Language: The first thing I do with Sand Paper Letters.

images-3One of the most important things, one of the things that make us unique, special, diverse, and identifies us is our name.

So, as ones name is precious and we write it so many times. It is fun to teach a child the letters of her/his name first. Even if the name is not phonetic, it is important and a child has a great interest in knowing how to spell and write their name.

Chose the first three letters of the child’s name and give a 3 period lesson. It is very important to demonstrate the correct way to write (trace) the letter,and do it with two fingers..we use a thumb and two fingers to write,  now is the time to train those muscles. Say the sound and have the child trace it after you. (this stage is very important for fluid writing ability later)

If you are left handed sit on the child’s left, if you are right handed sit on the child’s right, this way you do not block their view with your arm.

When the child has absorbed the first 3 letters, and is confident with them move to the next three. If they are confident with two exchange those for two new letters.

Build the child’s name and let them build it as many times as they wish..soon they will be writing it too, but that may come much later.

Teaching through the senses? yes..touch, you trace the sand paper letter, sound, you say the sound of the letter, sight, you see the shape of the letter. and ..and you have the routine and ritual of the three period lesson that becomes imbedded in both the teacher and the child.

Three period lesson

Period One: This is….

Period Two: Show me….

Period Three: What is this?  ……

I also turn it into a game on period three, I hold the cards up like a fan and ask the child to choose one, and then to name it. If they have not got it yet I say “can you hear it if I say mango ?” (say for m..) and usually it will trigger an “m” from the child.

If a child’s name is not phonetic, say Jane, I would say “in your name the “a” is pronounced “a-e”,” ( later when the child starts her phonogram work she will understand the “a-e” in her name.

I also place the letters face down on the table and ask them to chose one and to name it, if this is difficult I ask them to trace it ” let your fingers remind you” and they usually get it and it is great.


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