Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why I'm Embracing Underpants

Captain Underpants

Come on, people. This is a family show. (eye roll)

Anyhoo, back in the day, BC (before children), I was kind of a book snob.

Okay, let me try that again. I'm kind of a book snob.

In the spirit of honesty, I'm just going to own it: I'm a total book snob. I can't help it, it was how I was raised. When your father is a high school English teacher, you learn to respect books. Good books. Books worthy of reading. We've already established that I love books. (Books I Love Link) I won't continue to go there but I just wanted to make sure you had the background to appreciate where I'm going with this. Stick with me.

When I was a kindergarten teacher, I carefully chose the books that graced my shelves. If there wasn't a Caldecott* or a Carle** on the cover, I scrutinized it very carefully. Only the best books made the cut & I felt great about it. Everyone didn't share my sentiment. Scholastic book orders would go home & come back with multiple orders of Dora the Explorer. I used to think to myself, "Didn't they see the beautiful book on page 2? Why would they order that junk?" Obviously, they didn't know what I knew about good literature.

When I decided to become a SAHM, those same beautiful books came home with me. I immersed my children in detailed, vibrant stories with award-winning illustrations. I scoffed at the "junk" in the book orders. My goal in all of this: to instill a love of reading that mirrored my own. I wanted my boys to run to the library & get lost in the sea of words & rich language. I wanted them to eagerly anticipate the arrival of the next book in the series, to wait with baited breath to find out what happens next.

Be careful what you wish for...

Fast forward 7 years & it's curriculum night in my son's first grade class. I'm there basically to make sure I don't miss something vital,  but I'm prepared for a snooze fest since I already know most of this stuff. I'm a veteran teacher, I've got this.

The teacher starts talking about reading & how the school assesses reading levels. She talks about the goal for the end of the year & how she's going to challenge children who are already reading at or above that goal.

And then she said something that blew my mind:

"When children reach a certain reading level, I no longer monitor what they're reading. They can choose from any book bin." 

Uh.... okay. I can get on board with that, I guess. A little freedom is always a good thing.

And finally came the kicker:

"I don't care what they're reading as long as they're reading." 

I'm sorry... what?

You don't care what kids are reading.

Is this for real? I'm sitting in a classroom with a highly regarded teacher in one of the best school districts in the state & she doesn't care what my kid is reading?

I'm going to need a minute.

She went on to finish:

"In my experience, I've found that children are more likely to enjoy reading when they are reading something of high interest. Once your child has mastered the necessary skills, I want to develop a love for reading that extends throughout your child's lifetime." 

Okay, now I can get on this train.

I decided to go with it. God has blessed me with bright kids so we met that goal quickly & my son was free to choose whatever he wanted to read. He bounced along a couple of different series before landing on this one:

The irony is not lost on me.

But you know what? He loves to read, like I love to read. He eagerly waits for the next book in the series & buries himself in it until he's finished. He can't wait to find out what happens next. His Captain Underpants is my Babysitters Club. And that I completely get. 

Read on, caped wonder. Preferably with your pants on.

*Caldecott is an award bestowed on only the best in the kid-lit world
**Carle is Eric Carle; if you have little kids & don't know him, shame on you 

What's on your bookworm's list? Share with me in the comments or on twitter @preschoolmomma 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bye Bye, Beach House

I have a love-hate relationship with my children's sandbox. I love the peace & playfulness it brings; I hate the grit of the sand under my feet as they track it in the house. Really, the only place I can tolerate sand is at the beach & baby, this ain't no beach house.

A few months ago, I was trolling Pinterest, where all good & perfect things come to reside, & I came across this little beauty of a tip: use Johnson's baby powder to remove sand from little hands & feet. So, I thought I'd give it a try. And guess what?


No, kidding. I just pour a little baby powder on those baby fingers & the sand disappears. Seriously, it's just gone.

Buh-bye sandy hands! Buh-bye gritty floor! Hel-lo baby powder, the one thing I've saved from those "new baby" kits that I've never found a purpose for- until now! It just took  me 4 kids & 2 sandboxes to figure this out.

Kids should seriously come with a manual.


Share your sanity savers with me on twitter @preschoolmomma

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dust Off Your Cape

We're in need of some Superheroes!

Guest post today! I asked my friend, Ric, to share with you her son, Brody, and their journey with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. If you are unaware of Duchenne, here's a snippet from the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy website: 

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in childhood, affecting approximately 1 in every 3,500 live male births (about 20,000 new cases each year). Because the Duchenne gene is found on the X-chromosome, it primarily affects boys; however, it occurs across all races and cultures.

