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Teach Your Child to Read Series

Teach My Child to Read… Learning the Alphabet

Teach Your Child to Read Series is definitely off to a great start!  If you missed last week’s kick off, please head over and read through Teach Your Child To Read… 5 Concepts to Master Before Learning to Read.  It has all of the details for this series that I am hosting this month.

I introduced the 5 Concepts to Master Before Learning to Read last week, and this week we are going to cover in detail the first concept, Learning the Alphabet and HOW to teach the alphabet.  I am including tons of resources and activities that you can utilize to teach the alphabet to your child.  So, what are we waiting for… let’s get started!

How to Teach Your Child

In order to learn to read, your child must first know the alphabet.  In the beginning of learning the alphabet, your child might forget some of the letters or even mix them up and that is 100% okay.  The goal is not perfection, but instead, over time and with continued education from you, your child will slowly stop mixing up the letters.  It could be a slow progression, which means it is important for you to not become frustrated or to expect perfection.  As the teacher, you need to recognize that young children often learn & retain the most when taught through play, dance, music, and art.  And lastly, please remember this is not a one-time lesson, but instead; something that needs to be continued until the child has mastered learning the alphabet.

It is also critical for you to recognize the way your child learns.  Do they have a long attention span?  Do they prefer doing one type of activity over another?  Are they able to sit at a table for 15-20 minutes?  The reason knowing the answers to these questions is important is because it will affect which activities you decide to do with your child.  At this point, you’re just going to have to use trial and error to find what works best for you and your child.  And don’t forget to get creative!  If you don’t see something on this list and you think it would be a great way to teach the ABC’s to your child… USE IT!  You are the most knowledgable person when it comes to your child and what will work and what will not work… don’t forget that!

Activities to Teach & Reinforce the ABC’s

Sing the ABC’s

  1. I started singing the ABC’s to my kiddos when they were babies. When I rocked them, when they were fussy, and when they were done riding in the car and we still had an hour left in the road trip.  We also played various songs that sung the ABC’s as well as songs that included the alphabet.
  2. A quick search on any music service or YouTube generally supplies a pretty large list of a variety of ABC songs.

Read Books about the ABC’s

  1. If your child is hesitant about having you read, you could always try letting them select the book that you’re going to read. If that doesn’t work, maybe try sitting with them to just look at the picture and discuss what they think is happening in the book.  You could even go as far as creating your own story with your child using the pictures as a guide while still learning about the alphabet.  Create a story out of the pictures in the book and include your child into the story… kiddos love to be part of things!
  2. Now, I know some kiddos just don’t like to sit still and listen to stories, so I would suggest trying audio books. You can listen to them in the car or put them on at bedtime when the kids are getting ready to go to sleep.  Some exposure is better than none.
  3. One big thing I would suggest when selecting books to read is to be sure to get ones that have great pictures, books that include topics that your child enjoys, and remember, it’s supposed to be fun!  Here is a list of books that both my son and daughter enjoy:

There are so many wonderful books out there that can help in learning the alphabet.  I recommend doing a search through Google or on Amazon to find what you are looking for and where to purchase it.  If you do not want to purchase the books, be sure to visit your local library, and if they do not have what you are looking for; usually the library can order it for you.

Flash Cards

  1. Using flash cards is a great way to point out each letter to your child as you’re singing the alphabet. It allows your child to recognize the connection between singing the song and how the letters look.


  1. Alphabet Kids’ Floor Puzzle

Arts & Crafts (also helps with fine motor control)

  1. Print out each letter of the alphabet. Then once a day, select a letter and do some art with it.  You can have your child decorate the letter using paint, finger paint, markers, crayons, or you can have your child glue various items to the letter (beads, sequins, stickers, etc.).  Not only are you helping them to learn that specific letter, but they are also getting exposure to different art mediums, developing fine motor control, as well as getting to express themselves creatively.  I suggest you keep each letter and use them as reference to reinforce the learning.


  1. Alphabet Yoga – ABC for Me:  ABC Yoga:  Join us and the animals out in nature and learn some yoga by Christiane Engel – This is a great book that you can use to not only learn the alphabet, but to get some yoga in.
  2. Go on a nature walk and find items that you can make into the shape of the letters of the alphabet.
  3. Melissa & Doug Building Blocks ABC/123.  As you play with your child, say the letter on the block and show the child as they are using it to build.
  4. Seasame Street Elmo’s on the Go Letters
  5. Vtech Alphabet Apple
  6. LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set
  7. Foam Fun Alphabet Letters and Numbers for Bathtub Education

Please remember, you do not need to purchase things to teach your child the alphabet.  However, you can browse the things I’ve suggested and find ways to use things you already have at home to teach your child the alphabet.

Cartoons & iPad, iPhone, Computers

  • ABC Kids – Tracing & Phonics (app)
  • Super Why Story Readers (cartoon on Netflix)
  • Leapfrog Letter Factory (cartoon on Netflix)
  • ABC Mouse (online subscription)

A quick search on whatever service you use, will pull up suggestions.  A few guidelines I would follow are making sure to limit the amount of screen time, don’t solely rely on this to educate your child, and make sure it is age/rated appropriately.

