd writing relatively easy become more Throughout th. diary entries.. It is a simple procedure. Specifically she "vilI need . E LOP I N G /\ 1\1 0 r-.To use a variety of str:1tcgics to recognize words. To be able to write these letters. which can be applied to almost :myrhing once you have it. hooks and q) on.-\ l'v10 ORl ApPROACH DE\. and this will depend on our own experiences. of spelling . Do the same for each of the other two objects. Stage 2 Place all three ohjects together and ask for one can be spelled. which we must then fuse together by recognizing the word as a whole or by guesswork.. or her ability to work them out. not have good hand-eve coordination may prefer to read first because they may find the act of writing too onerous.usually.. To use her kn<)w]"d.. To discovc>r accur.ses.. and more immcdi1tely accessible.omcwhat in the dark as to how it all comes together. stories of fact and fiction. ill The also a motor Reading When we read. [he of a word. . to the sounds she hears in her head and working out which letter she will need for each sound requires only a little knowledge. The amount of time spent on each period will depend on your child .) They are jnsdiably proud of the fact they can wTite and that seems enough. T E S S 0 R I Ap P lZ. She will do this pardy from memory and partly from a growing of the way that she has made the word in the first place. of others. DEV LOPIN . \'(lriting using [his model appears to be closer to spoken language than to reading. Having identified the word we must cast back and forth in our minds to give it a meaning. To be able to iink the sounds of her 'lnguage to letters of the alphahet. once she can read and write. hook you will tlnd activities to support all these strands oflearning.re of the .0 . . Having begun to words into their component parts. LE FT Help your child at the right time and in the right way and he will enjoy discovering the different ways that words Stage 1 ! Place one of the objects in iront of your child and say its name clearly. ..is is a . Finally.

In all the . i we tend to use it as a springboard for further exploration . order.G over teachers. She is unique on this earth. so she formed. You know her in a wav that a teacher never C:ln: you und~'rsI3nd her 1n:::. As parent you have a unique advantage i 11Namr a Shakesrrarc." i I All of these can be nunured in a loving and supponive enVlfonment. Show me the . and keep them short so that her attention is not distracted by the command.You know that your child is man'clous. This is not to say that vou only "good" literature or have to be seen writing a sonnet I It won't matter to your child light what it is that VOl! like reading: fIction. lYe shmlid say fa them: Do Each second we li~'e you do tor yourself. role \"-111 be rather like that of a . bv being with you and by sharing her life with you.. You are natural e>duc:1tor and you have a very special rrlatiomhip with your child.lrari!y J11' anything Yes. Keep chis stage interesting and fun by varying the reqLiests you make.msc you spoke to her. . notes. Just seeing you read and write will make aU the difference. .phcrc of love and Pablo Casal. Nor wili it maner EO her whae it vou like Writing: lists.{'orld illiTt 110 other child exactly like you. Periods that relate to specific through a more tlexible application.. Repeat this until she is able to identify the objects swiftly when you ask for them.1I1'( C'xprcssed it well: What makes children want to read and write? Your child will want to read and .. lumes of the objects. she is unable to remember the names of the objects during the third phase. She learned them simply by living.. a BeethovClt. nineteenth-century novels.0ndllClor rc. poetrv or the sports pages. word puzzles. an enVIronment ill which adults mmt recognize that... If you don't give this phase long enough. don't worry simply tell her what the object is and bring the lesson to a plrasant clme. . and .of them by name. Repeat this step a few times Lintil i because it account of the developshe is really convinced that she does know the ment of your child. Put the ".. JUSt as she learned to speak bcc. and all children thrive in an 3tmo." TOuch the. The second stage gives your child time to actively connect the new information to her own experience.vnte if she sees that you C'njoy writing.. L-ind 1001. You have rim_es when you can be together witham the diseraction of ocher children and wirhocr timetahle to tollow. In particuiar. which i Inlprcs~ions. Once your child has identified the object you want. letters.rc~ts and humor. When we are se~ure in our ~knO\'dcdge. Point to rhe . She will need to draw on manv cliffC'rcnt pieces of knowiedge.\R[!:'G THE WAY 39 . particularly through sensory The lesson follows logical process. To know that vou know eives confidence. This means thar she needs EO see you enjoying good read or writing in the natLiral course of the dav so that she will come to realize it is something cnjovahle that . or if she gets verv muddled in second stage. this usually means she has not spent enough time lea~ning them properly in the second The third stage heips your child to identif)' what she now knows that she didn't know before. Do the same for thc other worth remembering that what follows works two objects. mix all three up together :md ask for another one. This activity is not a test that must be passed.'ities to :l1oVC'mcnt. This stage is chJncrerizcd by the words Gil'P me the. The first stage clearly sets Out the parameters of what is to be learned. it's she knows its name. she may not have had enough time to gain the new knowledge. you are a marl'ri. social dcve'lopment .s in Joys and Sorr. You can help prepare her for reading and writing in the same way. i D ELOP!!'.1in And u!har do lUI' teach our 111 Hie them rhat and 111-'0 make jOllr and thar Paris is the ral'itai France. someone \vho has never been before nor ever will be again. your arms. many more oppormnitiC's to try again on a different day.. . they must follow the lead of their child.. and in order to do so. at your body it is! Vil1lr leE-'. competition Entries or poetrY..ever was before alld I1fl'(r !I)i/l be ag.your child may use her new knowledge to extend her ideas and experiences in ways that you haven't yet thought of] Should your child not be able to tell you in the last stage what she has learned. It doesn't matter l You will have many. Hold the. The tremendous power of a mind This stage is characterized bv the words i appears to be limitlc:ss in the amount that vVhat this? Do yNi whar rhis is? take on board. is a new and 'mi'lu/' a moment that n. From the very beginning of life your child has learned many things trom you. comICS.md the developmcnt of perception through sensory expcnences.A strong desire to find purposeful activity or "work.vay tb::tt a child's mind is be used to great etTect in learning any new knowledge.. if thev are to be successful in helping their child to learn to read and write. CHAPTER THREE paring the way you prepare yom child to read and write. A desire to communiCltc . you will need to help her interpret and slot the dispafJte pieces together in the correct way so that she can succeed. helps children objects and ideas. A strong urge tor indC'pendencc will WaIl[ to read and write if it is lomcthing that she sees rhat you do. by 1nd :iltening to you. your the way you 1nove! You Fnay i\ . . it's simply a good way of helping children learn particular concepts.. crosswords.'\1iri7rlal1gf'io. but don't at this poine ask her to try to remember the name. PROACt--i PREP_.\rio OR. The other single most important factor in helping your child EO read and write is to read to or you i are Imi'lue.. Stage 3 Following the developmental route Point to one of the ohjcC'ts and ask your child if Before we move on to the nexe chapter. Ynu haw the (. it can also developments in the .. a . scnsiti. her to repeat the name of the object after you from time to time.hcar'ing an orchestra tor a concert.

rby. It is a very rare occasion tbe a chiid will not want to listen to a story! You can sIart to read stories to your child shortly after she born. Change the selection of books rl'0111 rime to time. Here are a few simple tc. too."hn'ql1cs to help your child learn to handle books. Younger siblings are otten verY lucky as thev get to listen to stories trom birth. Tty to have a se!ectio. Pictures are an important means of engaging her attention and in the he ginning . and all children like to sit on their parem's lap. to have least one book of poems and rhymes and one factual hook on the shelf at anyone time.cbout the world. :mci it can also be useful co have a comfortable SDot in bedroom. display the books. because children pull off the shelf as they hunt for the cover of the book they have in mind. at home H:lving a book is rather like having a passport that allows you to travel without ever leavmg home: it can take you to another country and can transport 'lOU eirher b:lckward or forward in time.but don·t read Jnnhins boring. As adults we teel a bit strange looking at a book with a child who is not talking. You'll find that when books are swred with onlv the spine showing they will tend to end up in a heap on the noor more often than nor. tor the time being or even ever.her.hey will help her to visuaiizc \vh:!t it that the text is CClnvcying. create a small bookshelf at her own height so that she is able to choose books for herself when she w:mts to read. between YOU and your child. One family I know still reads togerher c. arrange a few soft pillows.nd the children are now 12 and 14 years of age respectivelyl There are many children and aduits in the world who are unable to read and write and. Books can make you laugh om loud and they can make you sad. of books close to the place or places you have chosen as your reading Spot or SpOts. Read \vhencvcr you can and whatever you can .llld more about yourself and more about other people. i\ comfy sofa or large armchair in the living room is often a convenient place. tragicallv. start reading as soon as you feel able w. but children of . If vou orJy have one child in the family. and at least once a day. Read to her at least once a day and continue to do this for as long as evervone enjoys it. and they can help you nuke sense of personal situJrioIlS or help vou discm'cr new facts . Reading a story out loud is a shared experience and it is important that she teels included.lIlY age can appreciate books. they can help you llucin'f. Spend a little time prJCficing them with your tv'io-vear-old and she will take very good care of her books. Pk Reading together Read aloud as often as you possibly can to your child. Some children like to stretch Out on the floor to look at books. It is possible that IS the onlv shared activity in day for busy. this is quite easY to do: but when you have lnore than one. a certain amount of organization is essential so that no one feels left out. everyone needs to be comfortable they read. From the very beginningvou need to a love of the printed word in all its forms. You need to help create a desire in her to become a reader and a writer. 41 Fil1dil7g a place to read You will need to identify at least one place ill the house where you will be comfoft:1hle enough to read to your child on a rcgubr basis. try to organize a small "reading corner" in the living room. making sure the IrOnt cover of each book is visible it's nearly impo"ihlc tor child!'cn to choose books when they can only the spine. prop some books on the t100r up against rhe wall. AU you'l[ need are some low shelves that he can reach by himself and a comfortable place to sit. too. Books call also help us co fInd om things for we can have access to evervthing that has ever been written down should we require iI. but as vou change them around you'll soon discover what your child·s particular tastes are. Reading together has a value that goes beyond rhe simple experience of reading a book. ABOVE If you want to encourage your child to read. there arc even more who can read :md write but never choose to do so. so the shelf shouidn't be very high.. Physical comaCt often vital and both of you must be able to look dt tbe book at the same time. do not appeaL If you put a little shelf in her bedroom. If you don't have room tor a shelf. working parents and II can help create a special bond R! '"'IG \Vi\Y PI\RING THE WAY . a rug or beanbag nca. Children can choose books long betore they can walk. \\Then your child is very young. making sure that the favorite one at that particular time always remains. and the best time for this is before the age of SlX. which ones she likes and which. In any event. you will have fewer than YOU actually own. during the period that is the most formative of their lives. Don't let that be the tate of your child.

you know that you have succeeded in creating a reader . time and time again. . It important that you are not bored by it.Emmed-down of children's classics that have been re-written in order to cash in on the larest carmon release. quite like the pictures hecause they recognize them from the cartoon and all the other merchandising offs they find in the stores. It wiU foster his tove of books. that a loved book is one that YOU wii! read many times over. so .pf'2Vcnts one book being forced on [Op of another. If the story. illtho1lgh . give the book awav to 'omcone '. and how to return it all by herself to the shelf '-X1hen your child begins to go offby herself and choose a book. With experience. you know that YOU have achieved the single most important step in helping her to read and write.turdv.vho may appreciate id If the book is a gitt. Because children enjoy the same book over and over again they very quickly remember all the words. and active participation of this kind has been shown to have a good effect on reading ability in young children. Children will often hold only the trOnt or back cover. I real emotion. Trust your own .]bly is. I would rather read the original versions to them when they are a little older.md print carry a message for her to enjoy. or they may hold the page close to the spine. She is a child who understands rhat the 'llustrati01ns . ABOVE Take time to show your child how to turn the pages of a book (or get an older friend to show him). on the other hand. seem lifeless or dull. if your partner takes over the rca ding f()[ one night he or she will discover that the version your child wants to hear bears little actual relation to the story in the book l Be clear before you begin how much you are going to read. and there are no tips that I can recommend to help you avoid doing that! your child grows older and really begins to listen to the words of the story.houtd :-urn. Children sometimes try to use their whole hand to scrunch up the page and turn it.vill always wam to hear just one more chJptcr and you can explain to her that this is sign that the book is written by a verv good author. causing rest of the pages to flap about. A child who hal knmvledge of the hooks have to otTer.Your child needs to listen to books that you value and love. do not be tempted to paraphrase book because you are anxious to get to the end. If you are reading last thing at night to your child.With small children the stories tend to be quite short and you can decide together whether you read one or two.a child who chooses to read. or the pictures. If you do. My children. it proh. Choosing a book choosing books for your child. This I PREPARING TH \Vr\Y PREPARI01G THE W.if you think book is boring.how her hm\' to do it. prohahly much Iater. There is nothing wrong with telling your child that there afe some books that do not appeai to you or books you feel are not well WrItten. look at the primed words on the page and ask her open-ended questions about what she thinks might happen and what she believes the characters might be thinking. Your child . never ~l1dgmcnt i two hands to grasp both sides firmlv. I have a real Jve"jon tor the sugarvsweet. then slide the whole hand under the page you turn it tl'om right to left. as he sees exciting new pictures emerge each time he turns the page. your toddler will get to know which way up a book goes. Show her how to litt the top or bottom corner of the right-hand page bel:\veen her thumb and index finger. Ll'arning to put a book back shelf I 011 the read a book out of duty. as she will ask for it When the pages of a book Your child will \yam to begin [0 turn pages herself very quickly. Worse still. Nor should you attempt to miss out certain pages to get it over and done with. you will have to rely on your memory every tIme you read the story again. don'[ feel bad about putting it away for later. Practice this together. that the content is being studied and that the pages are being turned in the right dirt'ction.]] coment and otten inaccunte. how to turn the pages and in which direcrion they . Board books.~y 43 . This will encourage her to give active attention to the story. Once you are reading books with chapters. The only other hazard you have to avoid when reading to your child at night is falling asleep before she does. arc too thick for the pages to be turned properlY so you will need to show her how to do this with ordinary books. When you see that the book is the right way up. If vou have books' spines you can show her how to make room for the book betore trying to slot it into place. which quickly leads to split pages. lacking in any Carrying a book Show your child how to carry a book using If your books are propped up with the cover ' facing out vou will need to show her how co put the base of the book fi-1Ither out than the walL then tilt the top edge of the book back on to wall. gets comtortable and starts to look through It in a world of her own. They seem to me to be very badly written. you will have to agree on the number of chapters you will read per night.

while often for younger children a more direct introduction is made. Book bnguagc is different ti-om spoken hnguage and has its own rhythms and styles. Children soon begin to realize that a swry begins with words that set the scene and build . through its use of words h~lild pictures in her mind." Writers use many other ways to help them predict what is coming next and children grasp all of them as they are read to. E \VA.Y .hmv what is h:lppcDlng in the text. In reading stories 'iNrittcn by six-yearolds. A good book will help your child. the more vital the pictures are: it is very often the p1ctures that first fix her attention on a book. and those stories that will come after.When 1Il speech would you ever say the following..It's also good to discus' the mc~ning of some words as you come w them so that she understands both the and the look of the word.md they all lived happily ever after" or simply "the end.ions that a book otters. They llJere PRE!' /\ it: N C ." are favorites for older children.filled il'ith !lJilalcs.' she said.\1agic an archetypal quest swry. RIGHT Book illustration should be inspiring and absorbing . 'the ocean was . will develop an undcrstJnding of the way language is med in stories and the form which stories take.(1U ((luld C1-'cr a love of the way larlgllag. and in part this can be due to the fact that more senses have been ~lrouscd by these books [han just the ear and the eye. It is worth mentioning that children also like the sensa.e.'alcm of". They also begin to tmdersrand how a story ends: that there is always some kind of resolution.g the mOSi fl'ondr(Jus 1111(1. It is possible [() see children as young as 18 months doing this. "Once upon a time ..m legend. The size of a book. This is especially easy if the words rhyme.' ). the smell the type of paper that the book 15 printed on. sometimes very ahruptlv' Book hnguage is much more descriptive and more Thyrhmical than spoken language. the illustrations. [he cqni'. I notice that manv of them seem to start with "One day. let your child begin to help you say them. and she will use them to help her to predict wha[ the story line Helpful illustrariom will clearly .. Good illustrations will help her to work out what is happening in story. Tiley "'CIT as as the moor!. repeated as part of the When words repecition of the story. and by the time they 'Once lipon a time. The vounger your child is. words mch as "Once upon a tin. deeper impression on children than others.like this one from The Whale's Song by Dyan Sheldon and Gary Blythe. such as Homer's Gdpsc)' the Arrhuri. in preparation tor the nnny '1~lCSt stories that children will meet in the future. There no doubt that some books make J.e works in books you read to your child over the years. TIley as h(g as the hills.mticipation." and all are brought to a conclusion. from The IYlwles' Song by Dyan Sheldon and her a The importance of illustration Illustrations play an enormousiy imporunt role as vour child listens to vou read and begins to read herself. D(~ve~lojJm.51i11(. she books can also give children experiences that will help them to move on to more complex forms of books as they The author Mem Fox describes how in her book :\J'1gir she deliberately bcgim with... Pay as much attention to the quality of the illustration as you do to the text." and "Long ago." in order to link it to all the stories children will have heard before they read her story. She also makes Possum . Long before your child can read she will sit down with a book. all these clements play their parr. study the pictures and use them as a way of "reading" the storv.

in the book. R.. The humor of the story lies with ~1hFrrJrionsJ vvhich sho\v the disJstrnus :1ttcrnpts p01nrcd if she loses interest quickly. ho'. chIldren that I have known. as are chose that help her deal with new situations. You should now be simple plot that will storics with choose books with beautiful examples of I'm not in the least artistic and the different but many have appealed both to them later m this book. q1ch preschool.ohlivonce lnentions the ~rc')cnce of the good to . whcrher it be inner and so on. human anions at this age and can put and last well. all of which can be fun to attend.aibhlc for young children and should be able to suggest tirles for your child that will revolve they also have :lCcess to all the latest tides. in Chapter 9. the more realistic tlie content should be. Repetition cmd rhyme are also important factors in choosing books that appeal to this age group. mlddle and end. Stories should be getting longer wich more complex storv lines.Trv to tind :lCCuLlte. Trv to limit the fantastic and grotesque stories umil your child is six or overmany of the traditional Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andenon fairy rales are more have chosen i]]\1stLltion from. children clearly to enjoy the tensions that come \rvith adventure have a really hen house. Particularly popular are "flap" books thar reveal all manner or things hiding under the t1ap. Depending on her ahilitv to write. or dnd penCIls a small hlackbmrd and chalk<.'sie 5 H41k. The fact that you she may be able to have her own library card. Around the of six. to telling a story to go along with the There are very good pIcture books for young children . Books rontdining photogr:lphs of well known evervday objects and can .s and be learned bv heart.some use photogr:1phs and some illustrations. Humor tends to he enJoyed if it is of the >\.stages they need tirne to comprehend chat a story has a hcgmning. Illustrations can also inspire children to create artwork of theil' own.are about nvo. Board books are swrdv Four to Five Now your child needs books to help develop understJnding of the \vorld. going to the doctor or havmg a new brother or sister. vou may down words as she dictates \vhole them. so they arc ready tor this kind oflitcr:lturc. and other events that revolve around books. Songs and rhymes will be \'ery popular at this stage. books that open \vlnoo\vs infO other pc('\p1c's liYes. Look out tor books that your environment. What follows is a rough guide to the type of content that children may be according to their age. develop as she finds herself able to predict what bppens in her life. she may put "marks" on her own illustration or she rnay vvrite a {e\v vvords or story to go with it.Y .. Try to toilow your child's Jlthough not p0inting the illmtT<ltion.:n your child begins to want to turn Two to Three Books that expand the range of nursery rhymes and poems that they already know are partiCL1lady popular with this group.tpprcciatc the ""rightness" or "\yrongncss1' of jokes contJined in the +6 PRE KINe THE \VAY PR THE WP. and that they love to hear lllore complex voc.:n!1[C!1[s of some of her books should not only support and confirm her knowledge but aiso stretch it. Don'c try to skip any pages! Rememher to look factual books as well as tlcrional one. so it's a good idea to A guide to the content of children's books To help you to get to know the choice of books J\'aibHe for young children I would recommend that you join your local library.You em art<lch is haprening in them. and of Ihe fox to Rosie as she on. talking about them. and 'well-illustnted books which contain those songs and rhymes fanliliar to your child can be helpful.) rook to act as as often as they wam to go torward when they look book. This is absolutel. then your child can help you to tell the story ~nd also '''read'' it to herself and others. The pictures win catch their in the early attemion.Hion fmv in turn inspire her to tell her own swries using pictures alone. Around the age of four most children will start to tell you the between s()n~cthing to set aside a panicular time each day on a regular basis for "reading" and don't be disap- something that is pretend and that is real. Try to find sorne that tell a story using pIctures onlv. and can be particular tor your voung child. In some books the illnstl':ltious tell the story in more detail th:m the words.tick" variety. Libraries also sometimes have storytelling sessions tor young children.Jap<:. the story very simply teils us of Rosie's '\v-alk h0l11e through the farrnyarrl to :he understanding of the differences between the two.Ilm be of interest this age.::thulary than they themselves use A good rule of thumb to tallow is that the tlit' child. although they can be difficult the pages. Recent studies show that children seem to benefit most from text that is slightly more complex than theIr own speech. Books that deal wi(h emotions are also very helpful for children of this age group. She may also decide co :md pm her own words w her <m:work.v they and what they do._ Three to Four Stones should conrinue to follow [he everyday haprc:nings of your child. as are everyday events made into stories. \vllen your child is around three. For example in classic book by Pat Hutchins. and I have listed Up to Two Very young children will \vam to go backward l\rt activities You can use a good book iilustraticlJ) as a model for your child to look at to Geate her own picture ..)()1l1crin1C'\ bear them pictures. Choose conrent for your child that is lifeto explore the affirming and that helps facers of her world and extend her :mdcrstanding of it. At this stage .all you'll need to supplv is some in lots of jolly colors). There is a fuller list of books you may tlnd useful Chapter 9. and atter one or two pictures are able co anticipate the of the fox. then a little story to the dr:l\vings look 3t more dcscr:bing what complex aspens of the dnwings. inf0rmJrive hooks she will based :lroul1d your child's interests. Mv own children identitled the by adding the words "in true life" when [hey were speaking of something really had or could happen. in th(':nsc]ve~ manage wh. Subject matter that centers on things that happen in and around horne will help your child's sense of securi(y . your inspir. into the position of others. you '\vill . The next step is to summanze rexr dnd eventually vou will be able to read the text. Librarians are trained to kno\v what is :n. now be cunous to till out what she knows with much more detail.

. read this and e:\:plain to her \vhat a dcdicltlon me:1ns. • H'I1fIl yuu read to your child. If she seems imerested in spending some time looking at "print" then do so: if she is singularly lacking in curiosity aboH[ it.otlr rhild's name of the most potent ways of dmll'iug her aftel111011 Use her name in appropriate places around the house. the more this knowledge \vill support her when she comes to read and write.ming of tht' mbjecr matter. I • Study !rokingjor . Humor hecomes even more important now than it was before children are I • Help your child to see lI'hirh able to identif.tn1rle. the use of a capita 1 letter! PREPA1~ING ! • Look ourIor the i!!/Cml1dtien rages.. Show her where this information can be found. Ask your child to [ell you which of the written words is the long word i that you have Just read. Only do this from t'lffie to time. I Becoming aware of print in the environment The printed word is found evcrv. You will also need to search for books that she can start to try to read and remember. respond sensitively to vour child.Your child is constantly absorbing all the aspects of the world in which she lives and it will not take her very long to work out that print symholizes bnb. Ask her to tell you HE \VAY PREPARING TH \.-hcre in our environment. ~ave it tor another can be read aloud. Look at periods and ask what thev are for. Choose bOOKS where the bnguage is simple but well written. vou can take the opportunity to help her to become aware of "print" itself the more . In drawing attention to print in the books that you read. then the names of the amhor and the illustntor.e books that give instructions on hO'. Read the title of the book. to avoid making ::-eading into a tormal teaching experience. The possihilities are t'ndless. ABOVE Making your child actively aware of the print in her environment is easy and fun. Raising children's awareness of print Alongside the sheer pleasure of teading to your child.mf thing ar Ii time.You will be tor at least six years and during this time many is interested in than something that is easy. for CX.her name! • Study the words on the page as you read. to paper to spell out an important message .should have more than pictures so that thev i I As always. too.hould now be able to enjoy longer books with tewer pictures and more complex plms: you could start to read books that have chapters. I • ~Fririllg )..1age. to her almost every day She is more likely to read about some'thing she' I dav. You can help by explonng it . find it on the page al"ld have a look at it. don)tjust start where thc'h'ry . chapter page numhers can all glVe you a great deal of information aboLl[ the book. One of the ways that vou humor. whether all the print on the page looks the same.\lith her in the (ollmving can show this is to let your Hnger run along the page as you read. do the same thing. Point out when capitalleaers are used after periods or D)[ names. also brilliant for this i I • Do the sillne with any poetry that you read. Look at the different lavout of the words.tarts.'vAY . Find question marks. particularly where there are subtle \vord plavs which affect the mc. And nO[ to spoil the How of the story or the special magic of the moment simply to point OUt. Books by Roald Dahl group.i\sk her how can tell vvhen son1cone is '\pe~king. Or you can \vrite het name on the refrigerator door in letters and on special items of clothing. The contems page.lware she is of it.'1 to make things or do experiments. She will soon irritated if it does! . however. dnd an atlas and perhaps first clictlOnary could be useful additions to her library. for instance on her bedroom door. If there is a dedic?tl0n. Humorous poetry will be enjoyed. check where the title of the poem written and where the poet's name is. Tell her who the Explain that the author is the person who thought up the storY and wrote it down. Many poems offer children the chance to appn:(iate a m01'e humorous vit'w of life and also t'xet'llent for the heginning rt'ader. know that print is read from lett to right and and rherefore enjoy more subtle sense of from top to hottom. If you read a long word. This little girl can already recogniz" the different kinds of print her mother has taken from a newspaper and is now cutting up individual letters to glue them on Five to Six Your child . If you read a very short word. and be carerul not to let it interfere with the rhvthm and pace of the text as you read. Provide lots of reierence books. explain what an illu"rator is. She will apprecia.j when 'omcthing pre'dictable is I you read. In the Western wodd children need to used in an unpredictahle or inappropriate way. of the points below will arise quite naturally.

