What to do:
- The Letter Board consists of a large, rectangular board and two sets of lowercase alphabet letters from “a” to “z.” To make the letter board, cut an 8 – by 11-inch rectangle from sturdy paper, poster board, cardboard, or wood. Using a felt-tip marker and a ruler, divide the rectangle in half lengthwise.
- To make the letters, take the same material as above and cut enough 2– by 2-inch squares for two sets of alphabet letters (52 squares).
- On each square, with a felt-tip marker, write a lowercase letter. Make two squares for each letter.
- For extra protection, cover the letter board and the letters with clear contact paper, clear shelving paper, or laminate.
- You are a vendor and the child is a buyer. Begin with one set of letters. For young children, start with just five or six letters. You can add new letters once the child has learned these.
- Place a letter on the top half of the letter board and say, “Letter for sale. Letter for sale. Will you buy my letter?” The child answers, “Yes, I will buy your letter ‘a’” (or whichever letter you placed on the board).
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- If the answer is correct, the child gets the letter. If the answer is wrong, say “This is the letter ‘d’.” Place it back in your pile to try again.
- The game continues until the child has gathered all the letters or until the child becomes bored. If the child loses interest, drop the game until anotherday. To add variety, change the roles and have the child be the vendor and you be the buyer.
- Start the game by placing a letter on the top half of the letter board. Say to the child, “What is the letter?” If the child is correct say, “Yes, this is the letter ‘c’.” If the child is incorrect, simply say, “This is the letter ‘c’.”
- Next, place four letters on the bottom half of the board, making sure one of the letters matches the letter on top. Have the child find the letter on the bottom that matches the one on top. If the child has difficulty, go through each letter on the board and compare them until the child can match the same letters. Continue this game using the other letters to match.
- Place a series of three letters on the top half of the letter board. For example, you can place “t,” “c,” and “a” on the board.
- Now ask the child to take his or her letters and make the same pattern as yours. If the child is unable to copy the pattern, say, “First put down the ‘t,’ then the ‘c,’ then the ‘a’.”
- If the child is able to copy the pattern, make another one using other letters.
- This game can continue using various patterns of letters. You can even have the child match simple words like “cat,” “saw,” “up,” or “frog.” The child may also develop patterns and combinations and ask you to match them.