Once you have decided what words you would like to begin teaching your baby, you can start making your cards. Let’s say you choose to start with body parts. Get your card stock, no smaller than 5×8 inches, and in red or black marker, in lowercase letters, write the word head on your card. Be sure to leave plenty of white space around your word. Never crowd the letters on the card.
Now flip the card over and in pencil at the top of the card you will write the word head. This is a label for your use only. This insures that you are able to quickly flip through the cards without stopping to see what words you are showing.
If you choose to use pictures, turn the card upside down and tape it opposite the word side, in the center of the card. This makes it easy to flip the card down to reveal the picture once you have shown your baby the word.
When creating larger words, such as shoulders, be sure to use larger cards, around 5×11 inches.
Couplets refer to the two word cards. Once your baby has seen about 50 words, you can begin to show your baby couplets. You may do this with the retired words your baby has already seen. You can create cards that have two words on them, such as brown dog, or you can just lay your cards side-by-side to create the same effect.
Babies enjoy seeing words that they already know and couplets can be a lot of fun. You can get rather silly when making couplets. You can make pairs of words that make no sense. Always keep your program light and fun and you will succeed.
Phrases and Sentences
Once your baby has seen 50 words or so, you can begin to create phrases and short sentences for your child. You can create these by using large pieces of poster board, or sentence strips. These are both readily available at your office supply store. The sentence strips are very inexpensive and come in packs of 100 sheets. They are not very stiff, so you will need to place them in a pocket chart or on a bulletin board.
In order to incorporate phrases and sentences you can create them around words your baby has already learned. For example, if your baby has seen their name and the word cereal, you can create a sentence that says, “Joey eats cereal.” Make sure you point to each word as you say it. You can add these sentences to your program in addition to teaching your baby single words.
The steps often overlap. Do not think that you have to show a certain number of cards before you can move on. Do not think that you have to be sure your child can read certain words before you move on to phrases. Babies are able to learn to read if the words are large and separated. They will learn many words in context, without ever seeing it on a flash card.
Always shuffle the cards after you have shown them. Babies are capable of quickly memorizing the order of the words. By shuffling the cards, you keep it new and exciting for your baby each time they view a set of words.
Be sure to flip the cards from back to front. You will be using the label you created to read the word as you bring it to the front of your set. Many babies won’t sit for long, so you want to go as fast as possible. You cannot possibly go too fast, although you can go too slowly. Gear your pace according to your baby’s interest.
Always stop before your baby wants to stop. If your baby loses interest after seeing 6 cards, show only 5. You want this to be a game that your baby loves and can’t wait to play. Never bore your baby or force the baby to look at cards once they have lost interest. Don’t be afraid to show your baby big words. Babies love to read big words and in many ways these are easier to read than little words like hat, cat and sat.
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