An oldie but goodie, we brought out Alphabingo before rest time on Monday, before I was hit hard with what seems like the flu and before our lives got really nutty.
I wanted something easy because I wasn’t feeling too hot, and I wanted something that would work for both Owen and Cora–something that would challenge them without making either of them too frustrated. Letter games are always a good bet, and bingo in any form is usually a hit with the O-Man.
- Alphabingo: Alphabingo is just alphabet bingo with lowercase letters. That’s it. That simple.
But there are great little pictures around each letter that begin with that letter: r/ rooster; z/ zebra; b/ bear, u/umbrella, etc. I am a huge fan of setting kids up for success, so I like that there’s a back-up right there if kids need extra support.
I found Alphabingo almost two years ago (wow!) I’m not even sure how, and it looks like it’s still available to download. You’ll need Alphabingo Alphabet Letters, and Alphabingo Cards 1, Cards 2, and Cards 3. Each card has two boards on it. Printed on cardstock, this game is pretty sturdy.
Owen was in charge of flipping cards, . . .
Owen and Cora actually asked me to play a game or two before they had their rest time (perhaps they’re ready to return to preschool?), so it wasn’t difficult to get them interested when I told them I found an old favorite. And when I mentioned that it was bingo, and that our markers would be bottle caps, these two zoomed to the living room to play.
I told them we were going to play Alphabingo and that this game was bingo with lowercase letters and that they’d love, love, love it. Owen requested to be the card-flipper, Cora hoarded all of the half-decorated, bottle cap ornament rejects (because they were still pretty and sparkly, even if they didn’t make the orni cut), and we were ready to go.
Owen would flip a card, say the letter, and we’d repeat it and say the picture that went along with it: Okay! This one’s an ‘a’, ‘a’ for ah, ah, ‘apple’. Combining a picture of the letter, with the sound it makes, and a word that begins with that sound is a solid way of reinforcing letter-sound connections and practicing early phonological awareeness.
We played a few times–full board, of course–and then they insisted (begged, pleaded, cried even) to play ABC Letter Hunt which we did in a new and improved way, which I’ll share later in the week.
Next time, I’m going to print out two copies of the Alphabingo Letter Card so we can play Alphafriends Memory! Woo-hoo! The possibilities are endless. . . .
Games like this are easy–they’re fun–and they’re so important for building a solid literacy foundation in our kiddos. It might not seem like a big deal, but the help we, as parents, give our kids with simple things like learning their alphabet or numbers does make a difference. A really big difference.
According to Where We Stand: On Learning to Read and Write, a joint position statement by the NAEYC and IRA, research has shown six important facts, three of which I found particularly helpful for parents of young children:
- Children take their first critical steps toward learning to read and write very early in life. . . (and parents need to be there to help them!)
- Children do not become literate automatically; careful planning and instruction are essential. . . (parents can do what they can at home–songs, puzzles, books, games–it all helps!)
- As children move from preschool into kindergarten and the primary grades, instruction focused on phonemic awareness, letter recognition, segmenting words into sounds, and decoding printed text will support later reading competence. . . (yes, and it’s starting earlier!)
Alphabet recognition is one of the major early literacy skills that are predictive of children’s later reading development (IRA/NAEYC, 1998; National Center for Family Literacy, 2007), so why not do what we can, when we are able, to help our little ones get off to the right start?
Especially if we can add even a teeny bit of learning before lunch or naptime or whenever, it’s worth it for so many reasons!