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At-Home Activities
Letter Fun
Have some fun with your child learning the names of the letters.
Try these activities:
Letter Hunt: Have a letter hunt around your house. Look in books or on cereal boxes, anywhere there is print. Buy a cheap flyswatter and cut out a rectangle in the middle and you can "swat" those letters! (You can do the same hunt for numbers and sight words too.)

Sensory Letters/Numbers: Choose one letter/number at a time to practice with your child. Use the following items and have your child make the letter/number in them.
Shaving cream: (on the kitchen table or in the bathtub) Smear the cream around and make letters.
Rice or Sand: Pour some rice into a shallow pan and let your child make their letters/numbers.
Finger Paint
: Use cookie cutter letters/numbers, or have your child roll the playdough into snakes and make the letters.
Word Hunt: Use the same idea as the letter hunt, just hunt for sight words your child may be working on in school.
Sight Word Practice: Use and of the sensory letter ideas and apply them to practicing sight words. Also, write rainbow words (write each letter in a different color), make them with magnetic letters, from a newspaper or magazine: cut out the letters to spell the sight words and glue them on a paper.
Magnetic Letters: These activities are designed to help your child learn the names of letters as well as their shape, form and place in the alphabet. Becoming aware of how letters are different visually is an important part of learning about letters. Being able to notice which letters have straight lines, curved lines and circles plays an important part in a child being able to not only identify them when reading but being able to form them correctly when writing.
These letters may be used as a name puzzle with your child. Help your child build their name and "shuffle" the letters. When your child is comfortable with this game, begin to take letters from the puzzle and ask them to identify the missing letter by name; by making it in the air, on the table or on a hand.

These letters may be placed, several at a time, on the table and used to play a game like "Go Fish". You have your child find the letter that you name. You may also have your child find the letter that comes before or after the letter named.

These letters can be paired with the uppercase and lower case mates. You can show your child the uppercase or lowercase letter and ask them to find the partner letter. (This should be done with 5-6 letters to begin and gradually increased as the child becomes more familiar with the names and shapes of the letters.)

As your child learns sight words, these letters can be used to spell them. Later in the year, these can be used in a "making word" activity where the beginning and/or ending sound is changed to make new words (i .e. at-cat-mat-pat-rat, etc.; at-sat-rat-ran-pan-pat, etc).
Practice spelling sight words can be done with these letters. This reinforces the spelling of these words, the left right construction of words and increases your child's awareness that words are composed of individual letters.

You can place several of the letters in a paper bag and have your child guess which letter they have by its shape.

You and your child can sort letters by shape-those with straight lines, curves, circles; tall ones, shorter ones, ones that go below the line.
Alphabet flashcards:  Research suggests that how quickly and automatically a child can recall the names of letters is an indicator of reading and learning success. These flashcards can be used in multiple ways to help increase your child's knowledge of letter naming and placement.

Your child can begin by singing the alphabet song and putting the letters in ABC order while singing.

After the letters are in alphabetical order, remove one or two letters and have your child name the missing letter.

You can exchange the letters in the alphabet and ask your child to "fix" the mix-up.

Use the flashcards in a "beat the clock" game. Ask your child to name as many letters as possible in one minute. Keep track of how many they can name each time. Chart their progress so that they can see their knowledge growing.

Play a game of "Concentration" with the cards. Have your child turn over one capital and on lowercase letter, name them and, if they match, keep the pair. If they are not matches, they turn the cards over and wait for their next turn to try again. (You will need to put a mark on one set of cards so that your child is sure to get one of each type of card.)
You can use these letters in many of the games from the magnetic letter activities.
Number Fun
You can use many of the ideas used under the letter fun section with numbers also. Here are some other ideas.
Count EVERYTHING!: Have your child count everything they can. They can count the table settings for dinner, pennies in a jar, M&M's from a snack bag, toys they're playing with, or even fingers and toes! You can also just count with your child in the car or walking in the park. Counting objects and counting by memory are two different skills.
Board Games: Play easy board games that require your child to count the dots on the dice and count the spaces.

Dice: Children love rolling dice! You can have them roll dice and build a tower with that number of blocks or cubes. They could also do the number of exercises rolled. (As your child learns to count higher, you can make your own dice with higher numbers. Use small wooden blocks.)

Shapes: Have your child go on a "shape hunt" around your house. Send them off looking for objects that are certain shapes.

Kid Writing
Kid Writing is what we call the writing your child does each day in their journal at school. This is an important part of your child's reading and writing development. The focus of this writing is on what the child can do, not if their writing looks like "grownup" writing. There are certain sight words that your child will be learning this year that they will be expected to spell correctly, but most of the words they want to write will be written in kid writing. Then the "grown-up" writing is always written at the bottom of their writing and praise is given for the sounds they could hear and the words they did know how to spell. Your child will be listening for the sounds they hear in words. Early on in the year they will be able to hear the beginning sounds, then the beginning and ending sounds, and finally they may start to hear beginning, middle and ending sounds in words. It is important that you support your child's kid writing and not be correcting all of their spelling. Eventually they will learn to write like a "grownup ," but it is a process. Here's how to get started with your child.

•Have your child draw their picture. It could be any picture they want, or maybe they would choose to draw a picture about a story you have read to them.
•Ask your child what they would like to say about their picture. "What is your story about this picture." or "What would you like to say about your picture." (At first just try to keep it to a short sentence and build on from there.)
•Ask your child to help you figure out how many words they will be writing. We usually count the words on fingers.
•Then start with the first word and say it slowly. Ask your child what sound they hear at the beginning. Ex. Dogs run fast. Your child may hear /D/.  You child may write the sentence like this: D r s.
•Go through each word in the sentence this way. Emphasize the first sound and any other obvious sounds. (Also, help your child remember their "two finger" spaces between their words.) Eventually your child will hear the sounds themselves and you won't have to stretch out the sounds for them.
•Remind your child to put the punctuation at the end of their sentence.
•Have your child read their sentence back to you while pointing at each of their words.
•Finally, write the "grown-up" /correct writing at the bottom of their page.
•Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!! This should be a fun time to share with your child, not a struggle. They are all excited about writing at school; just build on their excitement at home. You don't need to do kid writing every night with your child. Maybe it could be something you do once or twice a week to spend some time together.

I hope you have found this information helpful. If you have any questions, let me know!
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