Reading is such an important concept for a child to learn to be successful in their education.  The majority of today’s information and communication is processed through reading, thus teaching your child to read is a necessary component to their overall success.  Depending on your child’s age and attention span, I would recommend starting simple and adding additional activities as you see fit.  Please keep in mind how long each activity you do with your child is, and that it matches your child’s attention span.  This will help you from overwhelming your child with new information and also (hopefully) prevent disinterest in learning the alphabet. REMEMBER to KEEP it FUN!


Happy Learning,



Teach Your Child to Read Series
Creating a Morning Circle Routine

Creating a Morning Circle Routine

Good morning and Happy Monday!  I know it’s been a while since I posted last, but I fully blame summer and the wonderful weather we’ve been having… it’s definitely not my fault!  Now that I am getting back into somewhat of a more normal and regimented schedule, I want to get back to posting on Rocking Motherhood Mondays!  Today, I want to discuss the basics of a Morning Circle Routine and how to create your own for your home.

Here is what my Morning Circle Includes:

I have provided the Amazon links for some of the items that I purchased for our Morning Circle.  I found that having these A Morning Circle Routine is an opportunity to teach your little one about the following items:

If you don’t want a large morning circle for your space, please check out these blogs for additional versions.

The great thing about Morning Circle Routines is how customizable they are.  Give Pinterest a quick search and I am sure you will find something that fits your needs.

How I Operate Morning Circle:

Morning Stretches

I start our morning circle with stretches.  Sometimes I just call out different types of movements (march in place, hop like a bunny, reach for the stars, etc.) or sometimes we do ABC Yoga.  Just something to get the kiddos awake and focused.  Then we sit down and move on to the Question of the Day.

Question of the Day

I try to keep these fun and creative.  I like the questions to provoke thought and creativity.  Example Question:  What would you do if it started snowing pink snowflakes right now?  Give your child a chance to explore the idea and be ready to nudge them forward if they get stuck.  Now it’s onto the calendar portion.


We decide which day of the month it is, what day of the week it is, and then we sing the Days of the Week song.  We also figure out what day today is, what yesterday was, and what tomorrow will be.  Next, we discuss the weather and season.


We look outside and use words to describe the weather.  We include opening the front door and use words to describe how the weather feels… anything to get the kiddos connecting what they feel and see into words.  During this portion, we also discuss the season that we are currently in and how we should dress for this type of weather or season.  If you have the availability, it would be fun to include dolls and different types of clothes and ask the kiddos to dress the dolls so they could go outside in the weather.  Another way would be to ask the kiddos to draw a picture of how someone should dress to go out in the weather.  Just some ideas on how you can expand this section.  Now it’s on to numbers!!!


We count together as a group, which I vary from day to day.  Sometimes we count 1-100 or 1 to a smaller number, count by twos or threes, etc.  You can also have the kiddos decide which number they would like to count to you or you can also have kiddos volunteer to stand up and count on their own.  There are lots of fun ways to mix this section up so that it’s not the same day after day.


This is definitely one of the best parts of Morning Circle for my kiddos!  I have a mason jar full of popsicle sticks with a song written on each popsicle stick.  Each kiddo gets to pick from the jar to see which song we’ll sing.  Usually, we do a few songs, because we love singing so much.

Story Time

I end morning circle with story time.  I will try to pick out a book that will steer us toward the next activity, or one that represents something we’ll talk about on this day.  Of course, if the kiddos have an additional story they’d love to read, I’m more than happy to do that as well.  This creates a great transition for the next activity we are planning on doing.

A Morning Circle is a great teaching tool for your little ones.  It’s easy to adjust the setup to fit your child’s needs.  Please be aware of your child’s age and ability to sit still as well as their interest level.  Children learn best when the environment and material is age appropriate and when they are having fun.  Be prepared to be flexible!

As always, I would love to hear how you setup your Morning Circle Routine and how it’s working for you.  I would love it even more if you shared pictures.  Happy Rocking Motherhood Monday my friends!



Creating a Morning Circle RoutineCreating a Morning Circle Routine
Germs that Sparkle... A Fun Health Lesson

Germs that Sparkle… A Fun Lesson in Health

Happy Monday my friends, and welcome to Germs that Sparkle… a fun lesson in health!  I know it’s been a little while since my last post, but the sunshine was calling and I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and adult!  So, I decided a little break would do my soul some good, but now I’m back.  Rocking Motherhood Mondays are educational lessons for little ones that can be taught at home or in the classroom.

Since a new school year is upon us, I decided it is the perfect time to do a fun little lesson about germs and the importance of washing our hands.  In this lesson, I will demonstrate how germs are spread and how to properly wash our hands to make sure we don’t have germs on them.  I realize some of these items might seem a little icky to do a lesson about, but I promise it’s fun.

