Sunday, January 22, 2012

alphabet cards! [take two]

** So I posted this post a few weeks ago, and blogger ate it. I spent literally hours trying to resuscitate it, with no avail. Matt said I probably could have re-typed it faster. But, thanks to my incredibly amazing co-worker, Shauna... this post is now living again. Not to say it's an incredible's not ...but the point is that I knew it was out there floating around on the internet, which drove me crazy. So thank you Shauna. You rock. You brought my blog post back to life.**

[on etsy, here]

In the spud room we have only one wall that is empty. Two of the walls have windows on them, and one wall has the closet/nook. So this wall is precious space. Being a former preschool/kindergartner teacher I LOVE alphabet cards and counting/number cards too. I had them up in my classroom and I really want them up in Cora's room. But I am having issues with throwing out my Montessori teacher training and jumping on the first cute etsy alphabet cards I find. It's like asking a nurse who has a child with a fever not to give her kid tylenol (ok, that's a little severe). But this is hard for me, and this is why...

Constituents for my alphabet cards:

-They should be displayed at the child's height. This is a Montessori thing where you are preparing the child's environment as their own sacred place- not for adults. So everything is at child level for them to access and learn from their space. I love this theory. It gives children the power and the independence to learn and grow without adult interaction.
-The letters should be appropriate to age level not only in pictures but that the word match up to how letters sound for the first words when reading. For example: A is for apple not ape. Children first learn to read very simple words, phonetically. English is tricky, but kids first learn it as though it is simple... each letter has one sound, then they add to that knowledge base by giving letters all of their corresponding sounds. So letter sounds are taught as short vowel sounds and hard consonants.
-The pictures should be colorful, enticing, and beautiful. I want Cora to be so eager to learn to read and absorb her beautiful environment.
-The first letters for children should be taught in lowercase. This helps to transition kids to writing easily.

[free to print out at home and a ton of other adorable free-printables!! from the handmade home here]

So after literally hours of researching alphabet cards I found some adorable and FREE ones. They are so gosh darn cute, I almost have the print button hit on my computer. They are exactly the splashes of color I want in spud's room and have a lot of turquoise in them. They are so much cuter than anything I could ever dream up. I am in love. Except. They are not 100% educationally appropriate. Do I just enjoy them for the first 6 months, then replace them with other ones later when she starts to talk? Do I just not care, and know that she will be fine regardless of the silly alphabet card I choose? Am I doing this for me then, not for Cora?! Ahhhh.... tricky! But, silly really. 

Problems I have with chosen cards:
-Babies are held, not on the ground crawling and walking for the first 6 months. So does that mean that the alphabet cards can be placed at adult level to show Cora the letters and words for the first few months while I walk around with her in my arms... then have them gravitate downwards on the wall later? I don't know how I feel about this. Because in real life the wall will look cuter if they are in the middle...not near the ground.
-It's VERY hard to find not only cute but educationally appropriate cards. I've searched. R is for rotary!? Come on. Super cute picture but seriously, that is not a first word I will be teaching Cora for R... how about river or raccoon?! Something that is in her daily life, it's a reality.
-Most of the cute alphabet cards are not short vowels and hard consonants. Like "I for icing"... it should be "I for igloo." So should I make my own? I can't really draw... so that makes things tricky.

This is what the alphabet looks like with short vowels and hard consonants from a very helpful website- montessori mom (I thought you might like to know these because I had to look it up again, I forgot all of them...)

a-short "a" as in "at" (later teach long "a" sound such as in "gate"- "ah" sound as in "father")
b- as in "rib"-With lips closed form a line and say sound.
c-"k" sound as in "cat"(later the "s" sound as in "cent")
d-as in " lid"-Place tip of tongue behind upper front teeth, keeping face still, say sound.
e-short sound as in "egg" (later long sound such as in "me")
f-as in "if"-Put upper teeth on lower lip and release air.
g-hard sound as in "big "(Later introduce " j " sound as in "gem" )
h-as in "her" -Open mouth and blow out sound.
i-short sound as in "pig" (Later introduce the long sound "i" , as in "pie"
j-as in "jam" -Keep jaw still and say sound.
k-as in "ink"
l-as in "lad" -Place bent tip of tongue under front teeth and say sound.
m-as in "him" -Close lips and make sound.
n-as in "tan" -Place tip of tongue against the roof of your mouth and say sound.
o-short sound as in "on" (later introduce the long o as in "open", then introduce the long "oo" sound, as in "to"
p-as in "yap" -Close lips lightly together and say sound.
q-I introduce q with the u ie "qu" and explain that u is always with q but the u doesn't say a sound when it is with q. Word sound as in "queen" (Place tongue in middle of upper plate and release breath.
r-as in "brr" -Pull back t towards upper mouth the tongue edges to the back molars. Hold and say sound. This one is a bit difficult. I had to practice not to say "er" sound.
s-as in "gas" -Place tongue behind lower teeth, bite down and say sound. (Later teach the "z" sound as in "as")
t-as in "bat"-Put tongue behind top teeth and release breath.
u-short sound as in "up" (Later long u as in "unicorn" and short oo sound as in "put"
v-as in "vine" -Place upper teeth gently on lower lip and vibrate sound.Let the children feel your lips with certain sounds, such as "v" and "f" since the sounds are easily confused.
w-as in "wag"-Slightly pucker you lips, release your breath and say the sound keeping lower jaw still.
x-as in "fix"-This has a ks sound (blended)
y-as in "yarn" -Do the consonant first, which is always at the beginning of a word. ( Later introduce the "e" sounding y, such as "holly", vowel long "i" sounding y, such as "my" and the vowel short "i" sound such as "gym"
z-as in "zip"- Clench teeth together and make sound.


  1. I understand how you feel! The teacher inside me says one thing and the future mommy says something else quite often!

    I say hang them up higher at first they can always be moved down later on :)

  2. Woah, that brought back some memories of when I was in Montessori (25+ years ago). We learned the sounds of letters by singing them to the alphabet tune. I can still remember it clear as day!
    I don't really have any advice for you though. Whatever you decide, you can always move them if you change your mind.


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