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If you give a Lego box to one little boy, he'll most likely build something: a tower, a car, or even a spaceship. If you give a Lego box to my little boy, this is what he'll build:

At 16 months of age, my son became enamored of the alphabet and more specifically the letter "O". By 18 months my son could identify all of the letters (upper and lowercase) and by 20 months he could tell you their sounds as well.  Now at 3 1/2 years old he is actually reading. I have become "one of those moms," smugly showing off my son's talents at every opportunity.

Here's a short video of my little guy reading:
Reading "A Fly Went By" from A Happy Song on Vimeo.

My purpose in this post really isn't to brag (well mostly).  Over the last 2 years, friends, family and even strangers (who I have shown off to), have asked us how we taught him to read.  I'll be honest, I don't feel like we did very much in the way of actual teaching.  Buddy is VERY interested in letters.  We did however provide encouragement and many tools to facilitate his learning.

I've taken some time and compiled a good resource list for parents who are interested in encouraging their child to read. These are many of the tools that we use daily.

Books, Flash Cards & Puzzles:

Books:
Never underestimate the value of having lots of books around. I know that most parents have heard it a thousand times, but I'll state it again.  I believe it is imperative for a child to be read to, to have books around and accessible, and also for them to see their parents reading.  We make it a habit to visit the library every couple of weeks. I am an avid reader and often have books on hold there to be picked up.  We also enjoy taking trips to the bookstore.  A trip to the bookstore has proved to be a good reward for potty training success and also a great place to purchase gifts for birthdays.
The first Alphabet book I ever purchased Buddy was Charley Harper's ABCs.  He loved the illustrations and it was the jumping off point for his love affair with letters.  I have been a collector of children's picture books for years and now his letter obsession has become mine.  We are slowly amassing an impressive alphabet book collection. Z Goes Home and Alphabet City are good examples of books that use the alphabet in new and unique ways. What I haven't purchased myself, we borrow from the library. I've listed all of our favorites in AHappySong.com's store.

Flash Cards:
My favorite two sets of flash cards are Eric Carle's Animal Flash Cards and My Favorite Things Flash Cards. I love that these two sets are larger and chunkier than the standard card set.  They have beautiful illustrations and they are easier to clean-up after play. Another set that we've enjoyed is Scholastic's Hand's On Learning Touch and Feel Cards.



Puzzles:
Buddy loves alphabet puzzles.  I make it a habit to check out consignment sales to see if they have any puzzles. I'm especially happy if I can find a large floor puzzle.  Floor puzzles have a bigger impact and are easier for toddlers to put together (and for me). One of our favorites is the My First ABC Floor Puzzle. Buddy and Jellybean both love the Melissa and Doug alphabet puzzles (peg puzzle pictured right) and Buddy also likes I Spy A is for Jigsaw .


E-Reader:
I purchased a V-Tech VReader for Buddy two Christmases ago.  These are great gadgets that allow children to read on their own without the need for parental help.  I love that the stories are interactive and that the words are highlighted as the story is read. My son enjoys the games that come with each cartridge and there is a ton of content that can be downloaded from the V-Tech website. 
  
You can find more recommendations on our AHappySong.com's Store Site.

To see website, app and activity resources please visit: A Happy Song

If you found this blog post helpful or informative, followers are always appreciated.

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