Now, this suggestion is not going to help your house make it in a spread in Southern Living, but it will expose your child to letters and words!  

Have you seen classrooms that seem to have everything labeled: "door", "desk", "chair", "wall", "calendar", etc?  That same classroom probably has colorful displays, posters, charts, word walls, etc.  That teacher is aware that children need to be exposed to print in their lives.  It is important for children to: 
  • Recognize print in their environment
  • Understand that print carries meaning
  • Know that print is used for many different reasons

When I taught deaf ed preschool, we had LOTS of print around our classroom.  Here are some of the things that we did in our classroom that you can also do at home.  Whatever you do, make sure it is at your child's eye level!!!
  • Get index cards and write the names of things (cabinet, stove, oven, sink, mirror, etc) around your house and post the cards on (or next to) the item.  Don't want those cards in your living spaces?  Label your child's room and bathroom!
  • We would focus on one letter a week.  That week, we would encourage students to bring in labels from empty boxes or cans with that letter.  We would go through the labels that we had saved and the new ones that came in and search for our letter of the week!  If we found it, then it went up on our bulletin board.  As you empty a box (and before you put it in the recycling bin) let your kids search for letters or try to read it!
  • For older kids, have them think of something in your home that has writing and then do an activity with that item.  If they think of a recipe book, then choose something to make from that recipe book that day!  If they think of the newspaper, then paper mache a balloon (or something simple). - link for instructions:
  • For elementary school kids who know their letters, let them search out letters from newspapers or magazines.  Let them cut the letters out and paste them in a notebook.  You could have them find one letter at a time or let them find all different letters and build words!!!
  • Word Wall:  Have your kids put their spelling words up on their walls to create a word wall!  It's a great way to practice spelling them before bed and when they first wake up!
  • Have your kids read the captions in your photo albums.  Or you read them the captions if they can't read, but make sure to have your finger follow along as you read so they understand that the letters printed are giving the meaning to what you are saying!
  • If your child is working on an articulation sound, then post words that contain your child's sound he/she is supposed to be practicing.  It can be an ARTic wall!

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