First of all, yesterday WE SIGNED OFFICIAL CLOSING PAPERS selling our house. It's sold. We did it. I didn't even cry. I'm sure I will eventually, but not right now. Plus, today we will receive a very large check with a good number of zeros on it, and that makes me oh so very happy. I know money isn't everything, but when it comes to building a house, money is one of those things banks get picky about.
Second of all--and you may not think this is huge deal, but it's a big deal at our house--*drumroll please*... Sydney wrote out her first word! All by herself. Without any prompting. Oh my goodness gracious.
Obviously, we had to make cupcakes to celebrate her achievement. We are nothing if not predictable in celebrating accomplishments like learning that 2 + 2 is 4, and memorizing all 50 states, and saying "three" instead of "free." Ah, the perils of growing up in a household with two teachers for parents.
Syd has had the basic idea of writing her name for a few months now. The "s" is tricky (very wiggly) and the "d" sometimes is upside down, or backwards, or upside and backwards, but she's working on it. However, on Monday, I came home from errands and there was Sydney at the table, a huge grin on her face, ready to explode with excitement. "MOM! Look what I can do!"
A quick glance at her paper revealed what she was going to accomplish, but I didn't let on that I had it figured out. I watched as she very slowly wrote out three letters: y-o-u.
There was much cheering in my household over that one little word. Over and over, Sydney wrote it out on her piece of oversized construction paper. You, in pink. You, in green, You, in varying shades of red. It was a veritable parade of you-ness.
As soon as I saw Sydney write out the word, I knew exactly how she had learned it. We've been working on sight words, both with flashcards and with a new DVD that I got from Parent Bloggers Network. Since Sydney isn't going to be attending pre-school in the fall (and probably won't attend a traditional kindergarten the following year either), then I've been making an effort to do some small-scale teaching of sight words. It's all very low-key since I'm a pretty firm believer that young kids should do most of their learning through play time, not sitting at the table memorizing root words.
Even though we've reviewed a language development system before, this new DVD is more brief, more geared towards preschoolers, and altogether a more focused presentation on one particular skill. Meet the Sightwords is produced by the Preschool Prep Company, and they have a whole line-up of educational DVDs.
What I like about this particular DVD is that it's not too loud or boisterous, it uses a lot of repetition, and the goal is simple: familiarize kids with sight words. Sight words are the ones that kids usually learn to "read" first because they are the words that you don't sound out. You just know them. Of, you, he, to, a, play, said, and, the--these are all words that kids need to just recognized as words rather than labor over sounding them out (which can be exasperating, especially with a word like "the"). In fact, the better you get at reading, the greater number of words that become sight words. For instance, as you're reading this post you probably don't have to sound out too many of the words. You just know what they are.
Meet the Sight Words helps kids start to learn those beginning sight words, and overall I think it does a pretty good job at it. The sight words come on the screen, become little characters who do simple tasks, and the narrator probably repeat the specific word about a dozen times. Because there's no storyline, then it's not a movie that Sydney will watch every day. However, after seeing it a few times she has learned to recognize some of the words in books.
The thing I most appreciate about the DVD--something I haven't seen other educational DVDs do--is that it shows the words in a variety of colors, sizes, and positions on the screen. It's not just a slide show of a static word moving across the tv; it's trying to help kids recognize a pattern of letters in a dynamic environment. Afterall, not every book a child reads is going to be in the same font. Not every presentation of the letter "a" is going to look the same (there's this a, and there's this a).
For me, it's just nice to have another tool to use with Sydney as she continues to explore writing and reading. And someday, if she ever asks about the first word she ever wrote out by herself, I can tell her,
"It all began with you."