structured and Ask questions.lmre of decoding words. In order tor your child to grasp the (~"cnce of \vords theretore. Your child's ability to use spoken bngu1.'f]ashcards~' for her to learn by he.. thev had to be connccted. This is at best sad and 1. Will they help her choose to read when Ihe time comes or will they simply make her precocious?You will be to your child depend very much on what she brings to it.1crC'stimatcd. "Wots dat?.lgining.mr)('1. its and texture and quality of her LmguJ. I'm sure he understood the message. One farnily I attached primed names t. Draw or cut nUT mad signs. be able to produce a long word accurately for herself. !'v1ake t\yo sets to playa simple game with vour child. but this does not mean she lacks understanding of its meaning. Use your II'rll. \Vhat vou must not. "Vhat your child will get out of d book will A thev were three and four was to use unconventIonal words to replace name-calling. you empty sugar bowl!"\Vhen we began. But what value do they have. not on the words themselves.. dare say. as their toddler h:mped into them. Print conveys meJning Jnd meaning must connen with experience of life i to have any value.-cr." or simplv raise the tone of their voice in a quC'stion. Give .O general of the predicted by the number of words that filter world. One of these will be chosen as W RIC E "l'/ A Y PREPARl. the words we used were alw. if you make them. Developing language Why your child needs knowledge and understanding of the world to help her read and write \Vhenever your child reads or read to. howe. Your child will have fun filling them in l ! learning isolated mc:mingle" words has no value at all. Incontrovertible! Take her out at night : to look at rhe stars.he knows and the world that she is ilTI1. on ! rhythmical.lmining print be ?urposeful your child should alW1. Children quickly become thor print is Store names. Turn all the cards face down and see if you can find pairs bv taking it m turns to turn up t\Vo cards at a time.rys randomly chosen hut gradmily. Play this l. "P~ acr·rl"f'l11f11l. It is in the "gap" bet\veen the words on the paper and your child's own experience that something and creative able to reflect upon the resonance hctwC'en the world [lut . Talk through what you are doing. Who said Reciting the dictionary to your child everv morning is not. she will bring her own preferences.'Crsion spy.he must have j Experiences need bnguage :lr:d to needs I be precise.. Words must have meaning. Of equal importance is the . even if You can help by making sure that you take the meaning needs refining and developing her out and about and give her experiences of through experience. her mind will JutomJtically select aU the meanings that she kn0\vs that cO\1kl be connectto the word.i\lthough I knew he didn't the words.1 real misconceptlOn of the role that the orinted word plays in reading. /\s you go out and about with her. Choose other letters on other days. SIt in the park when the To help you can: grass has just been mown: listen to the rumble of the trucks thev go down your street: taste lemons. they love the sounds of words and.l'CCd in ho\vls ofl::-iughtcr as each chiLi to tind more and more bizarre words to hurl at FX1.lttention. "What shall we do next'. she focuses her . recognize words taught in this wav. fia'-orsome. She may nm. feelings. She does not need to know ail there is to know_ but lllust have to make some sense out of them. Let her ruT out ail the letters in her name from al1d nC1!'Spal'CfS. i . Ttl1'oln' yt~ur rhild in rl{S -.you can't sn'lell mo"\vn grass on tclcvl"10n~ wasting vJluahlc: reading time if your trv to teach her in this way.\\Tn written by their own words. the world that she can talk about and have all to herself. Recentlv there has been a sugges- ences that corn:'spond to the that hears or reads.1rilm day". nor is there anv limit to the length of words that she can understand. This Dowering is valuable for children whether they are interpreting words c1sc or trying to \\Tite dO. Kr:o\vlcdgc unacr')tJnd-ing of the world is of vital importance in your child's conquest of reading and writing.'JC E . Play games that See pages 52-53 for some ideas. varied. All their anger very oIten d. the one who gets it wrong turns her cards face down again.O all the items offurnitnre in . going to achieve the listening to stories was ('1. . Children do not become readers for the ple. In tion that the size of our adult vocabulary can be addition t. They want to know the names for everything that surrounds From a very earlv age they point and ask. Children when they read are in search of me:ming.""How many shall we buy?" I used to tell mv three-month-old child that I was going out of the room for a short while and would be back. No child can does there is a \yondcrful floT<\Tring of imagmation. Collect Il'hen you ill rhe post uffice or bank. and their minds have such fantastic capacity that they will.tJnCCS...." "What do we needo. she would focus on the the other. . Choose the first how manv letter of your child's name and tImes you can 'Nith the things that letter when you are out for a walk.. Keep similar forms that get sem through the post.lys part of a wider exploration of l:ing\lage. Use different words to describe events. Use llllcsrions to build 10gic~1 thinking. do is pTovide . : in short everything. through us during the tirst three years of life_ tasIe" interests. under any circuill<. as \ve became better at it.151'0 desired effect. they love the taste of them.. Let her choose which she likes best and glue them down to make her name_ .gc development will depend very largely on the kind of speech that she hears in her social environment. hut on the that lies behind the words. "You teapot. Let your child explore the world through her very own experiences . Children love words.. look at these names :md p0im them out to heL When you are in the superm~rkc[.. If vour child is redding and is faced with a new I printed word and learn it. 10 idi'l1tify foodstuffs and signpoS[5 arc jnst a few examples that your child will encounter on daily basis. ' Print is only v:11u. of course.lge is the foundation upon which all other torms of will rest. tastes. ask her to collect well-known items and use the opportunity to poim out the names on the labels_ ...helr house in hope that. "f-Iuh?" There IS no limit to the number of words that vour child take on board. learn to recognize words on paper.1rt. . humor :md hum:mity.:1hle ifit conveys mC3TIlng 50 w~rd. .h8ping and structuring of the form languagc takes. Thev of course.This will enahle her to notice all the cliffcrc:1t of writing these letters. The importance of helping her to develop a good \-ocahubrv cannot be ·m.. \Ve sometimes Iny when we choose words to describe experiences. you glass of milk. The one who gets it right gets to keep the pair.

bed. Children's use ofhnguage helps in other ways. they very often do not.".-or. Pur several different but objects into the bag ifyou're using that instead of the blindtolcL If you're using the hlindfold. earlobe. run.' based on other clues conrained in the sentence. "Beside can. gets it right it's You will find that she will alltorrntiC311y choose a verb to name what you are cioing. I Naming the parts of objects Take a single object and see if you can name all the pans on it. Don'tjust stick the ubvious one). This is based on her deep knowledge of the particular word order in English: she knows she is h11l1ting for a verb. Mer a while change places other. I obey: when it isn't preElced by "Simon says.\ Y .even if all you're showing is ~'steep!" PRE P i\ R 1 (~"i H E \V . Choose anything that you can stand in front of for instance car: radiator.Your child can look the object and trv to describe what she sees. then later you can do it with prepomions. couple of toys from your child's collection. Start with very obvious things. put the objects on a table or orher surface.t Choose an everyday object such as a door and see how many of its parts you can name. on top of the lid and as/" 'Tl/licre is can.kip. Keeping her on the topic and gathering as much inform anon as you can is quite an achievement. It's easv to plaY: when a commanci pref'1Ccd bv the words "Simon savs. smile. sleep. knocker. You act out an action . large bag or blindfc)]d.. dance. fanlight. door. a child who has been used to hearing quite complex sentence structures will use her knnvvlecige to get at the meaning of semences. ladle. the lllincHolci makes rhis game a little simpler." Child does so. Even though the questions you ask should provoke logical ans'wers.yhar the "vord is. table or seems rnr}V!"'lf". "On the Naming your body Name all parts of the bodv. "Turn your head. think.-. Take turns.xample: Rachael dortrand the boat. Simon says "Bring the milk pitcher.You name an object and your child has to find it and bring it to vou. \vheel. If she mrn.. for example D:ldciy Nrltalie baked a chocolate cake. steering vvheel. shoulder hbde. You can do it with "actions" to begin with." you must nor obey. After a while change places with each other.for instance. For . Simon Says Once your child has acquired the voc~bulary. Guess the word around -+ How to Play The question game Age: aDou( 3 on This game will help your child to develop relevant vOClhllbrv logical thought structure around a theme well-known to them.. Age: around 4 You will need find a handle. or you could act it our yourself ming your body and a chair. Other actions you might use are: ~. etc. hop. Try to keep everything logicaL This is like a very silnple game of charades. instep. cheekbone. Equally.Jump. A child with a poor grasp of vocabularv will draw a blank very easily. too. cllf." you must p. cry. Cnmmatical and syntactical knowledge will help her to predict the meaning of words and unlock the meaning of Sf'ntf'nces. Choose a simple event that she will have experience of.. lock. then become more subtle as you go along. Your child guesses . To play the game with prepositions. doorframe. At the end of the questioning period you can weave the informacion you have g:lthered into a story. Here you'll ABOVE Assume vou have and a marble: 'W11fre is small can ask Your child WliJ say. particularlv if you put on the vvirh I PUI the marl)l. laugh. Without necessarily having a kn()wiedc:e of nOLlns or verbs. Continue until you have exhamred all the possibilities." Child does so." Child does nor do so. such as a corkscrew. you have (0 guess what it is. A child who hasn't come across the word dortrand before will search for words that have some kind of "action" to them. or spaghetti tongs. .. "In the can. number and panels. RIGHT Playing Guess the Word can involve a lot of activity . How to Play Your child purs her hands into the bag and describes what she can feel \vithout actmlly saying the name of the objecLYou try and guess the name.hin. "Next to the or perhaps they will <ay. You can choose to ask for objects. a child can often predict what kind of word is she is looking for trom the place it occupies in the sentence. rearvie\v mirror and so on. Simon says "Touch your thumb. Here some games you can play to help with bnguage development."nr. Remember . etc . "Vllhere Your child will say.:: R r N G I blindfold. both of the above games can be played as Simon Says.~f the Your child wiiJ say. Ask her a series of Cjuestions around the event to build up as much background as you can." Guess the object Naming objects This is like a treasure hunt.

Talk abom it. .. Poems that have lots of rhvme and repetition help children to pick up rhe look of the . For older children you could put together set of J.cusslOn. Poems and rhymes will also provide a wonderful resource for early anempts at writing and reading. A selection of any items that can be sorted or tor instance: Objects that sink or float The follm. start \'lith one room .say the kitchen. The greater your child's J\.You could also use pictures of things in a street.:lrds from more than one room. So wh.-vere In: motorbikes. vVho is this srory all about? IVhat do v:e know about them? Move on ro ask questions around the verb .JC THE \VAY . In addition to focLlsing on rhyme you can help her to recognize clusters of sounds snch as "str" or "br. Ifshe looks at a picture of a chopping board . possible. See how manv ditTcrcm words your child can think of that rhvme with. For example.Tn1t:ln}US in choosing your theme: you could draw the sequence that neecls to be to. on a piece of paper. If your cards are of rooms a house. nlix them up and see if she can sort the objeCLs into their respective rooms. there are many good tapes you can buy. Children love the humor and predictability that comes with rhyme and they love the rhvthms that it sets up. The important thing is that rhe pict11res should form a How to Ploy ror self-correction you con1o tbe objects. iVlake .. . You should.you (oulcl. along with the words that they jearn to describe them with. They also love playing and making rhymes rhclmelvcs.\.vider \'oClhlliary is one in which vou sort and classify objects that belong together. brushing her teeth.Yoll can prepare a whole f·111crr? IT/ith what? f"l/7wt kind of cake? Finally ask some questions that wili bring abom a .ing game "\vi11 also helr your child to seqllenC(~ events ~md ten stOry.Daddy and Nat:llie in case you should receive information that will be useful for setting the scene. Knowing what word should come next will certainly be a great help when your child first begins to read.l\rrange the cards that she knmvs uncler the picture of the The importance of rhyme Children who have a \vide experience of are knmyn to do at reading and to a strong sense of hmv co spell. Help her learn the ones she doesn't know using the three penod lesson descnhed in Chapter:2 (see pages 37-8).2112 on You will need Collect a set of pictures that belong together. she can stick them down or make a book out of them. How to Ploy Jlliaking a storyboard Age: about 3 on You will need Picrures you hlVC Objects that are magnetic or nor Objects that are hard or sott: feathers..·onclmion. If you take photographs of your child's you could make them into a book to create a n10re pern1~nent record of the story (see P l:t.on dbont the cake. Plav games to see how many words you can rhink up with "str" at the beginning. In the event you find that your memory does not serve you well. T \VAY PREP_ARI:". Use the cards as opportunities for di. therefore.emences using the sOlmd at the bcginn1ns of each vvorG. predict \. You don't need to be an artist. It is impossible to rhe importance that a good of poems.. Poems and songs are also good to write down when you first begin to make words. On the back of each picrure write the name of the object it contains. for younger children of objects from each room in a house..If you start by asking qu eshons .'oluntcers "bath mat" use the opportunir:y to "classiJ:Y"You could ask her whether it was likeiy that the bath mat would turn up in rhe kirchen l \\iben she can the (.md '. getting dressed :md so on. garden flowers. Now SflO".]owed to cookies or oat bars.TJfCncs". ClassifYing Another type of game that helps your child develop a "<. For In<. say. for instance. in a supermarket and so on.. the better the fit will become between the patterns of letters in words and her abili tv to Alan fat lop hat Fellj7at hat (Anon) R! >.. pebbles and so on ebjens Objects that are used for dr~\ving that useci for PJlnting Objects that are heavy or light . and make the cookies following her recipe! whole room. She will enJoy looking through the pictures for many years to come.tdnce. If YOLl place a little idemification symbol on the back of each set before you play the game.. Now ask tor iuformat. Once your child has put them in order. If Vall want to prOVIde her with a mechani~m rhotogr:lphs of your chilcl during the course of her dav: of her getting up. llse Show vour child how to sort out the objects according to the Y\7aV you have dJ\slfied them. Children org:mi7t' and order their experiences all the time. no matter how good tape there is really no suhstih:te for singing or poems and songs YOlmclf with your child. in their groups.. in a park. Take out the picture that shows the kitchen as a ·whoL.. you can make up a storv to go with them and she should be able to help vou do this. she will be able to check herself whether or not she has sorted the cards correctly. of sound and its PJrrern~.'hat it is thev say. ~Vhv were they baking a cake How? l/Vhen? Chapter 9 for simple ideas on how to do this).'iow to Ploy out of a or that you have drawn. Sister Suzle sat singing sons'S by the seaside.""ing" or "ake. wild animals." . songs and nursery rhymes will play in helping her to read and write. pictures of objects in the kitchen and see how many your child name. . You can become quite :lci-. have one card that shows the room as a whole.in this case baking.) bout the subject . h0\Vc\"t:r .J (.'ord and . This should be usel'l11 for gathering inform:ltion aronnd the action of the story.'\sk your child to place the pictures in the she thinks they should go intG.. Classified cards Age: around 2 . Once m sequence.hal' can help them to write relatively accUf:1tely when rhey first start: writing words down. have a wide repertoire of nursery rhymes and poems.at iWl'pcncd iii the JeeP (11(/1 Sorting objects i\ge: around 2112 on You will need How did cuerymlf range of pictures or objects that could help them to do this see Chapter 9 for more ideas. cake. You can S(:rafatc the group' ontO each <ide of a table or a plastic mat.TIything th:1t they \. Play them and learn them along with your child.

. or you could try the ones given below. prcfc1":lbty in each car. used film c.. Games with rhY l11e and rhythm Chapter -+ has a selection of rhyme games. PR Ciap the rhythrn of the words and sylbh1es alongside the poems and songs you know. a p. ~ow Separate out show your child how to shake each conr.11r of chopsticks. for instance. drin k f1-om a cup etc. Your child has 1:0 echo you. If fona of. everYday ohjects. rice.Your child has to what the sound is.h lids cardboard tt:bes. sugar. There many excellent tapes and stories 1vailahk now Jnd these can be aseful on trips. One child dons a blindfdd pms a pot (the honey-pot) just in front of her. In Classified Cards. go to the othcr set and listen through to see if the same sound can be found. ABOVE from the very beginning. and tap a differem rhythm. Story tapes Having a book and story tape that match can be very useful. then use already identified control cards to check Whether his pairings are correct. crumple a piece of paper. which will later help her to recognize sounds attJched to letters. you could actually tape the story yourself. Each of you has (he same things. i\n alternati-ve to this R[i'(C T!--jE \1/ PREPARING r \VA Y .mlUds that arc far then nearby. other players. help your child to solve problems for himself. Suggest that she focuses on .-. Make four pairs by putting different mbs[Jnces into of two containers: qnd. Then listen to one contJincr. Clap the rhythrn of all the names of the mcrr:t'en f::mily. Help her to remember the sound by putting one set filrther away.) How to play 1:0 sit down. Your child picks up her chopsticks and echoes you. Identifying the sound Choose a lot of familiar. perhaps in the kitrhen. l. then search for its w'iinnll1shr's to grab rhe honc\'1'ot.vith :he saIne rhythnl.nisrers arc all suitable.istening to sounds Get your child to close her eves and try to identify what she can hear. dried beans and macaroni would all vmrk. sand in a container. One of the other childrt"n (or adults) tries to approach very honeypot. rhe l:Jiindf()ldcd plJy-cr the hlindfold to him the match. pLlstic pots with lids. A moving sound Use something that makes a very soft sound a clock that ticks. Norhing should be too large. Another plaver grab the pOL If a player manages tvvo sets of containers. Sit back to back. Rhymes and songs em also teach children the order of the 1lrhabct and it's fun and mst.game is to collect a number of different object' that would make a sound. The echo game You ciap a rhvthm and your child b:1ck . You pick up your spoon and glass. from about the of t"vo on. and continue until they don't want them any more.You must move very Cjuietly. Games to develop listening skills Other games can develop listening skills plays an important role in dcwloping speech and in helping the ear to become Tocused on fine in sounds. hide then-:t behind d or ask your child to put on a blindfokL Pour water iuro a glass.incr. he can first sort the cards. The follmving 'Nill :ell help your ehiid to listen. Ask your child to close her eyes and point at the sound while you rnoYe around the room with it. Clapping game This is a favorite of mine and one that is easy to wote. then inside her body and so on.You pick up your (say) chopsticb and tap a rhythm.rucnve to them otten with your child vou can start domg these as early as possible. If the that then tries [Q Collect eight idmticaJ wi. although it's no sllhtitme for direct contact with you. put the lid on a S:1u(cpn. If your child to point at you then it is her turn to make the sound.. Identify each pair by pntting matching colored dots on the bottom of the conuincrs (This will enable her to check whether she has idcmificd the p.]iri correcdy. Sound boxes i\ge: trom about You will need on The bear and the honeypot You need at least three people to play this ganle.

Learning hovv [0 pour can be Ha\'ing the abilir:. Through Incorporating wrlting i( E WAY PREPARl!'lC 59 . i\s vour child gets older remember to look om for "grown-up . they won't go allover the floor. then increase tht' difficulty.g only a Song and rhyme tapes These can be lovely to lisren to. You can now do the same activity but using water. then decide what they are going to draw and try to represent It. she will knO\y that she needs to try next time. however.vith vour child.ir. Have a cloth nearby so that she can wipe up the . will help her eve focus on a shape direct her hand to try and Sound lotto are many good sound games 'l1ch as sound lotto. Drawing Your child will have begun to draw using crayons when she was about 18 months old. "As soon as she is able to pour.nd give it a namf'. PUt • Show her how to cut up her own fruit. pour just enough into a pitcher to fill three cups. to learn how to butter her own te-w fingers to accomplish bread.. Make sure vou limit the amount of butter in .r to pour things for herself w111 allow her to take Clre of her own needs: can have drink when she is thirsty. Have them on a tray so that if any beans spill.ore control she gains over her hands.. her art will become more representational.trcngth anct substitute pencil and her hand h3hit of uc:. You will need to demonstrate how a knife is held and carried. Using two small pitchers. encourage her to use her uc. Start with soft such as knife. particularly on journeys. Cutting up your own fruit can lead to a greater wiHingness to have a go at acquiring other new skills..ome fairly large beans in one and encourage your child to pour from one pitcher to the other \vithout . Begin wid1 . pour ingredients into "mcepam and do many other things that require rhat kind the same time the m.. step at a . When your child is between tour and five. Encourage her to repeat these activities as often as she likes. such as reading and writing. The patterns and shapes that she draws 11at11ralare lines and circles.yarer if she spills iL ABOVE Being able to do things for yourself gives you confidence. She \'vill be very serious about responsioiliry very enjoy being allowed to do something as "grown up" as cutting fruit. The knoh heromes develops .omething simple. then where tIngers must be \vhen you use a blade to chop fruit. ChiJdrt'J1 will first draw something ~. Puzzles Look around ror puzzles that have knobs on each of the pieces. Pl'Ie:p. See Chapter 9 for a list of [t'commended COlnnlC'rCl:111y There are many things that you can shovv' her ho\v to do that: \vill give greater inncpcnc1CDce. put .. similar skills she could learn. These can be very useful because they enwunge child to ht'f Writing patterns 1nto arnvork can be a very worunvhile activity. Slowly.rritl2: the hand for writing Before vour child can be her hand well enough to write she must have lots of pracnce in guiding it. .. Using a finer grain such as rice.vfmmd skilL~nd by looking around your home you will discover many other.pilling any beans. Children need actlvities that will help them to move their hands more precisely and carefully. Now ask your child to pour the rice into the egg cups. [he easier it will be for her to control them when wishes to write. then tries to draw it. . which she will c\Tnmaily usc to control a pencil. poetrv tapes. you can suggest that she looks at real objecr with you. begin these anivities from as young as 18 monrh'). or runs out of rice. tor rhumb and index finger. and help to expand the nnge of nursery rhymes and songs that vou can sing or sav . Show her how to her own truit.Try to give your child some pouring to do at home. rf she ends up with rice. You can P EPA R I ~ C rnilk on her cereaL \vater plants.

Pbydough or clay great tlJn to use and CJn also help dexterity.-::uued Finger painting Age: from around . With a small pllncwre holes at intcryals .-\\ . \Vhen the design is complete. nunlber of different . .the more easily your large piece of paper and pm it on the table over the design. 1['S probahly best done on a formica table or on tray. pots. show her how to fill in the holes right around the perimeter.. At this stage you can either start again with another dollop of paint or Upl Dough Of Clay child wi\! learn them.n100th the design with her hand and start again.. use the]TI to make picture frames for drawings :md other. \Vatersoluble paste (the kind usually llsed to bng \valipapcr works \v(11). Sewing There are J. Ask your child to draw a picture on some muslin. .t.)ct1ce \vriting \virh her tlngers (:111l0ng other things) I If she doesn't like what she's done. whatever comes co IniEQ. Always remember to go from simpic stitches to those that are more difficult. similar uses.\!lake sure the lines follow the way in which the should be \. so that it takes a print of the ['aiming. Now she can PT.J] Show vour around the perimeter of the child how to a thick tapestry needle with yarn and how to put the and thread in and om of the holes. mro + Roll om long sam:lgcs :md form letters.. she Cl. + Draw shapes such as circles and squares on a 6(1 P l~ E P . Like finger paiming (and for much [he same rcason'. Paper. stitches. Show your child how to toll spherical sbpes and sausages. houses.. l~ I N G T E \V AY PREPAKINC T w.)tion. vvhich she can thread in and om of the holes. Make :mimals..3 on You will need Liquid or powder paint.! and [each her how w make the different ABOVE The more things you can think ofto do with tetter shapes . vertical. Buv cloth holes already it (Binea or Aida.ry have her sew the picture. however. Later draw the letters of your child's name in the same way and ask her to sew them. Use patterns that are based on formed: the \V:lY letters Stirals: (ircles)" scmi[irries.including sewing them . and you can create a picture of your efforts when you've finished! l'vl. .:1 . such as a formica table or tray. Children :llld tloor surfaces should be \ve11 protected! How to Play ABOVE You can use finger painting to create writing patterns .vritten (see the diagranl on·rage Put a cross where you waTlt the sevving to begin. If you're worried "hour using needles and thread. Put it into an cmoroidc. . /\ clean shiny surtace. and s!..ix the paint wlth the wallp:lper paste until it has the consistency of thick Put a few large spoomfnl on the shiny surtace and ask your child to spread it around. Once she's got the hang of this.it's even more fun than crayons and feit-tip pens.J.practice your child will graduaJly learn to make all the )Crokes necessary to torm Once agam. Encourage her to incorporate them into otJ\vlngs. lake :l heavy piece of paper using a thick pen.. don't make her draw writing p:1ttcrns without some other purpose attached.)niVlties your child can do to develop good hand-eye co()rciin. Start her off with shoe laces.

lnl'('r -bulld one upon the other. and manv of the books you enjoy together will be .lrc rhelf "". Move~ble i Alphabet thcughts.md the .'Y1onrcS)ori cbssroom (or children's house. but it docs pw\-ide you with some basic tools which help you to interpret the map more acCUr:ltC]V. you will hear sound you need to make. Only one object can be identified as the correct answer Level 3 Initial sound.D l~EADINC . Help her recof. For eXllmple "b" should be '\ol1ndcd as in tub. one object at a time.41< with any objects or any words.t>.nrclligihlc. so if you're careful with .icrcst1m. We call them "keys" to reading and writing.Thev should shurt. Age 3'1. This game will help to make yom chlld aware of the sounds that make up words.-3 --------that you have taken the first steps toward giving your child the foundation she needs to become a good reader and writer. When we want to make sense of a map we look up the to help llS make it more .he sounds the rest is eaw. These wlll help her to recogsound rhymes. there are some games you can play with her that will have a more direct impact on her acquisition of these skills.... IVlaking use of a key provides you with additional help if vou want to make the best use of the map. no opportunity Age 2'. The following .. The object does not have to be "spied. the Sandpaper Letters ..the Sound Game. A key doesn't give you the whole picture. you FIR n hen u up Note that "c" and "k" sound the same..6 Age 3 'h .. choice of two objects or more..." Take a sound and think of as many words as you can that contain the sound eitrer at the beginning or end of the word or have the sound somewhere in Age 4'/'. you can play vanety of games to focus her attention on them and to raise her awareness of the role that sounds play. In playing these games you wiH accompii. The activities in this chapter are those that you would find in any good . choice of part ~f room or wh~le room.vard to actiVIties that ll1ay appeJ. Many objects can be identified with the same initial sound. • Help her begin to develop the correct hand movement for .. it is one of the most important ways of prcraring her tor both writing and reading.CHAPTER FOUR ps toward reading and the moveable alphabet Level 1 for mistakes How the sound game inter-relates with the sandpaper letters and Initial sound. Help her use her own writing as a bridge to first in spoken vvriting.C .torV books which have rhvme and rhvthm in them and some will be poetry and rhvme books. Sadly. which will be important later on when she begins to read since she wlll be able to predict many of the words she comes across because she knows they rhyme. Nlake sure you say the sounds correctly' Your child will use the skills she develops in this game to help her sound out .ND \VRITiNG lRST ps TOWARD RE:\DINC j) Wit! T! J'.h the f"ilmying: of sOlmds :md .he tIrst words she writes and reads. The word "key" is very important: it is something that gIves access to things. many alphahet books and pictures do not ponrav all the sounds accurately.r n10re tJn1iliar to you.. as Nlaria \10ntcssori called it).. SJndpilper Letters Age 2 '/. In ~ddition to this wav of listening to sounds and rhymes.. A reallv helpful "key" is one that proyides you ' I 'NiH have created a Vel-Y sound basis tor literacy. Don't be [en1pted to hurry thenl or skip tor'. not >lbu" as in rat mil! m hum russ at buzz witb just enough basic information to help you to find things out tor yourself. but don't 11ll. 1nd then in and Sound Chart a at b tub on i huh! i in 0 on v have w win The sound game Age: from 2 p tap quit r 5 c tack d mud e egg f off g peg fudge tack x fox yes Raising your child's awareness of the sounds in her language i What you need to know You \vill have already begun to read with your child.I>o.. .' Initial sound. Help her use symbols to write her Level 6 or 3 as appropriate. Playas otten as you can.'TIize the symbols that represent those sounds. If you can think of words where the c<'n'lon/mrs come mainly at the end of the word and vowel sounds at the beginning.'-'" in the devclopmc'nt of your child's abilitv to read and write.'V!ovc:lh1c '~':f. Check through [he books you have at home to make sure that objects chosen to represent the "bun.4 '!.. Raise your child's the way that words are made up of units of sounds. and you should try !lot to have much of a vowel sound to tollow. ~rhey 11lay appear to be very easy.. If I she 111dSter these three sinlple activities.'l I STEP') T0\VAJ. ..

