Teaching preschoolers letters and spelling

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January 27, 2014

in Early Learning, flash cards, Home schooling, Literacy, Reading

I’ve tried many books, apps and games to teach my 3 year old letters and reading. I tried some sight word flash cards suggested by Glenn Doman and also the Little Reader program released by the company Brillkids. I also used “The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading” by Jessie Wise and the preschool prep Letters and Sight Words apps. While flash cards and Little Reader seem to work well with my 1 year old, a 3 year old may not be as cooperative. She’s a very proud little preschooler and doesn’t like to be taught or shown anything, because it would imply that she doesn’t know. So I’ve been struggling for months to find a way to teach her or let her discover letters and reading without causing resistance. I think I have finally found a perfect way!

I usually work on my laptop only when the kids are asleep as they always want to start banging the keys while I do work. Today, my daughter was a bit more mellow and just sat down next to me while I had to write an email and she asked “Can I watch what you’re doing?”. So I explained her that I was writing a letter and asked her if she wanted to write it for me? For example, I was just going to write “no problem” and I told her “I want to write the word “no”. Can you find the letter “N” on the keyboard? And where is “O”? Now we have “N” and “O” that make the sound “n” and “o”, “no”!” And now we want to spell the word “problem”… can you find the letter “P”? Sometimes, the letter wasn’t easy for her to find as they aren’t in the common order on the qwerty keyboard, and then I would tell her what part of the keyboard to look at. But I noticed as we went along that she quickly learned where letters were located, and when she didn’t know I showed her and she picked it up quickly.


Then I opened a new document to spell some words that she suggested, for example names of her friends and silly phrases about her best friends like “Eli is a zebra” or “Leo is a cat”. I make sure to use an appealing font (in my case, we use the font Noteworthy, if you aren’t an Apple user you can just try and see which one looks good for this purpose) in a large font size (in my case, 36).

That way you can write the words in big letters easy for your child to see. Let them hit the keys and find the letters. Somehow, this way it seems very easy to teach a child who isn’t interested in phonics apps or flash cards about letters and sounding out words.My daughter enjoys finding letters on the keyboard and spelling out words to write a letter on the computer like her parents and is very proud of it.

I will do this every day for about 20min with her from now and and report back on the results soon!

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