(by Nina, one of our viewers)
I had an experience or revelation with my son and other children that visit here (friends, neighbors etc.) and I thought I should share it with you. I have been introducing letter recognition for some time now (years in fact, with all the babysitting I've done) and it has become apparent to me only recently that there are these marked preferences happening.
I will explain...
One day my son and his friends saw these different alphabet tracers, posters, crafts etc. That were scattered on the floor. They picked them up and started to play with them and critiqued them! I wish I had video taped this moment because it was like a bunch of miniature advertising executives or editors discussing an advertising or book editing project: "I don't like this, I like this and so on." I sat down and observed for awhile, then I asked them to make piles of what they really liked, what was OK and what was terrible.
These were the results:
Pile One - "I really like":
- pictures that were funny, large and bold,
- Bright colors.
- The letter is INSIDE the picture
- Awesome Apple won hands down EVERY TIME, and other similar items that I had made with your templates.
- Black and white is OK if it is funny, has legs and/or arms, has a face or slightly scary features like a funny ferocious shark or dinosaur.
- They also like when the toilet tube characters have the letter in the front, which I have done -- such as the tiger, I put I big T in his chest.
Pile Two - "OK":
- pictures are in color and more realistic, such as an elephant that looks like a real elephant
- letter is presented outside the picture.
Pile Three - "Terrible":
- Only black and white such as a picture of a plain book, plain fruit (no smiley face arms or feet)
- Anything that was serious got a thumbs down and were not interested in coloring those either.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
I proceeded to expand on this "survey" with more children ( ages 2 1/2 to 5 pre-reading/ writing and a few 6 and 7 year olds that are in Kindergarten and Grade 1 stage) and got the same results.
The only thing that I must bring up is that only three girls participated and they had also specific preferences, such as girl dressed as a princess, B for Barbie -- you get my drift, but they also always preferred the funny, bold pictures.
Space ships, or aliens got a real thumbs down from the three girls but
that is not the norm, I am sure (I loved space ships when I was their age
-- now I was raised among boys so that explains it, I guess). I also had
two alphabet tracers I had bought especially for a friend that likes the
Precious Moments characters (for a birthday), the girls were drawn to those
Some other comments: Alphabuddies were always selected in the pile #1, many of the letter tracers were picked if they were funny (your A for ant poster was always in the preferred pile, for example).
Now it came up again and again that they liked also an alphabet book that has the letters be part of a picture, such as a funny snake in the form of an S. I will get you the name of it later, I lent it this weekend.
Now I don't know if this helps you, but I know that I've been having a great deal more success introducing the letters lately since I had this experience and have made kids become involved in the choices.
I have been doing my own bilingual set of alphabet posters (out of frustration because I cannot find any such thing) and had my son and other neighborhood children pick the pictures for it from clip art and it has been a lot of fun. Always the funny ones get picked. For example for A in Spanish they picked a real funny airplane (avion) with eyes, smile and that appears to be crashing. For G it was a real funny looking goat. For D the winner was a Dinosaur T-Rex, oh for T they want a Troll because of the The Three Billy Goats Gruff, but I am trying to steer them in a different direction, like a tiger (wish me luck).
Mind you they want the pictures to change regularly also, so they don't get bored! Now that is a high order request! If you want to know more about the results, which I am journalizing for my own info. I'll be happy to share.
My son's nappy is over, bye.
A note from Leanne (the mom who runs DLTK's Crafts for Kids):
I also found Nina's info extremely enlightening and hope she shares her journalized results with all of us *nudge, nudge*. I think it will help me introduce letters to my kids and design better templates for all of us to use going forward!
...or back to part 4