We're excited to introduce you to Cassity, a new contributor to our blog. She has the experience of years of teaching and now is on the flipside as the parent of a school aged child. We can't wait for you to get to know her a little better! She's one of our favorite people.
excited to be blogging here on Second Story Window! A brief introduction: I’m Cassity, former 2nd
grade teacher and current stay-at-home mom.
I’ve known Heidi & Emily for 10 years! As a teacher I used and loved their products. I have 4 littles: Ella (5), Nolan (3), Clara
(2), and Leo (4 mos). Things are
slightly crazy but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
always figured my children would be brilliant, entering kindergarten knowing how to read and write, etc. My oldest, Ella, has started kindergarten
and, well, we’re not quite there.
When she was 3, I enrolled her in
preschool because, with two younger siblings, I felt like she would enjoy interacting
with children her own age. Ella went to a
preschool at our local gymnastics gym and she loved it. She really excelled in gymnastics and I was
just happy she was getting some solid social interaction. I told myself I didn’t care too much about
the academic part of it as long as she was having fun and making friends. At the end of the year when she only knew a
couple of letters I wasn’t too worried.
I told myself she was only 3 and she still had another year of
she was 4, I signed Ella up for the preschool offered at our neighborhood
school. She loved her teacher and her
classmates and really enjoyed her time at preschool. We worked on letters at home but I didn’t
push her too much. Halfway through that year I began to panic a
bit when she wasn’t progressing with her alphabet recognition. I began informally
testing her to see what letters she knew – she only had consistent recognition
with 9 letters. Some days she would correctly respond to more letters,
but over a few days or the next week they were forgotten. By the end of the
year I was discouraged when she only knew two-thirds of the alphabet – and only
most of the summer Ella played with alphabet apps on the iPad. I would sit next to her and try to help her
but this usually ended in a battle with both of us becoming frustrated. I tried using the alphabet puzzle to quiz
her. Again, we’d both end up
unhappy. Finally I gave up. I felt like I needed to preserve our
relationship and so for the rest of the summer, we didn’t touch letters. Sometimes she would play the apps on my phone
but it was at her leisure.
month after her 5th birthday we went in for her kindergarten
testing. Ella still only knew two-thirds
of the upper-case alphabet (some of the letters she knew were different than
what she knew at the beginning of summer) and she only knew a handful of the
lower-case letters. Her teacher didn’t
seem overly concerned. She noted that my
Ella, with a July birthday, is young for her grade. She said
their goal was to have letters and sounds mastered by Christmas. This has been our new target.
activities we’ve been doing at home:
Magnet Matching: We have a magnet wall in our mudroom (inspiration from Oh Happy
Day), but this could easily be done on a fridge or metal door. We use a set of magnet letters (purchased
here) that includes lower case and upper case. Start by putting the
upper-case letters in
alphabetical order leaving a space next to each letter. Mix up the
lower-case letters. Sometimes we put them on the door next to the
magnet wall – you could spread them out on the floor or leave them on
bottom of the magnet wall. Make sure
they are all visible so your child can easily sort through the
letters. The task is to match the lower-case letters
to their upper-case counterpart.
Encourage your child to start with the ones they know. Offer help as
Apple Alphabet: This foam alphabet came from Staples. The task is to have your child put the puzzle
“back together” by putting the letters in alphabetical order. The activity offers flexibility because each
letter can fit in any spot. The child
can start with the beginning of the alphabet, add some letters at the end and
skip what they don’t know. When my
daughter does this, she sings the alphabet to fill in the missing letters. When we first started she’d be left with a
few letters she wasn’t certain of. We’d
discuss what they could be depending on the spots open. Usually she could figure out the last few
letters on her own.
little over a month of kindergarten we’re making serious progress. Ella consistently recognizes all but 2 of the
upper-case letters and all but 4 of the lower-case letters. She also knows about a third of the
letter-sounds. She LOVES kindergarten –
her teacher is a huge part of this. Our
big breakthrough at home has been homework.
Once things are coming from her teacher rather than her mom the activities
have seemed much more credible. We work
on her homework each day and I throw in additional activities here and
there. I’m confident Ella will reach our
goal by Christmas–if not sooner!