Sunday, March 20, 2005

Throwing Things At Children Improves Literacy 

One of the most popular indoor sports in the Capricious household is the bath time ritual of throwing things at our daughter. Amongst her bath toys are a set of foam alphabet/word/picture interlocking squares. We stand in the doorway while she's in the tub, and take turns to sling them at her. She loves it, and it's about the only thing we can do with her that doesn't result in her bruising. It makes us all giggle like mad.

When all the pieces are in the bath, we leave her to subject them to her Unholy Will. This usually involves matching the letters with the word/picture, sorting by colour, or sometimes, simply chewing them and sticking them to the tiles in an order known only to her. We just let her play.

Today, I was going over the set of sounds she was most secure in, and asking her to write words using s,a,t,i,p and n. She was fine with "pin", "sit", "tin", probably because nouns and verbs are less abstract than other words. When I asked her to write, "at", she looked confused, so I gave it her in a sentence: "We were AT the zoo".

"I know how to write that!", she declared. (It's true! Kids only ever hear the last part of what you say)

Despite the fact that she hasn't covered "z", or the diagraph, "oo", at home or at school, to my utter amazement, she proceeded to write "zoo" perfectly!

"Zoo" is one of the words on the bath time toys.

Now tell me children don't learn best by play...

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