Supplies you will need to Complete the Germs that Sparkle Lesson:

  • Glitter
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • 2 Small Containers
  • Water
  • Hand Soap
  • Hand Towel
  • Kleenex

Project Setup

Fill each container with warm water and put them about six inches apart.  Place the hand soap next to the first container of warm water and then put the hand towel on the side of the other container.  You now have a hand washing station ready to use!

Germs that Sparkle… the Lesson

You will want to begin the lesson by talking to the child about germs.  Discuss what germs are and what they do to our bodies.  You will also want to talk about how germs are transferred/shared with others (coughing, sneezing, using the restroom, etc.).  CAUTION:  please be aware of the age group you are working with… you do not want to scare anyone!  If you are working with young children, keep it simple.  If you are working with older children able to comprehend the topic better, go more in-depth.

Now it’s time to get hands-on!  Have the child stand up and have them fake sneeze into their hands.  Then take the sanitizer and put a quarter-sized drop in the child’s hand.  Now put a pinch of glitter right on top of the hand sanitizer.  Explain to the child that the glitter represents “germs” from when they sneezed.  Next, have them rub the glitter and hand sanitizer all over their hands.

At this point, have the child shake hands with you or rub their hands on yours.  Show them that the germs have transferred to your hands as well.  If you’re brave, you can have them wipe their hands on a counter or something else that shows the spread.  Again, this is a great opportunity to explain and demonstrate how germs spread by having the child touch things or people before washing their hands.  They will be able to see the glitter that represents germs that we cannot see.

Now ask how we can prevent spreading germs.  Allow time for the child to give suggestions. This is an opportunity to discuss using a Kleenex or coughing/sneezing into your arm as well as the importance of washing our hands to prevent spreading germs.

Explain and demonstrate how to wash your hands using the steps below from the Centers for Disease Control:

  1. Wet hands with clean water
  2. Apply hand soap
  3. Scrub entire hand (front, back, between fingers, under nails) for a minimum of twenty seconds. I recommend having the child sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or some other song that will give the time needed to properly wash hands.
  4. Rinse hands thoroughly in clean running water.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or allow them to air dry.

Now have them head over to the hand washing station to practice washing the “germs” off their hands.

We had such a great time with this lesson.  I feel it really drives home the idea of germs and how they are spread, as well as the importance and how to properly wash your hands.  I would love to hear how this lesson went for you, so please feel free to comment below.  Happy Monday!



Germs that Sparkle... A Fun Lesson in Health
Germs that Sparkle... A Fun Lesson in Health
A Day at the Beach Sensory Bin

A Day at the Beach Sensory Bin

Welcome to another Rocking Motherhood Monday!  I am so excited to be sharing what I call “A Day at the Beach Sensory Bin!”  If your kiddos are anything like mine, they love anything that has water, animals, and sand.  Mix that with a little sunshine, which we have recently experienced, and you have the perfect day for this sensory bin!

As an educator, I think it is important to teach each lesson in a variety of ways, since children learn in different ways and at different rates.  For this reason, I absolutely love sensory bins.  A sensory bin is exactly what it sounds like… a bin filled with objects that allows your child to have a tactile experience.  A sensory bin is a great way to help develop a child’s language, expand their imagination, or increase literacy through story telling.  In general, a sensory bin is a wonderful tool to allow the child to explore, interact, and be part of the learning process.

A Day at the Beach Sensory Bin Supplies

  • Seashells
  • Ocean Animals
  • Water
  • Rubbermaid Bin
  • Sand
  • Basil (sea kelp)

Put the items in the Rubbermaid bin and build a beach.  This activity is geared towards three year olds, but my younger child (under 2), had a blast participating.  Here are some pictures of our sensory bin…

A Day at the Beach Sensory Bin


A Day at the Beach Sensory Bin Lesson Outline

The goal of this lesson was to learn about the beach and the creatures that live in the ocean.  I also wanted to discuss activities that can be done while at the beach.  Here are some questions to get you started… remember, though these will get you started, the learning and fun really is endless with this activity.

1.  What kinds of animals live in the ocean?
Allow them time to shift through the water to find the different animals and name them.  I also took it one step further and talked about each animal that she found.

2.  What kind of things can you do at the beach?
We talked about flying kites and what makes kites fly, running in the sand, playing with a beach ball, building a sandcastle, looking for buried treasure, swimming… the list goes on and on.  I also made sure to discuss beach safety and how important it is to never turn your back on the water.

3.  Comparison of the different shells in the sensory bin.
We looked at the color, shape, and size of each shell and then we talked about which ones were the same and which ones were different.  We also counted the shells.

I will warn you if you decide to do this activity that there will be tears when is it time to clean up.  I had two hysterical children because I eventually poured out their ocean!  All in all this activity was such a fun experience for both of my kiddos!  A Day at the Beach Sensory Bin has already been requested for tomorrow’s agenda!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s Rocking Motherhood Monday activity.  If you are looking for more hands-on activities, please be sure to check out my Story Rocks Tutorial or venture over to Living Montessori Now with Deb to check out some of her great educational activities!



A Day at the Beach Sensory Bin