Here are Ric's words about gratitude, struggles & an undying love & hope for her child:

My Internal Battle of Hope and Reality

In college, a professor once told me that writing was not my strength at all and that I should communicate in a different way.  So, whenever I am asked to write something I get a pit in my stomach.  There are so many eloquent pieces of writing out there that it doesn’t seem worth trying to measure up.  So this is my disclaimer that I am not trying to be a writer but share with you a perspective of my life…today.  You see, that brings another problem.  My perspective on my life, children, marriage, family, work, friendships, etc. can change daily.  Although there may be an overall prevalent feeling, my emotions vary from day to day with even the exact same situations.  So these are my thoughts as I sit at my desk on my lunch break with an enormous amount of work surrounding me.  
Monday:  I am grateful to wake up in the middle of the night to take Brody to the bathroom.  It would be so much easier to put a pull up on him but he so much doesn’t want to wear them.
Tuesday: I am grateful there is enough medication in every prescription and supplement bottle that I do not need to call a doctor or pharmacy for refills.  It would be so much easier to have them all run out at the same time.  
Wednesday: I am grateful that I did not make it half way to my own school to realize that I forgot to take his wheelchair out of my car last night and he won’t be able to get up the stairs of the bus or have it for school.  It would be so much easier if we had a backup chair for my forgetfulness.
Thursday: I am grateful that Xbox exists when the weather is nice and my other three children are outside riding bikes and playing tag.  It would be so much easier to live somewhere cold year round so that outside play was not an option.
Friday: I am grateful that Brody’s great teachers allow him to invite a friend to play computer at recess so he is not at risk for injury on the rowdiness of the playground and so grateful that all the kids want a turn to hang with Brody.  It would be so much easier if there was a way for him to be out there and not just sitting and watching kids run around.
Saturday: I am grateful that Brody woke up without red marks or abrasions on his feet from his braces rubbing the wrong way even though his feet are sweaty and stinky.  It would be much easier if braces could be stiff enough to hold the stretch but flexible enough to provide wiggle room and not hurt his skin.
Sunday:  I am grateful that there is research being done to try and find a treatment or cure for his terrible disease.  It would be much easier of there was even one and if it would come fast enough.  
And EVERY day, I wake up with my heart filled that Brody woke up too when so many other kids with Duchenne did not.  My heart breaks knowing that I will be part of that subgroup one day...again.  I know what it is like to lose a child already.  Coffins should not be made in “smaller” versions.                

And EVERY day, I am grateful for this amazing life I have andknow there are so many people less fortunate than me or my family.  There is always a “it would be much easier if…” in every situation but life is not easy! The greatest and most valuable lessons I have learned have come from difficult decisions, tragic events, unexpected friendships and lovethe kindness of strangers, and unanswered prayers.
My sweet, red-headed 8 year old son was born with a terminal disease with no cure, no treatments, and no standard of care.  The internet told me to be prepared to watch every muscle in his body degenerate and to spend my time loving him before he dies.  And yes, I know “life is terminal”.  Many people remind me that “none of us know when we are going to die”.  I am really never sure how to respond to that except to say how I feel.  I have 6 kids (1 in heaven).  Why I feel like I have to qualify the “six kids” statement is a whole other topic for another day.  I don’t worry when my other kids fall and scrape their knee that they may have broken a bone that could prevent them from ever walking again or cause a blood clot to get loose and kill them. I don’t worry that my other children won’t fall in love because they won’t be able to even hug their significant other if they were lucky enough to find someone who was willing to overlook their significant physical and medical challenges.  I don’t worry that when my other children throw up, that they are actually going into heart failure earlier than expected. I don’t worry that when my other children are sleeping in that they may have passed away in their sleep.  And I am not na├»ve; I know some tragic accident could take one of my other children, I have read My Sister’s Keeper.  
The reality is that Brody will probably never get to experience driving, proms, graduations, getting married, children, jobs, or other major life events.  Although, there are some DMD boys that have experienced some of these things, there are so many that have not.  What I “naively expect” for my other children, has become a daily internal battle of hope and reality when it comes to Brody. There is hope in turning on Facebook to see a handsome boy with DMD in his wheel chair in his cap and gown.  It makes me wonder about what it took to get such a great picture.  Do they have to have a special cap and gown that won’t be too long to get caught in the wheelchair but still be long enough to look right? Did they have to bobby pin the cap on extra tight because he won’t have the arm strength to raise his arms to straighten it if it starts to fall? Was the venue that the school chose to have the graduation handicap accessible for all parts of the ceremony or what special accommodations had to be made ahead of time so he would look as normal as possible?  There is extreme happiness that their son woke up that morning, alive, for his graduation day.  And there is extreme sadness because that same Facebook feed of my recent posts for the day shows a mom sitting next to her 8 year old son’s grave.    
I think that I remain pretty positive overall.  I am a laid-back control freak.  I love to laugh.  I love to love.  I strive to choose the perspective on most days that leads me to being grateful, happy, fulfilled, loved, and even lucky! I have most definitely been lucky enough to win the lottery when it comes to the people I have in my life, the opportunities I have been given, and the memories that I’ve made.  I can tell you this…there is never a day that I would be willing to trade my incredible life!

