One of my plans for this year is to help Iona develop her reading, using look-say (which is how I was taught when I was a year older than she is). As "Teach Your Baby to Read" (how I learned) seems a bit too structured for her I thought I might try Brightly Beaming Resources' Letter of the Week Preschool Curriculum. I liked the way this reinforces the letter being learned by introducing lots of different subjects beginning with that letter (e.g. apple, ambulance and Africa for "a"). Hopefully this will give enough variety over each week that she won't rebel and refuse to do anything I ask, like she did with lapbooking by the end of last year! The other thing that I particularly like about it is that it's free!!
In preparation, therefore, this week I decided to work through the Alphabet Intro Week. However, I've found that (possibly owing to my aversion to phonics!) we don't have many A,B,C books (I've just remembered a Dora one in her bedroom, so maybe we'll look at that tomorrow), and owing to the holidays I've not managed to get to the library this week. Consequently, I didn't really manage to start on the curriculum with Iona 'til today, when I decided we would try the activity Fishing for Letters. While Iona played with My First Starting to Read (that Father Christmas had found for her at a fayre last autumn) I cut 26 small fish shapes out of card, stuck a split pin in each (as we had no paperclips, but actually the pin makes a good eye) and wrote a letter on each in small case. I also tied a horseshoe magnet that Iona likes to play with onto a piece of string, and tied the other end onto a large bubble-blowing wand that we've had sitting around for a while. Voila - one magnetic letter fishing set.
Iona was quite interested, and happily came over to play. I fished a couple of letters off the floor and asked Iona what they were; she was easily able to say. She then had a go, although used her left hand to guide the magnet onto the letters. Once she started, she wanted to take all the turns herself, which was fine by me, so all I had to do then was listen to her read the letter. She confuses "p", "b", "d", and "q", and read "z" on its side as "N", but overall she did very well, both with letter names and sounds, and has some idea of what words might start with some letters, e.g. "snake" for "s". As time went on she changed the game to one where she picked up a fish with her hands, brought it to me upside down, and I had to guess what the letter might be. As she was still being exposed to letter names and sounds I went with the changes, and we carried on for maybe 10 minutes.
Tomorrow, if we get time around going to the Salvation Army and eating, I will hopefully read an alphabet book with Iona and play her on You Tube the Alphabet Song, which she loves. She also loves E Eats Everything, by They Might Be Giants, so I might show her that again, as well as trying out Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, of which I've heard great things.
Next week we move on to the curriculum proper, beginning with short "a". The Bible stories are supposed to be Adam and Eve, but I ended up doing them this week, so I might have to think of something else to do if she complains. Other subjects I'll hopefully do something about with her are apples, alligators, astronauts, animals, alphabet, ambulances, acrobats, Africa, addition, amphibians, America, and the Atlantic (I may also remind her about the Arctic, that we talked about when we looked at polar bears in November). I don't plan to be as structured as the curriculum is, with different subjects on different days, but rather try to nudge her to read some interesting books with me and maybe do a bit of colouring or craft (which she's really into). Wish me luck!!!