H is for Hello and Welcome

Welcome to the Learning Pals website! The Learning Pals were designed to bring a gentle form of early literacy exposure, to children ages 3-5. I am convinced that we can strive to do a better job of giving our preschool age children a “leg up”, before they arrive at the kindergarten classroom. Alphabetty and the other Pals are meant to bring a smile to everyone’s face, while creating an emotionally charged learning experience. Bruno Bettelheim’s research reminds us that how children perceive themselves in the act of learning to read generalizes to the whole self-concept. As an educator and a mother, I am excited to introduce the Learning Pals!

Start Behind, Stay Behind

Children who enter school behind their peers typically
remain behind. For example, children who do not recognize the letters of the alphabet when they enter kindergarten demonstrate significantly lower reading skills at the end of first grade, and statistically, by then, the damage is done. Eighty-eight percent of children who are poor readers in first grade will still be poor readers in fourth grade. Seventy-four percent of children who are poor readers in third grade will still be poor readers when they start high school. High-quality pre-k programs teach familiarity and command of the alphabet, giving children the tools they need to keep pace in school and become able readers.

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand. “Chinese proverb”

As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I am keenly aware of the importance of explicitly building children’s awareness of speech sounds and the corresponding mouth movements while connecting them directly to the letters they represent.  It is such a simple, powerful and proven technique, yet overlooked by even the best reading teachers.   Kathy Trau has taken current research and given parents and educators a simple and fun tool that can have a profound impact on children’s pre-reading skills far beyond your standard alphabet book!

Julie Curran, MA CCC/SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, St. Louis,MO

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