When Yuli was 5 years old , we still lived in Israel. Yuli spoke only Hebrew and apart from a few basic words she really couldn’t understand English. She could read Hebrew fluently but didn’t know the ABC’s. We already knew that we are planning on immigrating to the US so I just had to teach her the language and basic reading skills. I was facing a real challenge, as a 5 years old who none of her friends knew English or the ABC, She didn’t have incentives to want to know it and couldn’t appreciate how important it was for her. In this post I want to share the methods that worked best in getting her cooperation in the learning process. They all have 1 thing in common: they all appealed to what she naturally liked doing at the age of 5. Meaning: they were all fun for her so she wanted to do more.
1. My number one in the list is defiantly playing teacher. Yuli just loved it. She would collect all her staffed animals in front of a white board. Then she would “teach” them in many methods. Sometimes I was the teacher but her favorite was being the teacher while I was one of her students. In fact , this game was so loved by Yuli (and still is) that I used it to teach her anything and everything. When she got bored with one of the other methods and didn’t want to play anymore I just suggested let’s play this game in the classroom and she was ready to continue. Note: I had to speak for the stuffed animals and she got really addicted to that so beware :-). The pretend school game Yuli loves so much is the reason I called this site MissYuli’sClass .
2. I-spay: I’ve created a picture for each letter with lots of words that begin with that letter and some that don’t. Then I would say: “I spy with my little eye something that begins with ___ ” and she would identify the relevant words (I was very limited in the words I could use because her English vocabulary was very limited. It still worked thought). Then, when she already knew all the ABCs I would use cards with words that starts with different letters and mix them. She had to pick the relevant ones for the letter that I asked about..
3. We played “If I where letter _ what pet would I have?” then we would list animals that starts with the relevant letter and she chose one. Than we would have a contest and the staffed animals each “chose” their pet (The choices where all made by us pretending to be them of course)
). Yuli just loves animals and she always said she wants all of them. This game that we played was the inspiration for my book “A to Z finding a pet for me”. In this Book a girl (or a boy , you decide) wants to find the perfect pet and each letter wants its favorite pet for her (or him). The girl (or boy) can’t choose until Z has the perfect solution. The Illustrations for this book serves as an I-spy game like I mentioned in the last section. For more information about the book >>Click here<<
A note: this game can be played with different subjects like:
“If I where letter _ what would I eat?”
“If I where letter _ what would I plant in my garden?”
“If I where letter _ where would I go?”
and so on. I always used it to teach her something about the subject. In the book “A to Z finding a pet for me I included one piece of information about each animal to ignite the imagination and the curiosity of the child and encourage him to find out more.
4. I’ve prepared a sticker’s notebook and bought tones of stickers. We would take stickers and stick then in the right letter. This can also be done with stamps if you have enough. Another way is to use cards and stick them to the board with plasticine or Velcro. The key is to choose whatever appeals to your child.
5. We played a lot of games like Quartets and memory game and more. We also did crafts , played with playdough and lego to make letters and uses worksheets. Most of the worksheets we used playing school.
6. Last but not least because Yuli absolutely loved doing it: we used a floor puzzle of letters and I said jump to ___ and she had to jump. I used the sound of the letter rather than the name to teach her the phonetics. Although sometimes I did say the letters name.
Thank you for following along thus far. Hope you got good tips to teach your child the ABCs. What are the method that worked with your child? I am really curios so share in the comments section.
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