Week 18: Learning Reading & Writing with The Alphabet Game
This very simple Trip Clip game can contains a surprising amount of learning in it, and it can grow with your child. You can use it to work on beginning letter sounds, handwriting, spelling, and even ending letter sounds.
My family has found this game to be especially good for those times we have to wait at a restaurant – whether we’re waiting for a table, or waiting for our food to come. And it worked for years because you can play it differently depending on what your child is ready for.
First Letter Sounds
I first started playing this game with my kids when they were very young, and were just starting to figure out all of their letter sounds. I would tell them to look around, and find something nearby that started with the letter L, and would make the ‘LLLL’ sound for them.
If they successfully found something that started with an L, I would carefully write it down for them, sounding out the word as I wrote. They were too little at this point to do the writing themselves.
If they found something that didn’t start with an L, rather than tell them they were wrong, or correct them, I would tell them what their word would sound like if it DID start with an L. For example, if they said “Table!”, I would say that that word has an ‘LLLLL’ sound at the end, but it doesn’t start with in ‘L’ sound. If it did, it would be ‘LLLLable’. They usually found this hysterically funny, and would start naming random objects to hear what they sound like if they started with an ‘L’ sound. Turns out even that silly game was a great way to help them understand what an ‘L’ sound at the beginning of the word would sound like!
We’d continue like this until they (or I) successfully found an object that started with the letter ‘L’, and I would write it down for them. Then we would move on to the next letter. The Trip Clip will generate a random list of letters each time you print this activity, so the game is always different.
Handwriting & Spelling
Once they got a little older and were starting to write, I handed the paper to them. We still worked together to find objects to put on our list, but this time they would write the word. At first, I would let them sound it out and write it any way they wanted. Over the years, I would gently correct a letter or two here and there to helping them learn the correct way to spell the words.
When the kids were doing the writing, I liked to keep a clipboard with me (it fit in my purse) so they would be sure to have a writing surface, especially if we were waiting for a table.
Ending Letter Sounds
As my kids got older, it was too easy for them to find words that began with each letter, so we added in a new twist, which actually ended up teaching something else new – ending letter sounds. In addition to finding a word that began with one letter, we had to make sure the word ended with the sound of the letter on the on the next line. For example, the first word would need to start with an L sound, and end with an O sound. We might enter the word LEGO, or possibly the word LOW. This usually introduced great opportunities to talk about how different letter combinations can make an O sound at the end of a word.
This game is simple enough that you can invent your own rules for how to play. Sometimes we would pick a category, and try to think of an item in the category that starts with each letter. If we picked the category “Animals”, we might come up with the words Lion, Ostrich, Snake, etc.
Other times we would try to find a word that used the letter in the middle of the word, or doubled in the middle of the word.
Be creative, and if you come up with a good idea for other rules for this game, leave a comment below to share it with others!