" Confirm that she is "p" for "pen. What you are building in her is an a.un toucbing heginning with . 0 spy something in my hand beginning with 'p. Don't panic! Children at this have no idea that words can be speiled from the they .." There are six levels [0 the game: level 1 can begin as early as cwo and a and levels 5 and 6 should be played at around four and a half to live. bow words are spelled. and in Austraiia. you should still begin with level 1 and move her at her own pace through the different leyels of the game.'" Change the object and place where it can be round to can you give the last sound of the following words? mat dance bench tap level 1 of the Sound Game helps your child to (onnect sounds with familiar objects . Level 1." Once you 've mastered .here the sound "b" with balL Start with just one object at a time so that he won't get confused. Can you give the first sound of the following words? I is older than twO and a half when you start.only mi. wilt need to decide ifthere is a difference between the sounds "or" I and "au.YJ1TnCSS of rhe different sounds as they are heard in your own language or dialect. Even if your child TEPS TOWARD RE/\DI G \ND \VR 1 G FIRST STEPS TOWARD lZE/\J)ING D WR1TINC ..)"cp1"C)entcd is "x" which should sound does in "fox" not as in xylophone I train play chip sleep leaf path pie sky with loaf window ue blue shoe zoom er 00 dog pamper house shoe fetch d-o-g bottle b-o-t-t t-u-f s-i-n-s p-a-r-u-t qu-ie-e-t I ....rne and put them on a table in from of you.. Engiish in all i[s various dialects is a llor1-PllorlCClC Llnguage.. and hold it out to show it to your child. :2 on What you will need cat chop knock acorn owl ai ou bat ch think center phone australia th I Gather together a few objects which your child can na. which is based on "I spy.." "v" and "w:' Purpose To help your child to hear inciividlJ:ll sonnas at the of words. Common digraph sounds in fnglish* Can you give all the sounds in the following words? ai correct. so be relaxed and usc your o\vnjudgment as to how they should sound. In the beginning avoid ohjects that '>fall with similar sounds. (perhaps hand) She will quickly grasp the rules of the game and happily tell you the names of the objects fOLYou will rrobahly need to of the g~me for several \veeks beti:.l'v1any other sound combinations will crop up as you stan to explore language wirh your child. (perhaps ring) 'f something I am waving heginning "h"' .'" Your child will say ·'pen.re she actuallv makes the C0nnccnon the sou~d that you say and the sound of the object you have 65 is pronounced "z'" hard part for you will be listening to the sounds and forgetting (for the moment). you ready to play the Sound Game. (perh1ps cup) sounds ch ee th ie th oa : her fir turn cook p-a-m-p-er tough h-ou-s sh-ue f-e-ch since parrot quiet "I spy something on finger beginning with . (perhaps doll) "I spy something f cill these digraphs. The sound that is most corr!r. you yvill also need to ng ring ou pout clown or far raw sh fish caption oy boy spoil ar car * Parents in the United States and Canaaa. ABOVE lamb window ch p cage party books m oa ee cake "I spy something on the table beginning with "d'" .. New Zealand and South Africa.he art of hearing "nd articulating the sounds of your language.inee thcy yet. How to Play Choose one of the objects. tor example a pen. such as "p" and "b. Let's practice! Cover over the letters in each of the right-hand columns below and practice sounding the words in the left-hand column..

bag. If she says "ball. tor example. basket. move on to another sound. peg. puppet. bottles. since this has been what has been expeCTed should .Er." Say it slowly and Now help her to listen to the sounds of the other objects until she finds "bag. You can now become much more subtle and show her objects beginning with similar sounds. ball does begin with 'b: but I asked for something that hegins with 'b' and ends with 'g'. of course. hag. alt beginning with the same letter but ending with different ones . or cup :md mug. YOIl play with three objects. for example hall.. Once she has to introduce her to (See Sandpaper Letters on pages 69-70 of this chapter). watch and van. How to Play sounds (this could be. Purpose help your child distinguish one initial sound an ocher. "I spy something beginning ·'m. hut as the gameproceeds over the you em choose with similar inicial sounds.' " BELOW it's important to help your child to listen for both first and last sounds in a word: in Level 4 of the Sound Game. look for a variety of objects in the room that share the same sound . ball and bracelet. balls and on). Continue changing ~hc objecrs bm onlv and build two at anyone time. As soon as LEFT In level :I of the Sound Game. books and balls. bottle. ring. and you to hear hO\v well she distinguishc< «)Unds. What you do will depend on vour child and what help she needs for this sLage. To increase the place three objects in front of her to having as many as five I I things over there by the that hegin with 'b. you can lTIOve on to Level objects at once.You don't have to insist on your item being found. enough items have been named. or pen. "I spy something on the table (or in part of the room) that begins with 'b' and ends WIth 'g:"To begin with she may take a little time to learn [Q listen to the last sound.rc. and so on). then gradually move to the whole room or outdoors in generaL She can now take turns "l. for Level 4 Age: around 3 What you will need At this stage you will need to temporarily cither to a collection of objccts or to a part of the environment as in Level 3. tor car and a motorbike.~oIunrccr ~ome more and have her join in . How to Play Choose area of the room or :nck." be positive in your response.here you'll find "b" is weH represented in bird. Choose enough objects to keep it Purpose Level 2 Level3 Age: around What yau will need What you will need i To help develop your child's awareness of ofall the sounds in words is essential of the game can be played is and is closest to "1 good one to plav on car tired ofit before your child You say. books. In the begmning the initial sounds should be contrasting." objects you have gathered from house. now has to make a choice. as in the photograph. me the photothis game') "1 spy ABOVE For Leve! 3 of the game.:gard1css of whether you choose a coileccion of objects or parr of the room. She will otter only one word. bracelet.·vz.. To make your child aware that many objects may begin with the same sound. Move to other parts of the room or garden. R.vith you to choose the sound for the objects and. and a sound that r"presents than one ohject in it. Now move on ro anmher sound in the same or a different Rememher you are not asking her ro search for one object rhar you thinking of ~ut any item with that sound. Purpose does. let's listen to the last sound in ball. \Vhen she appears to be heginning to listen to sounds. you can show him two contrasting sounds.DfNG AND -\}lR1TI~ FIRST STEPS TOWARD READING AND WRITING 67 ."'ieh you (basket. you can begin to play "I spy" in the more conventional way. and ask him which one is which. i sounds are the same but whose last sounds are different. "Yes. (If you run out ofimpirariol1.ehmen. you will be looking for objects whose ipitial instance ~'c" for car and ~·m" for motorbike. 66 I TEPS TOWARD R.

How to Play conC1nue a tree High in a cree I sa"v a t1ea Ask your child to SOrt the pinures occnrding to the wav rhyme.hink of all the words that have the sound "m" in them somewhere. know all the sounds in 'cup: let's tlnd all the sounds in 'pan: then 'corree. mug Bat. Have fun! Note Remember to use the ages given above as a guide only to at your child's pace. mat. boot and car stage should follow on natun!1y +rum the one betore. For \vord is "cup·' and she has idtCnrifitCd that it begins with "c" and ends in could say. Ask her [0 Sorting pictures that rhyme or begin with the same sounds Once again a mail order catalog can be very Cut OLlt groups of objens rhyme and that are familiar to your child. for example "m. Think of a sound.vill be helpfill when she word. instead of spying things that begin with a sound.'cts.A.J (. High I saw lJ1 Levei6 What you will need a Nothing! Purpase designed to use all the knmyldgc 68 A~D (your child says ·'bee·' or '·knee" objects that begin with the same sound.. hat.. or "Uea" or anything else that springs to mind) WRITrN r PS TOWARD RE. 111inin"lUlTi. C-u-p. If good at drawing. She will need to this level before using the !\10vcablc Alphahet (scc page 76 of this chapter). Inventing poems You can invent some funny nonsense rhymes with vour child ."\ spy something that <0\111ds like jug:'The answer maybe or "rug. You could also lIllX all LIp and play rhyming snap. For Jug. van find the that doesn't rhyme.You know vour child and will be able to make the appropriate judgmem. I saw a bee saw me And flew on to my l. For example: Jug.1ti\·elv.Once she has mastered listE. Once your child can readily find a word that begins and ends with a particular sound.encied m piay"1 Chapter 9 would be 'lJltahlc."The answer could be etc.evels Age: 4'/2 What you will need Nothing at all unless you wish to use objects. sounds move to the whole environment and take it in turns to search for the objE. "m" at the end: farm. always giving the and last s011nds. chain Pan. rug.:D R! T J "-." Alternatively.:G /\f'. ." Now t.'" Gndmlly become longer longer. Book.. to play It said tee nee And then bit .DING FIRST S PS RD READI!'. This and write. Using all your pmvers of invention vou now to p13y with the sound" in words." two of you slowly say the word and so LInd. "Let·s listen to all the sounds say it slowly. Stop and listen for all the sounds in the with fairly sl10rt words. and the two of you can h:ve lots of fun more and more difficult words to sound OLlt.. ask her to idemity [he pICture that starts with a different sound to the others.'crs. mug and bat ball. you can play this game L1sing one group of pictures only :rnd in a single picture that is the odd one out.ltions game more More games to help vvith sound recognition I spy rhyming words This is a simple game where."m" :lIlj"evhere w1thin them: n1arm:lJadc) nUITther. Purpose help your child to analyze all the sonnds in a skill that .. mlmch. To make the try to tlnd illmtr. "I spy IOmething that rhymes \yirh bee.'ning to the initial the last sounds for 0bvious objE..You have stopp::d spying the objens :md think of any words that you like. Odd one out Once you vour child is able to judge ~dding which sounds rhyme. For example. cat plane. Think of words with "m" at the beginning: mat. you could draw your own pictures of familiar nbjcCIs. P. C-u-p. mother. Books You can Llse any beautifully illmtrared book to most of those rCCCOITllTl. clnlm. etc. ham. you find things [hat rhyme with word.. On another day you could do the same for initial sOllnds. Some children will manage to listen to the sounds easily and quickly while others will take some will not need to progress in such a steIP-b.v-step wav.. Did you hear the sOLlnd after 'c'? Let's say 'cup' again.this often appeals to her sense of humor.bern.

or digrllphs. although untortunately they can often be spelled in several .ririn<~ where there are more represent them). task wIll be overwhelming :lIld instead of helping her vou will slow her down and even hinder her There is currently much debate as to what kind of letter shapes children should learn.ake the lerters. You will need to make a set of letters· for your child to learn. comonants and digraphs. . you will be safer placing the letter centrally on the board. or follow the suggestions given as it is IO learn the "ball and stIck" does not the end need to learn everything tI. The color distinction will help your child to become a\vare of the between of letters. too' If you know that your child is right. which you should be able to find at your local hardware swre. Often a child who strugges to remember the letter visually \vill reme:nber it immediately when she is encouraged to feel again. the letter Jccordingly. if you try to give evelY' possible digraph th. which you could use w JTl. In this way new learning becomes more straightforward. or In some languages "y~' is a vo\ve1. there are approxim:ctclv 40-45 differcl1t sounds. However.. therefore. In addition to receivIng m"X1mum sensory input to help her recognize letters." In digraph instead of a single letter. Indeed_ ( hilde''''l they or. research has now show-n us that children can learn to read very well. It is important to wait until she has reached this stage: whenever we learn something new.. she evil! find it easier to understand that the lerter or symbol you wish to teach her is simply the way the sound that she already knows is written. In the it was felt to be important to teach a :Cenci write printed letters in the first instance. tor In North l'\merica and Austrdlia." Choose the spelling that seems most common or appropriate for your child's early reading when you create your digraph letters. IdentiJ:Ying these sounds. the letter can be placed more to the right (tor a right-hander) and more to the left (for a lett-hander). New Zealand and South A!Tica an additional digraph "au" may be userlil. and will forn1. your child will have both a visual and tactile experience of the letter. learning. even if thev do learn WIth a more cursive style ofletter." Make the following letters: Ilowels (blue hackgrouncl)' a e i a u (y) i(lI1S0nants In using this approach. The lerters should be enougb to allow her hand to get a really good feel of the shape of the letter. The sound would be represented by the word "awful" while the "or" sound would be rq::rcscnt:cd by"tork. can also be spelled "cake" or "reign" or "plav.for the sound "ai" as in train.) You will need to mount the letters on board or thick cardboard. since it tests on foundation of previons experience.cn will not tonn primed letters should be wntten because rather them JS a line rhey see a circle and . This can bc very di±Iicult to undo ae a stage when I~ i 70 fttST STEPS TOWAR l~EADIN AND WRITING IRST STEPS REA D ! N CAN D Y!J r IN (. and vou should have three colors of crrdboard to distinguish berween vowels. couid be moumed on blue. the more her hand will "know" how to stan and form a letter when writing it. and in . Choose colors that appeal to you but make sure you continue to use these colors for the ocher lener games in the book. her hand is (pink hackground): bed f g hj kIm n p (q) r s tv 'vV X (y) Z Note It is impornnt to give your child only what is essennal to her writing and reading. she is ready to begin to idemify the letters of the alphabet. This creates a wider space on the board for the child to hold it steadv with one hand while she traces over the letter with the other. HO'wever. these letters are made from the finest grade of sandpaper.) check the Digraphs (green background): qu sh th oy au 00 ee ie oa LlC ar er or eh Making the letters TraditionJlly. Vowels. You should make sure. and !Tom a substance that is tactile because you will teach her to feel [he shape of the letter as well as to recognize it visually.. which means she will use more than one sensory channel to receIve information and remember it. Equally. since they are used to seeing prim of all types around them and have no dit11culty in translating one style letter to another.]t exms. COllSOTums on pink and digr:lphs on green. The sandpaper letters Once your child can play the Sound Game at level 3. The important thing is for your child to be able to experience the tactile quality of the letter. if you prefer you could also make them from velvet or even a coarse-quality paper. then when she was older [0 teach her to \vrite with a more 01[SlV(:. that each letter can be telt in the way that it should be written. (See Chapter 3 if you want sounds they make.. how each letter is formed. well in of actually writing letters..or left-handed. children will re-quire addltional help.containing lots of derail and a variety of objects. (There are ternpbtes in Chapter 9 of this book. depending on the countrv in which it is being spoken. If you are unsure whether she is right.vice.1 stick (hence the description ball and snck).'q" is ahvays f011o\yed "'u. new research shows that it is just as easy h·1T1rh. English is non-phonetic and. above. The more practice a child gets at feeling the letters. so if your child is secure with the sounds hears the beginning of a word. can be very helpful. instance. non-phonetic Ibng:13gcs joined-up hand. we build or gratt it on to existing knowiedge.or lefthanded.

!' STEPS TOW/\RD READING "~ND WRITIN psT 0 W i\ R D R j) 1 ~ c. Don't be disappointed if she is unable to say them at t:. If vour child seems unable to the letters the end of the first lesson. To play this game you will need to [he three-period lesson described in Chapter 2. They can easily learn these after they have mastered lowercase letters." Feel the letter and say the sound oIthe letter (not the name) and help your child to do the same." This is how we write "c.. make sure she is feeling them correctly. Stage 2:This stage is the longest one hecmse Teaching your child Sandpaper Letters Age: about 3-3 (when your cj-.nes hdorc they begin to shmy you that they remember the letters yon arc ~eaching them. Try to avoid teaching your child to write in capital letters as her first experience. don·t be negatIve m any way. Ifvou can manage to find 10 minutes a day to play thIS game she will soon be contldcnt about r('cognizing the letters.ll l. lYlake sure you are mung beside your child and not opposite she must always be able to see the letters the right wav up. (In addition you may wish to look at Chapter:) to choose letters that come tram the same writing group. I t ~ ( . but. Some children rrecd to play the game a llnmhcf of ti. conson:mts digraphs rogether. :\. card etc. ! whole thing again or she will swiftly feel some sort of compu1sion to '"get it righe" Don't go back to the same letters next dav either. rtdapting it as outlined helmv to teach the letters..:. Begin by plaving Sound Game. Try to play the game when she requesIS it . cup.) You can join in to help. £Iowmg movement with your right hand if she is right-handed and do the reverse if she is left-handed. If your child has very poor hand/eye coordin:lrion. Usuallv capitals present no problems tor children as there arc many ways of writing them correctly. It is important that she does not find feeling rhe letters too difficult. don't risk turning her otf Deemse of your own expectations. you mmt stop and wait unnl she is l During the lesson cncourage your child to feel the letters as orten as pOSSIble. Now shmv her the letter "c.You may want to choose them from the same writing family (see Chapter 5) .she \vill progress much faster if she has chosen to do the activity herself. asking your child to spy am·thing beginning with (Cat. They will determine the ease with which children will forrri a good flowing hand later on.miing activities of her life. Be positive and use praise at all times. It is lowercase letters that require careful learning. then your child should follow the direction indicated by the the index and mIddle fingers of your writing hand (use the hand she wii! write with: these will be the fingers she will use to guide a pencil later on). Stage 1: Choose three letters. offering Sandpaper or velvet Le[ters that will prepare [he eye and the hand for both writing and reading. It may also be usefUl to add a line at the base of the board so that your child knows which way up to it.) Choose a moment when your child is ready to sit down for a while.. Having fully helped her to achieve so much in such a short space of time. Make a point where vou scart and complete ac:t1()n in one smooth movement. How to Play I !ii'.the correct formation ofletters. continue to practice the activities in Chapter 3. I) V/. can help to remind her thaI when she is ready to play the letter game she Just has to teil you.jld can do level 3 of the Sound Game and while she is intensely interested in touching things). So if she seems nnimercstcd. so it is worthwhile [Q begin at Ihe right moment. Feel them in the way that they are written (see the diagram opposite). So have your left hand hold the letter steady and trace over the surface in one . Feel it. For each lesson choose letlers that sound ditIerent and look different. Do the same for each of the other letters.':te end ofLl)e first time you play the game. You must not risk giv-ing your child a sense of tailure just as you are about to cmbcuk on one of the most rcvv. The dot marks the place to start.--.for example: "c~'H'dn and "a.. simply choose three ditIerem letters. using BELOW It is important to fee! each Sandpaper letter in the way it is written. Ifvour child is left-handed. Don·t go back to the beginning of the lesson and try to repeat the How to feel the letters Feel lerter using the index and middle fingers of your dominant hand. you should them with your left hand. Teach only Ihree leIters :my one time and mix vowels. and never force her to learn the letters.mooth.

If she is unsure of any letters prCViOllSh. letters vou should do so :1nyway. Perhaps. you are and by Making an alphabet and other books Write one of the letters your child knows on a pIece of paper and look through pictures and she can rf'nlC'rnlicT. Whatever the reason. and if you are still on ievci 3 you could ask her to spy objects beginning \vith the sounds of the letters she recognizes. Be inycntivc 'and have fun I Some examples: Touch "m" and make her feci pleased she rernernbcr Put over here them. encourage her to teel it and repeat the sound.reen rooms collecting and feeling the letters you ask for.vith your J'vlix the letters up each time to add excitement to the game and to help her really look tor the letter you are If she does not want to feel the asking Letters and actions Hide some of the letter cards in the room and ask her to find each one..vaVI return [0 idcntitlcd letter I ABOVE Once she's got the hang of letter shapes and sounas. you can move on... STLPS TO\X/:\R RE:\DI0JG AND \\1R1 NG IR. Perhaps your child could choose a letter and ask YOLl the question I do this. The letter "c" is going to be illustrated by sticking down a picture of a crown and a cat. If she gees muddled. enCO\lr:lge her to feel it Jnd see if this Jogs her memory. T-shirts and magazines. she has at least three years to make this connection.Your child is unique and vou need to sense how long she needs to feel confident of recognizing the letter you are asking for. so you must not see it as a disaster. Again have a set of these the group once it has been felt. If Reinforce what your child knows Each day. she letters handy. Be p~rient.ST TOWARD READING A0JD V/RITI G 75 . This can be very encouraging tor her.-1I")"'r5 \vhich one it is. then h'lppilv close. She can tiptoe back and forth betv. Remember you will be continuing to play the Sound Game while you are introducing the Sandpaper Letters. Feel the letters and her the names again."ememher. or request the last letter you t01.i\l. Come back to it bring lesson to another day. Ask your child to collect objects from around the room that have the same sounds as the letters she knows. Choose only one letter and ask her to collect as many objects as possible begin with sound. Each one of us requires a different :lmount of practice time we learn new. and continue . don't worry.learned. before teaching your child any new letters.sk at random for the letters. If she does not . which will help to encourage her even more. the letters she knmvs. always go over the ones she knovvs ctlready so that she can see the hum of her efforts. l'. LEFT Making an Alphabet Book is easy. Children very quick to work out patterns and ~ysten1s~ Stage 3: Point [() one of the letters and ask your child if she C(." jump to "1. using their sounds.your child needs time and plenty of repetition in order to 4<:. both cut auf of a magazine.1011'. if she is interested. say It for her and don't dwell on the fact that she rouldn·t tell you "vhat it said. include them once again in [he next lesson but still keep to a maximum of three letters at a time." tiptoe to "oy" and so on. Encourage her to feel around (he edge of :my sees on posters. point out some of the letters she knows. too. Whenever possible encourage her to feel the letter in the way that it should be written. EncOlJr:Olgc her to put the object next to the correct letter card. Perbps you didn't spend enough the sound and shape in the first stage: perhaps she lost interest. Each time the letter is COH('Ctly. Focus on the letters that she can remember cDCOUT:Jging her to learn a more. Ask her to match the sounds (and letters) to familiar objects in the house. This would mean holding up the letter card rather than saying the sound out loud. Where's "In" Hold·'t" Be cardLll not to follow the same order each tlme. "Can you find 'to' " Place the letter cards around [he room and ask her to hop to "m. you C. she may bring you several things beginning with "mOl in addition to a mug! Letters and objects Have a basket or bag of objects that begin with the sounds of the letters she knows and a set of Sandpper Letters corresponding with these sounds. you can encourage her to count the number she knows. to look at the letter you want.111 encourage her look at the pages of the book to see if she can recognize any of the lefters herself. Letters and books When you are reading books to your child. See if she can match the object with the correct letter..sociate the sound and letter shape together.You will need to More games to play to help with letter recognition You can play many games with the Sandpper Letters as they grow in numher. Ask in many ways but keep the instructions shorr :lnd simple. ~nc()l1rage her to feel Ie once more. The letters in this case have been written by an adult.encd. As the number of recognized letters increases. If she can·t.

lggCSfl0r.ings and and eventually as a mrunl physical thar you used wallow for the nowering of her creative writing will nor need to be used.mJg:lZHlc':S start with that be very useful out the her paste it to "page. only this tilne you need to some of the letters your child knows on :6 vital link £01' your child benveen reading and vvriting.ver of USIng to read. you can begin to find out how many she I The moveable alphabet .hat your child will spontancously begin to label dn\'. you buv them.npcr Letters. then you do it. Giving her letters that have already been prepared divorces the creatIve and expressive side of writing from the slower and more m-. and many of them have the leners 11phaber as separate insets.r in vvash::1ble ink.)cri.lly later on. Play the game in [he same way. you can begin to encourage her write down words. Get him used to it by encouraging him to take out and put back individual letters in their compartments. henefits In addition co the tha[ accrue to vour child from being able to writc as she begins w write using the Yiove:Jhlc Alphahet letters. !\ 01 I) \X/ R IT: :-J C. The jolly mailman NL:tke an envclope cach letter of the ('(len one to collect pictures These parhs will join wgether quite nat\1[. To begm with she will rememher what she has written and "teel" that she is reading.You can play withjusr three letters as many as your child knows. but you can also invent lots of games to play on it." If she her to draw her. • Preparing the hand to write letters fluently and easily (for which Leners: see Chapter 5). Your child must cx.\yritmg an opportumty to LEFT The Moveable Alphabet can be invaluable in helping your child recognize letters. Another version of rhis '\vould be to vvrite a \vord across the top of each section and paste in pictures of objects that with each of the letters of each word. she will directly experience which letters make way in and how that begin with that sound. We call it the :\1oye:.ind reading. (A mail order catalog for this.](ion vou have done and in her. You will have prepared hc:r well t-.'.vill progrcss along parallel lines for a while: in this way the actual act of handwriting.Your child different letters or could match objects to jump from one letter to another: or she could see ifshe could touch . game provides the Do VOLl of an arroyv you place your feet on a colored on a pbying m:lt \Juril onc pbyer could no longer stand up..ble Alphabet. The act of swries and poems for rf"rm:lnence and therefore importance to vvhat may other. sentences J. spoken and forgotten. The resr I leave up to you! You will find that within very short period of time your child will be co recognize many of the letters of the by playing just two simple games: rhe Sound Game and the S:md. FiR S T TCW/\l:-z. po\. can think of that begin with the letter.visc be prim goes from lefi: to right and from top w bottom.:e for herself the leave messages. jigsaw puzzles There are many different jigsaw puzzles JV:libblc objects and iOY\'crca".Jl letters of her name in one go with aU the parts of her body.cn.D RE!\D! WRfTING FIRST R D l=t E c\ D 1 :-J (. which needs practice and repetition. .r writing . use tile Sandpapcr I wi[h speech and. Encollr:1ge her gndmlly to build up her own alphabet book. You will ±lnd .the bridge to reading and writing Once vour child is with aoout three quarters of the Sandppcr Letters.lhle Alpbhet). Some words will be rec<ogrllzcd as "sight" words. The t\vo parallel paths • Expressive and crearive writing.ln1e garne. Tie it together when it is finished so that it looks really nice . But one day as she is composing her stories vou will notice dut attemion co each word as she "reads" what has been put down. doesn't hold up her grovving ability to use language in its . It will give her .see some '\imple \"i. but this time call out rhe sound of [he letter that [he foot must land on. The development of both ofrhese arcas \.) If she isn'r able to cut herself.nd poems set of letters you have made for this purpose. in easy it is to make words by she will be very quick to make the leap between writing things dovrn and actlully heing able to back what she has written. Jigsawmat Sponge mats put together like jigsaw Fuzzles are lots of tun to build and play on.. and this is :1 boost to her a child who teels shc is a reader can become a reader. some worked out. Words that can be easily rccmcmbcred are being studied and pronOlmced more siowly. spinning the arrow. make sure [hat attached the objects the pictures reflect the sound the letter accuntely As your child gets better and bener fitting the shape of rhe piece into its socket. Cut out those objects letter. but let backing paper to make a able to. She has taken the magic step all by herself and now you have both an author and a reader.dcrdcvcJoped skill of writing by hand. which is a vital foundation for reading deld writing (for Wllich we use the !Viovc.he !viovC'aHc /\lphahcLTrust in all the prepar. you could encourage own pictures of objects she I paper circle on a n1J. This is the ~:. Write each letter at least once on each half of the circle. Then ask your child to to find (and paste under the letter) pictures of objects that start with the letter. Don't make your child read back any oEher work with .vritten form to express thought. Putting whole mat together can be great fun on its own.S for Chapter 9 book "Dd \vrire a letter at Make a top of each section.

