I love using creative supplemental ideas to encourage my kids as they begin to show an interest in reading! So in addition to using the foundational pieces of A Beka’s Phonics Curriculum, I like to add a variety of fun activities that serve to engage them even more – allowing their curiosity to lead the way.
Especially at this early preschool age, I simply encourage an excitement over:
Never forcing anything they aren’t developmentally ready for or enthusiastic about experiencing together – So important to remember in those early years!
Simply want to encourage your child’s love of learning? Here we go!
IDEA #1: Engage the senses! Allow your little ones to use their fingers to “write” letters/words in shaving cream, cool whip, pudding, or sand! Be sure to drink an extra cup of coffee before tackling these kinds of activities with your kids. ha!
Cook up some spaghetti noodles…allow them to cool…and then play along with your kiddo to create letters/words by laying out/shaping the wiggly pasta noodles. Playdoh can also be shaped in to letters/words. Think these indoor ideas sound too messy? Try taking your kids outside and letting them “copy” sight words from flashcards by writing the words on the ground with sidewalk chalk or by “painting” them on the ground with a paintbrush and water. My kids love painting with water!
All of these activities work well whether your child is learning to write with manuscript or cursive! (Around here, we begin with manuscript.) I have used these sensory experiences with preschoolers as well as fourth graders and every age in between.
IDEA #2: Post sight words all over the place! We have loved using these post it note sight words. I have three sets that I scored at a yard sale – which is actually where I find MOST of my homeschooling resources. During our four-year old homeschool year, I introduce at least three new sight words each week. At the beginning of each school week, I post the three new words in our homeschool space, in our playroom, AND in my four-year old’s bedroom. Every time he spots them, he reads them!
Repetition is most definitely the key to learning anything!
IDEA #3: Search YouTube! We love using YouTube for educational purposes! Some of our favorite YouTube Channels include: Super Simple Learning, Maple Leaf Learning, Oh My Genius, Storybots, Edewcate, and Mothergoose Club. Check out all of these playlists – They are excellent for preschoolers! In addition, also check out all of the picture book videos available such as this Collection of Short Stories or various read aloud picture books. There are countless numbers of these kinds of things out there, and my kids love them. They learn so much from following along with any kind of read aloud! Do you have any YouTube favorites? I would love to add to our list!
Have you tried YouTube’s app for kids? This is a great app to consider putting your kiddos’ tablet! In fact, there are so many great educational apps out there that we have loved using to encourage not only reading skills, but also math!
IDEA #4: Let them watch tv! Yes, mamas, you heard me correctly! Television can actually be an incredible learning tool! Really! There are some great shows out there that encourage reading – Super Why! is a favorite of ours! We love Word World, too! Have you seen these? Our Tivo is set to record all of the new episodes, and my kids get so excited when I incorporate an episode in to our day!
Interested in another tv-related idea? Are you ready for this one? Turn on the closed captioning! (Now you may really start to wonder about me!) If you choose to use this idea with your little one, make sure they are watching something where the closed captioning actually matches what is being said on the screen; but once you’ve double-checked that everything lines up, this can been a great way for preschoolers to spot words that they know as well as be exposed to new words!
IDEA #5: Media, Media, Media! Their tablet…the television…YouTube…Use every possible opportunity you have to engage them in language! In addition to LOTS of real live conversation (So important…Actually the most important!), use lots of media resources! Visit your local library and allow your little one to check out [not just picture books, but] audio books, nursery rhyme CDs, and more; and while you’re there, visit your local library’s story time/music hour! I have been taking my little ones since my oldest was four months old (Yes, I needed to get out of the house!), and we have all loved our weekly visits ever since!
I try to provide my children with as many strong reading role models as possible – Whether these be individuals who have recorded their own YouTube videos, the awesome guy who guides our library’s story time, their favorite babysitter who reads to them when she comes, or just their dad and me, this has become an integral part of fostering an enthusiasm for all things reading!
TIP: Psst…if you have boys, be intentional about seeking out reading role models who are male! This can make a huge difference in their attitude toward reading which is unfortunately oftentimes considered a female sport! Another key to reaching boys is to make language arts as PHYSICAL as possible!
Orally spell words, substituting a different movement for each vowel. A possible choice of activities might include: a= clap hands, e= stomp feet , i = snap finger, o = rub stomach, u= click tongue. for example: to spell dog – say “d”; rub stomach for “o”; say “g”.
Interested in learning more about homeschool preschool?
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