Lately I’ve heard from a number of Mums who’ve been unpleasantly surprised to discover that their kindergarten children are struggling with learning their letters and sounds since beginning school this year. The common factor among these youngsters is that they’d all attended day care or preschool prior to starting kindergarten. Time poor parents often make the assumption that their children are being taught the basics of literacy and numeracy while in care, but this assumption is erroneous and can be a major contributing factor to literacy difficulties experienced by many kindergarten children upon starting school.
Your first question should be to your preschooler, to assess their current letter-sound association skills:
I know you can sing the alphabet song really well! Can you make the sound of each letter and then point to the letter in your ABC book?
Make this a game, and be sure to ask them if they can think of a word that starts with that particular letter as you progress through the alphabet. If you find that your child has a poor grasp of the letter sound association, and cannot recognise letters, it’s highly likely that your preschool or day care centre does not explicitly teach phonics.
Stay tuned next week for question #2 !