You supply the letters your child needs if she doesn't k. you will have to write it down for her.) Take some letters out of the What you need to know This activity is fun.m0paper Letters. Gradu:llly.you can help me write a list. including some digraphs and cert:linly all the vowels.yOU vvill help your child to spell using other games that will appear later in the book. you must make sure you write it down using the correct spelling. IS Before you play the game Bring Out the box and playa game to help her find where each lener is. Remember that doesn't mean as they are spelled. While you are +'11~niii'\1'i7ir'0' yourself and her with the letters. your child can move on to create words phonetically. If possible try w have compartments large enough to take each letter flat and glue one w the bottom of each space so it is easy to replace the letters in their correct compartment.4dult you find i Adult What did it start IRST STEPS TOWARD Show your child how to place it next to tirst le~ter. but as they sound. Working with the Moyeabk Alphabet encounges her to learn the remaining letters as she discovers that she needs them to write down the words thinking of. Playing the game The writing down of words should stem from a spontaneous conversation with your child and should be done tor a reason: all writing is purposeful. I The Sandpaper Letters: She should know three-quarters of the letters. so if your child wants a permanent record of what she has written. Child e How to make the mOlleable alphahet the same shape ofletter you used for the S. "Let's go shopping . The farther away you are. This aCIivity is coilaborative in the beginning. and your child \vill frustrated crying to use them.) Remember to out appropriate-colored dots tor tbe "j" and the Place the letters in the compartments of a large box (it needs to have :26 separate ones for the letters and an extra one Adult Can you tind e? Your cbjld finds it and places it on the table or £loor.vrire J menu for lunch or supper: or perhaps you want [Q leave a for a rebtive or remind yourself . She may sound it doesn'[ or e-g-z Inatter! Ask her for the first sound again: . wherever you are. /\ ~]) \YJ!t! ! ~ C . Cut Out 10-15 copies of each Use one color for consonants and one color for vowels. foods.ile you are busy doing other things have her find different letren trom the box for vou. the more fun it is. (It helps if they are the same color that YOll chose for the Sandpaper Leners. as you will protnbly need tnem. mix them up and ask her to find their "homes:'\Vl-. Move it to the just under the box. However. ABOVE When she can recognize and sort Moveable Alphabet letters easily. "j" have dot added to the top.if they are too small. i\ simple "yes" or "no" may be enough in the beginning. they become too hard to vvork vvirh. This is around level 5 of the Sound Game. Perhaps you might decide to wrire down the names of all her favonte toys. "Can vou find'm?'" "Let's if you know this one?" (This is a good indicator of how many letters she knows and may encourage her to set about learning the ones doesn't.vish to ".. Decide to vvrite your cbld a message which you will then read and she can WrIte ans. for tbe dots). you inay \. and people. Your may '1omcthing like this. as your child plays the other parallel games (Puzzle \Vords and Key Sound Envelopes. Let her ask you to do the same ching. Chapten 6 and 7) the words that she sounds out in the beginning will start to I box. point om which way is up on the letters and show her that the "i" and I be spelled more accurately. Take letter and see if you can find it in her favorite book. Don't worry about her speUing! This Ilttte gict is creating her favorite shopping list.hat the oven is on.ver. Spelling doesn't matter this stage . only slightly smaller (use the tcmrbres in Chapter 9 and reduce them on a photocopier). Make the letters a reasonable size . do vou think we needi r know. Link the letters in the box to the leners in the book.'lOW them. Have your digraphs nearhy. Be carerul not to ask tor rhe second WIth? READING AND WRiTING FI It 5 T S r s To \V A R l) REA D ! N C.1dult "\Vhat sound COll1es next?" Child "g"" UCdIl . Can you tell me the sounds in 'eggs?'" Your child should be able to sound Out eggs. What. eggs.r"Vhat your child needs to know before using the mOlleable alphabet The Sound Game: She must be able to break words down into their differem sounds.

Of course. She also nncter<.v.maiyzing the )ocmds in words she should be able w identifv that cwo letters go together w make a single sound. This is a magical moment and can happen as quickly as a few days after the first introduction to the Alrhabet. Silently you will see her lips moving as she confirms her kno\." that '~articL11ar word sounds. she becomeS aware of how words are tc)rmed .. Should your child produce a "z" for the last sound. By asking tor the "next" sound you can explain that the "next" sound must go "next" to the other letter. Give her lots of cncoungcmem..vas written by a child in a Monte"ori school when he was four and a halt~ using [he !\1m'CJble Alphabet.md try to choose shorter words to start with. \Vhen she Gn write easiiy and well. then be very and supportive. as your child becomes more practiced in her use of the .. /\mum iz cool and culrlill Thai raik leavz And maik homtlerz. Don't worry about capital letters this stage. that there should be a gap between each new word." but as we are now . accept i[ and carry on. Very soon you'll have a terrific list of words that you have written together." Don't encourage her to copy what she has written just yet. she will need you to read back whar has been written in the beginning. I I Dealing UJirh sounds such as "ch. and her attention seems different when she is reading. produce the S. she could illustrate what she has "written.mdpaper digraph and have vour child identifY the cwo letters [hat make this up. and if possible those that are mostlv phonetic tor tlrst few.md made. Reading has to make use of a number of additional srrategies. The important thing for your child to feel is that she is able to write easilv and tluentlv and that her is understood.rp rhat we analyze sounds. ofrhis age to have written. By taking out letters and putting them together.]blc Alphabet over a period of time.:. Prior to [his she learned these as" one picture. but try noc to suggest that she copies what she has written with the Moveable Alphabet as this will make a chore am of . if she sp()f:tancou<sly begins to i.~RD RE/\DING AND WRITI"z. as she seems to spend longer actually looking at the letters and linking them together imo a word..'metimes a good story can last three senrences and sometimes they much longer. however. Don't worrv about spelling at this stage.lhat autumn meant ! find herself able to do Suddenly yom child not only feels herseif to be a reader. bm the beauty of his poem remains pcrrr::mcmly with me.t:1Uc1S that she should place to him and how he would like to describe it. You will be surprised at the varietv and quaJity of what vour child may write with .you will hinder the creative development of her writing and limit it to a very mechanical level. This poem \. You should not be concerned with spelling at this stage. ." etc." Let's vVfite another word on our list. she is a reader! Her eyes will linger on words tha[ you have just read: her a[[emion will be caught by a single word. This process should he smooth and effortless and a i moment of rerncmbcring and the moment of reaciing. quietly thinking or. You \vill also notice her be cOIning lTIOre in recognizing '""\vhole" \cvords that she h~lS seen trcquemly in books or when she is out and 80 i FIR STEPS TO\V. Now you can encourage her to use the alphabet everv day. You will find that when your child writes with the !y10vnble ""'lphabet. ~4dult I real delight to your child who is truly able to write and e}"llress thoughts with very little erlort. Usually YOu can easily tell the difference between the I Look. Keep everything very simple and just watch your child become '\vriter:" Very quickly.henld simply This is a \'vondcrfully CfE"::ttlve poem for child LEFT Kum to mi party! Once she understands the principle of creating words from the Moveable Alphabet letters. she . If she cannot find a particular letter-sound corresponder:ce. He could have asked one of his teachers to be his scribe. The important thing for you and your child is that it happen> spontaneously.yledge of hOy.:he :\10vc. although often it takes longer.it would have taken too long and been too laborious for him. she WIll not wam to use the i\lphahct anv more and her ability to write well and creatively will quite natnnllv make it ohsolere.yloveablc l\lphabC't. simply give her the letter. I have long since lost contact with him.she will begin w study the words she has written and will stan to read . RST S TOWARD ! N G 1\ j) \'V R i T I 0: c: . .pontaneonsly. and that the gap is usually about the space of one letter. \Vhen these crop up. it's too soon for the hand to write accurately and at speed. Be delighted with her. Don't be tempted to use objects with the Moveable Alphabet .hem back to you . your child can have lots of fun writing messages for her friends.omething that is a ple:tsure. you've \. He could not have physically \vrittcn dovin the letters for this poem . You can write down poems and nursery rhvmes that you both know and gradually little swries . Throughout the game encourage her to take the lead as much possihle.vritten ·'eggs. them tram left to right. One day. she will become aware of a number of importam things. Sometimes she will "chant" the words she has written becmse she can remember them. she wishes.sound or the third sound: she will not have a concept at there being" certain numher of letters in a \ivord.:vrite you messages. Keep them handy so that she easily to them.." "oy. I hope I need not add that this poem was not the product of hIs teacher suggesting that the children might all like to write poem about Autumn! He chose to write it himself Please remember not to ask your child to read what she has written If we return to our vision of the two procf"ses of reading :md you will that yvriting is very close to speech and in the beginning simplv [(:qn. Choose another word or let vour child choose one. but I suspect [hat in order to write this poem he needeci to be alone.

..Write simple mt:'ssagcs to your her to wricc back. Beware. An error on the compllt('r can be quickly corrected. In addition. stage \Vhen your child has rcached described above. although speaking.i!.ADING I AaOVE Letter stencils can be employed in lots of ways and 5Iml. She 'Nill search for the right words to use. because computers also need a lightness of wuch and a knmdedge ofho\y 'paces." Encourage her to decorate the paper that you have written on so that the PS TOWARD RE.vould be ~ goml rime to begin to play the games in Chap[er 6 vvith her. are only two note is truly a collaborative venture two of you.har vou can use as your hecon1cs more proficient spelling. Labels for a book or ciothes shelf. such as those by Joily Learning."Tiring is not a chore. this . she wiil be keen to progress her reading skills. and this should be encouraged.":O il!. Perhaps she would like to include a picture or some "writing.. • A stOry abour ".. ht"c~use the words are \vritten clearly on each card. Sponge letters in the bath side of letters are fun as they stick to the bath. your child to send mcss.. are cleverlv done the letters can go in will order and your have to sound them out to get the word right. Junior Boggle This is an excellent game to encourage cbildren to form words.hat day. . how are you • A birthday greeting. Your child can write aD)vvcrs to questlOD) mch "Have your brushed your teeth?"H\YJhere~s your hlue bucker?" Magnetic pictures with words Well-chosen puzzles with \vords. The cards that come \vith the g. and you do not wish to extend the time your child spends in tront of the Children. wait a lide bit longer. . however. I Printing and stencils with letters Simple printing sets and stencils can help chiklren to their ovvn letters their o\.\ND WRITING FIRST STEPS TO\VARD READINC AND WRITINC . aware that she has become a writer. as a general rule.hat she has done t. Most children have an uncanny vvay of "knowing" many of the uppercase letters and once your child seems to recognize them easily. Ask her to dictate to you what she would like you to write for her.-Write down exactly what she then read it back to her so chat she can decide if she agrees with what is written. or Cards. needs to develop to a stage where accurate . Computers I I that involve Games to messages M(J'gm~tic ~')U letters on the (ridge may have to buy more than one of magnetlc letters to get enough vowels to chis work vvell. and as . a simple lesson in how to write messages using a computer can be useful. Unless you can find a keyboard wirh lowercase letters on it. A hello. the hand. however. child and Don't in a hurry ro introduce your child co the computer... As you play these games.about \vith you.]gcs to other people: .vn labels and mess3gcs. she is :lble to herself if she doesn·r quite manage to get it right. A thank-you card for presents received. watch the way which your child.:une have a huge nUlnber of phonetic words addition to othen . find that writing by hand is much qmcker tnan writing on screen to begin with.

The height of the table and the chair should allow her arms and hands to be a good angle to the tabletop so that her arms are free to move across the paper without being cramped or tense.:reC." A message sent from the six-year-old to rhe four-vear-old went as follows: "Will the person in the bottom bunk bed please not disturb me when he wakes up in the morning.e felt-rip pens. In addition to all the general preparations vou've been making to create a "readiness" to write. as she uses rhe Move~hle Alphabet to rom pose stories. Here.f You will need to observe which pencils your child seems to preier and which she feels most comfortable holding. if you begin by forming bad habits. though. you can now also start to help her write them.becomes aware of the liILi( bct\vcen storles and her own dictated story. Don't sit too close to her as this may cause her co swivel or turn her body into an awkward position.. allowing her to exerClse aesthetic choice. vou should now also concentrate on some specifie skills: handwnting is an art that has to be learned. The of the \~Tiring impleOlents should also vary as some chiklrC'n tlnd eaSIer to gnp a slightly rhicker pennl while others may prefer those that are triangular or hexagon:tl in sha]. you have given her a lot of experience and knowledge about books and how they work. Tom. Pend cases can be tun to use a little later on. Don't be cempted to cran. as and pens . you can encouuge her to plav all the above games by writing them herself. correcting them can take a lot of time and effort. As with anv skill. An received from one of mv own children is: "I hav left. a chHd has written a menu to accompany the family meal. blue and green! Pl'Ovick ordinary lead pencils and also S0l11. toO nlany and pencils into one container as [his will not I Think of as many ways as you can to encourage your child to write. You should also check that she is not sitting wo close to the table or lOa dVvav. but nO[ in the way of either the paper or her arm. she will begin to use story convention. Learning to write the letters begun co teach 'lour child to -A. Space Make sure there is plenty of space on the table so that pencils or crayons can be placed within Fr T c) WAR 0 REA D I ~ G :\ N 0 \V R I T I :"J G HE L . Because you have read to her so often.[1gTuze the letters of the alphabet. you ""ill be ::ible to help her acquire good handwriting habits and skills which wili stay \. but :. too. Many wili begin with "One day. The four-vear-old was able to learn more about the nature of the printed word and im:mc. to ask me to read it to him . j I reach." or even "Once upon a time .v1th her all her life. you will observe the way in which her language changes to a more authorial style rather than conversational. the tour-vear-old woke up early and realized that the "nO[e" must be for him. Children seem to develop strong preferences for colors at a \'ery early age and fJvorires are pink.It stage the pencils tend to be out and get ill the way or drop ott the [able. of vV!1ich wiii interiere with your child's abili[y to focus her anemion on the task. I : Storing pens and pencils pencils Have a container of some kind for well. He came to mv bedroom and woke me up at 6.111. you may need to seat her slightly higher so she can see the marks she is making over the top of her hand. She quite naturally assumes the role ofamhor. but with the right help at beginning. CHAPTER FIVE Your child's own writing When your child begins to write with ease (see Chapter 5)..nd leaving her fun messages should encourage her to leave you tun messages. Here are some points to bear in mind before you start." Wei!.a jar or beaker will serve they can be taken out and put back easily. These should vary in color. and an importJnt toward literacy has been :lchievcd. The points of the pencils should be sharp but not brittle. and that the had been received and noted! lCLl'sUlZed. If she leithanded. purple.30 a. A. The six-year-old felt happy and confident that he had expre'sen and conveyed his feelings in a nonverbal way. reci. i Writing tools I I I Provide a varierv of pens or pencils..diaicely even though he couldn't that the note was meant for him.I must admit I felt like adding my name to the bottom of the note as well! The act of writing (he note was heipful and benefieial to bO[h children. :' and the words "the end" can come very suddenly! Similarly. Posture Make sure she is sitting comfort:lbly at a table it's helpful ifher feet can reach the t100r.

ask her to put a little star at each corner on the undermat or paper to mark her position. Once she has found an optimum angle for her paper. For ex. You may need to help her place the paper in an appropriate position. Tty to keep this container and the p::tper that you have selected in place accessible to your child. Paper Whether you choose to start writing on paper or on a blackboard. If you really want to observe which pencil or pen works well for her. while left-handed children need the paper slightlv to the left in front of their left hand. failing this a large piece of blotting paper or heavv-grade painting paper may do. try to make sure that select is of good quality ." Your child may discoycr a hold ~hat \'IOrKS but has not tr.tmple. To encourage a good hand. A firm table mat can serve as a good surface to put under paper.a 5 x 7-inch will be about right to begin with. Light I Last of all. or a plastic floor tile if you have one large enough. Try not to have paper that is too large to manipulate . blunt end of the pencil along can be relatlVcly upright or of the child's forearm. She can then choose when she wishes to "write" by herseii:~ in addition to the rimes th:1[ you choose to wTite together. PencH hold Check that your child is holding the pen or pencil appropriately. Some children like to angle the paper: a right-hander mav angle the top slightly to the left and a lett-hander may angle it either slightly to the lett or slightly to the right. Usually right-handed children need the p~per slightly to the right of their body in front of their right hand.[NG TO WRITE RS LE:. she needs to be able to see what's on offer. If there are too many pens to choose frOln.R~I~G "[0 W/Rl r H E: L ERS K7 . you could encourage her to decorate it to provide markers so that she'll know where to position her writing paper.xtable one may involve [he shaft of the pencil resting between the first .nhor that there are several ways she can hold i[ most of us were taught that there was only one way and we either conformed to it or were told that we held it "incorrectlv.md second fingers rather than hetween the first finger and thumb. she will find it impossible to know which choices she has and will settle for whatever catches her attention. Decorating the If you decide to use a table mat or heavy-grade paper under the paper your child will write on. a cornf. Is there enough light falling cramp his hand. The imporolll to remc.there is nothing more frustrJxing than flimsy paper or a shiny blackboard. Any tension in the of the hand will not help her to write and may indicate that she is not holriing the pencil in the best pmition. R:'-. the surface being used should not be nor should your child be forced to press hard on it to make a mark. There are a number of acceptable holds: good one will usually involve her holding the pencil between her thumb and index finger v.1CiitloDally been acceptable.ith middle finger acting as support. good contro!.help her to make a choice. Don't anchor the paper in any way as she will need to svvivel i[ to suit the hand she is writing with. make sure that your child can see what she is writing.

When tormmg a print letter. children will tend to exert most prcs'Clrc on the pencil when tlnishing the letter on the ~iaschnc.vriting the purpose for which it is or crc.lre less likely to make letters look like you can see: Separate out ail the Sandpaper Letters your child knows.ners often lead children to look at the letters write them using what is called the ball and stick formula. and the followmg 3cti\'i1'ie5 will help her hand to develop naturally the kind of movemem req~lircd to write the letters. or left-handed? It's not always easy to teil if your child nghthanded or left-handed when she is very young. Instead of I'here heing 26 each of which is a distinct and separare shape.. fllrther from the point of the pencil if she seems to be having problems It."ihility ojjoining il1 rhcJirrurc. If she appc. I would recommend that you reach your child some torm of cursive scnpt trom the verY beginning for the following reasons.. as they seem to have got lost in letterbnd' l\sk her to be detective and find or YOLl may prefer to be the other more straightforward about your search! The isjasrer to write. ""rn-". The more practice she has. Ifh:lnd. but try to make sure she has a relaxed and comfortable body pO. and bad habits can quickly become C·'U·lJl. • If pmsihle arT3nge things so that hoth of her feet are on the ground. Sit her slightly higher on her chair so that her lett arm is able to travel freely across the paper.vriting? Having prepared yourself as carefuily as possIble you can now start to help her to develop good h:mj\vriring rechniques. (See the S:mdl'aper Letters on 73.YoLl can start playing them when she is able to recognize and feel many of the SandpaLeeters well.142).) b d. . the hahit of forming the letters in the right "vay.You might like your child to use whichever hand she to feels will make the best job of writing the letters. . . Be relaxed about whichever hand your child uses to draw or write with. .. pillows could make her feel Insecure. She will therefore only need to learn how to form letters once...\1t10n. Place the paper slightly to the left of the mid-line body. Remembec it is much more diftlcult to undo bad habits than to learn good ones from the beginning'You will need to make sure that she starts starIS a letter in the correct place and is able to vvrite fol1o\. such as a felt-tip pen. it is important to • Cursive script j70ws and it easy for your child's hand to move across it mlONhly Pnnt tends to be more abrupt movement. it just comes naturally. The shapes of cursive letters .rectioll to letters. Letters that aren't formed properly become hazard when she gelS to (he s(age of joining them up. pq bv the I would suggest that bd pq easily. . Letter wriring is learned and. This game will help your child to explore which letters belong togcth.ving the correct £lo"\v of the letter.Your child can learn to do this easily once she has relativelv good control of her hands.·.Your first concern will be to teach her to yvritC' :.. ... of letter styles that have too many loops. rather than create a habit that will need to be altered in the tuture. or on the HooT.:d Enconrage her to use a \vriting imrJerncnr that Hows smoothly over the page. and you must decide on the style or' these trom the start. How to play in(11Vicin. hmycver.1sing lowcrclse letters.md prmt h. i\lthough YOU trY to (11<cO\'er what of script your child will use when she begll1s tormal Lctters. the easier it . p. Be wary.. Sorting into families Age: around 3 You will need set ofS3mipapcr lctters Purpose Choosmg a script There are many differing opinions 1hollt what kind ofletters to use. It IS nor advisable to teach your child to write using capital letters she will learn these fairly easily at a later stage. the letters letter. A rcicphonc directory can give the necessary st:lhi!ity. This is another reason for preferring cursive script. Make sure she has enough space to place her paper to the lett. Some childYC'n use both hands for a variery' oftasks.er because of the way they are written.vii! be. starting the letter in right place and moving her hand in the right di. getting to kIlow them will as a key to her und2manding.Whenjoining ieeters together rhe hand needs less as it moves trom the t:nishing point of one Jet(er to (he s(arting point of the next. rCl1lerr:bcr this is largely to do with opmg. This will trequently lead to letters being formed incorrectly.. from the beg:nning.[s to be favor1ng her left hand. it is up to you. If you are tmc:ot:vinccri Rl'\fNC TO WRIT TH RS NING TO WRITE THE 89 . she will come to understand that mastering the shape of one letter gives you of how to write othen. it will allow her the j?o. The writing s(yles produce look hut often onlv work if there pknty of hme to write ana no pressure. here some tips to make life a little easier for her.. Suggest that she holds pencil litde higher up the shaft. once YOU can do it."C'd. The two mam stvles are prim and cursive (see temphtcs. You'U need to play ail of these games at table.on the paper? Does her hand create a shadow over her . Check that she is able to see what she has wntten the thumb ob5cnrcs it. It's probably best to do one family at a time to hegin with until the sorting process hecome' easier Take the letter lie" :md ask your child to it and say the sound "c"You might suggest that needs to find all the other of its family. it as well to prepare her hand now. The slanting of the paper should be left to the child. The tollo-wing games are fun to play and will make sure that your child's hand is moving in the right direction in for using pencil. most parents wlllnot need to be concerned aboUt ~caching (heir child joined-up writing. It's very important for her to get off to a good start.just like learning to walk. other than and suggest that you sort them into families.You shouldn't expeer her to join her letters until she can easily achieve the correct moycmcnt for each leIter (that is.1nng a When children write Finally.j()incd-l1r "i\Titing actually requires the hand to do the oppmitc.. Although it would appear that most leotteTs have theoir own individual are distinct t8milv groups and shape.

