So many children learn best with some sort of manipulative to reinforce concepts and teach new ones. For beginning readers and spellers, I recommend a good set of letter tiles.
You can find a variety of sets (upper case, lower case, number, etc.) on Amazon, but a used Scrabble game bought for a few pennies from a garage sale will work just as well. Or you can do what I did and head to your local Target and buy a Bananagrams game on sale.
Spanish-speaking families can buy a Spanish Scrabble or Bananagrams game. Or just take a sharpie to your English letter tiles and add accents here and there.
Here are some ways you can use alphabet tiles with your own children:
• Make a list of words in English or Spanish, and call them out for your child to spell. Remember to scatter more challenging words in the list so that your child can build up his confidence on the easy ones, yet still work hard to correctly spell the harder ones. If your child becomes frustrated, scale back immediately and concentrate on easier words until she is ready.
• Play a game of scrabble or bananagrams. Believe it or not, playing a game with your parent is much more fun than playing alone.
• Tumble the Tower. Have your child spell one word, then ask them to change it into another word simply by placing one tile on top of another. Keep this up until the pile tips and their “tower” falls to the ground.
• Ask your child to spell backwards! (As challenging as this seems for young kids, they love it! Just be sure to keep it simple.)
• Have your child write a sentence (either one you give her, or one she makes up on her own).
• With younger children, play a game of “I spy” (or “Veo, veo”) and have them find the letters. For example, you might say, “I spy, with my little eye, the letter “L”” or you could say, “I spy a letter that makes the sound “buh”. This is an excellent game for pre-readers to learn letter recognition.
• Ask your child to arrange the tiles alphabetically.
• Ask your child to spell his name.
• Play memory match with a handful of pairs. Slowly add more pairs to make the game more challenging.
Creative commons-licensed cover photo provided by andrewmalone.
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