Thursday, October 13


The alphabet, as in the letter names, is not, in my opinion, the most helpful thing to learn pre-reading skills. We speak and read in sounds not letter names.

The letter names we need to learn, the sounds they already have.

So for that reason, besides also that she's only 31/2 and has no need to learn anything remotely academic, I have kept away from the alphabet. She had a short burst of sounding out first letter sounds some time ago, where she enjoyed saying, muh for mama, luh for light, and so forth. Off her own volition.

But a child that watches Sesame Street, Dora, Maisy and reads related books, can't be kept from the alphabet. And about 2 months ago she suddenly fell in love with letters. And when I wasn't looking, she learnt the ABC song. And, amusingly, says the American Zee as well as the British Zed in turns. She loves to sing it.

Since this new love affair I have supported her cues to learning and we say letters once in a while. I've bought her a couple of ABC books. I'm trying to steer back to letter sounds.

She calls me to help her with putting the letters in order, although she gets tired/bored by the last 6 or so. I 'help', by prompting, 'which is next?', or indicating when she skipped one.

Today I gave her a new set of animal magnets we bought her and thought to test which letters she knew for certain. Just out of curiosity.

So she picked an animal out of a bag, and I asked her what it was and then what letter did it begin with, and then asked her to find that letter.

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, k, l, m, o, p, r, s, t, w, x, y, z

Hesitant on j, n, q, u, v
Although I swear she knows n.

I just love watching a child learn and teach themselves, and out of pure self-motivation. I love watching in action the proof that children don't need teachers.


  1. love it! :) children ARE teachers.

  2. Bravo mama!! And she is only 3 1/2 :) and she probably doesn't even realize that she is learning, just having fun. That reminds me of a day when M. was playing on the computer with some game involving cup measurements, adding them up and removing them to make virtual cake. I asked her if she wanted me to write down and show her what she was doing. She looked at me and said, "mooooom, I'm playing right now, not doing school!"

  3. Aw, fun! Michael was keenly interested in letters at 19 months, so I taught them to him, not even thinking I should be teaching him the sounds not the names. Ah, well.

    The older he becomes, the less concerned I am about him learning anything academic. I finally get all the fuss about avoiding academic learning when they are little. All I want for him is to have fun. Every day after preschool he tells me about how he rode the bike...that's all he cares about!! I know he is enjoying the other stuff, too (I swear he learns a new song every day), and I am so glad he can choose what activities he wants to do, but it is just so much more apparent to me than ever that the academic stuff can wait. (Not that I was ever worried about it or was going to push it or anything, but deep down I still wanted to be sure he was given *opportunities* to make sure we weren't missing any windows of learning or whatever).

  4. i love how they learn without being formally taught too. are you familiar with the montessori method of learning to read? you would like it - they teach letter sounds before letter names. that's what we've been doing - but, he watches t.v. too so knows the letter names as well.

  5. Oh, you sound just like a Montessori parent :).

  6. that's funny MJ. that's exactly how Miss 3 sees all this, it's just a game. if i start to get too 'teachy' she loses interest. so she keeps me in check. lol

    that's great that you relaxed about it Lisa. they're just sponges, you can't stop them learning. we've been conditioned to worry about it. to believe forced and regular teaching is the only way.

    yes, i'm familiar with Montessori. i guess i'm a bit like that, and a bit unschooling, and all organic learning! lol

  7. So sweet.

    It really is beautiful how we learn so much by just being, doing, playing and absorbing. No one learns from memorization. Experience and immersing yourself is the way to go -and children do it so naturally.

    It is a beautiful thing when I see my son has learned something on his own -just doing something because he is fascinated by it. I love to provide the tools and watch him decide when to use them or ask for help.

  8. i´ll admit... i want one of these for me to play with heehee


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