Spelling Champ

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A couple months ago, I accidentally stumbled on an article through Pinterest on the things your child needs to be able to do before they enter Kindergarten. Normally, I avoid milestone charting like the plague. They just stress me out, and it’s like Chris says, “Have you ever seen a college student who isn’t potty trained and still drinks from a sippy cup?” But somehow I found this article and was instantly sucked in.

Most of the things Bean can do pretty well, like recognize numbers and letters, can follow one and two-step instructions, can sort and characterize by different features, and definitely has an eagerness to learn.  There were some things on the list that he just isn’t ready to do yet, but that I have no doubt he will master within the next few years, such as cutting shapes out of construction paper, sequencing pictures in a logical order, and using shapes or letter-like objects to communicate ideas on paper.  But there were a handful of things that he certainly had the ability to learn, and we just hadn’t thought to teach him yet.

One of those things was learning the names of all his immediate family members.  He now knows me, Chris, and Gracie’s full names (and thinks it’s hysterical that Chris and I have actual, real names besides Mom and Dad), along with all his grandparents.  And we also worked with him on learning both upper and lower case letters, which he is getting really good at recognizing.  But the one that I think I am the most proud of is that he can now spell his name.

We tried writing his name and having him tell us the letters, and that worked, but he couldn’t ever repeat the letters without looking at them.  Finally, I wised up and realized that Bean memorizes best when he’s singing a song.  So, I turned his name into a little chant (don’t tell Chris, but it’s more like a cheer from my cheerleading days…and before you ask, I was a reject cheerleader on the reject cheerleading squad in 8th grade…not too many fond memories there).  Within a day or two, Bean could spell his name using that chant.  Over the next few weeks, I practiced the chant with him by asking him to spell his name at unpredictable times to see if he could truly recall the information, and he always could.  Gradually, he dropped the chanting pattern and can now spell his name in a normal inflection, and can recognize it when it is written.  Though, when I ask him to spell his name with a camera in his face, he hams it up pretty good…

So the lessons learned in this spelling experience:

A) If you’re trying to teach your child how to spell his or her name, try a chant or song because they are easier to remember for kids.

B) Milestone charts (while they aren’t the end all, be all of parenting) aren’t really the worst things in the world. When I stop freaking out about them, they can actually be a very useful tool to help guide my parenting.

C) Bean can cheer with the best of ’em.

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19 thoughts on “Spelling Champ

  1. That is awesome! Way to go, Beanie! (Now…can he spell Bean? :) Totally different world over here but thought it was worth noting that, when we started Nate’s ABA therapy for autism, we laminated photographs of familiar people and had him identify them. We started with three (me, Chad, and Archy Cat) and moved up to ten (us + therapists) and ended up at thirty (us, therapists, teachers, peers at school, extended family). It helped to pull them out when we were going to go visit family or friends to remind him of who we were going to see and let us know that he could identify who was who (by pointing) even if he couldn’t speak about it. But Bean? Heck! He can spell everyone’s name!!! Get going, Bean! :)

  2. September

    With my second I’ve completely avoided the milestone charts. We do a lot with our kids: museums, travel, experience and it’s weird but with my first we had every educational toy under the sun and she went into kindergarten was reading basic books. This is embarrassing to admit but my son went into Kindergarten not even knowing the entire alphabet–just “the letters he liked.”. Six months later and he’s reading Dr. Seuss like a champ, has been flagged for the gifted program and practices math facts and multiplication tables in his spare time. Now I think the most important thing is to give them experiences and time and turn off the tv!

  3. Alyssa

    My son is 3 months old and I already have him ‘behind’ and with several severe medical issues like cerebral palsy….seriously- those charts are the WORST. I terrify myself every time I look at them!

  4. “Who are you?” “Mommy’s WHOOOLE World”… oh my god, does it get any cuter than that?!?!!?

  5. Well that pretty much made my day. :)

  6. M-I-CEEEEEE-H-A-EEEEEEE-ELLL! just brightened my day. Cutest kids ever.

  7. Oh my lord, that is the cutest thing I’ve seen all day!! And that last line? PRECIOUS.

  8. jen

    Have to say my heart melted at that last line! It is things that can make the worst days better

  9. My mom would help me learn to spell using songs/chants all the time when I was a kid! I’m almost 34 and I still remember the tune she used to help me learn how to spell the word “little.”

  10. Susan

    That is how we taught our son too. I also sang our address & phone number for him to learn to. Awesome Bean!

  11. Sarah H.

    This is totally awesome!!

  12. JenniferLO

    I could listen to “Mommy’s Whole World” all day! It makes me smile and fills my ears with tears! You are one very blessed mommy!

  13. Rachel

    This entire video is awesome, but “Mommy Whole World” is the sweetest thing ever! My daughter learned to spell the the word “happy” when she was about 3. The daycare did it in a singsong sort of way (h-a-PP-Y?) & all the kids thought the pp y? part was hilarious! Of course they were all at some stage of potty training, so it fit right in! =)

  14. Nikki

    They are the most adorable kids ever! That’s so great that he is spelling his own name, and having quite a bit of fun with it too!

  15. Rachel @ The Ongoing Planner

    So stinking cute! Great idea!

  16. Did Bean really just reply “Mommy’s WHOLE WORLD!” at the end of that video? Too. Stinkin. Cute!

  17. What gusto! I want to chant things like that in the middle of the day, too! Like shopping lists . . .

  18. Kristin

    Mommy’s whole world? Oh my goodness – love it!

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