Our daycare lady thanked me recently for all my efforts to promote Little Dude’s literacy skills. (At 3, he can recognize more than half his letters most days, and is now working at daycare on associating the correct sound with each letter.)
I was proud and happy, but also a little taken by surprise because I don’t go out of my way on a day to day basis to drill Little Dude on his letters.
However, I’ve made several small choices as a parent that have apparently paid off more than I realized.
Alphabet Wall Art
Both Little Dude and Tank have a framed alphabet and framed numbers to match their nursery themes.
I originally selected the art prints because I thought they looked cool, but we went through a phase with Little Dude where he wanted me to name each letter and count through the numbers when I went to get him out of his crib each morning. Clearly, they caught his eye while he lay in his crib.
Right along the same lines as the alphabet art, each kid has decorative letters that spell out his name, positioned right over his crib/bed.
Again, it just gave me warm fuzzies as a parent to see their sweet little names hanging out there, and it helped carry through the nursery theme/color scheme. But given each name’s prime real-estate on the wall, they couldn’t help but catch each child’s eye every day.
An Alphabet Table
Longtime readers will remember the Great Table Painting Saga of 2017. Well, having the entire alphabet staring him down each time he eats or plays must have made an impression on Little Dude.
This past weekend, we played an amazing little game (all his doing) where he would run to the table to find a letter, then run back and tell me to build the letter on the floor using blocks.
“Hey cute, the table will have the ABCs on it,” has turned into “Hey, look at this amazing resource readily available whenever he needs it,” which is beyond what I ever intended.
A childhood toy staple, these magnetic letters have been a fun toy for Little Dude, although they’ve gone into hiding because Tank tends to want to put EVERYTHING in his mouth, and they are kind of small.
Foam Alphabet Bath Toys
A package of cool foam letters for the bath was an impulse buy, as they were on sale really cheap one day when I was out shopping. When they get wet they stick on the shower wall–how cool!
Little Dude enjoys naming the letters as he sticks them to the wall. Tank enjoys chewing on them. They’re sticking around until he takes a bite out of one!
Baskets of Books
I’d love to say I’m the mom who religiously takes her kids to the library. I don’t (although we’ll strive to do this more as they get older because I have fond memories of weekly library trips with my mom).
I do, however, have several cloth baskets filled with purchased books within easy reach of both kids.
We’ve never really had a nightly “we must read a book” routine. However, we’ll go through phases where Little Dude will pull book after book for us to read. Having them all accessible makes them just a constant part of our playtime routines.
So there you have it. Little choices can promote literacy in a big way. You don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of activity books (although I’m sure we’ll start using them soon as we work on writing our letters). You don’t need anything expensive or fancy (although I am guilty of spending a bit of money nicely framing my alphabet prints).
The teacher in me must have realized that regular, varied exposure to literacy content makes the difference. And so far, it has!