getting ready for reading

Alphabet blocks like Land of Nod's Nod blocks can help in teaching not only letter names, but phonemic awareness and letter-to-sound correspondence.  Children need numerous exposures to print and letters in order to lay the foundation for reading.  Alphabet blocks are one way to expose children to alphabetic concepts and phonemic awareness.  Each block also helps to reinforce the concept that one letter represents one sound.  

Here is a simple and quick activity you can do with your preschooler who is starting to learn the alphabet and letter sounds.   Put some stuffed animals, animal figurines or pictures of animals in a bag and have the alphabet blocks ready and off to the side.  Have your child pull out an animal from the bag and then place three letter blocks, one being the actual letter that the name of the animal starts with and two other random letters.  For example, if your child pulls out a cat, you say, "What letter does 'cat' start with?  C-c-cat.  C, N or E?"  Have your child choose the correct letter (with help if needed).  Later, spell out the whole name of the animal and read it with your child so that s/he can get used to what that word looks like and also so that your child can start to learn that one letter stands for one sound.  You can repeat these steps with the other animals.  Later, you can use alphabet blocks to help teach blending and segmenting (pre-reading skills taught in kindergarten).  There are so many good uses for alphabet blocks!  They are an essential tool for play and learning in these early years.

Joint writing on a regular basis is also very important for early literacy development.  You and your child can draw simple pictures of animals and write words below.

Two engaging and fun iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad apps for learning letters and phonemic awareness are Duck Duck Moose Reading and Endless Alphabet.  Another good resource is KinderTown, which is an app that reviews and recommends educational apps in different areas.  Their Power Packs are "mini" lesson plans that provide ideas for activities and games in various subjects, such as these: Getting Ready for Kindergarten and Letters and Sounds.  Also, for a limited time, KinderTown is offering a 30-day free trial of their Power Parent membership, which gives you access to their Power Packs and other useful features of KinderTown.  Lastly, some great phonological and phonemic awareness activities to help your child get ready for reading can be found on this website.  Have fun with the process of learning to read!


a summer shower

I was glad to be a part of this baby shower given for some good friends last summer.  The color palette consisted of warm reds and oranges, partly because the shower was for a girl and partly because those colors seemed to evoke summer.  A summer sunset, perhaps?  The shower was a great team effort and much attention and care went into the planning.  Most of the foods served were also red and orange, which added to the summer sensibilities and feel of the gathering.  The favors were candy-filled cherries made from tissue paper, floral wire and floral tape.  The paper used to make the pennants and lanterns was from Paper Source.  This was a great example of how color can inform and inspire all aspects of a party, including food!



Sometimes you just need a latte.  This beautiful one is from Portola Coffee Lab.


thanksgiving play date

We're well past Thanksgiving, but I wanted to share this play date that we had last November.  The table set-up and craft ideas came from Fiskars.  The afternoon included turkey sandwiches (it was Thanksgiving after all) and snacks served in this play date favorite (a clever bus platter by Innobaby).  I started to use this puzzle sandwich cutter to make the sandwiches, but ended up not having enough time to cut out all the puzzle pieces, so we ended up having trianglular sandwiches instead.  Later, my cousin Amy made apple bites dipped in fleur de sel caramel along with Nutella and pumpkin pie pops.  It was a delicious and fun afternoon!


baby nate

This is a snapshot of Nate when he still fit into his DwellStudio Cars Long Sleeve Footie Playsuit.