Gradually her hand. are the families that you should be able to find i\S soon as a group ofletters has been identified.Ct "e" and "a" are related.) s mto the' c group because of the rounded shape made at rhe ami some happy for "z" to belong to the it contJ1ns.just i I enough [Q cover the base of the tray. but make sure she doesn't put her tlngers in her mouth! A few Sandpaper Letters." then choose another letter "a" (pre-arranged in your pile). Feel the Sandpaper Letter. then show her how to make the same shape in the sand tray using: your nvo vvriting (your first and middle ones). Make sure your child follows the 'correct' movement when tracing the letters." Have your child feel the letter and discover that in £1. cookie tin will do. depending on the way you have drawn them.. Admire the result. saying the sound out loud. Pur "a" on the table where the family will go. then gently shake RlGHT Drawing Sandpaper Letters in sand is effortless and makes learning letters more interesting.) Take the letter of her choice to the table and put it beside the trav w-lrh the sand.'12 lI. A small amount offine sand.only way to find the family is to feel all the other letters until vou find one that makes the shape "c" as you begin to feel it.[he lid of a . How to play t 1u y j k T"he "v" group V \tv X Let your child choose a Sandpaper Letter chat she can feel "vvell. If you don't have sand. Ifyou are using the templates from Chapter 9 Letters.mdd by your child's decisions about :~~ odd lett~~s. either as VOl! trace it or immediatei\' atterward. (You may vvan-c to limit the Certain letters will not fit into any group and these can be called the "odd" [tInily. Some letters. but don't use anything .Some children are happy to put choice [Q those you know she can manage. a di3g0t1lL 1)0 I RNING TO \VRI R.-I. the odd letters will Be . Play [he game orren enough for your child to be able [Q sort out "her" groups of letters very easily. you could try dour your child will love i[! Salt maY be better al[ernacive. This begins in the same way as "c.S . Purpose The fanuly cadgqo I This game wiH help your child to practice I rnmhbp The "i" family 1 writing the shapes of letters using her hand directly. before she begins to use a pencil to do so.hac h3S high sides. small ttay or something similar . and if you can s[and the mess. Feel "c" again and choose another letter.'vith all those letters that belong to the "e" family and your pile of rejects gets put to one side. the checkbt opposite to make that her postnre is good. could belong to one of several families "k" for example. feel through them as orten as possible. (See the diagram on page 73. mav belong to the rather than the family if it has a curved rap. Feel the letter" c. Making letter shapes in sand I Age: around 3 You will need . Graduallv the cable fills up . using the model of the Sandpaper Letters. becomeS rnore and more able to make a good attf'mpt at writing the shape ofletters.

hould be rebtivelv happv with what she writes. Producing letters that are do more drawing and coloring.. Handling a writing implement.. Most good )uppliers '. Now ask your child if she would like to do the same.lrm.he letter. thin pieces they break easilv.vvhen she wants to write.different colors. You lTlay like to her that can teach write bv feeling the letter. You may want to dusrfree chalk. and the bbckbo. Remember that her "nnds are a lot sm311er than unique in their own way. buy one until you have tried it out . some nrne wili start to write the letters at a size that she feels comtortable with.he board with as many as you trying each time to form a heautiflll sh:Jpe. size of the letter doesn't matter either. ask her to look all the letters she has written and choose [he she likes best! Children have a clear idea orhow they e:\-pect their letters to look.nd see if you find light source and the size of her paper.hat are sometimes almost impcl'Sible to Writing letters on paper around 4c:ont1dent ahout \yith the SJndrapcr Letters until her hand no longer needs co learn the correct rnaking the snape.his. such as table. once this has the Sandpaper Letters are no longer useful. fill .11though happen to have one at . give her a choice of some letters in her name or any mhers that may have particular for her. \VR 1 KS 1~C. In the beginning it doesn't matter where the leerer is written on the board. rather 7han when you want her to. Do the same thing again few times.:nctlOTI heavy enough nor co slip and slide about.rd provides a helpful start letter that your child is with c. Try the alternative hold mentioned in this (~apter . IVlake sure she always feeis the first berore she traces the shape in the sand. . Ifshe needs heip. there are manv other steps you can take co help her to develop good It be nccessJry to practice 'v1lTiting in cc).. .ll bbckboard to dId\v on and she fdt that her ugly \y~shing mJchine had been put co good use.:. on.he start of the letter and cncoura. You could offer a choice of colorful I would recorr. r Feeling and writing the Sandpaper Letters Once your child's hand can make a reasonably good attempt at tracing a shape in sand. Encourage her to repeat the or the letter as many times as possible hefore you go on to another letter." draw the pen/pencil across the paper? the right position? Does she have the right kind of pen or pencil? Is the size of her chair Feeling and writing the sandpaper letters on a blackboard around 4 on You will need observe what works for your child. Standing up to practice best solution but may be the onlv one that you have to begin with. A really good hlackboar. You wiil need A set of Sandpaper Letcers.he use of J pencil eraser.Try to find chalk that is short and stubby. particular in You will also need a really good hhckbo:ud eraser or a damp sponge .Nill have these as will most good children's toy stores. but her to fiil the bo"rd.. she . vou will buv or a hlackbo:mi that is "bout 8 x 10 inches. but preferably not long. pick up the several times. It should rest firmly on the table and should be in which the lettEr is written without any clifficulty.ge her to continue the lllovement o( letter to leave her alone to explore the letter in sand.lil. In this \Nay she will a'-'great of achhc\ocl11cnt. The moyerneritl that your chIld's .. How to ploy Ask your child to choose a SJ:1dPJper Letter that she likes and can feel easiiy.tcnd that you progress through the follo\ying g:nnes as to your child's skills. \10ving the writing implement in a particular direction and forming . and fingers make when writing on a surface. onpper. Place the letter slightly to wilinot twist her body into an position \vhen she feels it.he tray to make letter disarrcar. It's much better tor her to practice on a blackboard betore she moves on to paper. pre'writing experience to A set of Sandpaper Letters. Now you feel . on: If all else tails you should go to your local supplier. Don'. When she has rilled [he board. Chalk .iYou could use those that are often found on the other side of pamtlng easels home. TO WR! TEL . They vvill helD her to master the fOllowing: . paper? at using the lightly in other situations is reeling of :'le Sandpaper Letters emphasizing "tightness of touch. when your child is on a blackboard When she starts to practice \Nntmi.. and buy painted the side children had a wonderf'. so is ready . The mrtace must not be shiny. Do no. Controlling a writing Ifit is. Alwavs give your full "Jttemion to . encourage . .. difficulties that are apparent are nor caused by tension on the pert of 'lour chiid to before she is ready to form them will result in stress Clod tension. is very to the nl0vcmC~TCS made :::t:1nding up an isn't the easel.dmningly stores do sell boards .lre some onwbJcb to in control of her . Ideaily. Rub out your letters and let her start..hen ask her if she would like a mrn.ln be erm~d :rnmcdidtc]y ifshc doesn't like it.

milies. Repeat for the orher t. If your child is not in doing this.gmg her to get letters moving in a line.. Make sure. A good indicator of size writes her is otten to look at the size that own name. Please note that you are nor asking to write on the line.een acrivity should encourage her to start her letters on the left-hand side of the page and will help to regularize their size. If your child's letters are much too big to allow you to do this easilv.hould be 5 x inches and you could offer choice of colors. however.crayons. BELOW Drawing a border around her work and then deco- rating it will help your child feel proud of her work and wilt also help give her the idea of margins. Writing in the air Have vour child sit on your lap. And the middle can be used for a poem. ..You '\vill have Writing on lines using the Sandpaper letters. Hold the hand that she writes with and draw a letter in the ')4 R N I N G 'J/R I T E NING TO \VF.. How to piay Firs[ make you have run through the checklist on page 92 regardIng :1nd the position of the paper. and this may be particularly difficult for a Lt~ttcrs as YOll ABOVE did with the hlackhoard. and to make a prim of these on paper. Use this as a guide. Plain (i. Fold (he paper over as if you were creating accordion or fan width of the first told to be determined by size of her letters. Then you could do modern day sampler l . to If she tinds it ditEcult to start. might like to draw a colored line down the side of the page to remind herself instead. Create a border around the edge of the paper and. it will be a natural step for vour child to draw the shapes of the letters in the paint with her fingers.Observe her "'Titing to see what size of letter she generally produces.vithont any prompting from you. unlined) pdper . using her hand as the pencil.this -.1 . This iine. she could decorate the margin down the lett-hand side of the page you could make a simple hookmark and decorate to fit on to the side of the page. +.e. Don't let her use the LC1:ters as a for this activity they're almost certain to get spartered! She will probably start to paint the the letters '. too. only suggest it when you are fairly sure she can at forming the make a reasonahle shape without using the guide of the letter. of paper. then she is not vet ready tor this activity. Be sure you write in one smooth movcmC'nt. Fingerpainting the letters rfyol! were brave enough to organize tlngerpainting to encourage making in Chapter 3. that all the crayon colors will show up on the colored paper. first fold should be about twice the size. when the middle has been filled in . Choose one of the letter air. snnIlar size to the chalk. each family Now Llmilies.. the' guess which letter you viritten. but if she doesn't..You can do this easily using a strip of . Ask her to write her letters in a fold. using space betv. or a limited choice of fe-DeiJ" and felt-tip pens. rather you are cnC:0urJ. This is a great way of making sure that your child really "feels" the vvay the letters are wTitten. See if she can (see Sorting into F:Jmilies earlier in this cbrtcr) and write all the letters from it on one sheet of paper. .qrting the letter in the correct place.-vith b('auritlll decorarc the border. a thank-you letter or a message.:Jraboard cutting out a at the top . Don't have too many to choose froin. Those she isn't satisfied with can be "iped away easilv.the V can fit over the top of the page and remaIn stable vvhile she is \-\Titing).. lett-handed child.

\re 50111e nlovcrncnts more difficult than others? .) Purpose This activity will increase your child's control the range of activities she is already engaged on: • IVriting creative!v with the . which has a blunt edge.ith smaller pieces of paper and finer brush. Repetition does. From quite long lines at the beginning you can start to color in bands. you would not really be wise to use the Sandpaper Letters as a guide as they will prob:ll. She can sit at table and paint oudined in ChaFter 3. yom . Once again.ke their hands off the letter at the wrong mom em. like this box. I hope. How to play you can give to your cbld. Either buy some or use w:1ilppcr paste. (These would be ideal if Ihey were Wlm knobs hecause the knobs would steady her hand. the glue letters Have your child draw around the outside of the chosen shape as carefully as possible. Worksheets and workbooks You will have noticed.. Schools often send children home with photocopied sheets on which to practice writing their letters (not good Montessori schools. Watch appear.. Some good-quality plain \mJined) paper in lots of colors.nd good-guality colored FapeLYou mav tInd it helpful to do this over a trav since it carl be qUIte messy. Helping your child to control a pencil on paper Age: around You have encouraged your child to ciraw and color in pictures. but repetirion that is boring will not help anyone.An object. moving the hand from lett w right and in an up and do\vn imiGlreS the flow of the \vriIing hand as it travels across paper. to draw a shape to help your child control a pencii on paper. or sand J. If you can find theul. • Practicing writing letters using Srlndpaper Letters. she can label the picmres in the rhyming games you played: she can make her own alphabet book. which is cheap and easv to n'lake. You will also need glitter. have to conform to the . and you have also been helping hcr to explore patterns and shapes on paper. sense of dUey attached to dnwing letters. you might like to provide her v. Manv schools. and gcncT:llly incorporate writing into her play. For instance. Your ch11d's h:mchvriring is and . poems and messages..vitI tend to shoot off in differem directions at the Then show her how to color in the oudine. Jna to I refine her hand control. letters on paper.Painting the letters If your child enjoys painting. help children. Sadly the problem with "tracing'" letters is that very often children do not trace them correcclv in the first place. Many of [he garnes yon piayed earlier for sound and can be plaved agam at this poim Chapter 3) and she WIll now be able to her own len::ers. it may be useful to summarize . W R ! T E F" N 1 NG \1/ k J E T 1-! I . and she mav use her own hand"\vriting to send rncssagcs and \.. Use a painthrush nthcr than glue brush. because they have to teach brge numbers of children w write anyone time. The letters do not have to be perfect. Cor:tinuing to be read to.he should feel as proud to produce a bClUtittll letter as she does a beautiful or painting. that I have avoided suggesting you pro\'idc dotted lines for children to trace over or use the many commercially av:!ihHc workbooks on the marker.blc glue Fens Ihat v(lOrk well with this activity.. \Vater-soluble glue. R ['-.tdIt to use her own hanchniting to send mCSSJges: Jnd she \vTite lists and menus. through a number of different .A.ize of letter on the sheets . sequins or sand and shake.ly get painted il1JdYertJntlv'The main purpose of this should hand is able to control the to make sure brush J\')llowing the correct letter moyement. After she has drawn the shape. This is quite difficult as her hand .vrite lists. Drawing and p::tlntlng. although the children otten call them mental insets or metal insects' is possible to buy them. then cover the paper with a light wash of paint and watch together as the letters appear through the paint. They tJ.mn the 'pace provided for writing. or use insets from puzzles your child had when she was smal1cr. In a Montessori class it is called Metal Insets. she can . Now her card~!llv over ghtter. There is now one . .vl(wCJhle Alphabet Revisiting the sound and letter recognition games If you look back at some of the games you played in Chapter you will see that many can be rldarted for your newly t1cciged to write.IQngsidc her practice\ encourage n. encourage her to color it in. How to play lists. but vou can just easily make use of things around the house to achieve much the same etIect.:hild to write letters in glne over the paper as guickly as she can.. There should be no. of course. such a small saucer or lid to draw around. I hasten to add!).Jdditiol1J1 activity that you could introd!lCe just as she is getting ready to do more comrollfd writing on paper. and frequently these sheets are produced with print letters. there are :1vaib. I j. otten are unable to Ihe kind Jttcnt10n i ABOVE Gluing letters You will You can use any object. I • Starting to use her own handwriting (as opposed to her earlier mark making) on her drawings. Encourage her to write the letters on paper. and paint Use really waA)' crayons.ore pattern making and still-life dr:r\Ying as I • Starting to read fer herself. You will need Some good-quality colored pencils. [ G T (. nlenus~ etc. using up and down strokes and traveling from left to right. stories. of the pencil on paper whIle prJCticing techniques that \Nill be for writing. then gradualJy introduce the idea of shading the Before you move on to help your child to write on lines. You can make practicing her letters and fun bv proyiding rnJny different v'lays of doing it.

. e<lch with a slightly different purpose (see Chapter 9 for you can use). your child should be able to mClke the correct movement of the letters by herself withoU( needing co refer co the S.cticc on.a very good indicator is to look at the size she writes her own name.You will be able to judge what size the lines need to be if you check her writing on plain paper . and dra\v the lines you've chosen on the paper. There are various types of lined paper you can to help her pr.ilE of the lines to the of her wrinng. . The letters will only be used for a short space of time in this activity so they don't need to be on cardboard paper . any of the templates . Giving your child lines to help her to write and space \vell can be very useful. She should now be writing easily with the l\1on:ablc AJpnahcL You wi/I need One of each of the letters of the aiphaber vou can remove them tYom your Moveable Alpbbet. reduce them on a photocopier.II :--""G \V1'. Line This gives a guide for the main part of the letter leaves the height of the ascenders and descenders to the child. He wi!! discover those that ascend above it ABOVE spem looking at them. She should also be keen :md eager to write.tndpaper Letters there are srill one or two that cause difficulty. Ask her to place all (he letters on the lines at LE lines: color coded ThIS guid:mce for ascenders and ders as well the main part of the letter. b d h Clear these away atter sufficient time has been LEARNiNC \Vru LE.wiil Take a large sheet of paper (11 " inches "vould be about right). and "C' which may above and below the main lines. placing them on the line as she goes.iper templates in Chapter 9 each geared to proVIde a slightlv ditTerent 3CtlVltY· Placing letters on a line Age: around 4 5 on Before you start the following actiyities. Now ask your child to m:x up all to ana see if she can sort them out size. acelmnorsuvvv g j p q Clear these away after enough tIme has been spent looking at them. and you must strike a balance ber-ween providing the necessary practice and making sure that the writing has some purpose. Those that do nO( fit should be put aside. and those that sit on the line. Don't encourage her to use lines for all her WrIting.Helpine: your child to write on lines ~. If you're using a two-line Iormat. Sort out all the letters that have descenders that or reach the bottolTl go below the shaded line. Decide which type oflined paper you are going to try first." How to play Graph Paper This provides a general guide for your child and \tvill not lirnit the size of her letters. This little boy has discovered letters that descend below the line. Choose which type you'd like vour child to try. i .houle! do. !fthese are too large to fit on the paper. using the size of the letters vou have made as your guide.>\ R:-. You will also need to change the size of the lines as her writing devciop" until a single line is adc'luatc.. the top line should be at the height of the ascender in "h" and the bortom line the depth of the desccndcr in "v. Use') x 7 -inch paper to start off wilh.with the exception of the paper . Discovering where to place letters on a line will prove valuable when your child comes to write on paper.he middle two lines should the" c" size: if you're using a four-line format. but be prepared to change it if what you've chosen doesn't work. hmvcvcr: there will still be some things that are bes( \vritten on plain paper. Ask her w son throl1gh all the and leave all the letters that fit benveen the shaded or blue lines on the paper. The lined p. Novv ask her to sort out all the letters that have ascenden that go 1hove the shaded area or reach the top line. SorringJor size Double line wirh darker base line This focuses attemion on the base line and gives guidallce for the of the mam part of the Explain to your child that she has been vvriting in lines and now you are going to show her where letters go when they are written on lines. 35 long as you are to :l(bpt the . You will be left with two odd letters which ne\'er qlllte catches up with the ascenders.

vill \vant 1:0 'evrite on the lines more often..herher by or by shape. vou expect her spelling to be quite good." and those that begin "r... In this \lvay. as she has reading. from the farnily lTIO\'-Cmcnt group. taking family group a time. her kno\:vledgc :1nd of the way letters arc formed and written will be As she increases in confidence and speed. etc.e. erratic." those that begin "i. as different tasks \vill require difterent paper.random and see can rCIT1C'mbcr placement of each let(er. \Vatch out tor very common words that are repeatedlv mi"rclkd. jokes. Nevertheless. and "u" and couid be practiced together. you should attempt to write with your lett hand. influencd by a number of differt'nt things. bm now you have an opportunity to show her what it looks like on a line.. and while not correcting all the spellings. Sortin. Do not as this will cause small writing to be unnecessarilv spaced out and large writing [() be too close together.knee. if you need to. She \'lill \vant to lOd habit.) Leave some paper strips witl-: or names on an shelf so that if she feels like WrIting and wants a prepared model to follow rather than own thought. and she meets words that she can recognize bv looking at them as a \.'ork WIth the Alphabet have you cmrhasi7cd correct spelling over self-expression. then look for similarities ". These first but should increase in length and move on to different paper as her interests and needs develop. She meets w-ords that are not easv to sound out. The names of all the mcmhen of yom .. Many capital letters also very similar to their lowercase relatives.tnilies (see the Sorting into F.\Vrite a variety of words. too.c'1 impacr on speiling. knot. the 'Nords take can become a habi(. and show her how to write them. . her awareness of the way she Writing models /\. she can write down the letters on the lined paper. page 89).7 and 8 v'l'ill all have 3.Jl. Once you have are more than line long. The letters that begin" c.You will see from the next two chapters that.. some of the will remain for a period of time while some wiUjust be required once. Letters grouped according to their . aud vou \vill need to be needs dnd the paper to suit grO\Vlng clpahilities. You will also be readv to "scribe" :mything she may want to write with the "proper" spelling. . it can be helpfuL if she seems to need guidance. How to play You may like 1:0 begin with your child's name.Vtoveablc Alphabet dwindles as she IS able to write JUSt as quickly by hand.i E . i. The families of letters. You may need to teach a few capitJI letters but your child will know the lIlJ)Orltv of L lUI \Vhen she writes certain words by hand. The activities suggestc." For instance. whe.he can choose (he kind that suits her best. there will have been a subtle change in how spells those words. Provide paper your child seems most comfortable with see me samples in Chapter 9.it isn't the perfect shape of the letter that matters hut the the way the letters are formed that counts! If vours doesn't look all that cncollngc her to make a betterjob of it than you did.most children wiiI pick up many of them ftom their everyday exposure to them: the 1\1 f<')r ?vlcDonalds is just one example. Using the soned letters as a guide. If your child is lefi:-handed.:amp!es could be: Spacing \Vhen helping your child to space her words. then you will have the opposite problem if your child is right-baneled. on rhe Take some lined 5 x 7 inches paper and ask your child to sort out the .. however. a name or the begmning of a new sentence. The days of the \veek. keep all kinds of paper on a . which is alwavs very special. At no time. Equally. You could choose groups ofletters according to way that they are wrinen or '·move..---?Jror. making sure chat you art writing the letters with good mOVement. Move the strip down as each line is completed. The combinanom are endJe~s) and <1uring the titne you are studying the letters together. Simple rhymes and poems that grow in length. Capital letters and lo-wcrcase !etten side. messages that you think would appeal to . able to write all her letters on rl/~"irif1g words look when they are written down begins to change.hclf so . during her v. poems. that you feel !TlOre comiortable writing with your right hand..!~l.. in addition to her mvn L E t\ R i'i!. howc\'er. or :mything else you think she wili like seeing written on the line. Try to avoid asking her to repeat rows of a particular lener since this hccomcs boring.e words are simply copied without purpose or mc:ming. Capital letters A simple explanation for a capital Jetter is that we use it when we wish to draw attennOll to 'omcthing important.d in C-:hapters 6. sentences. don't reduce this 1:0 another drill. You must now tlnd a variety of ways to help her pnctice writing using lines." then the odd ones.-0 \VF. Capital letters very rarely need to be taught .You can explain.Jction of the . you need to watch out tor ~nnhing that might hecome a To alSlSt this process. Place your strip of paper directly above her own lines and ask her to copy it. \Vithin rEhtively short period of she may one Ime.y~hole.ge: around 4hWhat you will need I .rith the Moveable Alphabet and being able to write well using her own hJ~lrh\'r1r·InQ'.lillilies game.fniii{'s l\sk her to son the letters out onto the line but in their "movement" fa. form her.. you can either put them above her page i)[ beside (To the lett of a right-hander and the right of a lett-hander so that they can see and "vvrite the Salne time. begin to write down longer messages and stones. but do not begin w-ith something lasts longer than a line.Jld don't worry if it doesn't look all that good . If vou are lett-handed. Over the period of time between to \HUe v. She vvill meet \vords chat require some special knowledge to help her to crack the code. She has been writing her name tor some time. Expiore the possihilities together. such as those ending m "tion" or those that have a silent letter such as "k" . Once she is vVl'iting well on lines. As she to read. Cm strip from writing paper and write her name.'\'loveable Alphabet letters in any of the vvays outlined above. purely sound-based spelling began with will graduallv have changed. you have encouraged her to become more caretlil about which letters make up particular words. Some possible ideas tor e:-. to IS to space is doing normally. and gradu:illy (he dttr. she has access to it at any time. and ''1'' could be practiced together.'J G \YRITE TH LEAR:\lI~G -=. months of the year. she \. \Vhen your child first starts on it can be very helpful to provide her with some written models [Q follow.

Perhaps your child ~vould like to make little diary tor herselt~ recording one panicular event thar she remembers a day) her to make card. written using predominantly straight lines that can be written in a variety ofwavs.:ou kno\v to names with the shapes of the letters. then ~ake the capital letters and mateh them underneath the cards. then watch as they gradually become in her writing. name the letter. Wrire her little messages Jnd P:l'( Into envelope with her name on. TaJee one and em it down the middle to separate the rapita] letter from the iowefcase leneLYou now have three sets of cards. Where does the tide appear. for example. Invite your child to "vrite the capital and lowercase letters belonging to.As they are laid down. but once these are secure you can BELOW Make recognizing the differences between capital (etters and lowercase ones into a game. Use anvaiphahe[ the -. Look at real book and discovc'r what you will need to do. her to write her own nlcssages or Jnswcrs to your mcssJges on the hoard. each of which has a capital letter followed by a l\1ore games to encourage writing Notice board Pm up notice board at your child's height and leave for her to read.0"\\'C. to send to friends Matching lowercase and capital letters Age: around 5 You will need Two sets of26 alphabet cards. If your child knows the order of the 11phahct. then she can sort them into the correct order. How to ploy Layout the large cards. \Vhat is on the inside cover? Will you need pictures? What will the story be abom? Don't be too ambitions 111 the beginningsome very good stories can be written with very few words. bar one or two styles. Books You can now L ARNJ to wrire real books G TO WRITE LETTERS ::'-Ji0iG TO \YJRITL THE . Helping her to write them is also a much simpler task than helping her to learn to wrice lowercase leners as they are mostly. Use the large cards to check at the end to see if they are all matched up. What you may need to do is to teach the names of the letters to your child. Do the same for the letters. giving the naTIle and not the sound. Encol1!"'::lge her to practice and together. :Ybke 'UTe vou also provide some em~dores on her writin b l!lelf so . When your child feels comfortable matching them. only this time layout the capital letters first and match the 1.them. together.rc:1se letters to them without the guide. explain to her that [he letters have name as well as sound. In all the vvriting vou have done in front of her. letter. When this has been accompiishcri.. take away the control cards and ask him to do it from memory. Be sure not ro introduce capital letters until she bas no difficulty writing the h0v~-cvcr. pby the game again. Letters Children love envelopes.hat she can wrire letters w you. Up until now. you will have mostly concentrated on the sounds. D. you have used letters if they vvere arrr0rrj(lte~ ann through her reading and vour cXClmp1e she \vill soon how to them.

y the fol1o\\'in. and having a fanuly vvhere books are valued. Rather than discussing the content of these books with each other. She feels a sense of ownership of .'JJe kno\v \vhen Vife come across a word that could have a variety of meanings mind presents itself with a SLlch as "bear" of strategies to help them seeing.hvme by Edward Lear. The wider your child's cxpcrifnces and vocabnlary. I concerned. pictures or <irnation: we call this the context.ro.1riOllS . She has IrCTSCU: Through \vriting do\vn messages and "tories \vith the 'vlo\cT"ble AIr habet. thc Did gyre and gi'llhlc in the . You can play thern : yOU begin to share the 4t together.711d She hcts learned these through the In~Ul~\. When children read they \vill use a variety . we cry to children to read at this stage. >$> YOti have gillen her h"/0l1kdge of the II'arid. having "read" many stories. h is also rare to rInd contem thar i reader.. She will be able to discover for herself and she will be able to take herself ott into other vvodds. your child will rhat she is a reader I and will be eager and readv to reading more and more. for j language can help us to bemg read By sharing books with you she learned to recognize SOlne ""vords alrcJdy withom any effort. Having written her own I messages and read them. The tlrst hnes read like this: Ttvas hrillig} and the slith}' topes I realEfe and real-lite experiences so that '.the sentence. Although there are some that are above lvcr. she uses her intrinsic knowledge of gnmmar to help her to get to the meaning of the words that she reading. She importance of print to convev thc Ho\v vou help to get her started: The ability I forms that srories take. "". In a split second. s1tl1:1t1. games [0 launch your child easily and relatively eiTordessiv inw .\:nOlvie~gc uj i'e.mguage to help us to crack the of a sentence C:in be found in the wonderftll nonsense .nme of her hnnks will choose to look at chern even when there 15 no prospect of someone reading to her. re:1ding. She has experienced rhrtt can be had fronl n::.. havi:g to read through books all about the same family can be extremely boring a while I Children rarely rerum agam and again w these books and they hold no real pleasure tor them other than to encourage a c01Tlpetitive clcmem to reading.:. but our unof"fsranding of our . As she reads.. together.J '-.!::s.. They are putting sounds together w make up words.vhen she reads 1"vords.(jund g:lITICS you have played with her and through iearning svmbols that are JtTJchcd to " I \vhat she reads interests her and gives a sense of :lccornplishmcnt. she that pnnt conveys her thoughts." I use this poen1 sirnply as an l11ustration and not because I think yOU should use for your go some way toward of the semence. The Jabber- the moment when your child is co read is very exciting for all I . \\~ill have some' resonance. A child coming across the word "kangaroo" may look at the picture for help: if she doesn't find it much help. ordinJrv storv books in give a child more pranice at the most ! I wocky.CHAPTER SIX Don't be tempted co buy a of basic choice of all possible known to the ng readers or primers co help you through this stage. The limited nature of the YClclbulary can often make the £low of the words boring. They \vjll."vbt they rely quite heavily on anv clues they can pick up tram the surrounding 'Nnrds. \'vhich \vhat she reads has only her o\vn ilTIJgin:1tlon as its lirnit.-1utononlY vvnat she can find OUt for herself and a greater sense of indercnccnce. She wii! also use her own natural underof hnguagc to help her guess what wight be COIning next.. Pb."d. It gives her lTIOre . Through taking her Out and about :mci ~ots of C011Ycr':1tion you have given her experience of the ·world. the mind able to choose what believes is the most suitable for the comext. By now you will have made sure different experiences that she has had w1th words which. Recent research has revealed that :llrhn\1gh these bonks trY to focus on a limited vocabularv.~('r. The reading that you do \vit:h her lT1Ust then be of to her. \\lh"n m rhese lines. The value of these books is usually only to help a teacher know what level of re:lding a child can do.i songs.mhc. She knows how to handle books. R .d~ng or to do a number of different things at once.. ::rifongh "~.\Iiany of these words are not used in [he English language. But can you pick out the words that describe the action? Can you discover subject of the <cntcnre' \Ve not recoglllze the "vords. She \vants to read because reading has d purpose for her. $ She has a {~o(id kl10wlfdgc c:f '-(lund.) . children t('nd to what number or color level thev have reached. the more options WIll pop into her mind and the more likely she is to find the that fits. have created in her to read.. • She feels like a reader. pOelTIS and nlirser~r rhY1l1CS you recited together. she may use her kn(1wledge of the siwanon and her ability to predict what mav tollow on from it as a natural cnr""(llh'lnCp kn()\vledge of the She will also reiv on \vorld to hel? ~o predict a 'Nord is likely to Inean. betore vou are even aware of it. You have used . that words are sound units that can be strung rogerher into mFJning~ flil units.ge. it cannot simply be reading for we search tor imagine what "slithy toves" would look like and then what actions best fit "gyre and gimble. and attached it to actually interests children of this age in these books. All too often they rely on very removed limited language. what would make sense and what any given word might be. which is often from either real language or real book with stilted rhythms and awkward word sequences.:ichlv md well.0ns and nn'ClH'll1Wnr. and that she is able to read what she herself has wrinen. A very good of how we use our knowledge 1. Perhaps the Erst question you must ask voursclfis rhis:"\Vhy should choose to read?" to read will depend on her being able commonly used words. Un! halle given her a . . which will enable her to read more iluentlv IllS R T 1:'.

