Friday, April 13, 2012

Literacy Development for Infants and Young Toddlers

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Sometimes parents wish to know where they can buy certain things they see in their child's classroom. Their wish, one that teachers encourage enthusiastically, is to make a strong school to home connection for their child.

It is not always necessary to buy the exact things you see on the walls of your child's preschool classroom or in certain centres in your child's classroom but there are times when doing so has innumerable benefits. Two examples that will be highlighted in this post are alphabet charts and wooden blocks.


One of the primary focuses in preschool and kindergarten classrooms is literacy and developing children's ability to recognize print and understand that print conveys meaning. In the classroom, this is accomplished in a variety of ways and at home one simple way to help your child in his/her literacy development is to have an alphabet chart on the wall at your child's eye level.

It is not always easy to find alphabet charts that do not contain facial features in the pictures but don't let that stop you: make your own! Then invite and encourage your child to "read" the alphabet chart. First encourage recognition of the alphabet (and do not worry if they get the order wrong, this usually works itself out as the learning continues *smile*) and as your child progresses, invite them to read the words that identify the picture with each alphabet. It is not necessary that the child be able to actually read the words but soon they will begin to recognize certain words from the alphabet chart independently insha'Allaah.

You can also make up various games to play with Alphabet charts, "I Spy" is a simple, fun game that comes to mind but there are many other games as well. With young infants, you can sit with your child and point out certain pictures, saying each letter clearly, and describe the picture. Mention characteristics of the letters: is the letter tall, short and round, etc. The goal is to help your young child learn to take notice of the features of different letters and become aware of print in the environment and its role in our lives.

If making your own alphabet chart, keep in mind the things your young infant or toddler sees in his/her environment daily. Try to have pictures on the chart that represent concrete things in his/her world. Help your child see the connection by asking if they can find an object on the chart in the home (with infants, although they cannot answer you with words, still ask the questions - you are helping with their language and vocabulary development). Carry your infant around the house and point to different things one at a time and take him/her back to the chart to show them the item and the letter that it begins with. Express delight at how letters help us learn about our world. You can download the Alphabet Chart pictured above here insha'Allaah.

A second item that many parents have in the home are alphabet blocks.


For children learning in English, these are easily found in local toy stores and for children learning in Arabic or learning Arabic along side another language, these Arabic Alphabet Wooden Blocks can be a wonderful addition to your home environment insha'allaah.

Wooden alphabet blocks have numerous benefits, among them: the child is able to feel the shape of the letters long before he/she is able to write them. This helps develop pre-writing skills as well as build letter recognition skills. Wooden blocks also help children with spacial skills and other math skills that they will need upon entering school and throughout their school years. From a few months old, wooden blocks can be introduced to children and with supervision, children can begin reaping the benefits of this wonderful learning tool.

The Company that makes the Arabic Alphabet wooden blocks pictured above makes wooden blocks in a variety of languages: Russian, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and others!

If you already use these two learning tools in your home, please feel welcome to share with others some of the games you play and activities you use to help your child's literacy development.

8 comments:

  1. Assalamualaikum Umm An-Nu'man
    Jazakillah for the wonderful advice. It's always more comforting to hear tips from an educator.
    We have had the arabic blocks you suggested in the post. Subhanallah it has been 'loved' and is still being 'loved' by three boys in our family.
    We sort them by colour or animal type. Use the numbers side and then count equal blocks. Play 'rotten egg' game. And of course stack them up and knock them down.
    The quality of these blocks are just amazing. The have survived all the love my children have given them and there are still many more years of use.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alsalam alikom,

    I just saw ur blog today, I'm from Egypt and I have Ahmed "1 year old" and totaly in love with ur blog and the idea of finding a muslim blog for parenting is just perfect. I would love if u post lots of activities for toddlers in the same age of my son and DIY projects that I can do with or for him "u know most things are very expensive"

    thank u so much and jazaki allah khayra

    ReplyDelete
  3. Assalam Alaykum,
    As a muslim father of two I am pleased to have come accross your blog, kep up the good work and May Allah bless you in your efforts, ameen.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Waalaikum assalam wa rahmatullaah

    @ Alizah: jazakillaahu khayr dear sis for sharing some of the activities you and your children enjoy with the wooden blocks. Insha'Allaah, others will benefit from your ideas. These blocks are very sturdy masha'Allaah and beautiful.

    @ Asmaa: jazakillaahu khayr and ahlan ya ukhti Umm Ahmed. Right now as the school year approaches its end, it not possible to devote much time to blogging but I will try to post some activity ideas for children in your age range as soon as time permits. If you see that I have forgotten *smile*, please feel free to remind me.

    @ Nurturing Children: Jazakallaahu khayr for your comment and ameen to your dua'. Insha'Allaah you find the blog beneficial for your children.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Slms
    A very informative blog. Keep up the good work.

    If possible can i have the arabic alphabets poster to use with my 2yrs?

    May Allah bless you

    Thanks

    Shaheen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Assalamu alaikum

      I have added the file for the Arabic Alphabet poster in the post. You can download it from there insha'Allaah.

      Jazakallaahu khayr

      Delete
  6. Have you seen this Arabic Alphabet poster?
    http://www.zibbet.com/acraftyarab/artwork?artworkId=284676

    It is not very expensive and can be shipped all over the world.

    ReplyDelete
  7. thank u so much and jazaki allah khayra

    ReplyDelete

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