by Heike Miethig


Rachel (4;6) seems very interested in letters and language in general. Here I wanted to find out which letters she already knew and how she deals with them. I have chosen a letter puzzle, in which the letter (initial sound) is to be assigned to the picture, for example A to apple; only then the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

I first take the cards with the pictures aside, just spread them across the table and ask Rachel to find out which letters she already knows.

She’s looking for the letters: A, O, K, T, M, N, I, S, L, F, each with the words: „I know this, I know this.“ Meanwhile, I look for the matching pictures. Then I ask her to try to assign the picture cards to the letter cards.

We select the first card for the letter – L for Leo – together, and Rachel puts it together. She says: „There is also an L in my name!“

Rachel immediately understands the task itself.

But it is difficult for her to assign the other letters to the pictures, so that I help her by pronouncing the letter very clearly and naming the respective pictures. I do so three times. She then selects the images and puts letters and images together. I ask you to look for the next term on your own. She looks at the confused letters and picture cards and says: „I don’t think I can do it.“ I encourage her and tell her to try again, otherwise we would end it together.

She takes a very close look at the cards and begins. She goes by the shape of the puzzle pieces and puts the cards together in a short time, and I have the impression that the letters are now completely uninteresting. She wants to put the cards together. I am fascinated by how she finds a solution by herself (namely by the form of the cards) to complete it by herself.

Then she says, „That’s a K as in Karen.“

While we are putting the game back to the box, she notices the letter Q and asks what kind of letter it is. I am naming it for her.

She says, „I think it’s beautiful!“ I ask the reason and she says: „Because it is round and has a straight line.“

So I found out that Rachel already recognizes many, but not all letters. She also manages to identify the initial sound. However, she is more interested in the shape of the letter, learning yet unknown letters and recognizing them in words (names) the spelling of which she is already familiar with.

She does not yet master the task of going from an image to an initial sound and then from there to the letter – and realizes and expresses this herself. This also means that it will take some time before she will really be reading, as the connection between hearing and seeing must continue to develop. But since she is currently so interested in letters I suspect she will „stay at it“ until she will make the leap and actually read.


See also: Rachel, 4;6 Years Old and

Rachel: „I Made up a Story and We’re Going to Show it to You Now!“


Date of publication in German: 11.9.09
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see imprint.

Translated by Arno Zucknick