Thursday, January 10, 2013

Learning Letters Starts with Shapes

Before we can learn to read, we have to learn our letters.  And before we can learn our letters, we have to learn our shapes.  Not only does learning our shapes give us a vocabulary for talking about what each letter looks like, it also helps highlight the sometimes very slight differences between letters.  Learning to talk about the difference between a circle and an oval, or a square and a rectangle, for example, can pave the way for talking about the subtle differences between letters like b, d, p and q.

So how do we learn our shapes and have fun?  We share excellent books, of course!

Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert uses layers of colorful shapes to make various animals.  As you turn each page, you remove one shape from the animal, and a new animal is revealed below.  This book is lots of fun to read together and kids enjoy discovering each animal as they turn the page.

Another great book, My Heart is like a Zoo by Michael Hall takes one shape, the heart, and uses it to make a variety of animals.  You and your child will both be amazed at how versatile the heart can be!

And finally, Dot by Patricia Intriago is a study in how small changes to the shape of a dot can completely change what it means to the viewer.  Teaching your child to focus on the small cues that make shapes different from each other will be helpful to them as they begin to sort out which shape belongs to which letter.

And when you're done reading, be sure to take your shapes on the road. Discovering them here, there and everywhere is fun for everyone!

Miss Kate

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