Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Home School - Sound and Letter Recognition

As a Dad who also taught Reception and Key Stage 1, I always want to make sure my kids are well-prepared and be a bit of an advantage by knowing their letters and sounds.

This being said due to James’ speech and language delay it hasn’t been the case so I have spent a lot of Literacy this last term in Home School concentrating on helping him with his sound and letter recognition.
The problem comes now in how to make these activities short, engaging and useful; especially when taking James’ development and additional needs into account.
So for me I always try to make these activities as fun as possible coupled with both completing these activities independently and with me.
One thing that I have learnt in my training in Early Childhood development as well as Teaching is that Children acquire knowledge through play, so learning letters at our house is rarely a sit down structured time.
I have also been asked by several people recently about what activities we do for this particular stage and within that where to get resources. I, therefore, thought that I would combine what we are doing and help others along the way.
The first activities that we are doing are simple, free and great to do.

Spider’s Web
The spider web is always fun. You can make your own spider with the children in a craft session or when you have minutes yourself.
We have a selection of sounds and letters that the Spider “catches” every day. I usually start my asking James to find a sound amongst our selection and then once he has correctly identified it we “feed” it to the spider and place it on his web. The concept then is to repeat every day until he becomes comfortable in recognising all the different sounds.
One of my favourite parts of this is that the web can grow. Within learning the sounds you can duplicate the food to feature different phonemes and graphemes; all you need to do is extend the spider’s web to make more room. This is also great to extend further and feed the spider with words made from each sound.
Hopscotch and Noughts and Crosses

This is fun for outside. Using chalk, draw a ladder or a Hopscotch grid then, as in the normal style, place a different sound and letter in each row or square to hop between. Moving between the sections make sure that the child identifies the sound first before moving.
If you have drawn up a 9 square grid for Noughts and Crosses let the child pick a square and ask them to name the sound, if they name it correctly they can circle or cross depending on which side they are on. The Boy’s love this and will often play against each other.
Just like the Spider’s web this activity you can progress through all the different sounds. To add to this, your child could help write out the different sounds. (Something James is slowly working towards)


This is exactly what it says on the tin! Make up some dominos in whatever form that you want; you could use card, old lolly pop sticks or even magnetic letters on the fridge! Play along and identify the sound and letter that the child is going to use.
James does struggle a little with this one. He is good at saying his sounds and identifying them but has difficulty recognising that two of the same letter (A next to A) will make exactly the same sound to link.


I am not going to lie, I love a good bargain and because of this I will often go to the cheaper end shops like Poundland and Wilkinsons.
In Poundland for example are these great little chalkboards that give you a different element than a pencil and paper. Good resources for writing each sound and great for repetition. You can show them the sound, link it with a word and then write it first showing them the movement used.
(We are going to write B for bird. I will show you how I do it, can you do it too?)

Also in the same shop are these great foam sticky letters and numbers.
We have used these to label different objects around the house. First Identification on the sound and then a “hunt” for something with the same sound; like the other activities you can extend this into words.  

Both Boy’s love this, and despite my flat being covered in these stickers, it is an extended game too. I will often say a sound and the Boy’s have to rush off and find and touch the sound named. It can be a little manic but great for sound recognition!
If you are looking for ideas to help with writing your Child's name then try using flashcards like we did here.
There are also these great bands called JellyPips that I reviewed earlier this year and despite them being out of stock at the moment I believe there may be more coming in the future.
Finally, I use regularly printable resources from Primary Resources that have a few sheets and activities available there.
This is just the start with us on helping James along on his journey but the progress he is making this term already has been fantastic! The constant bursts of different activities that we can do together as a family as well as individually has started to make a real difference; especially in his writing.
Do you have any ideas, activities or resources that you commonly use? Would love to hear about them!


Natalie Streets said...

I love reading these posts, they give me some great ideas for helping Oliver learn some of these things, although with him being younger I might have to wait til he can get this. He knows O for Oliver though and he's learning to write his name :)

Unknown said...

Lovely ideas :) we like hopscotching numbers, letters, even days of the week as combining gross motor activity with other learning seems to work well for us

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks Nat! I'd start as soon as possible! It's amazing what they pick up especially when it's fun!

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks Maz. Hopscotch is great for all those things. And the best part is that it's so simple!

Plutonium Sox said...

Wow, great ideas. Libby is doing well with learning her letters and sounds so she'll enjoy playing a few of these genes. We have letters for our fridge too, I wish I'd got then ages ago, they're brilliant.