Literacy

Learning at Home: Alphabet Wall Game

Learning at Home: Alphabet Wall Game 150 150 Maren Nelson

This activity comes from one of our Preschool Pals teachers and is a great game for you and your preschooler to play at home together.


What You Need:

  • Cards with all the letters of the alphabet (uppercase AND lowercase)
  • A wall you can put tape on in a room with lots of space to run
  • A helper! (that’s you, caregiver, family member, or friend!)

Game Set-up:

If you do not have letter cards, here’s how you can make your own:

Cut paper into small squares. On each square, write the upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet. Then tape these squares on the wall in a random order. (Make sure you tape them at a height your child can reach.)


How to Play:

Level 1: Letter Names

The helper calls out a letter from the wall. The child then runs to the wall, finds the letter, and tags it with their hand.

Level 2: Letter Sounds

The helper calls out a letter sound. The child then runs to tag the correct letter.

Level 3: Word Sounds

Option 1: The helper puts an object in front of them and the child must run and tag the first letter in the name of the object. (Example: the helper sets a cup in front of them, so the child should tag the letter “C.”)

Option 2: The helper calls out a word and the child runs to tag the first letter of that word.

Promoting Early Literacy Development – Tips for Parents

Promoting Early Literacy Development – Tips for Parents 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

At its core, early literacy development begins with what children know about reading and writing long before they themselves can read and write. Here are a few tips to help promote early literacy development at home:

1. Enjoy more conversation

Make the most of the time you spend with your child by simply talking and listening to them more. Listen to children’s songs in the car or use this valuable time together to talk about anything from the alphabet to the weather.

2. Avoid baby talk

Stick to more grown up language to build a long lasting foundation for literacy development. Many activities can promote rich language use, such as visiting a museum, zoo or other exhibit. You’ll find yourself using words to describe your surroundings in these settings that you may not often use in routine conversation.

3. Bring back the bedtime story

Researchers estimate that less than half of children under the age of five are read to daily. Reading with your child from birth is one of the best ways to promote early literacy development. Just a few minutes a day makes a big difference, so take a trip to the library and make sure you aren’t forgetting those bedtime stories!

4. Expand on school projects

If you don’t know what your child is working on in school, ask their teacher to share their unit plans. Once you know what your child is learning, build on those lessons at home to help deepen their knowledge and draw more connections to them. Have fun with this! If, for instance, your child is learning the letter “B” this week, take them to the beach (weather permitting), or create a collage using magazine and newspaper clippings of items or activities that start with the letter “B”. If your child is a little older, and perhaps learning about the environment, check out a really cool book about the rainforest, and talk about the differences between that environment and the one in which they live.

5. Encourage them and express pride

Nothing fosters a love for learning faster than the encouragement of a proud parent. Whether your child just learned their ABCs or finished their first chapter book, be sure to tell them what a great job they have done. Recognizing their hard work paying off will set healthy patterns for the future.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

Jacqueline is a bright spirited kindergartner with glowing dark skin and a vibrant smile bound to melt your heart. When Jacqueline started school this fall, she struggled knowing that she did not know how to write. When her Family Educator visited Jacqueline this past September, Jacqueline held up a piece of jumbo-ruled paper. With chicken scratches going every which way, Jacqueline’s letters were far from following the dashes between the lines.

Jacqueline grew visibly discouraged. She tossed her pencil aside and hung her heavy head. Her Family Educator was along for the ride. “It’s okay; I’ll be here every step of the way! We will work on this together,” Collette assured.

You see, Collette has seen Jacqueline grow over the years. She knew she could do it! Jacqueline had already come a long way. With her big sister, Grace, Jacqueline had joined Way to Grow following their parents’ big move from Togo, Africa. Her family, seeking help navigating their futures in their new, but foreign land, made their way to Way to Grow. They have been with us ever since.

Collette just had to convince Jacqueline herself that she could achieve all she set her mind to. With that, the fearless duo set off! “We practiced, practiced, practiced! Each and every home visit, we wrote sight words, names.. all sorts of stuff. When I went back to visit after winter break, Jacqueline could hardly wait to show me a recent assignment.”

Because of Collette’s encouragement, and of course Jacqueline’s hard work and support of her parents, the difference was night and day! Jacqueline beamed with pride as she pointed to her work, “Look Mrs. Collette! Look at my new handwriting!”

Now she is ready for success in school in every way!

Invest in Us

Invest in Us 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

Student of the Month!

Student of the Month! 150 150 Way to Grow

We’re excited to share this incredible Way to Grow success story!

This is Family Educator Collette Fredrickson reporting:

“On Monday morning, Osemwivie, kindergarten student and Way to Grow participant, was named Student of the Month at her school! Last August, Osemwivie was unable to read a single word and refused to even try out of fear of failing. She did very well on her IGDI (Individual Growth and Development Indicators) assessments but hadn’t started the formal reading instruction that happens in Kindergarten.

In a matter of weeks, Osemwivie was well on her way to reading A level books. By January, she was reading and comprehending G level books with ease. Her mom has done a fantastic job of integrating reading into everyday activities such as car rides, grocery shopping, waiting at the dentist, and their nightly bedtime routine. Lately, mom is the one who listens to the bedtime stories while Osemwivie reads the book. (Osemwivie even corrects her family educator’s reading ‘slip-ups’.)”

Congrats to Collette, Osemwivie, and her mother for all their hard work!

Words to Grow

Words to Grow 150 150 Way to Grow

This week, a group of our Family Educators (and a special little helper who had a free day from school due to the cold!) assembled word kits for families of third grade students.These kits are designed to help parents get their children ready for the MCA tests.

This is just one of many ways that Way to Grow brings literacy into the homes of our families. To learn more about our Elementary Education programming, please click here. Stay tuned to the Great by Eight blog for a list of our favorite books that meet state standards for reading comprehension.

Twelve Days of Growing: Day 7

Twelve Days of Growing: Day 7 150 150 Way to Grow

Day 7 – 7 Different Languages – Did you know that Way to Grow’s Family Educators and Resource Advocates speak 7 different languages? This language-to-language, culture-to-culture approach is the benchmark of our Home Visiting model. It allows our educators to help parents teach the foundations of literacy in their own home. We also help our families navigate the sometimes confusing terrain of the health, education, and social services systems. We offer language support during Parent-Teacher Conferences, during our finance and cooking classes, with applications for aid, and in countless other ways throughout the year.

Year after year, we hear from our families that the support they receive from their Family Educators and Resource Advocates truly makes them feel like a part of their community.

It’s not too late to support our holistic approach to parent and child education. To contribute please click here or phone Melissa Meyer at (612) 874-4740.  To learn more about our programs, please explore our website.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, those languages are: English, Spanish, Hmong, Arabic, Amharic, Somali, and Oromo.

The Generosity of General Mills

The Generosity of General Mills 150 150 Way to Grow

On Friday, December 6th, the External Relations Division of General Mills delivered hats, mittens, and books for our Way to Grow families. They also spent part of the afternoon helping build capacity through a variety of volunteer projects. Team members prepared games and curriculum tools for our home visiting kits, helped sort books for our family libraries, and participated in a marketing brainstorming session.

The staff and leadership of General Mills has supported Way to Grow for over 20 years. Thanks for being Way to Grow heroes!

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