Letter “N” -Letter of the Week Program

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Welcome to letter ‘N’ week.  We started off our week by reading our AlphaTales Letter Books. This week the letter N book was about a newt, which is not an animal that my daycare children are familiar with, so we quickly moved on to other ‘N’ words.  I decided to make a nest for letter “N” because just recently we went for a nature walk and the children noticed all the nests that were visible in the trees.  With the leaves off the trees it was easy for the children to spot many different nests in the trees that we often walk by.

My daycare children love to use different types of markers and crayons and they really enjoyed using these glitter crayons when they formed their letter N’s on their tracing pages.  We talked about how some birds like to pick up shiny, glittery objects and stash them in their nests. I made up a little story about a bird flying up, then down, then up again to demonstrate how to form the letter N.

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I need to mention a side note here, the proper way to teach a child to form a letter N is to start at the top and go down for the first line.  Then you take your pencil off the page and return to your starting point.  From the top you then trace diagonally down and then back up.  The rule of thumb is always start at the top of the page.

Many children naturally want to start at the bottom of the page for the letter N.  I have found this happens again and again ( I used to teach Kindergarten).  It would take me months of practice to get the children to start at the top and form many letters the ‘proper’ way.

During this time, some children would ask me why they needed to start at the top when they printed a letter.  My standard answer was that it was easier and faster for their hands to form the letters properly.  Later when they were taking notes in class they would benefit from being able to write quickly.  But that answer just doesn’t hold up in today’s technological world.  Why can’t they form a letter N from the bottom as long as it still ends up looking like a letter N?  So now I teach the children to form letters the easiest way for them as possible.  As long as the letters are legible then the method is successful.

Most children like to eat noodles so I thought the word ‘noodles’ would be a good word to help the kids remember the sound of letter N.  I decided to turn this activity into a review by making pretend noodles out of yellow yarn.  I tossed in some wooden letters we have and found a pair of chopsticks with the trainer for kids.  Find out how to make your own easy chopstick helper here.

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If chopsticks are too tricky for your daycare children you could also use tongs.  I haven’t met a child yet who doesn’t delight in the act of using tongs.  It’s also a good exercise in fine motor control.  Once the children had used the chopsticks to pick out all the letters, they had a chance to line them up and tell me (by using their letter names) what letters they had uncovered.

We pretended to use a needle (n is for needle) and the children threaded a lace through the cardboard N.  I asked them to start at the bottom and work their way up, down and then up again.

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I grabbed the numbers out of our lace-up cards box and together we made a letter N with numbers.

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We have an enthusiastic woodworker at my house so I came up with a nailing activity.  I wrote the letter N on a piece of wood.

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I tapped in some nails to help get him started.

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He finished nailing the nails into the letter N with a big smile on his face.

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I had forgotten we had this phonics bus when I found it buried in a storage bin. I’m not a fan of singing toys but this one allowed the children to press each letter of the alphabet and hear the letter names and sounds. It was a good letter review and they enjoyed playing with it.

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We had some napkins left over from a birthday party and we figured out how to make a letter N with them.

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Our last activity for letter N involved the word ‘night’.  We pretended it was night time and turned off all the lights.  I brought out my daughter’s light tracing table that she uses for drawing.  I made some simple letter N tracing sheets the children could complete using the light table.

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We clipped my sheet of letter N’s underneath a blank page.  Once the light was turned on, it was easy for the children to trace the letter N’s with a marker.  Then they took their sheets off the table and admired their work.

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You might not have a light table at your house but you could also use a window. Tape your letter N’s to the window and tape a blank page over top.

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When you press the blank sheet flush to the window, it is very easy to see the letter N’s and trace them.  This was a novel activity for the children and therefore very exciting!

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I wish you a letter N week that is simply nifty!

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