Support Brody & his family by joining them Saturday, June 8!

Brody's Superheroes 5k run/walk

June 8th at 9:00 in West Chester

go to to download a registration form

* Registrations received by May 25th will guarantee a t-shirt for the
event. Registrations received after May 25th until the day of the event
will likely get a t-shirt the day before or day of the race but will
definitely get one after the race if we have run out.

For more information about Duchenne or to make a donation visit

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let's Go Camping!

Bwhahahaha! Bet you thought this was a post about camping! Uh, no. I don't do that. I let my husband take care of that one. I was talking about something way better: summer camps. 

Some people call them sanity savers. It's pretty win-win for all of you- kids get to do something fun & you get much needed break. Personally, I'm not a big camp-signer-upper. Main reason: it's super expensive to put 3 kids in camp. The other reason is that I like to be a free spirit in the summer. We're so incredibly scheduled during the school year that I like having nothing to do in the summer. I feel like it's everyone's time to relax & unwind. 

BUT, it isn't all about me over here & I know some of you are interested in what's out there. So when my son's teacher emailed me a list of summer camps, I decided to check them out. Below is a list of what she sent & a quick summary of what you're getting in to. Hope this helps you find an awesome fit for your kiddo!

* This is a listing for camps in the Cincinnati area. If you're outside of this area, sorry :( I don't have a staff so I can't help you. If you're reading this & have camps that you know about in your area, feel free to send them my way & I'll share!

**Also, I have no personal experience with 95% of these camps listed; if you have questions or need references please visit their websites. Please be responsible when choosing a camp for your child & make sure the staff has background checks & are operating in a manner that is safe for your child. Ask questions now rather than right before...

Phew! That was a lot of explaining. Let's get to it!

If I had to slap a label on these camps I'd call them "educational" or "enrichment". There's a variety out there, hope you find something that works for you! 
While I'm at it, I'd like to plug a few free or 'free-ish' camps that my local church offers: MAD Camp (music, art & drama) for grades 1-6 & the ever popular VBS (Vacation Bible School) for grades K-6. Check it out: click events to register. Both of these are "awesome!" (kid quote)

Happy Camping!

Share your favorite camps with me on Twitter @preschoolmomma or via email

Monday, May 20, 2013

Toddler 101: Be Afraid...Be Very Afraid

I seem to be on a bit of a 10 kick but I couldn't resist this one!

10 Most Terrifying Moments Parents of Toddlers Face

Per my previous posts, Toddler 101: Taming of the Shrewd and Toddler 101: Food Wars, we've established that parenting a toddler isn't for the faint of heart. Some scary stuff goes down; so I decided to prepare those who haven't gone before with a breakdown of what's to come. Those of you who are out of the toddler years can chuckle out of relief that this is beyond them. And those of you who are smack in it? Some day this will be funny, or at least funny that it's happening to someone else ;) Here are my ten scariest moments of toddler parenting:

1. The Yogurt Fling

Your toddler can feed herself; it's a beautiful thing. This frees you up to actually feed yourself or take on a project while she's snacking; the world is suddenly a much freer place. Until, of course, your child realizes that that spoon is a LOT of fun, especially when it's dipped in something sloshy. It happens in slow motion, you can see the wheels turning as she realizes exactly how fun this is going to be. This is when you'll realize exactly what you're going to be doing with your free time- cleaning up food from every open crevice/surface/table leg after Every. Single. Meal. Good luck with that.

