This term the cutest little Grade Prep boy joined one of my early literacy groups at school. He was pretty clueless about sounds and letters, reading and spelling, and seemed to think he was just there for a laugh and to get a few stickers.
However, after a solid team effort, he’s finally learnt to recognise most of the letters of the alphabet, and is starting to sound out a few words.
Unfortunately, he is still well behind most of his classmates.
Holiday catch-up home program
This little boy’s mum wants to help him catch up over the holidays, so they came to see me at my clinic for some suitable activities.
They already have an iPad, so I’ve recommended some apps and iBooks, as well as paper-based activities and games for him to use.
I was pretty pleased with the varied, cheap-as-chips home program we worked out for him, so I thought I’d tell you about it, in case you know a family with an iPad and:
- A child aged five or six who has done a year or two of school, but still can’t read/spell, or
- A child who is starting school next year who is keen to get a head start on literacy.
Here’s my suggested budget beginner phonics home program for little kids:
Add to this about another $20 for postage of the Milo game, and for downloading, printing, laminating and assembling the Spelfabet materials, unless you can print and laminate them at school, and perhaps also bind the workbook on their binding machine. Most schools have a colour printer and laminator, plus coloured paper laid on, and they are usually keen to encourage and assist everyone to help their children with literacy.
You need just over 50 white A4 sheets of paper for the workbook, cheatsheet, alphabet and word sequences, and 9 sheets each of red, orange and green coloured paper for the games (but use other colours if you can’t find these ones, they just match the alphabet colours). You also need 10 laminating pouches for the games and alphabet, and a roll of magnetic tape for the alphabet. Magnetic tape costs about $5 in places like Kmart, and lets you stick the movable alphabet on a metal cupboard or appliance (though I notice magnets don’t stick to a lot of modern fridges, which I think is very annoying).
Please note that the little boy I made this program up for already has the fabulous early literacy app Phonics Hero, which is one of the things that helped him initially get some idea about sounds and letters. However, the Phonics Hero app is not currently in the Australian apps store, because there was a problem with it when Apple upgraded their operating system.They are fixing it now and hoping it will be back in the store in the new year. In the meantime, children can still play Phonics Hero on ordinary computers. Click here to sign up, and you get to use it for quite a long time before you have to pay anything.
Please also note that many of the above resources can also be used with beginner literacy-learners aged 7 and older, but some will be too babyish and others too easy.
Seek expert help if possible, and see the list of Phonics Resources here for more ideas of resources to try.