29 October 2007

Q&A Capital or Lower Case Letters First

from Yahoo! Answers:

A question for parents who home school pre-k or kindergarten.

I have just started homeschooling my 5 year old son. Along with two other 4 year old boys. I have lots of different books/workbooks that were given to me before we started. Some say to teach capital letters first, then learn lower case. Others say to teach them at the same time. Any parents that have dealt with this, and opinions on which way is better. I would really appreciate it. Thank you.


My Answer:

I home schooled other people's kids (mostly 5-12 year olds) for about 5 years and preferred to take an informal approach to reading and writing.

Think about it this way, did you teach your child to speak vowels first or consonants?

Of course, you didn't "teach" your child to speak consonants and vowels they simply learned them. The way they learned them was by being completely immersed in spoken language.

I recommend teaching reading and writing in the same way. Make sure that you read and write as part of your everyday activities when you are with the kids.

Let me give you an example of how I did this with two my students one day. I was teaching two 7 or 8 year old boys who decided that they wanted to order pizza to be delivered for lunch. I said that was a great idea and handed them a phone book.

Now neither of these kids were readers yet, so this presented a significant challenge. They needed to know the alphabet and how to look up "pizza" and then the phone etiquette for getting the necessary information about how much it would cost. Then they had to figure out if we could afford it with the budget that we had for each day.

I do not think we even had pizza that day, but based on their enthusiasm for the idea they learned about the alphabet, etiquette, math and probably more than that.

I helped when asked and to the extent that they requested. Their learning was driven by the fact that much of what they needed to do to accomplish their own goals required literacy skills. Therefore they learned a variety of literacy skills because that was what they needed to accomplish their goals.

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