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Phonics with 23 month old??

(30 Posts)
BossWitch Wed 15-Jun-16 12:31:45

Would I be crazy to get some phonics books / flashcards to use with almost 23 month old DD? I feel like I would...

For background: her language skills are really good, nursery comment on how much she understands and how good her speech is. She mostly speaks in full sentences (e.g., on seeing the dog under the table the other day, "Hello DDog, what you doing down there?") or almost-full sentences ("go kitchen to find mummy", "where daddy gone?", "I already done it" etc.)

We've had a set of foam letters for bath time since she was about 7months, they were an xmas present from her aunt. We've always played with them, mostly because we are cheap and don't want to buy more bath toys, partly because I figured getting letters = fun times into her head was possibly a good thing. A lot of this involved me and DH spelling silly stuff on the wall behind her and taking funny pictures - definitely not hot-housing!

In the last four (maybe?) months or so I've done more talking to her about the sounds of the letters, so saying "g for granny" as I put the G on the wall, etc. She has loved this, she started out just linking the letter to the whole word, so would pull the G out of the bag and say "granny", but is now doing the sound as well, "g for granny". She can do this with about 18-20 letters now. If, with the letters all spread out in the bath, I ask her to find the 'P for Percy' (she is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine!) or the 'M for Mummy' etc she can find them without me helping. The other week she was holding the tube of metanium during nappy change and pointed out the 'm' and the 't' on the tube, which was a surprise!

The reason I was wondering about getting proper phonics books / cards / something is that I know that I am probably pronouncing some of the letters wrongly, and I don't want to get her started off on the wrong foot, and because she has loved playing with the letters so far, so have been thinking she might like to keep going. But I can't help but worry that I'm being a pushy, "oh my DD is so very clever, she was reading by three don't you know" type parent!

Has anyone had a similar experience? Am I being mental? I know I could ask at nursery, but I wanted to ask within the anonymous safety of mumsnet before I do!

Lottapianos Wed 15-Jun-16 12:35:09

Step away from the flashcards! grin

It sounds like her language skills are doing fine for her age. Great. She is not developmentally ready for any formal literacy work. Nursery / school will introduce all of that when she is ready and when that happens, they will give you advice about how you can support her with it at home. Don't put her or yourself under any pressure right now.

For now, carry on chatting with her, use books together every day, keep modelling lots of language but avoid trying to actively 'teach' her anything language related.

FreedomMummy Wed 15-Jun-16 12:36:50

I think I would be inclined to continue what you are already doing, keeping it playful and fun.
When she starts school they will teach it all to her and you won't know which system they will use to teach them. There is Jolly Phonics and another one I can't remember the name of.
We engaged our DD in what she was interested in and she could do all that your talking about but there really is no need to push it before school as they will start from the beginning anyway.

Wait4nothing Wed 15-Jun-16 12:38:30

I'd just carry on playing with toys, no need for flash cards ect but you can 'play' with letters (eg make them with play dough, write in the sand, make your own letters written on stones). Keep reading lots of stories. But do check the pronounciation of the sounds (pure sounds without the uh for example s would sound like a snake noise rather than suh). Also begin relating to different words (so p for Percy and p for pizza).
Don't worry about hothousing if she's having fun!

MunchCrunch01 Wed 15-Jun-16 12:38:54

i don't think you're mad, I remember buying all these sorts of things when DD was this age - BUT i think you might be better focusing on broadening her vocabulary & understanding of concepts such as measuring, opposites etc at this age. What-about focusing on counting and early maths? A lot of research says this is an area girls lag behind in and are less confident in.
Your DD's at least 2 years away from needing to do this at school (and it will be done at school so she'll be going over it).

BossWitch Wed 15-Jun-16 12:43:05

So I am being mental... good to have it confirmed!

I think I am a being a bit odd as I was a bright child but it was never particularly acknowledged by my parents or by school, I was at uni before I accepted that I was actually quite clever, but still didn't really have any confidence in my ability. So I don't want to do the same to DD!

seriously, DM & DD, I had read all the Agatha Christie novels by the age of 7, you didn't think maybe I was quite clever? And that telling me that occasionally could have been a good idea for your painfully shy, zero confidence child?! FFS!

HPFA Wed 15-Jun-16 12:43:57

You are not alone - I work in a library and was asked for phonics learning books for a child this age.
Have to agree with previous posters - I can't see the benefits of specific phonics learning this early - even if it works will only mean her being bored in reception. Much more important to read her lots of books.
My own DD wasn't particularly fast at phonics learning but at a young age was heard to say to her grandparents about something "I was most disgruntled about it". When they reach secondary school age you realise it is very beneficial for your child to know words like "disgruntled" -no-one will ask whether your child knew their phonemes at age two.

Lottapianos Wed 15-Jun-16 12:45:19

That's really sad that you feel your parents weren't supportive of you and your talents. You won't make that mistake with your own DD because you know how it feels for achievements to be overlooked. So no flashcards but loads of praise and enthusiasm, which I'm sure you do already!

