Recently my daughter (2 years 8 months) has been really interested in the letters "t", "n" and "m". Not only are the signs similar, the sounds of "n" and "m" are similar as well. After a couple of weeks of asking about those 3 letters she's moved on to wanting to know the first letter of people's names.
When my son ws that age I hadn't introduced the manual alphabet (fingerspelling) yet so I wonder if perhaps I missed out on his first interest in the alphabet?
In the signing time series the alphabet, finger spelling and letter sounds are introduced in Series 1 DVD 5. Basic phonetics are included throughout the series as many signs include a letter that connects to the spoken English word (example: water, restaurant, shoe). When a child connects the letter and the sound it makes it is a step towards being able to read the language.
Finger spelling and initialized signs can also help develop phonemic awareness which is key in gaining fluency in a language.
This week's suggested DVD is....
Practice Time ABCs
My kids (2 and 5) volunteered to watch the DVD and give their honest opinion. Even though I teach Signing Time classes and own the complete series we do not watch the DVDs every day. It has been a while since we watched the Practice Time DVDs that they don't remember watching it.
I think this DVD appeals best to kids who area bit older than mine or interested in ABCs and reading more than my kids are right now.
The DVD starts out with a lesson on how to sign the ABCs. While we already know the manual alphabet thekidsstill enjoyed signing along. After learning the basics the DVD uses a series of progressive quizzes to review the manual alphabet and move into finger spelling. The DVD is created to mix up the quiz questions each time you watch so you aren't seeing the same questions every time.
In the first round of practicing Rachel signs a letter and we guessed what it was. My 2 yr old answered mostofthese correctly - which really surprised me! She even added reasons like "That's "g" like green". The second round of practice quizzes showed the the letter and it was our job to show the sign. Wile this was a bit tougher for my 2 yr old, my 5 yr old washable to do it easily.
The practice activities after the first two rounds introduced basic finger spelling. This is where the kids lost interest quickly. For the 2 yr.old it was when "mom" was spelled with an "m" first. In her mind it starts with "h" since my name starts with "h". Once she saw Rachel "make a mistake" went to play someplace else.
My son hung in there a bit longer but he isn't used to finger spelling words with 4 letters so he stopped participating but kept watching as the practice levels became more challenging. He went off to play at about the 5th level.
As someone who is a notoriously bad speller I could probably benefit from a more advanced Practice Time DVD. Like learning piano or how to write, it takes time for finger spelling to become smooth and to be able to read what someone else is spelling. This DVD is a great tool for kids and adults alike to take their first steps into finger spelling. It also can be used in conjunction with teaching a child to write and read as it reinforces letter sounds and order.
Here's a preview from the DVD ABCs
Here's the link to the Two Little Hands stores Practice Time ABCs page
- Use the ABC flashcards to quiz each other showing the sign side first, then the letter.
- Play a word game where one person says a word and the other person guess what letter it starts with and gives the appropriate letter sign.
- Fingerspell common words seen around the house - like "tea" on the tea box.
- play a silent game of "I Spy with my Little Eye" when traveling by train or waiting in line. Look around for a letter, sign it and the color of the letter, give the other person a chance to find it.
- Use finger spelling to practice for a spelling test.
- Help sound out words by signing the letters and saying the sounds.