Put away the flash cards, stop sitting in front of the TV watching educational videos, and close the kiddie computer. Get up, start building, and begin learning the fun and active way. Try a new and innovative teaching method using talking building blocks. These are Smart Blocks, or Smarcks, that teach everything from addition to spelling. In five easy steps you can jump start your child’s education and they can learn to spell before kindergarten. You will be amazed, your kids will love it, and starting school will be that much easier.
The goal of Smarcks is to create a fun, meaningful, and motivating method for kids to build and learn - comprehension is critical to this process. The Smarcks spelling method is most effective when kids can write all the letters of the alphabet and understand the typical sound that each letter makes. It is important to know when kids are ready to start learning to spell and read. If you start kids too young they will simply be memorizing symbols (letters) and not understanding why words are formed the way they are. However, if you start kids when they are developmentally ready you are setting them up for academic success.
1. Build and Spell: The only thing you need to get started is a set of Talking Building Blocks. One of these is the Smarcks ABC Block which spells 26 different words; one for each letter of the alphabet. What word it spells depends on the blocks you stack it on. Step One of the process is to tell your child to go play with their building blocks – how fun and easy is that! Tell them to stack the ABC Block and pick whatever word they would like to learn to spell. They will most likely start with something easy such as CAT. It is then up to them to build and learn. It is important that they do this on their own; they pick the word, set their own pace, and stack the block however many times it takes.
Why should they do Step One own their own? This is not just about learning to spell. Finding the words is a creative problem solving process. What you stack the ABC Block on to spell specific words and how to get it to repeat itself are things your child needs to figure out. This in itself is a learning experience. The combined process of building, creative problem solving, and memorizing the spelling of the words becomes a much greater developmental experience than simply learning to spell. The American education system today is so focused on academic achievement that there is little time left for creativity and learning through exploration. We cannot escape these educational demands, but we can seize upon every opportunity for creative development. This is what Smart Blocks are all about.
2. Goal Setting and Praise: Step two is to put up on the wall the Smarcks ABC picture chart – as shown below. Download the charts, personally customize them by inserting your own pictures for Mommy and Daddy, and print. When your child learns a word you highlight that letter on the chart. You will be amazed how excited and motivated they will be to get these letters highlighted each day. Praise from the parent when they learn a new word is obviously the other critically important aspect for success.
3. Recite and Understand: Simply reciting to you the spelling of the word after they have learned it from the ABC Block is not enough. Step three is for the parent to make sure their child understands why the word is spelled the way it is and sound out the different letters in the word. The child has just memorized the spelling of the word; it is up to the parent to make sure they understand the spelling of the word.
4. Write and Repeat: The next step required to solidify their learning is for them to write the word. This reinforces how the word is spelled, teaches them what the word looks likes, and gets them to practice and improve their hand writing. Each night when your child learns a new word they need to write their new word along with all the previous ones they learned. Repetition is key. If they have forgotten how a word is spelled it is up to them to stack the ABC Block and relearn.
5. Story Time: It may seem a little counter intuitive but just because a child can spell and write a word does not mean they can read it. When kids get into 1st grade they will use flash cards to help them recognize and spell words. The Smarcks are a pre-K learning toy meant to be fun and flash cards at this age seems a bit too much. Instead, what is fun, and what kids absolutely love, is story time. Read books to your child and when you come across one of their words stop and have them read it.
One of the most important things to remember is to not push this on your children when they are too young and expect miracles. These are not magic blocks; they are Smart Blocks. Smarcks are meant to be a creative, active, and fun way to learn. When your kids are ready they will jump at the opportunity to learn and teaching them to spell will be easy and fun for both of you.
Spelling is Fun with Talking Building Blocks!