BossWitch Wed 15-Jun-16 12:48:21

Yes Wait, the broadening is where I've been going next, p for percy/pig/pizza etc. Drawing letters is a good idea, she likes drawing shapes with me so will probably like that too.

Munch she's pretty good with numbers, can count to 10 very merrily, and is getting there at 11-20 (she tends to skip the odd numbers, weirdly). She understands big/little, full/empty, and lots vs all gone. Measuring sounds like a good place to explore next! I've never been that good with maths so am hoping she takes after her dad on this one!

FATEdestiny Wed 15-Jun-16 12:49:23

You could go for writing skills at 23 months old. Holding a pencil correctly first of all. Can she draw a face? A stick man? Can she write "her letter" (the letter her name starts with).

BossWitch Wed 15-Jun-16 12:49:54

Lots and lots of reading I can most definitely do!

MunchCrunch01 Wed 15-Jun-16 12:58:56

hehe, now I'm worried about my second DD, she's 20 months and can do none of these things - it's sad your parents didn't support you indeed but it's not too late for you, I wonder if you shouldn't also have a think about your own life goals. It sounds though that it's mostly support in your own abilities they didn't give you, not that you needed any actual help to achieve?

BossWitch Wed 15-Jun-16 13:15:14

Sadly it's all a bit late now I think Munch. I should have carried on to a masters after my degree, but instinctively felt I wasn't good enough to do it (despite getting a first) so did a pgce instead, now stuck in teaching, where I don't really want to be but can't get away from as can't find another job with as good pay and maternity benefits. Ho hum. I may do something later once I've finished popping out sprogs.

BertPuttocks Wed 15-Jun-16 13:25:00

If she's interested in letters, she might like the Alphablocks programme that was/is on CBeebies. Probably a bit more interesting for her than flashcards and phonics books.

Keithyoustink Wed 15-Jun-16 13:27:25

As former reception and ks1 teacherand now a specialist teacher for children with literacy difficulties, my advice would be to nurture a love of books and language. Read to DC, sing songs and nursery rhymes, talk a lot, play a lot,- things like sand and water, play dough, role play - definitely do not do any kind of formalised learning it is unnecessary at this age and potentially self-defeating

scrumblemum Wed 15-Jun-16 13:59:32

I live in mainland Europe with my two DTs. They're both 6 (twins) and still at nursery - here they don't start formal teaching until after the child's 6th birthday, which I think is great. Friends who come over have children the same age who can already read, write and do sums whereas mine can only just write their name (and that's often backwards like in a mirror). I think it's marvellous!!! Children have got loads of time to catch up and now is the time to have fun!!! Even aged 4 I think is too young for formal learning, so 23 months definitely!

ArriettyMatilda Wed 15-Jun-16 14:09:38

Sounds like you should keep doing as you are! I would also like to know if I'm pronouncing phonics correctly. For example if dd points to a letter and says what's that do I tell her it's the letter A (ey) or that it's an a (ah). Perhaps Keithyoustink could advise, I definitely would steer well away from formal learning but also want to nuture her natural curiosity.

chamenager Wed 15-Jun-16 15:12:20

DS was similar at that age. Though his speech 'exploded' a little later. At his second birthday, though he had a large vocabulary, he was only really saying 'two word sentences'. By 2.6 he was able to recite 'The Gruffalo' word-perfectly - quite the party trick! ;) (and 'free' speech was at a similar developmental level).

I agree with previous advice: Continue with what you have been doing! Because, clearly it has been working brilliantly. As in, she is finding it fun, and, as a bonus, is learning lots smile Whatever it is you are doing, it is working, why change it?

Between my DS' 2nd and 3rd birthday we read LOTS of books. We would spend hours with him on my lap, reading book after book after book. Sometimes the same one 10 times in a row. Plus at bedtime of course. The Julia Donaldson picture books proved to be firm favourites. Maybe because of the rhymes?
I also tried consciously to 'give him words'; so e.g. when out and about, rather than saying 'look, a bird!' I would say 'look, a magpie!' etc. Or include extra descriptive words.
We also did lots of jigsaws. Started with 2-4 piece jigsaws at his 2nd birthday, by his 3rd he routinely did 100 piece jigsaws by himself.

Regarding 'phonics', as long as she is having fun, there are all sorts of games you can play that will prepare her well for learning phonics formally later. E.g. 'I spy' games for phoneme awareness (being able to hear the individual sounds in words). You can extend 'I spy' to e.g. 'ends with a ssss sound' or 'has an /a/ sound in the middle' rather than just 'starts with'.
DS also loved spotting letters and numbers everywhere e.g. number plates, house numbers on bins, shop signs etc.
As long as she is enjoying herself, you can 'quizz' her as much as you like: Can you see an mmm? What's this letter/number? Can you think of something else that starts with...? Which sounds can you hear in ...?
You can get toy letters for her to play with outside of the bath too, e.g. magnetic ones.
Between 2 and 3 I sometimes modelled blending for DS. E.g. when reading a book, 'look, this word says Max. MMM...aaaa...xxx...Max'. He soon started copying me, however he didn't truly 'get' blending yet - he couldn't blend any words independently, could only copy me. He loved watching Alphablocks, which models blending too, but still didn't 'get' it.

