Children go through different developmental stages...don't worry too much.
Try using different senses to learn the letters.
Spray foam shaving cream on a work surface and let her draw the letters in the foam. A heap of sand, glitter, or flour also does the trick.
Make clay with her and have her roll out the letters http://hometown.aol.com/sail2957/dough.h...
Glue uncooked macaroni noodles onto construction paper in the shape of letters.
Purchase a pack of VERY FINE grit sandpaper from the home improvement center (and a letter stencil set) and cut out letters from the paper. Have her trace her finger over the paper to get the feel. This can also be done on carpet, but it is not as fun!
Make a homemade alphabet book (paper, hole punch, yarn, glue, pictures, markers). Use pictures of people or things that are familiar to her so that she can make the connection between the name and the beginning letter. For example, say you have a dog named "Fluffy" - take a picture of Fluffy and that becomes the picture for the letter F page. (Use parents names, siblings names, pets, grandparents, and so on. It does not hurt to use universal symbols that most kids know like M for McDonalds, B for Barbie, and whatever else she is very familiar with).
Use post-it notes or index cards with tape to label common things around your home. For example, the word "window" - make the "w" red and the remaining letters black. You can then begin to incorporate a pre-reading skill as well...knowing the sounds that letters make while she learns to write the letters. "Look window.../w/...window." "What letter does window start with?" "Good, window starts with "w" it sounds like /w/." "What sound is that again, can you repeat that?"
To help her remember what letter she is writing and to recall what it looks like, name the parts and/or give them associations. For example, the letter A is a tepee with a belt, the letter P is a stick with a bubble, the letter K is a stick with an arm and a leg, the letter H is 2 sticks with a belt, the letter B is a stick with a bubble and a tummy, the letter J is a fishhook with a roof, the letter U is an empty cup, the letter V is an ice cream cone without ice cream, the letter Q is an open mouth with a shush finger...and so on. You will have to show her by example first. "First I will draw a tepee and then I add a belt, that is the letter A...Now you try it."
You may want to purchase a small dry erase board and dry erase markers at the office supply store...it will make this type of practice a lot easier (and it is fun too!)
Once she has mastered writing uppercase letters, probably by next summer, move her on to lower case letters. This is one of the biggest issues teachers have when their Kindergarteners come in the fall...they all have been taught to write in upper case and it takes nearly the entire school year to get them to incorporate lower case letters in their writing.
Good for you for getting her started in the right direction!
Just keep going over it, make it a game, etc. Don't pressure her and she will eventually get it. She sounds like she is still developmentally right on track.
There are a variety of sources to the problem - number one is your anxiety about the problem - you are probably telegraphing this, and the child is getting tons of attention by not "getting it" - be assured, she gets it, barring eye problems, or a lack of basic intelligence (unlikely). I suggest altering your approach entirely, and I wish more parents knew about this superb approach. I believe the book and materials are now available through the encyclopedia Brittanica.
In the early 60's George Delacato and Glenn Doman developed a program which became 'Teach your baby to read". Also called the Doman-Delacato method. The program initially was designed for working with brain injured children. Use this program with your daughter as if you had done nothing so far with her. Start her off as if she were 6 months old (within the context of the program, that is ideal). Ultimately, the trick is to train the optic nerve to translate the image into usable information. You begin by reading - the alphabet comes later - trust me, she will learn to read -
At some time google, "the 14 words" or go to lexfiles.com and make a copy of them and save them to start working with her when she is a 5th grader. mastering the prefixes and roots of these words will give a young person the ability to decode over 140,000 english words - my gift to you, 300 points on the SAT verbal score.
Teach her the ABC song first, so that she remembers how the letters go together. As long as she can spout off the letters, she'll be okay for kindergarten. There, she will work on writing and learning to read. I think that it's great that you are doing this, though. She'll have an advantage over the other kids. Just keep doing what you're doing, and know that this isn't an easy thing for her to learn.
A large number of people have what are now called learning disabilities. The types of disabilities vary, but they can usually be identified by a teacher trained to detect them. Two of my sons had such disabilities.
Another possibility is that your daughter's brain has simply not matured to the point where that part of her memory works fully yet, and she'll simply literally outgrow this.
When I was a child, people started to learn to read when they were six. Now children are expected to know their alphabet when they enter first grade, which is ridiculous,. because most children's brains have simply not grown enough to do so. A common result of this is rather than learning how to read, by the time many children now enter first grade, they have learned to believe that they cannot read, and they never unlearn this.
Based upon memory the change about when children were expected to learn to read is probably a result of the Cold War. After Sputnik launched, there was a tremendous push to bring U.S. abilities up to higher perceived Soviet levels in math and science along with reading abilities. A book entitled "Why Johnny can't read" was published shortly after Sputnik, and I've been told that a subtitle to the book was "and Why Ivan can."
I completely agree with what nl8uprly wrote. The problem most likely isn't that she can't remember it, it's that she's being taught in a way that really works better after age 7 or 8.
Kids develop in very specific stages, and in leaps and bounds. Think back on the last few years - were her skills developed very methodically, or did she just plain come out and do something? When she learned to crawl, to walk or run, to speak in words, to climb, to differentiate objects and colors, for example - did she follow a very specific 1st-2nd-3rd method to learn it, or did she just plain decide it was time and start doing it? You'll see more of these milestones in the years to come, though many of them will be through reasoning abilities and discoveries. She'll just all of a sudden be ready for a brand new way and level of learning, even one that she wouldn't have "gotten" a few months before.
The most probable reason that she's not retaining the info on writing her letters is that a) it may be being taught in a way that doesn't make sense to her yet, and b) she just plain doesn't see a point in doing it. Unfortunately, at age 5, you can't really reason with her on why she needs to learn something; she either sees the point in it or she doesn't. If she doesn't, the only thing to do is either present it in a different way - like nl8uprly gave examples for - or wait until she's ready.
She probably doesn't have the abstract reasoning yet to identify letters in words - that's usually a revelation that comes after learning the letters, when the child is proud of her accomplishment and suddenly realizes that these letters are more than a song and funny movements. My advice is to present them in a number of ways, like the ones posted above, and to praise her like crazy every time she remembers even a portion of them. Make it a game, or a group of games, that she looks forward to and feels proud of.
You're not the only one - promise - and she's not behind :-) Good luck!
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