2. Floor Grazing

If you have one child- or a dog- you may actually be able to get every single crumb off the floor after every meal. If you have multiple children, forget it; your floor will never be clean again, which sets us up for #2: Floor Grazing. It's that moment of panic when you see your child eating something and you haven't served any food in quite some time. Your first thought is, "Is it a toy? What is he chewing on? He's going to choke!" You do the mad sprint over to him (while praying he doesn't bolt in the other direction) only to realize that he's actually eating food. Food that he found on the floor, under the table. Once you've correctly identified the food, you can begin the appropriate level of panic from he's going to die from rancid meat to oh, it's only a raisin. Those last forever. If it hasn't happened to you, don't judge. You'll get there. 

3. The TV Bang

This is one of my toddler's most favorite. He loooooves the reaction he gets from everyone when he heads toward the TV with something hard & sharp. The sheer terror that he's going to interrupt Lego Ninjago is enough to send the entire house running & yelling. Nobody wants to have to explain that one to Daddy.

4. The Phone Drop

We've all been there. You leave your phone on the edge of the counter, right within reach. Your clever toddler sprints to get it & see what all the fuss is about. You approach slowly, not wanting to scare the creature while enticing him to hand it over. He gives it back-by throwing it on the floor. You cringe as you retrieve it, hoping it's not broken. You have to update your status so everyone knows that you made it to the gym this morning (hee hee). You sigh a huge relief that, once again, it's not broken. Crisis averted. Until next time.

5. The Coffee (or milk) Grab 

Nothing sends your blood pressure up like the thought of your precious bundle having 3rd degree burns from your morning pick-me-up. Again, we're back to leaving things within reach. It MUST be really good because you drink it all the time so your toddler must try it as well. Eek. OR, as it usually goes in my house, one of your older kiddos leaves their milk on the edge of the table and your toddler goes for it. You're having visions of milk going everywhere aren't you? It's enough to make you cry over spilled milk because you know you're never going to find the end of the splash pattern. Or you'll be scraping it off the legs of your chairs for days to come. Neither exactly leaves you warm & fuzzy.

6. The Toilet Sweep

You one baby parents probably have that thing locked down. No one is faulting you, it's baby-proofing 101. If you have a potty trained child, you've moved on as it's more of hindrance than helpful. Nothing like telling a newly trained child to wait while you unlock the toilet. It's easier just to close the door; hence the problem of someone forgetting to close the door. It's goes like this: you're folding laundry peacefully when suddenly you realize how very wrong that feels since you have a little one. You do an immediate search of the attainable premises when you realize- in a panic- that you know exactly where the little darling is. You dash to the ladies' room only to find your little one soaking wet up to his shoulder.  And that's when you hope the last person in there flushed the toilet. Ewwwwwww

7. The Stair Turn Around

Your toddler has finally mastered the stairs, until she gets distracted. Your little one has accessed the stairs unexpectedly and you find yourself frozen. You don't want to run to the stairs in case she thinks it's a game & decides to react. You don't want to move too slowly in case she topples and you need to catch her. What's the right move? You approach carefully only to watch your bundle get distracted & turn halfway around. You know the rest; it usually ends in tears for both of you. (shuddering)

8. The Tampon Box Touch/Urinal Cake Touch

Public restrooms are gross enough on their own; add a toddler to that & it's just a cringe-worthy experience. There's usually some loud talking: "Don't touch that!" "Dirty!" The problem is that they usually go for the grossest thing possible at the worst time possible- when you can't stop them. Ugh. I can't talk about it anymore.

9. Poopy Diaper Log Roll

I've referenced this move before (Taming of the Shrewd) but I think it's worth a double mention because it's truly terrifying. It's that moment when your child decides mid-diaper change that he's done with this & needs to move on. Sometimes you can stop it, sometimes you can't. My advice is control the hips or the shoulders and make sure you have your area prepped ahead of time. Oh, and keep Clorox wipes handy for the changing table- not your baby (uh, hell-o).

10. Poopy Diaper Grab

Last, but not least, is the poopy diaper grab. This one happens in slow motion: you can see it coming but you're so frozen in fear that you can't stop it. Your toddler gets that gleam in his eye and, as fast as lightening,  he makes a grab for the diaper. We don't need to get into the details but it never ends well- for any of you. I'm not sure why your child is thinking he's getting but I can assure it that it ain't gold. Wink-wink. If it is gold, you & I need to have a conversation...

Hug your little darling tightly as these moments are fleeting. Someday you will look back & laugh- that isn't today. I don't want to oversell it. 