Shortly after his 3rd birthday I came across a 5 week free trial for ReadingEggs which I was able to extend (free) for another 3 months, and by the time that was over, DS was able to blend, and read 'pink' level books, and we went from there. I think if I had focused explicitly on teaching him blending at age 2, he would have been capable of learning - but just because someone is capable of learning something at a given age, does not mean that it is the right thing to do.

In general, I would follow her lead. There's nothing wrong with explaining something to a child who wants to know, even if it's sooner than average. But don't fall into the trap of thinking 'I know she is capable of learning this now, so she must learn it now/I must teach her'. If she happens to be more interested in something else, then that is probably more worth following up on!

BossWitch Wed 15-Jun-16 15:16:21

Great advice everyone, thanks so much.

Keithyoustink Wed 15-Jun-16 16:11:48

Sounds like you should keep doing as you are! I would also like to know if I'm pronouncing phonics correctly. For example if dd points to a letter and says what's that do I tell her it's the letter A (ey) or that it's an a

Try googling My Thorne does phonics on YouTube.

Kariana Wed 15-Jun-16 17:39:38

I'm a former KS1 teacher and I would say hold off on writing letters. The reason being I've had to try and undo so many bad habits children have learnt about letter formation that I end up feeling sorry for the children and at 23 months I'd be surprised if she got anything but frustrated if you tried to enforce correct formation. Concentrate instead on building fine motor skills with activities which involve lots of pincer grip movements, bead threading, peg boards, sorting small objects, etc.

I always used a few 'checks' to see if a child was ready for writing. First can they grip a pencil properly in an adult manner or at least pretty near? Second can they draw a triangle with pointy ends? (as in if you ask them to copy one you've drawn how do the corners look - unless they are pointy they haven't quite got there yet). Third how do they draw a person? (not copied this time - just asked to draw a picture of mummy) If the person does not have a separate head and body and if arms don't come from the body rather than the head then again they have not reached the level of development to engage with writing letters.

All this isn't to say you can't play at making letters other ways, such as with playdough etc but no trying to teach pencil and paper formation. It also might be worth working on the pivot movement. Young children do everything from the shoulder, this gradually moves down to the elbow, then wrist, then fingers, at which point they are ready for formal writing. Have a look what she is using when colouring and work on helping her strengthen her muscles for the next stage.

I also echo the above about fostering a love of reading. Lots of books, rhyming and repetition being particularly good for young children if not for your sanity.

HJBeans Thu 16-Jun-16 12:21:44

Haven't read the whole thread but DS1 was very into letters at about your DDs age and I wondered about how to support that interest without hot housing, mispronouncing phonics sounds, etc. too. Also got worried about encouraging letter learning that early setting him up to be bored starting school.

We stuck with fun toys and tele. Someone mentioned Alphablocks on CBeebies, which is great. Also Get Squggling Letters. John Lewis do a £15 "iPad" for three year olds that spells out words and does letter sounds which he loves, and there's a vtec talking bus (which is hugely annoying) which does a good job with letter sounds, too. Finally, Melissa and Doug do a lovely wooden set with letters that slot into boards with pictures of the thing. He's really enjoyed all of these on his own terms without us doing more.

He's doing a great job recognising familiar words now at nearly 3, but isn't interested in proper reading - making letter sounds and working out what an unfamiliar word is - and we've not pushed that in any way. He's now obsessed with music rather than letters, so we're doing alot with toy instruments and listening to things.

So, basically, I'm saying there are lots of fun resources if your kid like letters without the need for formal learning of any sort. And her interest may well turn to something else before she learns this stuff properly at school anyway.

ChoudeBruxelles Thu 16-Jun-16 12:25:15

She's not even 2!

thescruffiestgiantintown Thu 16-Jun-16 22:01:25

She s

thescruffiestgiantintown Thu 16-Jun-16 22:13:18

Sorry, fat fingers! She sounds a lot like my DD developmentally at that age - funnily enough my one's love of letters also came from those foam bath ones!

Anyway, it's been really interesting reading this thread - I think games like I Spy would be a huge hit. Thank you for the great ideas!

My DD also enjoys spotting simple words that come up repeatedly in books eg Mog/Spot/etc. Often when we're reading simpler books (such as Spot, say) she wants me to tell her what every single word says. My parents always said that I taught myself to read spontaneously at age 3 but I wonder if I did something similar to what she's doing now (she is a few months older than yours) - recognising patterns etc. I certainly was never taught phonics either prior to or at school.

I don't know how you feel about Apps - I'm not keen, but DH very much is, and he and DD have been using one together which I think is Jolly Phonics. Anyway, she loves it, and has started blending VERY simple words (up, in, type of thing).

I don't think there's anything hot housey or wrong with encouraging your child to do something they enjoy, even if it's 'academic', as long as (a) you stop as soon as they lose interest and (b) you're doing it because they enjoy it, both of which sound very much to be the case for you.

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