37 answers

My Super Smart Son! 3Years Old

Aside from all the questions about my son being naughty and having additude issues, he is really smart. I would love to get him to start learning his letters, he can say the alphabet since he was able to talk but i want him to learn his actual letters, like how to write them. he doesnt really know how to write at all or draw with any control. if he draws a circle he knows he did but to do letters or something i dont know how to start him doing it. any ideas of some helpful tips to get my son to read and write? thanks ahhh sorry ppl my son is three he will be four in september

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So What Happened?™

I got a lot of great advice but i guess i need to be more specific, cause i wasnt trying to push him to do anything. he wants to learn and does great at whatever he does, i was more just looking for fun ways to help him learn before he is in school. more for something to do to take his mind off his dad being gone and some other things. thanks for the advice given and sorry that some of you had taken me wrong. i wasnt trying to push him at all. thanks though

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Small motor control takes time to develop and at 3 yrs old, you will have to be patient. Coloring with chalk and crayons, cutting shapes with safety scissors from construction paper, finger paints, play doh, tracing shapes, lacing cards, stringing dry pasta or cheerios on shoe laces, etc - all these activities help develop the small muscles of the arms wrists and hands. You won't know if he's right handed or left handed for a few years. It's ok to use both hands at first. They'll settle into a favorite hand somewhere in the kindergarten or 1st grade. As for the reading, you need to read to him every day. Start with little card board books and Dr Seuss books (Hop on Pop, Red Fish Blue Fish, etc). He will have favorites and have you read them over and over till he has them memorized and he'll correct you if you try to read it a different way. This all helps with letter recognition and sounds. Some start reading sooner than others, but most kids will really take off with reading on their own by 2nd half of 2nd grade (about 7 yrs old).

2 moms found this helpful

If you can get him to sit down, try http://www.setonbooks.com/viewone.php?ToView=P-ARPK-12

Enjoy him while he's little - my son is now 8 and can read and write with the best of them, but still has so many other things he'd rather do!

My son learned his letters by watching Wheel of Fortune and Lingo! Crazy I know but he was reading at age 4 and that happened almost completely on his own. He hated to be read to but would ask what signs said and things like that. Wheel also taught him what his vowels were:) Don't discount what everyday activities can do to teach!

More Answers

Small motor control takes time to develop and at 3 yrs old, you will have to be patient. Coloring with chalk and crayons, cutting shapes with safety scissors from construction paper, finger paints, play doh, tracing shapes, lacing cards, stringing dry pasta or cheerios on shoe laces, etc - all these activities help develop the small muscles of the arms wrists and hands. You won't know if he's right handed or left handed for a few years. It's ok to use both hands at first. They'll settle into a favorite hand somewhere in the kindergarten or 1st grade. As for the reading, you need to read to him every day. Start with little card board books and Dr Seuss books (Hop on Pop, Red Fish Blue Fish, etc). He will have favorites and have you read them over and over till he has them memorized and he'll correct you if you try to read it a different way. This all helps with letter recognition and sounds. Some start reading sooner than others, but most kids will really take off with reading on their own by 2nd half of 2nd grade (about 7 yrs old).

2 moms found this helpful

THE one thing that will benefit your son the most is to READ TO HIM. Kids pick up more by being read to than by anything else. You can run your finger underneath the words you're saying (he'll make the connection soon enough), then have him turn the page. Talk about the story when you're done---what was it about? Who was the main character? What was the point of the story? What would your son do differently?

