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Associating words with symbols


Developing reading skills in young children is a challenging task. This involves enabling the child to associate meaning with written or printed language.


Recognise a symbol and relate it with a task.

Associate a symbol with a word.


If you have a classroom without furniture, fine; otherwise, take children out to the verandah, backyard, or wherever there is an open space for children to move about freely.

Choose symbols for running, walking, hopping, skipping, galloping, taking giant strides, tiny half-steps, walking backwards and sideways. All symbols should be simple and easy to remember, for example: running: -- Skipping: ~ ~

Now assign each symbol to one corner of the open space. Explain to children what each symbol stands for. When you do this activity for the first time, don't take more than three or four symbols, otherwise the children may get confused.

Choose any point to start. Ask children to do what the symbol says when they reach the spot where the symbol is drawn on the floor or displayed.

When each child has a chance to participate a few times, replace the symbol with the relevant word, writing it neatly where the symbol was drawn. Increase the number of symbols as children become familiar with them. And each time they return to the classroom, ask them to draw a map of the space outside, showing what they did where.

Related Questions

Is it easy to use symbols to indicate tasks?

Words are symbols for objects or activities. What do these symbols mean: run, crow, sugar, roar, xpzc?

You see road signs. What do they mean?

Adapted from: "The Child's language and the teacher - A handbook", Krishna Kumar, UNICEF.

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