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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
UGH.

So, I know better, I do, but I have a hard time catching myself. DD will be 4 in September. She is bright, imaginative, blah, blah, blah. She knows what she wants to do, and what she doesn't want to do. She has NO interest in letters. She knows and recognizes about 1/2 - 2/3.

We aren't unschoolers, but we take a kind of an eclectic approach to learning, with some montessori ideas thrown in, and some theme days. We have a dedicated shelving area, that has 'educational' toys on them.... and by that I mean things like dominoes, tangrams, lacing beads, counting bears, cuissenaire rods, geometric shapes, puzzles, letter items, etc. Both my kids love the 'math' manipulatives. My oldest can easily do tangram type items that are targeted for 5-9 year olds. The letter items on our shelves sit, though. My 2 year old takes them down to explore far, far more. DD spends much of her day highly engaged in pretend play with her 2 year old sis, which I KNOW is far more critical, or art/crafts, or building/using math manipulatives.

I KNOW that dd doesn't need to know letters yet. I know that when the interest is there, it will happen. (she tells me letters are boring, so I steer clear of any overt manner of discussing them). I do try to keep an eye out for letter items that will peak her interest... but I've found nothing.. but at the same time, I find myself wanting to bat myself on the head for feeling the 'need' to keep an eye out for them.

So, can someone please, please tell me what I already know.... and please tell me the many wonderful reasons she doesn't need to know them yet, and tell me it will really happen when the interest is suddenly there.

Tammy
 

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To me it is like learning to tie shoes. We could start four years before the child is ready singing sings about shoe laces, putting up posters of shoe laces, watching TV shoes about shoe laces and by the time the child was ready to learn to tie their shoes they'd probably be entirely sick of the process and feeling under a lot of pressure and we would have wasted hours of time better devoted to something else.

Oh and if it helps I'll also mention my child learned to read without knowing the names of all of the letters. I'm not really sold on learning the letter names as being a necessary or particularly helpful step to reading for some kids anyway. And, afterall the point is reading. Letters themselves really have no meaning or value aside from their role in reading.

And, it sounds like you know all that so just hang in there and be patient.
 

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better yet give me one good reason why she needs to know them. I can't think of a single reason a 4 year old needs to parrot letters or even be reading at this age unless they are absolutely obsessed with it and leading the way.

i thought average age for reading was around 5-6. when she is ready she wil learn them fast.

and pattern play is a crucial pre-reading skill. our phonics program starts out with games that involve finding the picture that is the same and finding the pictures that are different. the core of reading is visual discrimination.

and I can't even imagine what the letter manipulatives are (alphabet blocks and letter magnets?) but anything is boring next to what they are selling for math manipulatives. heck i play with counting bears. math stuff is fun and open and kids are natrually drawn to it. you don't have to be able to count to 3 in order to have a great time with math manipulatives. you can play with them in all sorts of ways. until a kid knows what letters are and how to manipulate them they just are pretty boring for most kids.

and did I mention she is 4? she wouldn't even be in kindergarten yet. there is a whole big world out there and she is just beginning to see it. let her play with whatever toys strike her fancy. knowing letters just isn't going to enrich her life whatsoever right now. why bother?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by quaz
(she tells me letters are boring
Assume she is right about this. The letters ARE boring!

Most educational things for learning ABCs really isolate them from their purpose, and that seems pretty boring to me. But having something to say or discover with them isn't...

So the letters are tools for other things that your dd doesn't need to do right now. You use letters--let your dd notice you recording things SHE does, putting together information using written words for things SHE wants to be involved in, encourage relatives to send her postcards--but ONLY read them to her, don't try to show her the letters. It's the specialness of the thing in her world--she of course WANTS the information and will see what tools you use to get it. The intriguing postcard or plan or personal notations are simply naturally linked with the use of words in a visible way, and that holds the door open for her to peek through, ponder upon, and do what she wants with. She can do great if she never touches the ABC things on the shelf.

Quote:

Originally Posted by quaz
I do try to keep an eye out for letter items that will peak her interest... but I've found nothing.. but at the same time, I find myself wanting to bat myself on the head for feeling the 'need' to keep an eye out for them.
<BAT>
No need to pique her interest. Have faith that language is interesting enough, and already fully part of her life.

Numbers are a little more concrete than letters, I think. I have noticed my children favoring mathematical ideas ahead of reading-related concepts.

My dd#4 is nearly four and she has a handful of letters she writes but they are pretend letters only. She can only really write the first letter of her name, A, a cute lowercase "I" with a bubble for a dot, and a few other familiar ones....with these she decorates her pictures, and then reads me out loud the stories she has written... As far as I am concerned she is perfectly 100% right on track getting her motives in order as she very gradually connects with the tools for doing so. She's super-bright too but what do the ABCs really have to do with that?
 

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Unless it's fun, I wouldn't push it. IMHO, the most critical pre-reading activity is vocabulary develoment from reading aloud and the acquisition of background knowledge from reading aloud and being out and about in the world. However, there are some great alphabet books DD1 loved. I don't have time to make links right now.

* On Market Street (Lobel?)
* Anno's Alphbet (Anno)
* Animalia (Base)
* Alphabeasts (Edwards)
* The Z was Zapped (Van Allsburg)

Fridge magnets are cool because the stay put in sight until a child shows interest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks ladies!

Knew I could count on ya. :)

Don't you hate when you know something, but sometimes ya just have days when you are off kilter and question yourself?? I know for me part of it is this annoying culture by me where everyone has their child in preschool, and everyone asks if your child is in preschool. It sometimes makes one second guess. :)

Oh, and fridge magnets... the one time dd played with them, she brought them to the play area to have a party, complete with imaginary cake, ice cream and cookies.


Tammy
 

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ours get used for cookies a lot. and soup.

well that and writing dirty messeges for each other but we had to stop that once they actually learned to read
 

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Oh, yeah, spelling things out loud so they won't know what the heck you are saying and you can have secret conversations right in front of them.

I mean, I haven't measured the effectiveness, but you KNOW they wanna know those secrets!
You can wear her down with epic ice cream fantasies planned out loud for post-bedtime--imagine the looks she'll see on your faces while you spell out chocolate raspberry syrup....
 
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