Happy Chasing!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Books I Love: for Teaching Math

Wow, thanks for all the positive feedback on my 1st Books I Love post! Continuing with the series, today's post focuses on books that are great for teaching math concepts. These books cover everything from counting, to shapes, to telling time. Bright, vivid pictures & catchy rhymes make the path to learning fun. Enjoy!

10 Great Books for Teaching Math

There you go! If you want activities to go with the books, head on over to Pinterest. I may or may not be pinning matching activities... I feel unprepared to commit to anything binding, ha ha!

follow me on Pinterest @ joy riley 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Books I Love: for Learning Letters

As you already know, I tend to run late with my posts; but I wanted to give a quick shout out to my fab mom readers. Hope you had a celebrated day & that you didn't have to cut anyone's meat but your own :)

Let's get down to it:

Books I love: for learning letters

I love books. No, wait. I REALLY love books. I love books more than I like most people. Maybe I need some new friends...kidding! Anyway, there's nothing that peaks my interest more than a good book. It's the only thing that will make me ignore my children. Not now, honey. Mommy's reading. No, you get the baby out of the street. You can catch him. I'm empowering you. Sometimes I'm a great mom. 

I'm a sucker for a book. A trip to the bookstore always ends in a purchase. It's the only thing I'll freely spend money on without batting an eye. It's the only thing I'll say yes to every time my children ask. Needless to say, we own a tremendous amount of books; especially children's books. When I "retired" from teaching, I came home with literally hundreds books. I weeded out the good from the bad. Sold some, donated some, recycled some that were shabby. What was left was the best of the best and I'm bringing those to you. 
Below are my recommendations for books that help children with letter learning. 

Books that teach letters

That's my top 10. Hit up your local library/bookstore for these great finds. I recommend a snuggly chair, a cup of coffee & someone small to enjoy. Just watch the coffee around the baby unless, of course, you're really engrossed. Then, get your 8 year old to do it. Happy reading!

Did your favorite make my list? If not, share it with me! I love promoting good books. 
tweeting daily @preschoolmommma 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

2, 4, 6, 8 who do we appreciate?

Have an awesome teacher that you looooooove & want to celebrate? This is the week to do it! My kids have been extremely blessed with awesome teachers & I plan to let them know how much we love them. I'm thinking the gift has to be sparkly & have some kind of an apple on it since we all know how much teachers love apples...
Ha! Just kidding :) Let's bypass the apple crap & get your teacher something she really wants. What, you might ask, is that? Well, I can tell you what she doesn't want...ahem, see above. I took the liberty of speaking for my profession & made a list of gifts your child's teacher would probably rather not get.

What not to give(not because they're bad gifts, just because your teacher probably already has a stock pile of them... think Doomsday Preppers)

coffee mugs
anything with an apple on it
anything ceramic
picture frames
stuffed animals, especially used ones
anything you wouldn't want to own and/or display in your own home or workplace

What your teacher would love:

a gift card to a favorite restaurant
a nice, handwritten note of appreciation from you
a gift card toa favorite store
a lovely drawing from your child
a gift card for a fun project at home
favorite snacks
gift cards in general :)

See a pattern?

Now, I'm not saying that teachers are greedy or unappreciative. Any teacher worth her salt will plaster a genuine smile on her face and readily accept any gift your precious child bestows upon us. It's who we are. BUT, if you want to know that teachers really want, I must say, no one has turned down a gift card- like ever.

Why gift cards? Don't teachers make enough money to spend themselves? They have June, July & August off to supplement their salary.

I could barely type that without choking. Seriously? Teachers, as a general rule, are selfless. Meaning that they do a job that they love that pays next to nothing because the rewards they give & get are priceless. I guarantee your child's teacher spends little of her salary on shopping and/or fun. (I count shopping as fun!) She probably spends a chunk of it on classroom supplies. If she has a family, the bulk of her salary goes to taking care of her own children & paying out the nose for childcare. At the end of the day, your child's teacher probably has very little to spend on herself. Gift cards are an awesome way to appreciate your teacher. Do a little leg work & find out what she really likes. If you ask her, I bet she'll tell you. 

As for June, July & August, your child's teacher is probably spending a chunk of her summer on professional development. There are always multiple seminars to attend to better your teaching strategies & many teachers take advantage of this. Many teachers also tutor during those summer months. When I was a new teacher, I nannied everyday in the summer. I know very few teachers that take their entire summer off to just spend their gift cards. 

What about a personalized gift? My child would love to spend hours painting pottery for his teacher. Wouldn't she love that?