Purpose together to create the name of the object distortion or change to the you did a quick round of the kitchen and your child's bedroom. What you will need they make is the same). You could also introduce \vords that have double letters in them aiter a short while. clock. The second set of objects should be objects that contain a digr:lph in them (those that your child already knows from . which means they can change the objects around so children are always interested to rcad is in them. egg. you could end up . Your child will value the littie labels you Wrice for her to read far 111Dre i !OrK Two different sets or'smail objects (have least eight things). Montessori schooll have little boxes for this galne with all sorts of delightful objects in them.'I/ith the toUo. if you really wa. the S:1ndp:lpcr Letters and the l\10veable AlphabecYou aren't ro teach her ncw pbying von 'will simplv build on her past experiences Jnd kno'. If you were reallv stuck. The that when v"lie mC'ss3gc you are read we are reading the thoughts of someone else. out Examples could train star pie cloth book coat brush letter blue ketchup toy coffee trout quilt One of the most important clements of thIS game is that you are going to write down the names of the ohject'. bell. She has also begun to blend these sounds together tor herself :mel reael her vwiting. brick (although the "c" and '"k" look different. a few would be helpful bm don't try to use this game to move from threeletter words to four-letter words and so on. This -.. The first set should be objects that are spelled phoneticaliy. If you want to make a game thaI she can go back to.vL~cigc T1TllTI three Your child dlready knovvs that sounds can R"f'l:"1 G be reFf'scnred by \\Titten symbols and by placing them dOvvtl in a particular order \vords are made.around the house or you could visit a my store that sells mini~. it can be blended \vithout '.he ha~ ~vrittcn on her o\vn \v"ith the \lovc:1hlc i\lph:1hC't. the sound that on ~ is to help The purpose of . you may want to shop around for little objects to supplement what you have at home. you will begin to Writing down the names of favorite toys or other objects in front of your child wiU help her make the connection between objects and sounds. ~ives value to the written word and links together "Tiring and r'-CKeSSt's. you could always just collect pictures of ohJects.ving objects: cup pen milk COIIllC lid lemon pasta lamp van pan jug panda can clip nut drum Gog nutmeg meion hat bag mug vitamins cap As you can see. times. they COUld be garhered from than does ready- As soon as your child has read these a few prepared labels. in front of your chiH so that she your thought iitcrally Onto paper in front of her eyes.>bying your child realize how easily she can put together the sounds . where each sound the .he Sandpaper Letters).:he product of someone's thought is importam. YOU don't have to stick to three-letter words.t"t to to townl The objects [hat you collect should all be objects of desire and they do nor need to relate to one another.ounQ\). The tact that \vritten \vords are :lhvays !.turcs.hat she alreadv knows and read them the objects are used w create "context" for heL She will know that the word has to be trom the group of objects in front of her and this should help her to read the labels you will How to ploy her.:njoved relies on your child ha\'1ng Sound (~. .ime. that is. doll.vord is represented by one letter only so that as it is sounded out. In every other respect the words can be the objects in thE first set. You will also need some paper strips and a pencil so you can write the names of the objects down. such carrot. you could introduce more [han one digraph such as squash or cheese (the silent "e" doesn't present a difficulty as it doesn't alter the way any of the other letters sound). but the objects themselves arc much more fim. and writing and reading. that -.

Explain to her that you are going to write down some words and the :mportam thing i about them is that she must do what thev 'dV.vould like to make this activity more Dermant'rlt. you could prepare some labds for her to use."''''' she will sound out rnrnni"otFiv How to play Do exactly the same with the second set of objects as you did with the tirst. Writing sentences to be interpreted I :. How to play You can either write these down you go Reading without using objects IVl3. she will ohject.. then kept them in a box so dut your child can to them when she feels iike it. Pm the object and the label togcrher "lnd cominuc the objects have been labeled. As you continue to write the labels.i\1ake sure your child knows the names of ail are using. but you should nor It.e. Don't expect her to read the labels withom any contextual She may be able to do so. they i have almost no value unless they are acted out. it would be be." Let your child see vou wnte down the letters on a strip of paper.g to your child's abilitv. rrntches the style rhar you have chosen to teach your child. You will tire of this game long before she does.md looking to see which of the objects n"ldV relate to. vou could extend this activity into one in which you write out different semences for her to read.J. . She will combine a of.. she could write her own labels for the objects. \Vords that could be written on the cards i include: Jump blink run think hop drink skip yawn stand wink spm trying sound out the letter. When she returns. If you wam to see if she can do the activity bv herself. "Well. ThIS time.of objects Collect the ilrst phonetic together. Stop . interpret and do. As with i all the other rlctivirics.:tcring out the and in doing so she vvill have to df'moTlstTd[e that she has . If you have chosen a the objects tov cat and she uses the word "kitty" to describe it you will need to give her the name you wlil use for the game." for """"I"")'.:er if you wrote them down as you went along. accordir..) Vocabulary check . that is your 'kitty. If she gets stucK with the imcrpretation of a carel.n. She will. \Vrite "run.reading" the vyords and partly using the objects as "contexT. (You will be using the same knowicdge your child employed to pby the two prc\'ious There should be onlv one action word per card. Ask her ifshe knows which one it is. of course.ne i 10N R AD READ . vvith <. an You "vill observe that she will partly be '. She will run then1 to."Your child reads the word and VOll encourage to do the action. Some children will pick up an object if she do not accept it as the objecr you were thinking "\Vell. "jther on the floor or on tabk (A table would be prctcnhle hecause you are going to vvrite.ct of ObjCClS containing the digr~rh') as ~oon as your \~T rite out on small cards as rnany action words as you can think of that can be digraphs. knovv the object and will then "read" the word easily. and others require a little more interpretation. "This is what I wamed.:ire thinking and what she will be reading.You will find that re.Nhrr C()m~1n3tion of:ilcnding sounds . you might wam sound hefore her to idemi(v the You \.. If you .' but for this game we need to call it 'cat.oundln'a out Give your child the Strip of paper and ask her to sound om what she sees on it. clue tram the oU(sec. You can make up some verv imert'sting \-vords that your child vvill be able to read and act our very easilv she wlll words vou have love . Add different objens and their labels from time to time to inside. This will help her to tocus on the word as a whole.vhOlt written relates co the choice of objects placed in from of her.lding these words leads imo all kinds of disCll"inns.. English em be written using onlv Sandrarer Leners and dignphs. the name of the ohjC'ct vou vY.owlcdge alreadv gained the Sound Game and the Sandpaper Letters.t describe actions in rhinking of Let me give you clue:' Some will ask for J.mdcr<Tood What you will need along or have them already prepared.'" You couldn't use the word kitty ltis not phonetic.lntec1. Reading the digraphs You can imroduce the second . you conld collect little objects that you have found to buv or among her tOys and keep them in a box with the words that were originaily wrirten oy you inside.. Be as dramatic as po"ibk. you will also need to act it out! Don't simply read the cards. keep her imercsted in : I grunt sleep moan gnn Grag clap np smg tap groan hug tap Repetition and confirmation i\sk your child to read over all the objens and their labels..1Y of the \vords !hJ. Depending on your child.mel have her identify digr-aph on her ovvn. If she is writing. Contmue until she has had enough..he was able to read your mC":l. It helps if she can poim to each label as she savs it. write another word. that not the one that I was knows what you thinking ofbccJUiC . underline the tWO vvhen writing your letters thar bct\'\'ccn th('m make a single sound for example. however.vill note that some are easy to read and to do. Write your thoughts do\vn for your child to read Tell your child vou are thinking of one of the objects on the table.tratcgics to read the word in front of her that begins with "p. If you have child who loves actIng out. Be [Q read using only Sandr::tpe-r Letters and the finds it easy to read the first set: chis could be the nexr day or the day after for some children_ -You must rcrncmbcr that she doesn't have to iearn nc\v to do these She only has to apply the kn. bringing her eve to a of the whole vvord. Howcvcr. there are no objects w provide a context: her experience ana the fact that she will act am the words on the cards should help her test her under>randing of the Here are a few suggestions to get you started. book. In this wav she will see the conncet10n hCf'Yvccn \\-har you . For instance: Ferch your best doll/car/book Find a green marble/red sock/blue Tickle Dadi?vlom/Grannv/Grandad Elster until." She knO\vs that . and use her experiences \vith the :vloveablc ar:d the that you have been doing with her.

Purpose /\5 with everv other activity in this book. to c1in:b.Pretend you are a doctor Pur your toys in the basket Run your bath Find three things for us Plant a seed Fix vour truck Put on some music. your librarian should be encouraged to of reading Jnd your chiid has./re such a puzzle~ What you wiii need You will need to discover which words are impossible to sound out yet appear most oite. even if this means thaI she \viU choose books that look too hard for her. Bm if your first language is English. while she word.-e yom child 1ms of confidence when reading vou.We will try to choose some COlmnon ones that it would be useful to know so that. lmking Llse of the learn to read suhject now been beyond her reach. you need to consider l iO R T! ~ G and she :. not as a mountain She is at this moment gliding through air. Be wary of the librarian or hookstore cierk that points you in the direction of a particular reading program! If your is a rhonctic one. and you should therefore read on. use some of the tips offered later in this chapter to help her accomplish it. the more complicated Inatter ac levels of rC'Jdlng were much harder than I would have chosen for them. Be prep:m:d for the game to be so that vou are on the rccei\ing end of messages trom your child l These activities shoulel gi\. which de:lls \vith helping your child to rC:ld bOOKS. This game can go on all morning . She uscs what she needs to extend and expand her horizons. If this is the case tor your child. you can Jump tonvard towad the end of this chapter. On your [rips to the library. \vords that [-rinnot e. once again. although you should ahvays remember that she will be most keen to read what she lnterested in.vords because r:he. which is non-phonetic. the aim here is not to'try to provide difficult word that your child may come across in the course of her early attempts at rcae!ing.just 3n exploration oflanguage m verbal . There some suggestions for the kind of hooks '-ou might like to read with her in Chapter 9.perhaps even all day.As she has progressed enjoyed each because it "vas The better he can read.lsiiy be souncied out \ve cali puzzle '.) Age:just after you have tirst imroclllcee! the reading boxes and while your chile! is still enjoying doing them.vithout ever kno\ving There have been no failures and no dlfEcuit goals. munch Recognizing common words that cannot be sounded out (Puzzle Words :1. From this point on vou will see that her ability to read will progress in leaps and bounds. To try to give too manv would cteate more clifficlirics rhm it would solve. more easily.] RE A f) Iii . has arrived '. The amount of cllJoymem gained from reading these 'imple semences is :mmcnsc. as a nJTHr-C'JH1er. This will be the first game ~:ou ha\~c in a \ynilc is going to offer something totally new to learn. foEowcd by periods of c:lim. have watched RIGHT [Q how you can help her to recognize quickly some of the words that cannot be sOlmded our.Jnd written form.ct out.

t these \vords are quite because Clnnot sOlll1d them our out the \yoro '.is YU a u ru. Keep all the puzzle words that you make in a Ettle box since you will need them~ for the activities that rollo. il3 hot.~' Reading sentences using the word that has just been learned You should yo-:.your" for eXrlillple. EnCOllTrlge hn to repeat the words as otten as possible a£i:er you have said them: you aren't asking her to rcn1c. C:hoose. \Vrite simple clues to lead your child trom one place to the next until she finds the "treat" you have hidden.\!' .Y()u coulri thdt she might like to copy the words onto some lined paper. you CJn encourage her to refer to the puzzle YITords if she forgers how they go.:r chilo to rcad the \. your doll. 'Tell your child du. Using paper Explain to her that she must simply be able to . Bevvare. in which case simply out loud and knovi that you \viil try with this one on anorher day. however. I-Jere is one of them.Jbic Alphabet. One way to help your child to become more familiar with them is to create individual puzzle word cards and encourage her to use the Moveable Alphabet to match them.books your child \vill be reJ.][e the mmes with the way they look on the paper.. turn the puzzle card tace dOWTI and put Out the limn :\iove::blc Alph:lbct ]cncrs in memory. You can fetch a book that you are reading together and srart to tlnd the new words that she can read.make sure she looks the correct card.) • This savs "your" can't sound it om verv casIiy. of creJting a boring activity tor her [() do .vord in sentences. You could make this much harder by putting the puzzle word cards in anorher room to see if she can still remember ho\v to Fut the Alphahet letters om when the lapse of time greater bet\l. as "Look in your boots. but it comes om . she can read the word.'ds.'\ 1 ~ (. ! h::tve given S0I11e repeat it. [00 . To begin \vith. '~the" dnd "like:' Your dress is red.At this stage you careful not to the word unless she gets stuck. you could v:rite some simple senrences with the words she has just learned.always try to make sure chere is real purpose and [() each one.indless" soon leads to the feeling chat wnting is a chore! You could include the words that she has learned in sentences th~t she Sra~f!e 2 Ask questions: To you like be anv here \ve your they by vvas are the some my \Vhich viOrd says "your. Can YOU read this.\]) S T.his unnllt seems for your child to read the wO. r! :'\! ( R . follow the clues in the Encourage your child to put out letters of the puzzle words with the . It f. When she is wriring 'pomancomly wuh the \iovc. over here ~ return it to the middle of the table. sirriply to Writing sentences using the word that has just been learned Using the Moveable Alphabet and puzzle words dictates to vou and which she can then copy.tho she is writing down using \V1t11 [\.'vioveablc /\lph:lbt't so that she focuses on each letter and itS sequence in [he word. See if. you can gentlv remind her that she knows how to write the words.. shall tryO (You try.- "your" "che"' '~like'-" book on the table? Your rabbits like carrots. first diKussed in C~hapter (see page 37).7een reading and \vriting them. B~lo\v for you to drayv on.." "Go to the kitchen:'''Open the drawer" would all make use or'the words she had come to recognize. rhotogrJrh: Reading together You have been reading to your child every day diftlcul[ to "{lund out. if she is at the iined paper stage in writing..ciing. you will lleed to make sure what the words mean and vou can do [his as tallows: .l'tnd if you want further inspiration. Point to "like." PUt color is purple:'''I like your the \-'lord aside and repeat the S. Clues such.cibout ten or t\velve the most and make them up into indi"idual cards. Slowly and gently the \yords that she is writing WIth the Alphabet will begin to become closer to the accepted conycnt1Oif:ll spelling of your :Jngu:1gc. Treasure hunt This is a simple variacion on the adult game. This is ho\v you could go about it. Before you start. Put the \Nord "the~' do How to play Cboose about three of the \vords you \vish to tocus on: make sure that they are very different in the \Vav they sound and look. Is vour S I' A IZ. Find the marbles." Can YOU read "like" . (You write the word "your:' using the san1e sl"yle of script as the S'1ndp~per on a strip of p3-per.vr::1ng." Continue with . The kettle i 12 your lunch. after a while.md that ir wlll reaily help her co read if she knows whar they You are once again going to follow rhe model of the three period lesson.vo other ""vords. her ovvn hJnd~. "Your grin. Mom and Dad like bOOKS.\'. If they spelled incorrectly. Find R!GHT The so'caHed Puzzle Words (see page 112) often create problems. Do vou know what this one says) This lesson should take no longer than five minures. Sta2c You ask your child can read rhe words.1I11e Her !1nytcl\1nd eilect on ~hould .This lmusc her: Now put the vvord "your" into a sentence so that she he<lrs it in context. mnhing "m.111'CT them at this mornent. "Your dress is very pretty. and either help her to sequence the letters correctly or suggest she finds the puzzle word that 'lOU 'ATote. 'Today you can learn to recognize \:\/o1'ds tnat S0111e "ssoci.

both helonging w the story.. RIGHT The more you read. choose the bOOK tor the content dnd the pleasing layout of the texL. 1:0 go to the library and come back with tion. • Choose books whose content falls within her experiences. or otter her a choice of books and respcct choice.and read. text runs along the page RTINC.. Encourage and praise don't msist on perfection. the more your child (or grand· child) will want to read. ncceSS:lry. but you also need to find time for the two of you to read together.vhere complemcnt the text: this will help her obtain extra clues fi'om the pictures. Here :lYe some tips for getting started: ABOVE A treasure hunt can be educational as weH as fun. She should lln. You have watched her begin to recognize s"me words in the flmiliar and much-loved books that you have shared. Books \'vith large print Choosing books You wIll want [Q haw the right kind of books available to get off to a good start and so.md is extending her of puzzic words. and vou have watched her love of books. She now chooses hooks to read to herseif and pores over the pages on her own. Too much description in is not helpful • Choose old fwo1'1t('s or new :. This will pro"bJhly mean revisiting sorne of your old favorites and looking out for ne\v bOOKS that will hold interest for her. be a pleasure.vill gr:tdualIy change in halance: her reading '\vil! incrc:1se as yours dCCl-cascs with certain books.bild to read. • Some books are \vritten with text on tvvo different levels.cl"r. or visit your local bookstore. d selec- • Choose books that have a strong story line. too. TO REAP i S iNG TO READ I . . The final clue to this treasure is in the mug. • Choose bOOKS . never a Never force your c.ooks rhat you know your child will be In. you may decide not rlcCCSsarllY easier to read..since deveiop was tiny.nrlc1 the book is abom and be able to predict the likely events.. Write out simpie messages for your chiid and hide them around the room to find . Don't any kind of times calc . begin 1:0 choose bOOKS that you em read together. and you will no". . Very often the stor. • Choose a time when she is not tired.gc has grown and she is now able not only to speak well. but also to write down her thoughts using the Moveable /\lplubet ~nd to some extent in her own handwriting.10 minUTes of concentrated reading is better than half an hom of nagging.. The reading that you do togerhcr nnw . in addition to your old favorites. and h"s begun to read these. • Ask her to choose a book she would like to read.• ding to her. You will certamly not stop [c . Her use of langll. • Choose books that don't have too many • Reading should chore. She can read most phonetic words and those with digraphs.

00 ue e\v u-e ph [N G TO R E . play. vem. wait until she has tlnished the sentence :1nd see if she corrects herself. you could find a way of helping her [0 begin to read other Ionns of··ai" quickly_ Look all the waY' through the S:mdpaper Letters your child knows.. If she makes a mistaI. The activities that follow here will heip 'lour child get a lot more irom the words they w-ill focus both a feel her do them. and when she gets into difficulty she knows that she can ask you to help if she reallv cannot a word she comes across.ving would be mosr hclphl1 for her. Rcmemhcr that praise and long way [0 go a suppornng your child when she is learning something new.1nct the of the "cnrence isn)t altered. le ee le Od 19h. You will :lOt now have to worry about helping her to read or write. Supplv [he word so that the tlow of the storv \vorried \vould benefit from your using one tol1ov-. you mav wish to read \vith her to lessen :::tny frllstr.As she begins to simple books on her own..mt thing is to keep the flow of the story going..hese activities should raise her abiliT)' [0 interpret what she reads her to become more playful with words when she writes. If she doesn't. If she is rnaking so many It [he rhvthm and pace of the story.. cake (cake' and vein (ei). working out words that she gets stuck with. In almost Key sound envelopes j Age: around :3 Some key sounds that can be spelled in different ways: aI a-e. cake. D [ ~ C F 0 11. to dweli on what she doesn't seenl to know.don't just read fiction. so you don't want to stop too often. Do nothing at ail if vour child misreads a word but gets the sense of the right. . from the Jist helow "ai" be spelled If she in play (ay). Activities to help fluency and spelling \Vhen reading Engiish chere are some helpful clues that we can otter regards the many ways sounds can be wr.\1 :\:"-i 1 ~ (.vith her when you can. .:e in the mcailing. She alight mbscitnre \vord "supper" for "dinner"This is tlne. next.ttl0n 'She begin to cxrcricnce.. ow.. More games to play There are lots of commcrciJlly aYJihhle g:lmcs that . . trv to judge which of the tol1ol.mmded rigbt. For inst:mcc. • You could ask a question about what has gone before in the text . Giving the right help • it's heipfUl to run your Enger smoOthly under the text as vou read. simplv tell her the word rather than ('ontinuins. and may help vour child to do the same." for It can be written as in train.The most imporr. . is stuck on a word rfshes stllck on a word. Having given your child a start by including the digraph "ai" as a key sound. As d result . Rhyme and rhythm pIa'\' an importJnt part in helping children to predict \vhat may come "\yhcn you are which one might be most helpful. thinks CHAPTER SEVEN Reading for m nlng .and the rlctures have ~impler a book. Don't be tempted to criticize her reading or measure her against other siblings. She has a number of stnteg. If the one you choose doesn't work. you can sometimes discU5s story WIth her as way of discovering how much she has to the story You enjoy going to the library '. she is lnC:lnlng . you could simply point [0 Ihe holding a strip of paper under the line she is reading may help. if the word • You could actuallv in the picture. You will see her pore over books by herself. If . ci ea. to the picture. . av... the easier it will be for her to read "her" book. and can turn your attention to seeing if you can play some games with that will make reading and writing even more Words not only need :0 be read with the eves: they need almosr to be tasted if we are reallv to enjoy using them. can be so casv to destTov the confidence rh~lt she needs if she [0 become a successful reader.. . time passes easilv when you visit the hookstore. Don't exclude conlics and books about .ye think of the sound "ai. . Bv now can be encouTrlgcd to write in her own words and the more she does this. the sound rhey maKe. • You could ask her to predict what it might be.cs that she can call upon as she reads.md choose those that commonly spelled in more dun one way.cten down.'ill build on the skills vour child has acquired in this "hapterof rec(1mmcrdcd ones Chapter 9 tor a list child is now reading and and is choosing books to read with you and spont:mcously writing little stories and messages. you could ask if the word she used .°lng clues to help her to read (he word you will be the best judge or- Book making chapter of this book I have encouraged you to make books with your child and this one is no exceprion. Return ro the sense of Ihe :md ifshc can identIfy the word correcdy. yvatch as her lips move silently. If she has difficultv • You could help her to sound the word out: if it's long one you may need w break up into syllables .

i"' spelling. For this vou wiH need to make \vil1 i second set of puzzle words which this focus on com!TIon patterns vvorcis that once l recogmze the key sound you have written on the outside. Next step [:ip Every day we play hide and seek and then run away. ur ou ow haye more than one sound. too. put little packs of "vords \vrltten vvith the alternative spellings into the envelope. day. as she 118 silent K . Train~ \vill discover that the letter "y" can say "ie" and it can also say '~ee." e. InaiL tail lVlake. knot. Once the cards can be sOHed out. comb write." dnd that the let'Cers . "sky" and "party. Put each pack mark (ront of the envelope with [he key sound."e. make some additional cards that explain how It dnd works: for instance. chair \JVhen she has read a number of the envelopes.call..fair.dW. I) I N G r 0 R lVl E A l'>i ! N G ivi . "teach" dnd "bread. ii-eight Plav. SLarLed :1iffercnr rhey arc written: I rain ge/gi age ci/ce aU.rds or strips.g. cake. For FXample. This activity can be spread over manv days so there's no need to prepare all the packs at once. can be applied to dnd Write some the \vord spelled using the correct "'3. cap bcrorr:cs becomes tape. knit silent B silent W lamb. .• ea" can say''.. Let's bake a cake and then make some biscuits. For instance. either using her own Ifsne learned.he . To help her to remember d wide range of to ~nro otner words (see Chapter 9)..visnes. hall air .vlix them all up and see If she can sort them back under'neath they belong to.. Begm by 1:::" h.station natioDi This set of puzzle words is to show sm8U rules that may be useful for her to know. crate Vein. who l tion . She will find this activity relatively casy to do and you should compliment her on how well she able co manage. ~\lthollgh it's mee to be 8blc to orrer her a choice of which key sound she \vould to explore. Take out the pack of little words and read through the words. Take out che little booklet and read through It. This game is quite important to play. Explain that all the cards inside envelope arc going to say the same sound. skein. stay.g. bake. Look the Invite her to '. wrong. awav How to play Puzzle Words Age: around :5 2 Bring out an em-elope ~nd ask your child to You may already have made a set of Puzzle Words in Chapter 6 (see 111). You will notice thar having become 8ware ofche ways in which this can be spelled when she wriring.the Key Sound EnveloDe game above will have helped stimulrlte this. mix up the >"ords from the di£l:erem packs and encourage her to wnte some more or stories usmg these words.. N ow pm a little book of paper strips into the ElCh paper strip "page" of the book should carry small scnt('ncc containing number of words wlth the :iOlmd in it. She will be able to check herselfbv t'lrning over all the c:lyds to the key sound written on the back. Choose some of the second could through all .-rich the sound can be spelled.You should also keep drawing attention to the different ways in ". in the "ai" folder you might rain. can lr. she will begin to ask which "ai" i1: is for play. thumb. color.knee. If Vall need to explain the "a-e" card. Do this for as many envelopes as your child \vouJd like. ee" and also" e.. hair. or little You will need to make some paper strips for the alternative ways of spelling [he key sounds.Thi5 variation of the original will on your child's increasing interest in the In ''1hich words formed . fall. Finally."This is the reverse discovery to the one she uude earlier: first she looked at sounds that were spelled differemly.i\S (Q mail train the station. Write each sound on a card or strip and on the back put the sound in small letters 1. putting them next to the kev sound.nite out the words and the if . take two or [nree together and take out the cd.

