The little ones learn with their fingers. Don’t you feel like you are forever saying "Don’t touch!" while they are young? Oh, come on! Give in! …;o) just teach them HOW to touch! Do you wonder why they trace the same things with their fingers over and over?? I do! They are looking and learning with them. The fingers have eyeballs of their own, if you will ;o) (and this is how my brother-in-law came up with his cartoonish eyeball people….but I digress…)
As I was talking to sunshine boy (4)… Do you touch with your elbows? …no? Ok, then…with your nose? No? Hmmm…what do you touch with? …oh, your FINGERS! Aah! but LOOK…use your EYES too! Look! Look at your hands…are they CLEAN? No? Quick…off to the bathroom with you and wash your hands with WARM water and SOAP! Say a Hail Mary S L O W L Y!
While he was in the next room washing his hands I had my sandpaper letter tackle box opened up under the kid’s learning table in the dining room (it is low enough to the floor that I can kneel in front of it and ds can use a small chair if he so chooses or he can stand and it is the right height for him) and had the letter "b" card on top of the table. The table was free of everything but this one letter. There was no doubt that this was the only thing to look at.
Ok, are you ready? Look! Are those fingers CLEAN? Ok, you LOOKED AT your fingers…now tell me, how do you LOOK WITH them? By touching letters! Yes! How do we touch these letters…Gently? I will show you how I look with my fingers. Did you SEE? LOOK closely! DO you SEE? Look with YOUR fingers! My fingers can make SOUNDS. Do your fingers know how to make this sound? Show me! My fingers can teach you…( I traced the letter b with my fingers and made the "buh" sound) see? Now, let your fingers teach me….
We did this with the letters b, m , n, and a. We then pushed some of the letters together and made the word m a n . I then told ds…" Look with your fingers at this word. These letters are trying to tell you what this word says. Can you say the sounds you see and find out what this word is?"
He figured it out in just two tries and the wiggles took over his entire body as he radiated pure joy. "I am reading! I am reading!" and he doesn’t know yet, but because he knows the letters by tracing them, he can write too! ;o)