Yes, yes she would; which makes the guilt tremendous when you have to dispose of it. The harsh truth is that teachers receive multitudes of these priceless treasures yearly & at some point, you just can't keep everything. I get that everything your child makes is near & dear to your heart- I have 4 little people that make me priceless treasures all the time. If your teacher has her own children, she too has priceless treasures being made for her at home. You can't compete with that; if your teacher has to choose between art created by her children or art created by her students, you know which one will win. Save the ceramics for Grandma, she will love them forever & ever.

EEK! I've given my child's teacher a gift from the Do Not give list above. Is my child blacklisted?

Hee, hee. Nah, of course not. We aren't cruel & heartless. We know what your child probably had nothing to do with the gift. We also know that you probably truly thought we'd enjoy it. Look, everybody gets stuff they don't want all the time. I just thought I'd give you an inside scoop on the way to your teacher's heart. We absolutely appreciate the thought & effort that went into your gift. And unless it was truly heinous, we probably didn't share it with our friends. If you did give, say, something ridiculous- like a school bus cookie jar- then it may or may not be a running joke that gets passed back & forth among us.... hey, everybody likes to have a little fun sometimes. Even your stuffy teacher in her apple sweater. 

follow me on twitter @preschoolmomma
Teachers, share with me your favorite gifts! I'm always looking for new ideas! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

App of the Week: Pocket Phonics

Two posts in one week? Say whaaat? I figured I owed you since I was on hiatus last week. And no, I'm still not caught up. I'm in a livable mess :) 

Get excited, it's back.

App of the Week: Pocket Phonics

How it works

Don't be deceived. This is not your ordinary phonics app. There are no cutesy animals singing the letter songs. This app is serious. Get your game-face on.

As you can see from the screen above, you start by setting up an account for your child. This helps to customize the app for each child using it. You can set different skills for different kids; therefore, it is tailored to meet the child's learning needs. This, in educational terms, is called differentiating instruction. Oh yeah, we're getting technical. Hooked yet? You will be...

This app is set with an adult only control. You have to solve a multiplication problem to change the settings. So, if you can do 3rd grade math you can customize this app for your kid. If your preschooler can solve 3rd grade math problems, you probably don't need this app. That tip was free, you're welcome. Once you're in, you can set the font to either D'Nealian (that weird, cursive printing) or Zaner-Bloser (the regular printing). You can set it to recognize that your child is either left or right handed. You can also change how the app prompts your child to respond. And, if you want to really have some fun, you can set up the app so it speaks with a British accent. You know you're going to try it. Now only if it spoke pirate...

Once you get past all the red tape, you're good to go. The app starts by showing you the letters & sounds its going to focus on before you start. You have the option scroll through & find the group you'd like to work on if you have specific sounds you're practicing. Hit play & you're ready. 

The first letter/sound appears on the screen & the reader says the sound aloud to your child. She asks your child to repeat the sound & then models how to write the letter. Your child will trace the letter with her finger, starting at the dot. As she traces, the arrow moves along the letter showing your child which way to go to appropriately form the letter. 

Once your child practices a few letters & sounds, the app takes her to the next screen where she gets to apply the sounds she learned. The nice lady then prompts her with a letter sound & she has to choose which letter matches that sound. She does this for all of the missing letters. When your child has appropriately identified all the missing letters, the nice lady blends them together to make a word. And finally, Ta Da! They show a cutesy matching picture :) See? It's preschool-minded. 

Why I Likey

Uh, did you read above or were you just looking at the pictures? This, folks, is early literacy at its finest. It previews what your child is going to learn so he knows what to expect. It models the letter sound & how to write it. It segments the sounds so your child can see how each fits into the word he's learning. Then, it puts it all together in the end so your child gets that there's a purpose to knowing letter sounds. And it's fun! 

Here's the kicker: it doesn't just stop with single letter sounds. It teaches digraphs (sh, ch, th, etc.) & vowel buddies (ai, oo, ea, etc.) as you progress through the levels. It models how these sounds work together to make new letter sounds. My kindergarten kid is still learning from it; we're reinforcing what they're teaching at school with some at home play. Its guilt-free screen time, everybody's happy.

This app is available on itunes & is in the app store for both ipad & iphone. There's a lite version you can try for free or you can fork over the $2.99 & keep it forever. In my brief research, I believe it is also available for Android for the same price but make sure you're getting Pocket Phonics. There was another phonics app that came up first on my Google search that I can't vouch for... you may be taking matters into your own hands with that one ;) 

Happy blending! 

Share your favorite apps with me! Follow me on Twitter @preschoolmomma