Our Reading Readiness Plan {Part 1}

When Big Brother was born, I continued teaching elementary full-time. We were blessed to have a great babysitter who watched only him in her home.  Eighteen months later Little Brother was born. Returning to work full-time after his birth was very different and difficult. During my maternity leave Big Brother, Little Brother, and I had so much fun together; I loved having the extra time to spend playing and watching/facilitating them in discovering so many new things for the first time. Big Brother was at the age where we could really begin bonding together. I made it through the rest of the school year leaning on the promise that God had given me, that He was preparing something different for me so that I could have more time with my boys the next school year. I know some of my feelings were ‘typical mom guilt’ but I felt as if I was giving my students my best and then coming home exhausted and giving my family my leftovers! That was NOT the kind of mom I wanted to be! I just knew I wasn’t able to balance both, as so many of my amazing teacher friends were able to do so well. I was actually ok with that too…

God’s promise was fulfilled! That summer God moved our family to Texas from our home in California for new jobs, a chance to live closer to some of our family, and a chance to set up a better home base before we head overseas for missions in the future. My husband and I now work together at a private school, where I work part-time as a college advisor for high school students, and am able to adjust my schedule to fit the needs of our family. What a blessing! Now, I can honestly say that my family gets the best of me! :)

This fall, I am focusing my training, as an elementary teacher and reading specialist, on my two favorite little guys (primarily Big Brother). As a former public school teacher, with experience in private school too, I have NO problem with sending my boys to either type of school and most likely will in the future. However, right now I am excited to be my boys’ first teacher and being the one who teaches them how to read. That’s as far as I think right now. Many people ask if I will homeschool my boys, send them to the private school my husband and I work at, or send them to public school. My answer is simple- we will do what’s best for each boy as we follow God’s lead. As for now, I am beginning to intentionally focus on teaching Big Brother preschool benchmarks. I don’t call it ‘homeschool’ and I wouldn’t refer to it as preschool, but rather like to think of it as ‘Intentional Play’.

Our relaxed yet somewhat-planned weekly ‘Intentional Play Activities’:

  • We are going to theme each week on 1 new letter (spending 1-2 weeks on each letter depending). Shapes, colors, patterns, writing activities, etc will also be intertwined.
  • We are using this Letter of the Week Curriculum. Why recreate the wheel when you find something as great as this!? Plus, to be be real honest, I don’t have the time to create all my own materials! I bought this curriculum for $10.00 online and then went to a local copy store to print the materials. Have you seen the checklist I created ‘What My Child Should Know for Kindergarten‘? This curriculum covers all the basics and I am SO excited about how thorough it is for preschoolers! WOW! There are tons of fun games, activities, and puzzles for each letter and Big Brother is SO EXCITED to start! {I searched through several online and pre-k curriculum at Lakeshore and found nothing I liked better than these materials!} These are 100% my own opinions and am in no way being compensated for sharing them. 
  • I divided the Letter of the Week materials into 5 different storage boxes (Costco); one for each day of the week. I balanced all the activities throughout the week. While there is a structured lesson plan, I plan to allow Big Brother to select a box each day.
  • We will work on our ‘Letter Boxes’ at the same time everyday to create consistency. Little Brother will join in sometimes I’m sure, however, I have several of his favorite fine motor activities in a basket within his reach he can enjoy.
  •  My favorite part… we set up some shelving in our breakfast nook so that all our supplies are close to the kitchen for easy clean up and easy accessibility for our boys while I am cooking in the kitchen! Yay!
  • I do not plan to blog weekly about our Intentional Play Activities each week, but might occasionally share updates or favorite activities. We would however, love to have you join us on Wednesday for our Play to Write-Write to Read Play Group where I share basic Writing FUNdamentals and Writing Practice Activities.

Want a Sneak Peek?

 

Our Daily Themed Letter Boxes include everything from lacing letters and shapes, puzzles, patterns, cutting practice, cutting and gluing practice, a letter scavenger hunt, number practice, and more.
We will use the ‘What My Child Needs to Know for Kindergarten Checklist‘ as an ongoing checklist to keep track of those skills still needing specific practice.

Care to join us!? We’d love to know!

 

PG
Mackenzie is a follower of Jesus, wife, mama of two toddler boys, teacher at heart, and coffee lover. She was a lower school elementary teacher for over 6 years, with a master's degree in Reading, and is a certificated Reading Specialist. She currently works part-time at a private school allowing her more time at home with her little guys.

Mackenzie has blogged 688 posts here.

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Comments

  1. Love the organization of it all and bright colours too! Great Costco bins! Looking forward to part 2.

  2. Let me just say, you are definitely a former school teacher! I love the organization of all your materials. We too use Letter of the Week curriculum. Love it! Thanks for sharing. I need to get organized now! :)

    • Haha, thanks Keri… yeah I have the ‘organized teacher syndrome’! This is our first week using the activities and he LOVES it! :) Do you have any tips of advice for me since you are using it too!? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  3. WOW, I’m impressed by your organization havin 2 little ones. I have good intentions and I don’t know if they get messier when they get older or if I’ve become accustomed to it, I can’t keep it organized now. Looks really really good. You have a great blog.

  4. I am also a teacher and mother to a toddler and LOVE your organization! I was just wondering how old your son was when you decided to start the letter of the week program!

    • Three years old, he was actually 3 yrs and 2 months. I decided to start in August to model after the school year that’s why I started at that particular time. Some activities are difficult for him so I occasionally do review week, but some activities are much easier and just seem to come naturally. It’s been so awesome for him and as a former public school teacher, I love that I can go at HIS pace and not have to just keep going when he doesn’t understand. I feel it’s set a really good foundation for his learning!

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