bl'-bTY in particular subject are. gEntle. you will need some of the following: :1rge truck and a small one. in short.As you are mind works means that av'vare~ rhe way that: these experiences arc not lost they will help to support and bolster the more formal ideas she will be presented with at a ]:Jter date. can be made to "York. She can turn chern over to check if she has read them correcdv: if the words match. Tell your child she is going to be able to find the VerY object you are thinking of without any difficulty. em a level at "vhich she can have fun. but there should several more groups of obje'c[s than single objects. Cover words \vith posr--it nOles and \vrite labelS on nl0re post-it notes. however.' 'lair. so see if you can be a bit lllore If!1J.You can continue writing down descriptions of ail the objects tor her to read.~h on the aack to the books that you used w1th her when she was around 18 months [Q two years old.vill "vant to \\'Tite. The preparation you expencnce provide at this stage is simply to How to play archetype: ·'ail. is to give her a direct c:xperience of what words can actually do.he' :lppropri:ltc obie'et.'louT child. purple. Using descriptive words around 5 . t'NO dit1t:-rcnt-colored V:in~) a heavy van and a dirty/clean van. a fast yello\y car~ elf. clolhhouse.first bv putting them into context then by tnllo'. it can be he 1pnll to m:1kF me of the cards that you used ongimlly dewioping YO cabl1larv. [he hUl110r i\dults don't ahyays quite that children fInd in nonsense! Take CIne your stnps of paper and mix up (he word order. She will ahvays ask yon helps her [Q to put in the special word that find one object trom many similar some w1th dramatic overlay. van old.\l]o\ving are des1gned to gi\Ve an experience to help her appreciate the way word. tor if [here is only one man you can novv vvrite ~'The busy :nan:' rather than just "The man. Chop the original label in half and put the When your child is able to reau these three archetypes. stiCK with just color and size.ying . R .he three period lesson. too. if you have garage.s the in Chapter 9.honld have no intention of teaching gnmmar to your child.nriing of rh~~ type of word. ('If believe thar cannot do it.6 What you will need objects. Naming the house You could write all the names of the objects in different rooms of the house f()[ her to read usmg post-It notes tbs is fun and very com-cnienr.nv other color car. Many of them were single pictures on a page with a word undcrne1th. PUt out way words work for us.gin:1t1yc th~H1 l}. Playmohl people. I\1ake sure you examine letters to see ho'. There are some \\'ClDdcrtul books chat you can buy that are designed for incrc. an lin.ror irl'lance.~'\fi:er a \vhile she '.""air:~·'tion. She can read and match the names.You don't need of ail the objects.·Try all the con-:l'1n:H1()llS and then together put it right. to explore how they work.air~' you read 'fair. The r. You \vill also need paper and scis>ors. angry."Trv to use lots of different types of descrirtions for the objects very to one of the toil owing: a child's t'irm. You have the ideal oppnrnmiry (Q discuss them \Vltn syntax lessons can beconle so boring and obtuse that most of us Discovering how important word order is Ihis activirv is hilarious for children to play.1::ing vocJ. At this stage it is nor only unnecessClry but even undesirable. \Vrite the name of the object C'1. in choosing . It is rh:1t Iorma1 gr:nnTn:1r and ecige really stretch her :mcicr(t:. a J.·" Either have ~lready­ prepared oros for these or simply write them down and see if your child can thip~l. Do this for several other objects. will help us get the taste of what read and will give us the opportunity to play with words.(~ vvords such as kind. This says "The van. or Action-man beion1:. dnd two pens or penc11s. Also mrtKc: sure that there are several copies of some objects but that they look a little ditTerent . Do this tor other descriptions.jcI'standi:lg of the racing car. It 'Nill be easy for her to come up vvith rhylnes. Barbie doll. [0 Reading for meaning Your child has an intrinSIC kno\vl- and syntax and how words work together. \Vhat we can do. Thev are done based on but more (hfficult tor her to words have silent which Using books Af\nother '"'lay of extending this experience is to Classified cards and labels help your chi'd's nuency.. The old van becomes: old the van old the.'S together. Think very hard and write down mc." Your child reads the message :md collects a van from the garage. the other a bright color not usually used for writing: red.. You . In a different color pen write down the' word that will the orjecL It couid be read the word.elre thar vou to be the Choose three of it and make a label that is seprirare. You agree thaL it is a van but not the one you were thinking of Tell her that you will give another clue.v they go together. anv one time dnd imrodure them as you did the mher puzzle words .: of anv. and what they do.'~ the cards and ask your child to read and match as manv of the labels as she to the cards.s:lge for her. orange. garage collection. she knows she's got right.You write and she reads. one ordinary color like blue or black (or lead).' 'hair. introouce ochers that are like For example "Now that you can read .

is idf"ntifie-d. then the school will do these actiVIties and vou will just need to follow up at home using all the different objects [hat you have there.be vou You can have fun playing derectives roge::her: either vou your child add one word at a time until the objecr that you were thmking of in a panicular way. You will need Small light blue tri:mglcs. If she does not go to a ]\.. you couid make them trom paper so your child call stick them on to sentences that she has constructed. must go in particular order. children play the game. you may need to vnite yet :lI)other "The dirty old. your in rhis vvay To to about the ohjects. You could then use [hem to combine them into a story. what sounds right.or she can write. that tollow and use symbols as line. you may wish to make the symboh add them co the semences." Hopetll11y. "The van". depending on what suits the moment. Here the differently colored Leg-a blocks and the smail posy of flowers remind your be 1'( E A !) ! c. yellow van.. which you can either tell. When cutting them Out. In a MO:Jtes. The purpose of the symbols is to highlight the pattern created we ~vlomcssori Using more than one descriptive word You can develop this garne on another day into one in "\'vhich you use several descriptive worOs. write togethey. If your child attends a school.. FOR E r\ N l N ( . FOR MEA ~ I N G R INC. mediumsized dark blue triangles and large black triangles the templates provided in Chaptf'r 9.lonressori school. you have now identified the van . verSion Bv doing dm you emphasize [hat words. llDl:krvands \vhich is the correct she kyo". to be effective.ori I(hoo1." and if there lre nyo old \Tllmv vans. you could write. garage. RIGHT Certain words join other words together. For example. she choo')c~ you then have to another word a different color: "The yellow van'1 (if there are [\VO another word: "The Now you need to old yellow van. etc. Choose toys or objects from around the house to provide a context..course. Making the symbols this activity ~/ou \vill need to make three ditTcrcm-lized in three difie-rent colon. see if she would like to create her own labels tor her farm.

lv111g we use it to when a word tells vou what to do. 11o~i(10n the sYIT1bols. or have her write or have already rrcpared. then ask her to guess what the word is.Ask her to gnclually str:1ightcn the up llsmg preposHlons. Take a phrase such as "the large van. Ask her to put on the symhols for the words that knows.ake a pattern out of the tri~ngles by asking ~llesrions.)Dre) "the red lcgo block. then to match them to the appropri:1(e biocks. "The blue Ie go and and the red lego yellow lego. thar of place. ho. and the and phrases that describe the objecrs. write hop and ask your child to do it. Ask your child to put over 7Jl the words she knows. Finally. bus or ." Place ir betwecn the two phrases. Find out where the "ands" need to go by moving the phrase around. Then write "The long pencil case. Have your child read and join them all together.You will quite natunlly up a whole variety or different words that are actIons."The symbol you use for the word that tells you if 'lOU wanted a particular van or just anyone is the small blue triangle. For exan1ple. or simplv use I I some pencils and a pencil case. house.v she does write another word in a different coior to change the "vay she did it. behind and so on. S. p8per and SClssor~ as before. If you need to make clearer you could ask her. When vou have done lots of them.You can plav around with chis idea using the "ands" wi[h a variety of diffE'renr objects. Objects that can be Join"d (see below).p]etcc1 the Jctlvir-y'. play as above. using the Joining word and stick the syrllbols over the tOp. orange circles tor the adverbs How to play action on first to identity· verbs. Take several objects that literally be joined together. Finallv you write and she acts Out. paper and pink symbols that look like hyphcm. but stick to one that she can physically intecpret.vord "beside. with." then show her how to avoid using "and" Looking at the joined together We are going to . and if it had been any van you would have written "a. if she hopped noisd:-. Two pens. next ro.Ten your child i::hat you are going to D1.he vellow !ego block. but this time vvhen your child has cor::.:::omcthing ('he?" She should be Clole to identifY the word "van" md put the black triangle above it. R I\D NG cOR M ." Ask your child to read the labeis. tor your fridge.' have your child read ir and takE pencils out of the case and put them beside the case. then have her read and join l ' Investigating the preposition alter the Use any objects in which you place of one set of objects easily. then removing them all The pencils nex[ to the pencil case Use all sorts of words such as: beside. How to play l except the last one and putting in commas. your child to what to do and idemifV the word [hat told place a red circle over the tOp: then Jsk her to and pidce the Using the comma words can be At a later stage. . "Did I \vant a car. around the time when you are iookmg at punctuation (see Chapter 8). Or you could ask. then write quietly. For if she hopped around quickly. To expand the game to include adverbs. flowers and so each on. Write out label tDr inst. Let her write down :m acnon word and act it Out. Write an piece of paper dnd have her act it act it out. <':'ometill1cS is possible to do IS not: a question ofjudsmcnt: on fier p:lrr:. Continue to ask the symbois tor Wrltten. Now put Out the garage. i the tvvo bricks together. then write hop slowly." Now add the second "and." Ask her to identifY the word that told her what it was you were thinking of. How to play Write a long phrase such The red pencil and the blue green pencil. You will need some crescent The objects ::is above. which 'lOU now place over the two "ands" Using the phrases that you and your child have ". Then.. Of course t\vo ands is not gramrnatilcally but it serves to make the poine. whatever mujdle. For a word that tells us '\vhere" \ve place a green moon above it. frOlTI the toy box and so on. beyond. [he same way as you made the : moon shapes i tri::lngles). farm." Have her put the case over this phrase. pen and large red circles or disks (made m the same way as you made the triangles for the verbs) and." Keep going until it makes sense again. have her read it and place pencils in the pencil case. then change the \vord order. a great many cards that describe prepositions of thee for her to use. The pencil case in the pencils The pencil case nex[ to the pencils Paper. [he dolls' house would good. She can make up sentences.rritten for the garage." the last phrase and the third objecc. You will need Have your child read and put the pencils in their appropriate place above the phrase. For insLmce. Identifying verbs and adverbs Moving on to look at verbs. then ask her which \vord told her where to put them. using differenr color. Write. Now ask her what word told her which van you wanted. Show her the pink bar. and you have to guess what it is she ciomg. Now. [n a co:or "\vord Hand twice~ Place the first "and" between two she has idenrified. then ask her which word told her to join [hem all together.join up as many different pieces as she wams to.1Ctd :ll1oiher different colnr. .imply look at the word "and" since other joining words such as "bur" would be rather too difficult this 'fou will need all the time ov using commas until vou to the last object." Pur the rncchum-hlne tr1:1nglc over that \'vord.~! "the blue ]ego block:' ". You will notice that she will alwavs choose action words to descnbe what it is you are doing.Vlix up the phrases you have written to see if she can read them md tell you what makes senseYou'li bmh discover thar 'omnimes you can s'evap rhe objects over and the phrase WIll still make sense and 'omctimcs vou can·t. Continue in this \vay for as long as she enJoys it. such as lego blocks. Do as many of these as she interested in doing. "What kind of van did I wane?" Your child 'houie' point to "old. Of course there are many different kinds prcp0sition. "The red lego block and the blue lego block. you can to do this with children by acting:.l-hen you could explain [hat the word "the" tells us chat there was a particular van that was required. etc. you could create a long list of objects l~sing the "and. write the word "under" and have her read and intcrrrct thi~.You'll also need pens. Write the . write the word "in.

we Gm tell because they speak their l:mgnage.lVing. \..inout it.h the S111lple .lIso be told through technique reporter use to retell e.~ere there. And they t"peciallv like to write about things mischic\~ou~: a f'p. The g:unes you have played in the prcviollS chapters \vil1 have helped enrich your child's vocabulary. Becoming more aware of what words do and how they do it will help enrich your child's use .. it poss1blc to move ±orw~rd :md backward in tilTH\ to stop still for long periods of time when the thoughts of are being the story line luust be strong.ct. Stories like Lflls are often chJrac[crizcd b\. J\1ake sure that you act them out. and in logIC and ')cql1cncing of OUf thoughts. poim our finger or use our hands to ciabor:1tc our 'reecho 'llhen we write. our vvords need to convey informa(ion "\ve would normally pick up through our different senses.. The \vhole process one of exploration.>ords "and tnen . Remember that your child an author. a pattern tor the mind to READi~G I.hey choose to a S[Dry: sometimes they are :mtohiosnphicaL fc)r 1l1stance children love to tell stories about :lnd the that hJ\'C fuppent'd to them. repeat or explain what it was that we wanted to say.'.. your child will have lived event and will be able to cmbclli. they have a beginning. ~'vve use nise an eyebrow.a straight n"porting of r.rly always a denoue- identifY the word that tOld her "how" to do it and place the orange circle over the top. \Vriting also has the power to use time in .'ents that have harpened . they need to have the power to conjure up [he :)ituatlon our heads as if vve \". also have a specific structure: III simple terms."This type of story couid be written visir to the park or a museurn..torv form. tor instance.md ability to get more out of her re'lding. made her aware of the way stories are 'sritten. In addition.hat authors can take when .d in a ment. as this allows you to feel what the words are doing..'lay trom the way that we use it in speech.. we are able to check as we go along whether the person listening has ll:ldcrstood what \ve are s. and given her a "feel" tor the way which words can be used to convey thoughts. The t\vo of you can now think up lots of sentences that actiom and how to do them.'orltc <. facts with extra details if you ask Stories can . ami to back dnd clarifi. the logical thread maintained.vaLer and rricked their fa[her into jumping into it! Stories like these can be relatively easy to structure since there~s neJ. In \ve speak. ~What these games do is simply to explore that on different level an. Thev particularly like to tell things that amused them. ABOVE One way of identifying a verb with a red circle above it is by acting it out for a frjend! wavour absorb.CHAPTER EIGHT Creative and accurate ng have used children's bnguage this book: as a point tor developing their vvriting skilh.XlRITING . important to recognize that there significant differences het\C\'een spoken and wriLten ~thrClughmlt When we speak.Actmg or acting upon objects the Key experIence In dCt1\jtiCS as it begins to have a personal on how words are felt and interpreted. Stone. Tbe symhols are also very importam because they otte. FOR IvlEA>JIN CREATIV /\ND CCURATE . Children already undemand all (he princirles of at deep level. \\lhen \vriting.t0ry in the time [hat my children filled the bathtub with cold . 'lInen we write. middle and end: the story moves from a given set of circnmstances through to a resolution. There are many perspectives . we need to be Iuuch more precise in the \vay that \Ve use \VOraS. You can now go back and play some of these games in a way that will help your child formulate her In <. which tells her more about words work together than any explanation that i I a teacher could offer.

What you will need i Why did you want to bake a cake? not to discol1IJged when she rejects your suggestions but still wants you to make more It can be helpful to think of a reason for writing down story.CCURAfE IXTRliI!'<C.ke more permanent ~o!ncrhing that we are thinking of. of making your child think that she is writing story. Most of us "vvrite things do\vn for a reason anci the same \vith '.c I was hungry. or ..tory that they \vriting and drav. you could "Let's '\vrite about the time you baked a chocoiate cake and the mixer yvent wrong'" NIake it clear you intend to write story about this but that you don't need to stick to [he of very least. Trearing her story interesting and important in own right and to it ag:lin can Important indicawrs to her that was worrh the effort. In doing all this you will give your child the opportunity to becoHle PO\"\Trttil communicator.}u. it was mv birthdav.cierstorld it trom the The second part of the stOry is 1111ddl:=: usually in the ~vvhat The I baked u cake ail Estahlish whether this ston. Having gathered the raw data for story. Decide whether to "vrite the story first or draw the pictures first. or became we want to have someone read whaI: we have put down. Helping your child to 'create a book from her story and perhaps "puhlishing" it may be approHere you would need the ofa word prOC(. she should also be dnwir:g. be rc\YOrkCc1 or retold 'lear-old stories that she already knmvs. Where did you bake the cake? Ii-iend of mll1d spent all mornmg wricing her own version of Slccpng Bf':mty. expkun or the \vay \vords function. tor If can make h:1rpen In . vou \vill to help her structure her e~fectiye. co use punctuation effectively.he facts of a real "true life" story.liS <-Ire gi\"Cn . Planning the story ~i/h}' who it's about when it takes place where it takes place and :myrhing else that might be Importam to say so dut the person reading the can lln. vou need to help her to understand the strnctC.:n: \vnat h:1ppcncd. You can now use this same game to develop your child's ability to write and structure stories. You can suggest that you and your child are gomg to playa In the game you are going to ask lots of qucsriom of you will write down the answers. hovvever.ring are felt to "vouId like to happen! hand. Be\vare..viii need to her co use bake u cake? Because I like chocolate bcc. is going to have pictures or nor. In helping your child to 'write \veIl. the fact of one may What could call our story? orher. you \vill CREATiVE Let's begin bv thinking who this storY about.1use we want to ma. you asked your child lots of questions built up int. Before you the Story with your child.\\-rlt- 11l11stratlons can be very useful . begin bv explaining tbe every story has three which sets parts.] ph()W. Try to elicit more than more than For exampie. FoEow the same line of questioning [hat you did when you played this game your child.they can used to enhance the story i It has been written.-vrite it bec.UDJcCT: she vvant:s to vvrite about. or Helping with the structure of a story around 6 In Chapter 3 you looked at the Question Game that helped to ahout and expand their ideas around a tOpIC that was familiar to them.: REA. T I .. Authors wrire with the idea that v)meone will read ""'lhat they have written. There are no right or wrong answers and urJess your child insists.vriring story: either we .mponam.rrr:atlon that could be turned into a story. you'll discover of posslbil1ties. First you need to agree on a topic or subject for your scorv.nee Not all children like ')onlC don't feel th.. record them on one of your sheets of paper with a word prompt such as \Vhv? or How? Record much as is rclcvam. we had Grannv and Grandad coming tor lunch. Sticking coughly to subject of the original game. you do not have to stick to .\~D /\.Stories Cln ~ornC'rimc<:. A need to help her to savor the words that she chooses and you \vill need to give her an ability "\Vhat can vou tell me about the character? When did you bake the cake.re very good at it.1rC of the Story.r. Giving purpose to your child's writing is very .COf'ier ston. In order to develop her ability to relate co one theme rather than many. as this is a "Tory and a \\Titer 3. We shall need to know: . h0I'pens to about. The Erst part is the story you Paper and penCll How to play yourself and Your child. thtough discussion. There will be times when vour child would like to 'vi/rite her o\vn story but can't think <:.S'flr or at How did you bake the cake? With whom did you bake the cake? What happened when baked the cake? How did you teel? Vall How did other people in the Story feel? each of these questions there will be many answers and. or they can be used as base around which the story can be I conSlructed.

]s used for a list of lrems. If you wish to highlight this aspect oiwriting more dearlv.\Vriting a story does not rnean ch::n belonged together. \:{Te shall need to know: how the swry ended. focus on them all at once. What you will need For . A them up possible '\V:1y would be as T()l1ovYs: .mds what she is reading. including PllllCrtl. you tackled the of the comma when [here was a list of items yon see.]tion marks to highlighr \vhen someone is talking. Choose what you . Capital letters at the of . a at the tend ending be happy or saci~ tunny or serious.cnrcnccs and periods at the end... If look at the structure other the tone that normal when a question is asked. Ql1ot. you could even take turns writing or vou could act as scnbe on this Or:C.. Punctuation games You . Bm you need to tinish the story.Ct punctU::1t10n. it heromt's to on tIl(' of the person who is perceived to be yOll read to your child you drew aerention to capital leeters.. If you like you can at the Children like this as it . everything.l:Slon.nrJnc()u.Jhle her earliest work with the Part of the appeal of a om on a page: the poem is the wav that it is way that each new sentence begins on a new fe\. You can also study different kinds of poems. a k:nO\\~jec1gc of how it works will help her w what when she reads.vants to say. for example. what will Vhite the title ofthe story. to stones "One day. they have helped to underpin illuch vfthe reading and \vTiting that your cl>ild is now doing. it would be alll'ight to look into one of your children's rayorite storyhoob copy rhere. .. Comm. . such as exclamation points and commas that art' used in manv more complex 'Nays th.'Vlo\'e.ill need to decide which marks you are going [0 iook at. bur suit the \vnter best.. 'when you get to the end.. Reading aloud to others is great art and needs to be practiced.o111('thing Depending on which punctuation you \Vriting poetry It important not just [Q sion into her voice as a consequence of this.. . bearing in mind the questions . If you aren't teeling very crea[ive. there are games that YOll can play with your child. question marks.1ding to herself. Follow your child~s advice. M:my of them seem. So in many 'Nays you have informally begun to look .. you e:x:p!ained various .i. she may choose what she wants to S:lY and how much she \.nrane(}us1lv create poems fi-om . Don'. the words that you want to use Jiscl1~sl()n \yith your child. Don't insist that she reads aloud aU the tlrne: there IS a very great Dct\vccn to be very close to (he abom writing. As you bye read co child manY tnnes. A child's natural love of rhythm and rhvme will lead her [0 spr. periods and \-vay.what happens how things happen why they happen Record to JIl Finally.\yever. Having a tr}mcwork tor helping your child begin to structure her stories and poerns~ you "vill need to begin to look at the "vay in 'vvhich punctuation CJn help to rnake story more which simple Recognizing the "val" pUnCtllJtlon used \"vii1 also help in the vvay your child unde[sr..hat lllCC'd story is to be really good.hem real SatISfaction at having finished sOTnerhing. our story has to have an cnd~ng. (~hoosc . her reading aloud [Q orhers unless it hapr cns Ho. then begin to choose how to start the Story.va. there arc other marks you may wish to introduce. quite 'po. she is TI10\7}ng from aloud to [C'. quotation m~1rks in a DJtl!frll . \Vrite down some ways that the story could have ended. Children have always loved poems and rhymes. she w'ill be t~miiiar with a variety of story and forget about kinds of writing that may be fun to undcrstand.v' \vords conveys a great line and in a deal. \Vhen you were looking at the waY ehat "and" used as a cOIl]unc[ion.l[ to say..]tion rh:lt follows." and end them with the "ami they allliwci happil\' eyer Writing the story of You and your child can \vrite a story together using the outline that vou wrote. conventions such as capital letters at the beginTIlng of and periods at the end. Uniess your child is a t1uent reader. for instance nonsense rhynles :lnd and look at the different wavs in which these poems work.. not a good idea to insIst on CUR l\ T E C 11. You will rrnhablv End thar by the age of six.=ach different topic you vvill need to prepare a htde story. QuestIon marks. make sure that the story reaily finished. and as 'well as these being important in their 0\"'11 right.An After this first rlttempr enCOtlT:1gc child :::0 \:vrlte stories as often as \vishes. E \ ~ l) \VIUTI0i \V i<-- I T I t-J ( .v. On recognizing quotation marks. and will help her to pm more exprespuncrualloll cn(]~mously I . Explain that when a wnter wnres a story. tD reading aloud tor your own comrrchension of Iivh3t you read and reading aloud to other END or THE people. art of poetry writing also needs to have some help. Capital letters at hcgmning of importanr nouns sllch as names of people and places.As she began \vriting.1Il [hose mentioned to keep it simple and clear as pmsible: you aren't teaching your child punctuatIon bur helping her to recognize in her own reading and apply when she (eels able co in her story and poetry \vf1tlng.

