FAQs About Fairy Tales and Letters Block
One of the most important main lesson blocks in first grade is Fairy Tales and Letters. Today I’d like to answer some “frequently asked questions” about this main lesson. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments!
How do you draw the pictures with your child? Do I need to do a chalkboard drawing?
I recommend that you prepare a drawing in advance and show it to your child the day after you’ve first told the story. You can do your drawing on the chalkboard or on a large sheet of drawing paper. Then, when it’s time for your child to draw, sit down and draw with him! Show him step by step how to make a beautiful crayon drawing (each on your own paper).
If you need help learning how to draw with block crayons or ideas for how to compose your main lesson book drawings, Coloring with the Block Crayons (book or dvd) and the Lavender’s Blue curriculum are both great resources.
How long should it take to go through all the letters?
This is really up to you! Some families like to cover all the letters in the fall and then move on to writing story summaries and learning word families in the spring. Others take all or most of first grade to move through the alphabet.
My only strong recommendation here (besides thinking about what would work best for you and your child) is to leave plenty of time for math in first grade. I recommend scheduling three math main lesson blocks for twelve weeks or so total (often October, January, and April work well for math) and then using the rest of your first grade weeks for language arts and other subjects you want to cover.
Should I present all 26 letters this way?
Again, you get to decide! I think it’s fun to go through all the consonants this way, but not all teachers do, and that’s fine. You can bring more than one letter in per story. Vowels are usually presented differently than the consonants, coming more from the feeling or soul mood of a story than from a picture. In the Lavender’s Blue curriculum we cover all 26 letters in 8 weeks in the autumn (split between two Fairy Tales and Letters main lesson blocks).
Should we cover the lowercase letters in the same way?
While the capital letters are very old and archetypal, the lowercase letters developed much more recently in human history and are more functional. They were invented to allow scribes to write more quickly. For this reason I don’t recommend a pictorial progression for lowercase letters. Instead, sometime after after your child is comfortable and confident with recognizing and writing the uppercase letters, you can just introduce lowercase letters as the small versions of the capitals.
What if my child already knows her letters or is already reading?
Many children enter first grade already knowing the alphabet or even how to read. If that’s the case, don’t worry! Your child can continue to enjoy reading at his own pace and still do this main lesson block. A holistic main lesson involves so much more than just learning the academic skills. Many early readers love to re-discover the alphabet in this way.
Do you have any more questions? Ask away in the comments below!