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Language Skills

Learning to Read and Write


Things to include:

magnetic letters, letter tiles, chalkboards, letter games, sponge letters, pipe cleaners,  clay to make letters, alphabet books, alphabet cards.

Letter Play
Encourage the children to sort letters by shape, find the letters in their names, differentiate between letters.

To Do Lists
Make up simple lists of three or four letter words for the kids to do during the day - book, eat, wash, draw.  They can cross off each item as they complete it.

Word Rings
Use recipe cards and write words the children know on them.  Connect them together with a notebook ring.  As children learn more words, they can add them to their rings.

Taking a Child's Dictation
Use open ended questions - " What should I write?, Tell me about that?
Is there more/what happen next?"  Record their words exactly as they say them.

On a set of recipe cards, write the words the children can read.  Add one or two new ones.  On a few cards write BANG.  Place all the cards in a bucket.  The children draw out a card and say the word.  If they know the word, they get to keep it.  When they draw a BANG, they have to put all their words back in and start over.  If the children don't like to put their cards back, you can just laugh at the word BANG and keep going.

Write a Group Folk Tale
Read folktales that have similar themes.  After reading them talk about the similarities and differences.  Explain that fairy tales are old stories that have been told over and over again by storytellers until someone decides to write them down in a book.  Invite the children to write their own folk tale.  Decide on a topic together.  Go around the circle, each child telling a part of the story.  When the story is finished,  write the sentences at the bottom of blank white pages.  Have the children each illustrate a part of their story.  Put the pages together in book form.

Read several books by the same author.  Write your own story in the same flair.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle is a good one to imitate.

Learning the Alphabet

Letter Hunt
Look though newspapers and cut out letters in their name.

Alphabet Hide and Seek
Laminate alphabet letters.  Play hide and seek with them.  Put them in alphabetical order as they find them.

Body Letters
Make the letters of the alphabet with your bodies.

Letter Talk
Pick a letter of the day.  Say all your words beginning with that letter "Bood Borning".

Alphabet Jump
Write alphabet letters on pieces of construction paper (flashcards also work well).  Lay them on the floor.  Jump from one to the other while reciting the alphabet.

Letter Guess
Write a letter of the alphabet on the outside of a plastic egg.  Inside place a small item or picture of an item that begins with the letter.  Children play a guessing game of what is inside.
Variation:  Write an upper case letter on one half of the egg and a lower case on the other half.
Variation:  Write an alphabet letter on one half of the egg and tape a picture of an item that begins with the letter on the bottom half and match up.

Alphabet Hang Up
String a clothesline across the room.  Children can hang up alphabet flashcards in the correct order or using clothespins that have an alphabet letter written on it, hang up pictures beginning with that letter.

Alphabet Match Up
Glue a small picture to a strip of poster board and write the word beside it.  Prepare several of these picture cards.  Place each picture card and it's matching alphabet cards in a Ziploc bag.  The child pulls out a bag, removes it contends and then spells the word correctly using the alphabet  cards.

Name Hunt
Write the letters of  each child's name on individual large recipe cards.  Hide the letters around the room and have the children hunt for their letters.  You may want to make each child's name a different color.

Writing Trays
Set out trays (cake pans work well) of sand or salt for children to practice making letter shapes, numbers and words.

Spelling Bags
Place hair gel with alphabet beads in a ziplock bag.  Squeeze the air out and tape the bag shut.  Children can then manipulate the beads to spell words - real or inventive.

Letter Check Off
Give each child a piece of paper with all the alphabet letters on it.  Have them search around for one item for each letter.  When they find one, they write it down after that letter.  Who can find the most?  Older children can pair off with younger children.


Providing consistent language model

Who can use the dictionary

How Sounds Are Made

Language Skills