We’ve also been exploring the universe of literacy in WordWorld–a television program on PBS that supports pre-reading skills. The characters on the show (“WordFriends”) are formed out of the words that are their names. They solve challenges by building words that morph into the “WordThing” they need.
The key element for me is the way this innovative design reinforces the concept that text has meaning and many words signify actual objects.
We took this idea and went outside to play with natural objects and text.
First we spotted a patch of dirt. So, my daughter wrote “dirt” with a stick:
My son is a bit younger so we had him trace the “D” with a stick, first with my help and then on his own.
Then we collected pebbles and wrote “ROCKS”" with them:
For my toddler, we are reinforcing the phonics: “Rrrr-ROCKS!” My daughter is learning to associate words with the objects they are. And they are both learning in the very genuine context of some outside playtime.
The possibilities are endles.
- You can form words with or in twigs, leaves, acorns, mud, or sand.
- Spell out “bird seed” using peanut butter (or sunflower nut butter for those who are allergic) and seed on a disposable cookie tray and then leave it out for your feathered friends.
- Even indoors, make an “F” out of feathers, write an “R” in a tub of rice.
Tactile learning and physical activities are a perfect match with literacy activities. They activate multiple centers of the brain to increase recall, creating a visual and physical memory to go with the language development. And they help children form a deep understanding in context with their world.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by WordWorld. All activities, ideas, opinions and educational information is my own. You can access free eBooks and games, and find out more about WordWorld’s iPhone and iPad apps on their website. You can also follow them for daily tips and ideas on Facebook and Twitter.