Today was an unexpected snow day for me! Even though I was up and almost ready by the time I got the text message, I decided it was worth it! I love spending these days with my kids and enjoying those little moments with them. Plus, I have been assessing 6th graders for the past two days and am ready for a break.
My almost four year old daughter will do anything that is fun with me. She had gotten a puzzle for Christmas. She has fun in preschool learning her letters and name and hates to miss a day of fun, so I wanted to have a fun day learning with her.
|Who can resist this face?|
When I was taking my graduate classes and learning about emergent readers, I remember hearing that puzzles are great to help build early reading skills. These would just be simple puzzles that you purchase in the store, cheap ones work great. Why would something so simple be so important for building early reading skills?
One of the important things to foster is hand-eye coordination. It helps students with writing skills that are much needed! Manipulating the pieces of the puzzle helps them to build muscles in their hands for writing and then using them to place them in the right place brings it all together.
Getting that puzzle piece in the right place takes some manipulation. Sometimes the piece is in the wrong place or just turned the wrong way. Those problem solving skills are not only perfect for comprehension but for figuring out words as well.
Though this sounds a little far-fetched, puzzles help children understand that a story has a beginning, middle, and end, much like a puzzle. When children work a puzzle, they have to start somewhere and then finish it. Many of us have a plan to complete it, just like all stories have a plan to get to an end.
One of things I really remember from my class is that working puzzles to make sure the pieces fit helps children understand that letters fit together to make words and words fit together to make sentences. Just like puzzle pieces, letters and words fit together to create the words and sentences we need to read and write.
Puzzle pieces are all different and have to "find their place". Children of all ages can benefit from this as they have to be able to see differences between both letters and words. When children have to look at pieces of a puzzle to figure out where they go, it is much like looking at letters and words to figure out what they say. These help children to ultimately read.
Needless to say, children of all ages can benefit from building puzzles. It continues to build important reading skills all through life!
And I leave you with my emergent reader and her finished puzzle!