She can hear the "provision" and "station" and vvii] be able to apply the ''...ion'' to words like "tc]eY1S!On" :md the "tion" to words such as '·caution. Read it thrnugh at end to see if i. Produce pnnctuat10n ..'\ D \V R 11' J N (." Without necessarilv being aware of it..lke one. (Or ifit would be more srirmIiating her. Take an divide it into tour and show her that the address in the first (Juadram and that it can proceed verticailv trom that point.t you have capital letters tor the eRE AND Ac ATE WRITING CRE... Spelling Quite and . Encourage her to write to other people." a general rule can be observed . You have plaved many games that will help her to hecome more fluent in her reading. Here are some ideas. To be able to predict likely • To be able to make an attempt without fear of failure.TiVE. .-.t-\x the end she can check to see how ulany ::.) Make sure that the size is correct tor the prepared story thev will have to fit iuro. sometimes breaking them down into componC'nt parts when they were verv long and building them up syllable by syllable.hen vou come to the period.he reads.'01.t->ets the sOlmd "ai" could be written . \vhenever you con1e to a in capital letter you will wflte it in the saIne color pen as the rest of the piece."oy" usually C0111es at end of a \vord and -'oi" usually COD1C'S in the apply a knowledge of pattern to the abstr. Show her th::-. using your voice to show the pause and breath that you take v. • To have a good sense of shape.A. Explain the normal wav of beginning and ending a letter.1nd Jsk Letter writing You can now begin to show your child some of the conventions used when we write letters..vrite each . The more cxper..Jct of spelling. Then look at the other verSIOn of the wlry:this it thtough withoUT pansing at end of '\cntences~ running one into the other. the better her spelling has become. "vell does not necessarily mean someone is more intelligent or more wdely read than another ~ there are some good writers who have terrible trouble . if your child finds this difficult she can copy original piece of writing but if she can manage doing this.v to pur her own address on the leeter and the date. Write each cOr!"lbin:lrion at wp of a page. Give her the oppormnity go :hrm:gh the incorrect srory adding in the correct punctuation."lord under its correct colu111n. Spelling games are much more fun to play.l it! Show her hO'. in particular.wish your child to focus on.lVe a little gap for it to be inserted at a later date. the more cOl1\'inced I rim that although some combin:ltion< of letters need to be learned. Being ahle to spell.just cut little squares of paper and can rill in the correct pllncmation on them as she goes along.h their spell. sounds right. She was able to build words. This makes the story a very tunny one and well [he fimction of the period. How to piay beginning of the sentence and periods for the end." \vhich she has also seen vvritten JS . To begin with. You will also need to "\vrite our each capital letter and period that you left our on small squ2. When she has finished she can check at the end what she has done with [he originaL Quite often when you have spent a little time on this activity. All of these skills have been developed in children long before they come to even help eNrect story that has left it all out. in playing the acrivities c:lrlicr in the book you wiH have been indirectlv preparing your chIld to heconle good at Learning lists of spelling at home will not really be very productive became list has no real purpose.Verv often the period. encourage her to do so. thinking about the need to spell. I am convinced that this ability I has been developed from an early age and that is a combination of: similarity and • The ability to in • The ability to compare and patterns. you will see :111 over-use of punctuation tor time in her srories and poems. stopping you actuallv run out of breath to t. . Having said that.ence I have with children \'vho are naturally good spellers. On a second sheet of paper you will write om the salTle story.vi.ndol11 :md place them face down in a pIle. Key sound envelopes 2 Take one of (he envelopes you prq'arcd for the version of this ga.'T1C that appeared Chapter 7. She J1so has very good sound and rhyme recognition skills. Now take out all the cards with the words written on them. not least because children seem to like ro drav.Yom chIld has to . a good speller is one who senses the patterns in \vords.. "'Tite everything out normally except that vvhen you come to~ for eXJmple. you will write that in a different color. vvith the key sound "oy.he can look at the cards if nCCCSqr::. Call them om at r:. Ask vour child to write down all the wavs that she r0nv. turns up in abundance for a while after this game and also the question mark very popular. Vlhen you come to a period.:he got right by going through the pIle of cards Various patterns can be nhcrved 111 for insta~cc. In ~ddition. dnd these coo ~\yill helred in spdling. . of course it's helpful if spelling is more otten correct than incorrect. ~Io"vever. so she nmkrsrands thar a word that sounds like another vmrd may very well be spelled like too.pontancou5]v your child has been developing her ability to speil accurately: rhe more .ing and some very good speilers who can't write at all. you will miss it out altogether bur le... rhe sound-letter :lpproach which your child used in the '\10vcable i\lphahet helped her to gain confidence in dovvn vvii:hout \vorry or fear of having :0 get it right.res of paper in coiored pen. a Clpltalletter and a period. She is SOlTI('onc who is aHe to Take the correct version of the story and read it thmugh with your child.

push. Goat.ons.exct:ptlons middle. fcrnin1nes.nother ~boy girl.You wiIi also show her how to look in a 6icrion~rv using her knowiedge of the order of the . Once your child is writing. for special OCCJ'l. If you believe this to be the case. .'1'" rnornent to <. Her spelling is quite good and she \CHites im:lginative and well-cratted stories. She likes to look up things in rcticfcncc books as much as she loves to read fiction. Your child is now able to wnte clearly and she is eloquent: is ('Help me to do ir myself!" this parad0xical The adul.lnimal to e<lch one.1re written is to look words and how tbey change frorn . pr-ide lions.mei plunls. struggle. Collective nouns Sit7gLrllJjrs and plurals/masculines and Another of .inguL1r to plural or from 11lJscuiine to fcmir:inc You wili need Have vou1' child set out the collective nouns in one column and match up the correct single .that C. coat. It would probablY be (he mr\r()T"'. gaggle geese. c1l1perOr or Th. How to play . ABOVE godmorher godhther: words that derived ti'OlTl one another such prInce prIncess.(11Iv rich and had fun with C0ngrat~l]. etc.( E i V t:: :\ ~]) cu WI:z. rush: string. C . To ploy Discovering how words work call be very interesting..vell. Rc:ad and match the cards.ho\v her ho\v to draft and then produce a fair coPy when she wants to prodUCt. then lt llUY be as well to check turther to be ciisc:nver if she has i thenl.tudying words md how they Children also like match up collective nouns and there are some very colodul ones abom.'170 ciiffcrcnr colored pencils and '. You vVl11 need to have little matching symbol on the back of each pair so thar she can check herself. let her take <..'s: Find words where the plural is made by bird birds C3. .. If you have enough cards. uncle Junt. t~n.lrhabC'f and her ahility to make good guesses! She is no\v at the stage \vhen she is :-cading jf she can do it frOnl memory. mouse mice Find words where there are ['NO parts to the word and only one clnnges in the plural 'poon!:11 'poons+:tl.vrite them dO'vvn.tions all :1nd 1~!lJr8h. bbckbi1'd blJckbirck brother~in-la\-v brorhers-in-Lnv. ['. such as "oyster" bur: it is an observaEion that: 'Nil! serve her very '. you will need pen. srrap. in a different color. H. pack wolves. Occasionally you may find that SIX :{ou can play snap or you CJn pencils. etc Spelling snap and peimanism You need to make:: set of cards 'with four words in each pack sharing 'rlme spelling. She enJoys books and loves reading on her own together WIth you. vvrite \:\/ords on cards and have her mix thenl up and For age of seven.\Vhen has looked LlI thell1 and SOIL rhern. watch watches Find words where the piural is made ch:mging the middle of the word ~ foot teet. She seems to have a way . For ex~mple.ve her \vrite do\vn the \\:ords in cohnnn'S al~ways put the plural in a differem color.You are justifiably proud bccause she did all this by simply living in an cIwironmcJ1( that was im''''1«''(.'nh words.t adding In is made bv by Find words where the adding "es" ~ catch catches. or some other torm of difficulty with words. give your child two rheIn out race down and find pairs. do it nne set at a time to begin with. 'fou will find that your chiid is flKinated by the Vial' words work and will piaying all these games. you will need to For gather together a number of words as foPO''.tr C0111plctcly difterent trom one c. he can highlight the change from singular to plural by writing the plural in another column. tooth teeth. straw.lTI be pbced in two columns: flock sheep. pet.. confident at expressing herself in writing.l :'(c c '-\ N D \YJ R l i N (. hal. How to play brush. crowd people. If vou are srill worried. Words within words Choose a long word such as clcrbnt ~sk your child ho'vv many \vords can rnake out ofiL pan. kl11d such as gnndf:1thcr.. must helD the child but help him in such a way [hat he mav act himself and perform real work in the world. talk to her tcachers md see [hey feel. pant. Of course there are to this rule.. You \yould not have dreamed this until she was at this level. well and writing well.. Yet again rnake small card:. boat: crush.

lfvou do <andfJaper.Jgh comparrnlents for letters. reading and vvriting. and one tor the 13A digrapb "au') 1 addirioml Lrrter "c" 5 additional letters "e" ' 3 adclitinmlletters "h" 2 adcbtiondlleners '''il' 6 adchtional1etters "0" To make Duzzle words Chapters 1 additional letters "q" 6and 8 1ntroduc:ed g1nl. hut you can use any color you vvish." Don't forge.\1'-:0 OTHtR RES L)RC~S l'L. They can be used to create the Sandp"per Letters and Alpbher tcatured in Chapter 3.n needle.wironmcnt will lead vour child to read <-lUct \. I recommend that you one set of originals. Letters Eke and "h" should be about 4 inches high. vou will need: .phte. then fit this into the box lid.] len:er "s~' 1 additl0nalletter "'e' 2 dddltionalletters "u" (3 if you mal<:e "au l ') 1 1 ::1-dditionJ.\TES . pink tor green for digr:lphs. Decide in advance how many of the you want to make and make sure vou make extra copies of the letters needed. vvhich vlill help you use and enjoy the garnes and activities I recommend. She can then pasre chern to different colored paper and decorate the FJFt'L Some children like to draw pictllrt's.'nd two pO'isihilities: Many liquor stores give away cardhoJrd wine boxes to carry away botdes. this book vou will find rererto various marerials. Take the letter templates and their size on a photocopier so thac letters like and "0" are about 2 inches high.. Use the card you need.'. Shmv yarn tram the middle of the braid. You may wish to PUt a little spot [Q indicate where to start feeling the letter and also a shaded line at the base so your child knows which wav up to hold the letter. Stick them together to create tray that has cno'.\-1 P t .vrice ease and \Ve begin at the beginning. :lre easy to make and will only a short inveqment of your time.trips into one another to make grid. pasted and decorarecl. use the finest ! and glue the s:mclparer or other material letters onto [he :1ppropriare colored card that you have prepared. The teem plates.:~s ll"ing. PhotocofJY the templates. Access to phorocopier would make things even e~\S1er: you make multiple copies for the games that require these. one strand think that you can do without it! It's quite easy I i a[ a rime. Cut the box and the down until you have a tray and dividers of about 2 inches high. with whole senes of terr. If your child is old enough to thread her O\".CHAPTER NINE Te p er resources 3 addiwnalletters "r" 1 :1c1dit10T1J.l' T [.: docs Making the box to keep them in is a little more as it needs to be quite can nYmnPl.''LUl"' i i or 12 bottles. and all have c:lrdbmyd dividers. ail your letters will be the wrong wav around when you cut them out. and they can even be used as classified cards' These IFmplate.I Cutting out letters Have your child choose her tavorite letters :md cur them out. You could also find a cardboard bm: that has a lid and use the lid as a tray.If you make all the CigrafJhs <l1ggcstcd in Chapter in addition to tile usual 11phaber letter. which will form the blocks tor letter recognition and. provide her with a plait or braid of multicolored yarn to an 1ppropr1:lte and secured looselv at each how to pull [he end with some varn.em to make a alphabet book if She is not yet \vriting but can cut out \vell. 'Chen use photo- to judge SIze of will need card rhat I a little wider than the single letters. What you will need not I end of it. while). Nothing f2atured here is expensive to buy or very time-consuming w Inake~ and all of them 'vvill help you create the nch c. equipmem and digraphs. Help her create cards w send to loved ones with thelr I initials cut out. Thread up a large needle WIth colored yarn and tie a knot in the i grlt.uray of colors without haviIlg to use scissors.) Cut around the ren1plates as caret111ly as p0:-:'iible iHv''':''. You will also need: ! a tactile material [Q make the letters from: sandpaper (as the name 15 the traditional but you could also use or PJlnring p:1per. (Remember to pm the letters on back to ti'om! If you don't. which you will find following these instructions on pages 142-149 What to do To make the moveable aphabet This activity is so l1nrCl[unt that you to make. the information cnntJlned in this chapter. some patterns and others dray\! more letters! You I could use til. 3 additional letters "a" (4 if vou make the make sandpaper letters What you wi!! need 10 make the letters used in this book. Photocopv dOOut 8-10 copies of each and abom 12 of each vowel. Colored c:lrdboard use the '3me color that vou used for the backgrou:1d of Ihe Sandpaper Letters. In this way the braid stays intan and siIe can choose from a beautiful .] letter "y" Cur our: the black letters. or make them larger or smaller. Slot the ctrdhoard . you will need three dirfcrcnr colors of cardhoard to rnount letters themselves on: one color for vo\-vels. one for the C0nson::tnr::. depending on the needs and prctcrcnces of vour child. Other ways of using the templates Sewing : Photocopy the letters of your child's name and make holes in the letter. These may hold 6 copied sets tor Ihe games themselves. Cut strips oL-. The colors tfdchionally med in Montessori schools are blue for vowels.vhar AND ()THfR l~ES~'UR. Pin them or glue them omo the back of the chosen paper or tabnc.miboard the length and width of the box and make slots in them at abom 4-inch gaps. See the diagram on page for where to place the dot dnd the directlonal arrows so that she feels the leIter using the right movement. and Hj. velvet (\vhich is nice to feel but tends to ravel after a .

collect pictures that show objects trom around the house. rabbit. Jungle gY1Tl. Tabby. dog. provided templates lor a possible List of words tor you use.mmdcd ont ~:ou . you could In:1ke or· card. Stick insect.pelling. that would show the of Cdt.. What to do these words on their own..nd look at them. \voodland tlo\vers. You could collect pictures that show objects fi:om around the neighborhood.In type of anirnal (say cat).ho111d write them in do remember same type or'letters as the S3Ddpaper Letters. Choose one color for set one .T S ~i. Your child will learn many more just by reading.ccording to you Inight . ahvays folio\vint.usslan Blue or . '. and the pictures can be rnore speciBc \vays. h:1111ster. Each card should have clear picture or the object that you are going :0 teach the of and each set should oniy comaln pictures [hat belong together. tennis courr.lila group them .ND OTHER RES OUR T (\ i\" D () T H .ll-. swings. for a set of objects ii'om the hatnroom. you of etc. If YOU have collected pIctures of animals. such Persian. slide.'\lrn. j\jvvays try to Ct1ClOSC !38 Tc PL. You could. with the Moveable . but don:t be tempted to rnake an exhaustive list ~ 10-12 for sec is all you need.]hcr.t since you v.-i11 use To make the classified cards These cards can be usdul for your child in two ways: they call be used to help vocahulary from around the age of two and also when your child is just be-ginning to reacL around the age of four and a half.d dlfferent one tor set [WOo Keep the cards in a little box on your child's writing shelf so She can always find them when she needs [hem. coHeeted a set of pictures of pets perhaps pictures of J. For very young children of nvo and four')~ collect (hcnvccn rhepictures of objects rhar rhev will find in theIr environmem. kitchen. living room. When writing the Puzzle Words on [he canis of cards You Cdll Inake as Inany different as you Eke. Ti"y to follow your child's interests.:i1enl" garden tlovvers. cat..-. to looking for them or draw vour child's attention to them RIGHT Once sile has made decorate them in lots of ways.. While you are out and aboLlt.A.. bedroom.-plor:lrion of the rea] world.. goidtIsh. etc then do go to a park J.) fVlctke each card inches long and about 2 incnes high.<J\by')slnian. try vvhen you dre out.lrd is be<. l:z. and as guide for .\ve call Puzzle \Vords (so called beC:Juse tbey can't be . If you do so. Group the cards according to locltion. For of pictures froTn [he park~ Qlr. each set should be according to the rooms in your house.) that she (. for mstdnCe. aipine tloVV"ers. If you collect cards of the itelTIS you Inight find in the park: bench. What you will need You need to make two sets of Puzzle Word (Cardho. hothouse flc)\vers. hi') \Vherever link the cards '"vlth your and your child's c:-.0"rnOl'k-n street or \X/hen your child becomes older you can look at other" groups" of objects that may :ntercst him.

You could illustrate the story or simplv keep it in a using the !\'!nw~Clhle . she have a blaJlk page opposite to wnte her own story. :lno 1 Letter books Fold a of paper 1mo three or more sections to create zigzag or tan book. She sees the words that she has dictated being \. Write J stOry together to begin with and then cnCOUr:1gc You can make this into a book bv tnn'cribmg omo a comput<~r .vere Picture books Dra\v pictures that (ell a simple story and 2. lV1. and occasionally she mav put speech bubbles on rhem.Trv to make the bOOK look as close w a real book as reading. stOres.md it together . Do these on loose pieces of paper you join togerher so the book can be added to. As she learns more and more Sandrapcr Letters. Or your child may want tel b<egh'1. sure to put a title on the coYer :lnd the author's name.h" this w11l ll1 charge each lemon.1'he letters could spell her name or an objecL You could find 50nnd on picmres that hegin \v1fh each dra\v ~ee reacts it correctly. good for ner 'Nill start ro label. Your child may draw many pictures thctt . In this way. Glue the picture. and for re:lding. it would be best [0 collect caples of each picture: one will be used to teach the name or the object and the other Vilill be used as J . PhotClgraph a day in ynl1f life. \-Xlhen your child is C-:hJpter she "'vViH reJ.. When she is able to quite well. of her o\vn progr(.conery shops l\ group m museun:tS I once t:mght .m as can fInd picmres to paste in that stan v"ieh h"amifi11 cover that you have made together.v semenees to descnhe She should be quite good at this ifshe has Alphabet.sk In Ch:lprer 8 we looked at a way of helping and then \vfite mfected with my enthusiasm for Monet. vour child may draw a picture that has a story and you can encourage her to vvrite do\vn a te\.e cards tor the set \)lncc to write the names of the objects underneath them.<vhen your child your child to organize [hem in ordeLYou can then tell a swry around the pictures. \vh-ich is self-esteenl.rst set.t.~5. She will also take it and "read" it.-necking mc:cn:mism. do make sure that vou spell everything correctly. See if they can be nude into a collection. In this else [he story comes first and can illustrated iryour child wishes. It is importam to provide [pjs selfchecking mechani:. You could make an alphabet book with your child. on co keep the pages wgNhcr while others hold the pages together using a series of prepared holes. with that sound. However. Read it to her whenever she wants.. If you aren t able to buy tvvo se(s of pictures. they could recognize many of his paintings and make judgments on the Kind of subject matter he seemed to iike 1 How to make the cards If vou wish to the cards nseful YOC:lbl1hr. Perhaps your child will become expert at recognizing all makes of car on the road if that is her inrerest! pictures that: reflect your child's on the back of the picture. When vou have a book with aU the letters and she knO\\'5 her ::dphahct scq:lcnCE\ you C3n suggest she organize. RCn1cmbcr that this 'tage she .you caD buy good binders from q:?[inner).. you can begin to vvrite them down for her in the torm of a book. Do not be tt'mpred to change the words she uses or the sense of what she savs at this stage. Here are some ideas for all Story books These may or may not have pictures with them.hat has to be attachcci to Some love to others do GrJduaily as your child starts ro teU you stories. on colored C1rdho.:. COlD_pare \vo!-d. \Vhen she is more able. your child structure :l S(Oly Where to find pictures for cards rvlail order are good for ilnding pict11n"'s of the home and garden. you can add thenl to book and she AND OTHER R U RC ES AND ()T R l-ZESc)CR.ud.ource of pic-tmes and you can find these at good To rnake books Thwughour this book I have encouraged 'lOU and your child to make books of your o\. and although none of them were over the of six. the "comrol of error" .\(111 noe know the of the alphahet. You WIll USe the first set as described in Chapter 3. .d the labels and match them to the cards of the first set. 1+1 . Put letters at the top of each section. you shou1d still111akc set of labels and sinlply vvrite the name of the object makes.(or any other event) :1nd her them into some kind of order and paste therrl on colored Tie chen) together \'vith one.}[c a very good .ake a set of separate labels for !1. the book accordingly. If your child CJn \vrlre she may like to write a word or two under the pictures or she may dictd'[e and you can vvTir:e tor her. If you do this at the corner ie's easv to turn the over.yn.In you will help them to explore their and develop the vocabu\:vorld in more larv to extend their thinking and help them to talk about what they see. If you hJYC a you couJd your Qvvn pictUres.vritten. teaching the names of the cards by ~1 thre~-period lesson. having read the word on the iabd she can turn [he picture over to see if she has identified the item correctly. or dravvn by you or by your child. These call be cut Out ti-om letter tcrnplarcs. Don't make your child thmk . Some kinds you simply 1 ribbon. ivbke [he cards for the 5erond set (han th.

select: the one I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I ! I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I i I i I I I I I I .H '7 inches high by 6 inches wide~ an eni. I I I j I I I I i \ I I I \ I I I I I I i I I I i I I I I I I I I I I I I I ! .'nr \Vhere you preI~er of around 230~~ in total. vvhen you knee templates you should enlarge them until I I le'Lter 11lC':1st:rcs 2hoi.Letter '-L-_lLlifIl(UA-Cl ! I To make the S1nctp::lre-r Letters co their traditional size.HW'''". than one version of d letter is given.

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fair hair . I I I II I I I tamb t hum b Istation ! b ours ao I I . c atr I I I I I I rite rang I I I I I att knee knot I I I I ! I Ii ca I I my I who knit know .. alr .Puzzle 1 Puzzle \Vords 2 to an. I I I I I · lire latwn they was some I I I i ! I I I co b II~ I acatwn L .

u words. Paint and pencils are also included.lme Cocky Rooster Digraphs use one colored lirles on ILl Ihis paper gives :::he letter.vs your crild to write her letters on the base hoe but it doesn'[ iimit her letters to a her to try to keep them Slug in aJug coughly the same. This by copylng. Four ih'1es that are color-coded \Vhen vou photocory th".haded pre and the height of the :1scendcn :ind dC'~c('nders to Qvvn jl.}tches rhe size of her v/Titing when she is \vriting on plain paper. 'vvhile the rest of the letter fits the small Hght blue triangles medium dark blue triangles blue 10 iarge black triangles pink bars (hyphen shapes) green crescent moons Shaded Line This paper will help your child to form the main bodv of the letter the . ht":f 10 10 Animal Sound Tracks Listen to the real sounds of animals the tapes and match them to your game board.\1agnetic that \yill . It is important choose p8per that roughly can discover how difterent words have used to create the pattern of shapes [hat she places the labels that you write. Hen. Once your child has a pair. but you will need to illa[ch it to a hbckhn:1rd if you \vish heT IO 6(\(\ / / This is a rhyming player must find a card that rhymes with one of their cards. The size in which she ·writes her nalne a useful g1ude. You will find in rhi' for all of these Keep them in little jars so you onlv need our the ones you need for each garE-e. [hen frOID game can be played memory Double Line with darker base l-Iere raper serves 111uch the same function as Galt Picture Word Dominoes Picture and word cards linked together bv cards . one capical and lowcrc3se version of the first also nice 10 all the time. it would be heh)iul to your child if they rnakes it casier for her to identif)r and to have to '. first person to cover their pICture WIth cards is \vinner. Individual games include: Donkey Niatching SounDS Game Rook Beg1n:1ing Sounds Game Rabbir Sounds Qmz game Goat Rhyming Words Glune Toad Word-:.!dgmer1t. to Stencil Set l-" box (nntaining lOY\TTc. \ \ and Learning I Spy ArOlmd the H0rld Detailed cards that need dose nbscrvation provide the basis for this I spy game. Ship and Train.lnd the dcsccnd~r) \ for all pans of top red line' to the hotrom [cd ' / 10 10 .on prepared paper of paper [hat are to overleaf for eXlJloratJlon of the meaning of words In Chapter 7 explore ways in which your child be cut om and Games that you can buy that will be both fun and helpful There are many cOlnrrlerc:laiiy available games that are useful and tun to play that can support your child's learning. smail orange disks or circies 10 red disks or cirdes T PLi\TES A:-":D OTHE RESOUR 01' ER QURC 153 . Each card is cut so that it can be correctly asscmbld C:lsily.Verv helpful for word recognition.. Children spin a letIcrcd first to spy something on their picture with that lerter gets ro cover it with a card. which has delightfil1 photographs Parker Junior Boggle Children try to beat the timer and reproduce the word on their card using letrer dice.-:n nne Spear's Games Junior Scrabble A gaII1e whlCh Vall match the letters [hat you have to \vords already \vntten on the board.vithjUst words on them. Orchard Toys bring Shopping List Game The objecr of the game is to fill your shopping cart with food. and one the name of the object. helping her to place her letters correctly on paper. Pig and Boat.e lines VOll will need to run over the middle lines in blue and the top and bottom in red.sc I m. E:lch one has a swrv book and the game will use the words and scenes trom the storv. a fUlillY rhyme must be made up using the words on the cank Letter Sound Games These games are tor chiHren who (an already read but need to practice. The letters can fit in any order so the only wav to do it is to "sound Out" correctly The words are either phoneDC or have a digraph in them: Dog. This is fun co play and will help your child to recognize famili. This is a usefui imroducrion to ordinary Scnbble of paper.re th. If you decide to I'1hotocopy m0.dthcugh the doned line is le" definilc and rnay be left to cventu:dlv ~1de k-aving a single line tor \vriting on. The ascenders go up to . Cat. (You couid use any color. Graph paper This paper allo\.J. the shaded line . which they to do bv turning over card tram a selection that has been placed face dowu. i (pagesJ 54~5) vvill be useful for your child as a guide letter of the object.vrire on \vhite 1['5 Letter lYfatch \vell-illustnted ('ards have bee'n separated om into three One part has the picture. using the as a guide.ltGch to your fridge or to the small magnetic board that is suppiied. for the clpitJI :lnd lerrers. Jolly Learning Jiglets .uilding G.

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:::roc Leaf (Puffin Books _ rrle Story Rhymes and Poems Books about the .\1ontcssori approach ''1D OTHER RES l<-CES TEI'viPLl\T ~ND OTHER RESOURC .\1:.Good books for children Roald Dahi (Puffin'). Books for you to read Sp~Clai oreier book .

Index Vinci. Rome 7 nun~bers use 19. 94 UIJ. Pac. 120 lisr:enmg 19 usmg 0bjects 106. gluing letters 96 136 hand control 20./lll 11 104.. 106-9 158 rN D IN EX! 159 .36 feeling :md \:<"'T:'ting 92-3. Hmchms. Rosif'~ r/~dlk 46 collective nouns 13-1- Key Sound Envelope<. j ! 8.111.

127 education ..i ing "111'Si I II' I I 160 IN D E X .~ Montessori cqutpmcm North Amerlca n i\1omesmr i TC:l chcn . 15. UK can be :ddressed . CA 94041 This Qr~ mzatlo ll seils I'vtomcss()ri and boob Mo messori ed ncItlOn.80335.. 124 New'iork 14607 (716) 461 5920 11 remplates.105. 99 ')n p rcp.2 eqwpmenr. fe:'l<. Montesso r i Educarion (UK) 21 ViIH.0 A~s(l c i::ttion M oncC$50 rl Imcrnatl0nJle Kon inglnne\Veg.vc r R oad NE decan ting 87 UN ESC O 11 adv~ rbs verbs and 125-6.ri.1rion J 1424 Bdlflo'. SW19 + 44 (0) 181 This organiZJDOn :':lS tntormarion on \-1ontes.17.124 320 Pioneer \.1 9. Rochester.51. 122 123.lgc. mabng 122.he.lay (800) 942 8697 MOllTItJin View.'y~rd Hill London.sorl schools in rhe LJI{. 126 12.ssociation i\1ontcssori TmernJrjon31e USA. reSOllrc~s and IirCf:J.16. 3.3. r:aodeIs on li nes 98-100. i11S0 ]angl. 114 TV and video. 5l descriptive 121. The Netherlan ds +31 31 462711 0 This company manli6c tu re..16. watch ing 27. 410 idexar:d er Streec. words 36.A.spelling 36." .:. 108."m:~d 152 p:l tte::-ns in 3rtwork 59-60 ISB N 0-609 . 133 Useful Addresses \Vorld widc General inn".8 1.101.lnderm. letter 136-40. co urses and sch o ob. SCI. 117.H:. 142-9 Three Period L~sson 37-8 Treasure HullC 11 3-14. 14.am":. Nienhuis [v1onressort USA.!\S50 cl." held in usetul. 161 T he N ethcrbnds Nienhuis Momessori 14 US A .

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