Every parent is excited to teach their children how to read, but reading skills don’t just start with the alphabet. Developing pre-reading skills makes learning letters easier. A critical pre-reading skill is teaching children to pay attention to detail. This is important because many letters look alike. Distinguishing between (d,b and p), (E and F), (I and T) and (j and i) requires looking closely and concentrating.
Here is a fun and free way to work on that skill. All you need is an old calendar with small pictures on the back cover. Your child will learn to match the big pictures with the small pictures. By working with two different scales, this is more than just a matching game. His eyes must adjust for the difference in size which is an extra concentration challenge.
1. Choose an old wall calendar which shows all of the months on the back. Cut out each small picture. Disassemble your calendar into individual picures.
2. You can start this matching game with four or six matches. Lay out the large pictures on the ground. Give your child the small pictures and ask him to place them next to the matches.
3. If a mistake is made, say nothing and see if he self-corrects as he continues. If he doesn’t catch the mistake ask, “Does this one belong here?” Allowing him to be successful builds confidence and competence.
4. As skills increase, you can work all the way up to the twelve months. Eventually, he should be able to do this activity all by himself.
- To make this easier for young children, choose a calendar with obviously different pictures, like various farm animals.
- To make this more challenging, choose art calendars by the same artist. The more similar the pictures, the more keenly the eye has to work to make distinctions. This doubles as an art appreciation lesson, because you can discus the artwork as he matches.