With the best of intentions, our timing and our direction are off! We are missing the most sensitive period in a child’s life to teach the fundamental tools of writing and reading if we do not engage between 0-5 with letter-sound associations. Lower-case letters and the most common sound for each letter is the simplest tool box leading to literacy.
Letter sounds taught kinesthetically with clay, cookie dough, or Souns, using only lower-case letters is so simple and logical. Engaged hands feed developing brains, say the directions that come with this little package called “child.” Watch a child play, touch, manipulate, explore…all words reflecting engagement with the world. Digging, stacking, building, lifting, carrying – these are the efforts and endless work of the child acclimating to the world around him or her. As adults, we are so driven to teach; yet, if we paused and observed, we would understand ourselves to be the learners. Children know more about how they learn best than we do; but, too often we are not watching.
Today, at our Souns early literacy workshop, we took the time to watch. The images show you what we saw: stacking, matching, lining up, sorting – all the while learning letter sounds. Why not? They learn shoe much before they can put one on. They learn bath, well before they can run their own. Similarly, they can learn /o/m/s/t/ and on through the letter sounds of our alphabet. They are just objects being labeled, the same as a cup or a triangle. If we can keep it simple, they will learn. Look at those little hands and the activity we observed this morning. Enjoy your child. Observe and learn.