by Pierre McAllister
Some say reading is magic. It opens our minds, taking us anywhere we want to go. Depending on the type of book you are reading, you can travel to a fictional world, like Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets or to a historical moment, like the civil rights movement. But before you can imagine any of these things, you have to know your letters.
In our game Literacy Ladder we’re teaching the children in our programs how to concentrate and develop their reading and writing skills by identifying the different letters in the alphabet. Here’s how it works.
Our specially-trained Coaches and teachers divide the children into two teams: A and B, with each team forming a line next to each other. Then, the children sit facing one another, extending their legs so that Team A’s feet are touching Team B’s feet.
Next, our Coaches assign each team member a letter—the same letter is assigned to the child on the opposite team. The game begins when the Coach calls out a letter, like N. When the children hear their letter, like N, they have to jump up, race to the end of the line and then, hop down the middle of the two lines, over top of the children’s legs before arriving back to their assigned spot. The first one to sit down wins.
The Coaches continue to call out letters until each child has had a chance to participate. When the game is finished, our Coaches guide the children through a conversation exploring how learning the alphabet makes them feel and how they can use this information in the classroom, at home and with their friends. By promoting inclusion and communications skills, the children are encouraged to reflect on the importance of the alphabet.
Through our games like, Literacy Ladder we are providing children with the tools and skills they need to succeed. Our programs help increase school attendance by over 15 per cent, proving the power of play isn’t fiction, it’s a reality!