Alphabet Awareness is a critical component of emergent literacy. Children often master the capital letters first, quickly discerning between those large strokes. But once the focus turns to the lowercase letters things can get a bit dicey.
Those pesky d’s and b’s, not to mention the p’s and q’s can get awfully confusing for emergent readers. Such was the case for my kindergartner. He knew B and he knew D, had their sounds all figured out, but when those lowercase letters came around, he got a little shaky.
He needed some practice to improve his recognition skills. So I made some flashcards. (Don’t panic.)
As I’ve mentioned before, flashcards are made for that rapid recall, but the way they’re traditionally used does little to get kids excited about learning. “Drill and Kill” tends to live up to its name.
My belief is that learning is the desired outcome, but play is the desired method. So I used those flashcards to play a game with my boy.
Playing the game essentially like Slap Jack, we worked through our deck of b’s and d’s, saying the name of each letter as it came up, poised to slap the b or the d, depending on which was chosen for that game.
My son ultimately wound up with more cards in his collection than I did. Perhaps age really does take a toll on those reflexes. Or maybe I love seeing his eyes light up when he edges me out.
Other fun activities for letter discrimination:
Write letters on ping pong balls and play this squirt gun game, courtesy of Martha Stewart.
How do you help the children you love and teach to discriminate between letters? Especially those pesky b’s and d’s?