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Yes, there IS a simple way to help children learn to read and write. First the MUST learn the sounds and shapes of the alphabet. However, the letters are symbols. How can symbols make sound? And how do we help our preschoolers connect the sounds of the letters to the shapes of the letters? Simple: We use animals to sit on the letter and follow its shape. The alligator is drawn in the shape of the lowercase (used 95% of the time in text) letter "a," the bear is in the shape of the lowercase "b," etc. ("A picture is worth a 1,000 words!). next we use our bodies to "wiggle" the letter - for example: the alligator open and closes his mouth, so we use our hands to imitate him, "open and close." The bear loves honey, so we reach way up to the honey hive with our arm and bring the honey down to his mouth. Each letter has a fun body movement. this body movement acts like the CEMENT that glues the sound to the letter. We can ask the child, "what animal is this?" they will say, "alligator" and we repeat back, as we do the body movement, "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaalligator." They FEEL (eyes, ears, mouth and body) and LIVE the letter. So much more effective than looking at an abstract symbol and trying to remember the letter's sound. We teach lowercase letters first and their sounds because, as stated earlier, lowercase letters are used 95% of the time.
Because children look at adorable animals and wiggle their bodies in response, we can start with our 18 month children. By the time they are 2 they know the sounds and shapes of the entire lowercase alphabet and can address sounds to initial sounds in words. By three they can spell and read simple VC and CVC words. By the time they are heading to Kindergarten, they are reading and spelling sentences. It has been wonderful for our children who come here with limited English, for our special needs children and for youngest of children who are just developing language.