Sunday, 6 January 2013

Letter explosion!

I don't know what 2013 has in store for us, but I do know that it has started in force!
New understanding of X's learning style (which by itself is so big!  More on that later), many changes in our home environment, jobs... I sure hope that 13 will keep on being good to us.

I have noticed many changes in E too lately.  He is generating a lot more questions then he used to, he is starting to be interested in things he wasn't before, one of them being letters.

A few weeks ago, he started to sing the ABC song.  Honestly, I am not yet sure where he got it from, but I didn't think much of it until he associated a letter he saw to it's name: A.  This made me realize he knew more then I thought.

And with M that suddenly is reading, and spontaneously writing, and X that is now reading regularly cartoon type books (Asterix and Tintin of course), I can say that we are in a time of letter explosion right now.  I do not know how long we'll ride this wave, but I will surely enjoy it will it passes.

So E is currently crusing along the line of learning the sounds of the alphabet.  I never thought I would be teaching this at 2 1/2, but I have learned the importance of following the child.

I took advantage of the Christmas season to buy this beautiful letter puzzle (picture above)  that I have had my eyes on for a while.  I really wanted it for M, but I didn't get it on time for her.  It is right on time for E.

It is a puzzle by TAG toys.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, I love this company.  Their products are really high quality, and they, undoubtedly, will last forever.  E's peg's tumbler is still a hit, 6 months later.  And while the price of the puzzle did seem high at first, I totally understood why then it came home.

Let me show you the actual size of this:

We are not talking about the standard size wooden puzzle.  This is big and heavy and sturdy too!  And I think this is what makes it so satisfying for E to work with it.  He LOVES to travel this around, he does it many times a day.
The letters are easily the same size as the letters of the large movable alphabet.  They are thicker (and not as smelly...).
I hesitated between this and the typical Melissa and Doug; I have no regrets whatsoever about my choice.  I wish I had bought it for the other 2.

So what do E do with this?

Right now, he picks a letter, and I say its sound.  He usually repeats it after me.  This is basically the 1st part of the 3 parts lesson.  The difference is that I let him choose which letter.  I am not pushing anything, he has his own agenda.

In Montessori education, we rather teach the sound before the name, but obviously, he got it the other way round.  Does this worry me in any way? No.  He'll get it soon enough.  Do I think he will be confused? No, he is currently learning his letters both in french and english at the same time, and he manages not to be confused by that... I don't know how he manage.

I am a little surprised by the interest E has in letters right now.  I hadn't planned anything else then playing around with this puzzle, but it seems clearer to me that I might have to go to another step with him.  This next step will probably be the letter pouches that I made before for M.  We'll see how this go.

Overall, I am completely happy with this puzzle.  I have seen M using it to write words (using it like a movable alphabet).  Of course, since there is only one letter of each, it makes it very limitating for that, but I see the delight of being able to handle such big and thick letters in her hand (and in E's hands too!)

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