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Early Childhood Literacy: Summer Learning Disguised as Fun

by Lucy Hart Paulson on May 22, 2019

  • Early Childhood
  • Literacy
  • summer


Summer is coming and it’s time for play. Keep literacy learning a part of each day!
Word play is fun and easy to do. Think of the words for the things around you.
Each word has a rhyme, syllable, and sound. Focus on one with the thing that you found.

When on a walk with a friend and you see a tree, say, “I see something that rhymes with three.”
“Now, it is your turn,” I say to my friend. “Find something you see that has the same end.”
A harder level, if you dare: Think of two words with a rhyming synonym pair.
A large feline is a fat cat and a rodent conversation could be a rat chat.
Once you start thinking, the pairs stream in. You might even sport a wink and a grin.

Find lots of things when out on a romp. Say every syllable with a big stomp.
When grocery shopping at the store, of syllables, see which word has more.
Say pasta, noodles, and macaroni; the third one’s the winner. Count and you’ll see.
Not much to see when you’re out and about? Think of a category with items to spout.
How about birds with three syllables? You can—chickadee, nightingale, pelican.

Now, for the smallest part of a word, the phoneme—a speech sound, a term you’ve heard.
Out on your walk. Here you go again, you see something that starts with /n/.
The number nine, a nest, a knee, there may be many more /n/ things to see.
How many names of friends start like “Scott?” Sam, Sally, Sidney…a lot!
Switch their names to start like “Joe.” You get Jam, Jally, Jidney—funny. I know.

Walk, talk, take in the scene. It’s actually better to turn off the screen.
Have fun in the sun with word play all day.
No special preparation, no cost, not a cent—yet for literacy learning, it’s time well spent.

Dr. Lucy Hart Paulson
is a speech-language pathologist and literacy specialist with years of experience working with children and their families. She is the lead author of LETRS for Early Childhood EducatorsBuilding Early Literacy and Language Skills, and Good Talking Words.

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