Ella has been working on learning her letters and numbers for a while now. She has a very strong memory so learning to count and memorize all of the letters was very easy for her, but it's really required a lot more effort on her part for her to learn to associate the image of the letter to the name and sound of the letter.
Several weeks ago, her preschool teacher told me that she was much more interested in playing than learning her lessons and that she was rushing through spending time learning her letters, writing her name, etc., so that she could get back to playing with her friends. After I got over my initial defensiveness that she possibly insinuate that Ella is not a perfect student (which I will admit took a bit), I decided to make a concerted effort at home to really work on teaching her letters and numbers to reinforce what she's learning at school in an organized way. So for about 3 weeks now we've been doing letter flashcards and working on her letters and numbers in her Thomas the Train book every night.
She has definitely struggled with it - when we started, she could only consistently pick out the E, L, and A, since these are the letters she writes for her name. She could randomly pick out a few more, including B and D, but she'd give crazy answers when I'd ask her some - like I'd point to a letter and she'd say "thirty-four". So, we had our work cut out for us.
About a week ago she could consistently name 12 letters, there were another 4 or 5 that she could figure out from the picture on the flashcard and working out the sound (she is definitely an auditory learner), and the rest she didn't know yet. A few nights ago I realized she was able to name 18 by sight alone, and a few more by sounding out the word, as she had memorized the word that goes along with each letter (for example, she would look at a "V", say out loud "violin, va, va... V").
This week her teacher told me Ella had really come so far with her letters in a short time, and that she can tell she has really been trying to pay attention during the lessons and during circle time. And a funny story I can't leave out - one night I could tell I was starting to lose her attention and I told her we were all done for the night and she said "no, I want to do them again" - then, she pulled up her shirt and looked at her belly. I said, "what are you doing?" her answer: "just checking to make sure my focus is still there!"
Last night she was able to name all of the numbers 1-10 for the first time without missing any, and I was amazed that she was just down to a few tricky letter stragglers - X, Y, Q, and K.
Well, it all came together tonight, and she was able to name every letter in her Thomas book, several times through. I couldn't believe it!! I took a phone video of her pointing to and naming each letter. I feel extra proud of her due to the fact that these letters did not come easy to her and she really had to work to learn them all. What a milestone!!
p.s. at the end of the video clip, she's giving a pep talk to Clifford, he's her study buddy that she likes to impress with her knowledge!