I lay out the word puzzles all in a row. The same way I always lay them out. The little wooden letters are scattered underneath, each letter face up, in the way it should be.
“Rhys, word puzzles” I say, and with luck he is next to me willing to participate. It took me ages in March to get him interested in the letters, but I persevered, and after a lot of chocolate, we had a system, a process of placing each letter in its slot and saying the word.
As Rhys chooses the first word, I let him find the ‘s’ and put it in its place. But as I turn around I see his new LCD writing screen on the floor, and a thought comes to mind.
As Rhys places the letters s, o, c and k into the puzzle, I write each letter on the little black screen mirroring his word formation.
“Rhys, sock” I say, pointing to the word I have written which corresponds with his wooden letters.
He is partially interested.
“Rhys, what letter next?” I ask, as I see the word duck as the next word in the sequence.
“D” he replies.
As he searches for the letter, I draw it on the blue tablet screen. “D” I say.
We continue with the process, Rhys slotting the letters into their place, while I write them down.
For now I just carry on in the background with my writing, as if it is purely for my own enjoyment!
For my son the key to change, is familiarity. Building on what he already knows and letting him get a sneak preview of what is to come. I don’t force him to write the letters or to take part in the change. I just casually implement a small change, all by myself to the side of him.
As we come to the last word, I continue with my prompting in the same way I have done all through the puzzle.
“What’s next, Rhys”
“S” he responds.
I pause but this time I don’t write the letter on my screen. A change to what I have been doing the whole way through the game. Two eyes look across towards me.
Rhys then pushes my hand towards the LCD screen. He wants me to write the letter so he can do his part.
“S” I say, and draw the letter on the screen.
Rhys places the wooden piece in its place.
After doing the new game for the third time today, I pause for longer between letters, and await Rhys’ response. He waits and once again looks at me waiting for my action. But I wait, until he suddenly lifts the pen and writes the letter ‘i’ on the screen all by himself, then places the ‘i’ into the puzzle to continue the word ‘fish’
I am so proud.
Don’t feel you need to recreate the wheel or pull out something completely new.
Use a game, toy or activity your child already enjoys and add to it. If you open your mind, you will be able to create new ways of teaching letters, numbers, fine and gross motor skills.
Try just slotting in small changes to the current activity or do something along side.
Be patient and see what happens.