On the Shelves: Literacy

Montessori Alphabet Activities with Sandpaper Letters - An Everyday Story

Last time I shared a few of the maths materials that we have out on our shelves at the moment. This time I am sharing some literacy ideas.

Inquiry based Learning Homeschool Room - An Everyday StoryIn our homeschool room we have one small bookcase. This means that I can't have too many materials out at any one time, which is a bit of a blessing. There is space for about 10-12 small baskets or trays. I usually put out a couple of maths and literacy baskets each for Jack (6.5 yrs) and Sarah (4.5 yrs) as well as some science, fine-motor practice and handwork.

We use these materials in the mornings for about 45 minutes to an hour; Jack calls it activities time 🙂 He and Sarah can choose their own work and work on it for as long as they like. Sometimes they'll do only two or three activities in one session, other times they'll whiz through them, choosing five or six. I don't have a minimum though, they can work at their own pace. 

So, here's what we have:

Sight Word Activities - An Everyday Story Sight Word Activities - An Everyday Story

Practising sight words with Scrabble tiles

Montessori Alphabet Activities with Sandpaper Letters - An Everyday Story Montessori Alphabet Activities with Sandpaper Letters - An Everyday Story

Practising the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet Cards | Sandpaper Letters

Literacy Activities for Preschool - An Everyday Story Literacy Activities for Preschool - An Everyday StoryLearning initial sounds

Schleich Animal Figurines | Small Alphabet Letters| Wooden Alphabet Pieces (Aust. stockist)

Great Kids Books - An Everyday StoryAnd on the book shelf...

My Little World | Planting the Wild GardenTiny: The Invisible World of Microbes | When Pigasso Met Mootisse | How Does My Garden Grow? | A Seed is Sleepy | The Animal Book | Bone Collection: Animals

If you would like to know anything at all about these lovely books, please just ask. They are all so beautiful.



These sessions are so fun for me - and Jack and Sarah really like them too; I can really see the benefit in allowing a child to choose their own work. Plus, how fun is it going through your materials and putting together baskets?! I just love it. 

Having the activities on the shelf like this also means I can focus on skills like reading, writing, maths strategies and fine motor skills (we have knot tying and fork knitting out at the moment) by incorporating them into an area of interest.

This is more inviting for Jack and Sarah and it's a lot less stressful for me too. I can watch them work - and make small tweaks to the baskets if needed - but mostly the activities stay the same for a couple of weeks.

Activities Time and Project Work make up the bulk of our homeschool days. 🙂

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7 Replies to “On the Shelves: Literacy”

  1. Such gorgeous materials and so much nicer than worksheets and workbooks. I can see why your children love this time. Who wouldn’t want to play with all those lovely materials. I really love those fruit flashcards, they are lovely. The books look nice too. I’ll have to check those out some more.

  2. I Love your materials and set up. I have a small home so have started setting up the literacy and maths shelves outside using more durable materials. I loved the way you used stones on your maths shelves and am thinking of incorporating the use of more stones for the outdoor invitations.

  3. Thank you for this post! and thank you for replying for my comment yesterday. I am very encouraged. I also love your choice of materials. Just so beautiful and inviting. I will definitely incorporate these ideas into our “school”.

  4. I always love when you do these types of blog posts! I read and then run eagerly to my homeschool room and try to recreate one or more of your activities. Have you ever thought of compiling an e-book of the activities you use in different subjects…would be so wonderful to have as a resource!!

  5. lydia purple says:

    beautiful as always. and somehow this just clicked for me…. i will totally use trays for daily math and literacy activities. we will start our first official homeschool year in september. i’ll have 3 kids home with me, 5 years, 3 years and one year old. my kids do tons of art, we are into project learning too, and we are also using some montessori. when i tried to think up how to fit all into our days i couldn’t figure it out. plus we are in the middle of summer relax craziness… but the trays for math and literacy for an hour daily, and a good chunk of project time makes sense for us!

    thanks so much for sharing. and the new blog design looks very pretty.

  6. Hi Kate,
    Thank you for continuing to put together such lovely and inspiring posts! You mention the kids spend about 45 min working with you each morning in this new homeschool room; do they have access to this room/the materials throughout the day as well to use at will? Our son, who is 4, has been enjoying some more focused explorations as of late so I’d like to keep offering them to him but want to keep it manageable for us both (we have a new baby at home now which is miraculous and marvelous but oh so tiring!).
    Are their other materials, blocks Legos etc. kept separate and available at all times? I guess what I’m asking is are the materials on the shelves co-mingled with other toys? If not, are you finding having this separate space and time creates more of an opportunity for them to focus on exploring the materials on the shelves? Sorry for my convoluted question!
    Thank you!
    PS and as another commenter suggested, I think an ebook you’d compile would be wonderful and I’d buy it without hesitation!

    1. Congratulations on the new little one 🙂 🙂
      Yes, Jack and Sarah have access to the room and the materials at all times. I’ll often find Jack in there in the mornings tinkering about or drawing. Most of their toys are in this room too now. They have a few stuffed toys in their bedroom but everything else is either packed away or in this homeschool room. On the other side of the room (near the door) are their magnetic tiles, lego, blocks as well as a small book stand. The room isn’t very big so they’ll often take things out of the room to play with in the lounge room.

      So when we are working in their for that focussed time, they can choose anything off the shelf or from the book stand. I try to discourage them from choosing Lego or other toys because the play with those freely throughout the day. They’re happy to choose things off the shelf though.

      I really really like this focused time. I am able to put out materials for language, maths, science, fine-motor… all those things, but the kids still have a choice of what they do; so they feel like they have freedom over their learning. I never have any groaning about lessons now. They just see it as a time that I am with them there playing and learning. It’s great.

      And you know…. I have been toying with the idea of some E-books…but well you know, time and all that…. maybe one day 🙂

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