It sounds, from your post, like he is most likely a toddler? Yes--they are completely naughty (LOL), but it's not 'attitude'. At that age, he literally thinks the world revolves around HIM---that everyone and everything exists to meet his needs and make him happy. But don't worry---he will outgrow that soon enough. THEN you'll move on to him having 'attitude issues.' :-D

1 mom found this helpful

I have been a preschool teacher for a long time, and I have to admit i didn't read all your responses, but any art medium, crayons, markers, painting, playdough, sand and water play they all help to develop the fine motor control he needs to write well.
my first thought is to have him start signing his name to letters/cards you send to out of - or in town actually- relatives. He could trace over what you have written in pencil or he could copy from something you have written on a post it.
Another really cute thing i learned from a Montessori Teacher is to used the JUMBO sized push pins and a scrap of carpet or foam meat tray kind of thing and lay a piece of construction paper on it that you have traced a simple design say a sun, and have him use the pin to punch out holes sort of like tin lanterns. great fine muscle practice. good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Two things worked really well for us, flash cards that had a big letter on one side and then a picture and the words for the picture on the other side (there's a set of Dr. Seuss flashcards that are really cute) and a whiteboard with the dotted letters. We found a McQueen whiteboard at Target and because it was McQueen, my son wanted to use it every day. Then eventually after scribbling for awhile he was ready to try to trace the letters. Just look for washable dry erase markers.....have fun!

1 mom found this helpful

Some other posters have mentioned this, but it's likely that your son won't have enough control to write well for a while, although some kids do. My son is 4 and is just starting to show an interest in and ability to write letters. His pediatrician said even 4 is early for fine motor skills.

So I would concentrate on reading. I taught my son to read at age 3 with "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons," which is the same book my mother used with me. I really like the technique, which involves a special phonetic alphabet so kids don't get confused by the fact that some letters have multiple sounds. Gradually, the special alphabet is replaced with the traditional one. For learning letters, read lots of ABC books. I found that most books focus on capital letters, but "Have You Ever Seen" (now out of print, but a library might have it) has both capital and lowercase, and so does Dr. Seuss's ABC Book. Usborne has a nice ABC book that just uses lowercase letters, and the letters are somewhat raised, so kids can trace their fingers over them, which helps with letter recognition and prepares them for writing later.

Someone else mentioned this, but www.starfall.com is a great site. Also, Hooked on Phonics has a Letter Sounds DVD my boys love. Check your library.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree about starfall.com. It's awesome.

There is a handwriting program that my daughter took an enrichment class at age 4. It's called Handwriting Without Tears and its works on letter formation in stages...with wooden blocks/foam pieces for parts of a letter, then "wet, dry, try" where they make the letter with a tiny piece of wet sponge, then dry it with a tiny piece of paper towel then try it on their own. Pencil and paper come last. Also, they have all letters start at the top and do the uppercase first then lowercase. I also know that writing letters is a huge part of kindergarten. If you can help him understand letters and sounds really well, the mechanics of writing them will come in due time.

I bought the foam letters for the bathtub. But My son (2 1/2) picked up some letters from watching sesame street. When he pointed out an "E" to me (much to my surprise!) that's when I started working more with him. There are alphabet books that have pictures of things that start with a specific letter that you can use too. preschool is a great help too since they learn a lot from other kids. Now he can identify all the upper-case letters.

Depends on his age, but when ready make sure you are using the same style of writing as the school district he will attend. There are many types, but most schools use one of two. Traditional (Zaner Bloser) that is sticks and balls that go straight up and down and Modern (D'Nealian) that uses "tails" on the end of letters and is written with a slight slant to the right.

Why go through all of the work of teaching him one way for him to have to learn another?

If he is not ready to write his letters, you can still work on identification of letters (both upper and lower) in random order and even start talking about sounds most of the consonants make. Be careful not to make the sounds of the letters with an "uh" sound after them. 'B' is made with the softest sound with a puff of air...not BUH.

You can also talk about the different fonts in books and see if he can still recognize the letters for instance, the letter 'a' here doesn't look the same as we teach them to write it.

Have fun, visit the teacher supply stores for the best quality of materials and ask people who work there for help. They are usually teachers moonlighting for extra pay (sad, isn't it!).

Also, you can work on things that he will need and can memorize easily. Work on right/left, days of the week, and the obvious colors, shapes, and numbers.

Wanted to add: write the names of ordinary objects on the actual item around the house (ie. "door" on the door). Make sure you only capitalize proper nouns and write in upper and lower case letters.

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