Puzzles and Princesses:Learning to Read Is So Much Fun!

Lucien and I are having a blast visiting with Grandma and Grandpa on the farm! And what with them keeping Lucien busy running around outside and playing with the epic toy collection in their basement, I have some time to update the blog!

We had taken a break from our “letter of the week” project, and now it seems a bit silly to return to it, as Lucien seems to know pretty much all of his letters and the sounds they make.

It’s a good story. Lucien, historically, had not been terribly interested in puzzles. Recently he had been coming back to his puzzle rack, though. One day, about a week ago, he was attempting to remove his fish puzzle and accidentally knocked out an alphabet puzzle. All of the letters came tumbling out onto the carpet, and he was rather upset. I told him cheerily, “That’s alright, let’s clean it up together!” And so we did. Lucien did most of the work. He could find me a letter A, tell me what sound it made, and recognize that it belonged with the picture of an apple, because apple starts with a letter A. And H makes the “huh” sound, so it must go in the hole that had a picture of a house. Duh, mama, everybody knows that house starts with a letter H. And so on through the alphabet. Z makes the “zuh” sound in zipper, mama. Of course I knew that!

When we took a break from doing letters of the week we also took a break from working on out word wall. It doesn’t make sense to me to that template, considering Lucien already knows most of the letters and their sounds – it would probably be boring review for him, and any time I ask questions that h considers below his level of ability, he calls me out on it.

But I did decide go back to making our word wall. It brightens up the living room, creates a more text-rich environment, and introduces words and spelling, not just letters. And Lucien loves the word wall. Especially when he gets to help make it. Any time he can use mama’s scrapbook adhesive or cutters he is beside himself with excitement!

This time I added a bit more of a challenge, though. I gave him sheets of paper for Gg, Hh, and Ii, and then asked him to match the words to their appropriate paper. Once they were all matched – didn’t take him long at all – we sounded out all the words and he got to tape and stick them on the papers. He was very engaged with the whole activity, and seemed to have a real sense of pride in his accomplishment when we put the sheets up on the wall.

photo 1 (56) photo 4 (41)

And we had more phonics fun with princesses! Our neighbor girl, Sophia, loves the Princess Sofia the First movie, so Lucien is familiar with her. We got him a Sofia the First book complete with figurines of all the characters. One day Lucien got the Princesses Sofia and Amber out and told me that they were going to go to school because they wanted to learn their letters, and I was to be their teacher. How’s that for child-led learning?

We sat down at our “desks” and I asked the princesses if they knew how to spell their names. They “told me” they did not, so I enlisted Lucien’s help:

“Amber’s name starts with what sound? Aah. What letter makes that sound? Letter A. Yes, now can you find the letter A magnet on the freezer door?” And he would excitedly run (we are working in phys ed here, too) over to the kitchen, find the letter, and bring it back to the desk. “What is the next sound in Amber’s name? Aah… Aahm…. Muh. What letter makes the muh sound? Yes, letter M! Can you find a letter M on the freezer?”

Every time he ran enthusiastically back with a letter and lined it up in its appropriate position he looked so excited and so absolutely flushed with pride. Learning to read is so much fun!

photo 4 (42)photo 1 (57) 

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