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C is for…

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By Helen Bromleyfreelance consultant and writer

In the final article in this series offering exciting ideas from Helen Bromley’s book M is for Me!, you can personalise the letter ‘c’, then go on a hunt for dinosaurs and words

The letter c

... ‘c’ is for captivating photo pages

This month’s download includes a taster page that is a template for inserting photos of the children in your setting holding familiar objects beginning with the letter ‘c’. Encourage the children to find objects beginning with the letter ‘c’ around the setting, at home or outdoors, then take photos of the children holding the objects that they have found.

It is easy to insert the photos on to the template page, and complete the text box underneath. If you are not sure how to do this, go to the first page in the download and click on ‘Show me how’ for a step-by-step tutorial. You can create multiple copies of the page to accommodate all the photos of the children.

... ‘c’ is for compsognathus

As in the previous two articles, this month’s download also contains a page with a dinosaur, this time beginning with ‘c’ – the diminutive compsognathus. M is for Me! contains complete dinosaur and minibeast alphabets, which have been selected because they are predictable centres of interest for children (especially boys) and arouse their curiosity and fascination.

Use this month’s page alongside the last two months’ downloads to promote collaborative talk, questioning and vocabulary extension as you talk with the children about the three dinosaurs. You may like to record the children’s voices speaking the text (with adult support, as the names may be difficult to pronounce), and add the sound bites to the pages. If you need help to do this, go to the ‘Show me how’ on the first page in the download.

In addition, the three dinosaurs’ names could be used to stimulate some activities using untuned percussion. Work with groups of children to beat out the names of the dinosaurs on the instruments – and the names of any other dinosaurs that the children know. Listen for the rhythm and patterns. Which dinosaur(s) has the longest name? Do any dinosaurs’ names have the same pattern as any of the children’s names?

Dinosaur treasure hunt

Why not add to the treasure hunt excitement by introducing some dinosaur pictures? Print off multiple copies of the dinosaur pictures and words, stick them back-to-back, then laminate them for durability.

Hide the pictures around your outdoor area. Be imaginative and creative – place the images behind bushes, under stones and even hanging from trees.

Encourage the children to use the ‘letterscape’ pages to look for dinosaurs beginning with the same letter. This is an excellent opportunity to discuss the concept of ‘begins with’ with the children, and to think about looking for initial sounds, as well as listening for them.

Environmental print search

On each of the ‘letterscape’ pages, there are many of the letters ‘a’, ‘b’ or ‘c’ (both upper and lower case), in a variety of fonts and distributed randomly across the page.

These ideas and downloads are tasters of what you can create with Helen Bromley’s M is for Me! book and CD-ROM, reproduced here by kind permission of Yellow Door. These offer many more templates and ideas for collecting a complete alphabet in photos, and turning it into your own alphabet book, onscreen ebook and alphabet card activities. Visit Yellow Door or call 0845 603 5309 to find out more.

Look at the pages with the children and talk about the different ways that the letters are represented. Can the children see any letters that are the same? Can they match upper and lower case letters in the same font? Do they have any favourite fonts?

With parental permission, go on an environmental print search. Explain to the children that they are going to be detectives on a special treasure hunt.

Print off multiple copies of the ‘letterscape’ pages and give them to the children, along with marker or highlighter pens. The children can work in pairs or small groups and look for words both in and around the setting, for example, on advertising hoardings, street names, posters or even in the name of the setting. When they see the letter ‘a’, ‘b’ or ‘c’ in a word, they should circle or highlight the same letter on their ‘letterscape’ pages.

It is valuable to use environmental print in this way as it helps young children to see themselves as readers. It is important that they understand that reading is all around them, as well as in books.