Learning letters necessary? Yes…. boring…NO! These 26 symbols of our English language, when put together in the right order, are pretty powerful players. Put together in the wrong order or leaving one behind and something that is very pretty can become petty. A tart can become gassy and your dog may end up as a place for lots of dead plant material.
For toddlers and preschoolers who are beyond the stage of experiencing the world with their mouth, magnetic letters are a great tool for learning. They can be front and center on your frig or used in a child’s lap with a cookie sheet, or on a desk with a small magnetic easel.
When you introduce your child to a new learning tool, such as magnetic letters, let them experience them in their own way for a period of time. You will learn valuable information about what they already know as you watch how they interact with the materials. Children are very curious by nature and giving them time to explore on their own will make them more agreeable when you direct the play.
Magnetic letters provide opportunity for much more than just learning letter name/sounds. They are great for visual, auditory and tactile skills. Help your child with visual discrimination by having them find letters that look the same. As your child manipulates the letters, they are working on fine motor and tactile skills and as they hear the letter names and sound the letter makes, they are working on auditory skills. Math skills can also come into play as your child sorts letters according to color, shape and size and counts them.
Don’t forget to follow your child’s lead. Learning letters should be fun for little ones and is a process that involves exposure in many different ways in many different settings.
All this ABC talk reminds me of a funny story. At the beginning of the school year, we screen children to see how many letters/sounds they know (first grade). One year I was working with a wonderfully peppy outgoing little girl, and as I pointed to the letter “L” she replied “lemino”. L,M,N,and O all blended into one beautiful letter in her world of ABC. Aren’t kids great? Enjoy!