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Monday, August 26, 2013

Alphabet Soup by Lyn Armstrong OTR/L

I am thrilled to have discovered occupational therapist Lyn Armstrong's website and book.

I was also honored to learn that she knew who I was and had been sharing my books with parents at her training workshops!!!
These workshops- geared towards groups, impart information to enhance the classroom environment and home instruction, and to improve the child's educational progress.  Click on the link above for the list of workshop topics or email her for more information at

Alphabet Soup by Lyn Armstrong is a compilation of fun activities to develop an interest in letters. It is written for parents who want to help their young children build foundational concepts  such as:
  • 1. letters stand for an object's name
  • 2. letters are a means of communication
  • 3. letters are part of everyday life
  • 4. letter learning can be fun
Children learn these concepts best by putting away workbooks and pencils and engaging in fun, creative play activities. I love how the author begins by describing how to motivate children by beginning with familiar tasks and teaching to develop trust, learning and finally proficiency.  Each activity includes:
  • materials needed
  • how to construct and use/play
  • what developmental skills are worked on (i.e. gross motor, fine motor, perceptual, language, tactile etc.)  

Activities are designed to appeal to a young child's interest in play experiences such as ball games,  driving toy cars or pretend play with dragons. The video below demonstrates an example of how Air Hockey using the nasal syringe develops hand strength, visual tracking, social skills and handwriting as the boy keeps score.

Alphabet Soup also focuses on using visualization and stories to learn and remember letter formations. For example, a story about going fishing with lowercase c, a, d, and g  involves a fairy godmother waving her magic wand to turn Mr. c into an a. Now that letter a has one little foot to hop around on!

The book's illustrations are fun and describe the games well. Beginning on page 57 readers will enjoy bonus lists of activities that develop
  • strength
  • organization and sequencing skills
  • bilateral hand use
  • finger dexterity
  • pre-writing skills such as making letters out of dough 
and how to adapt commercially available games to work on different skills
  • removing the Cootie (by Hasbro) bugs from play dough
  • sorting ants from Ants in the Pants (Hasbro) according to color
  • placing matching letters on Don't Break the Ice (Hasbro) ice cubes to hit.

Armstrong also sells sturdy alphabet playing cards that can be used to play traditional games such as Go Fish. Since the children will be using easy to identify letters, games reinforce letter identification and discrimination.
I recommend Alphabet Soup for 75 pages of activities and teaching strategies that develop many foundational skills required for reading and writing. Young children deserve fun and games and this book provides exactly that!

Check out a long list of helpful blog posts at: