3 Basic Skills The Older Child Can Teach Little Siblings

Children playing
Big brothers and sisters need to feel important in their little siblings’ lives. Playing together is certainly good, but an elder child can offer something that nobody else, within the family or kindergarten, may have the time to: teach basic drawing, reading and writing skills.When my brother and sister (twins) turned 5, I was 11 already and I felt I could give my siblings so much more than just playing or singing together. They would enter primary school in less than one year, I thought, so why don’t help them have a good start?
3 Basic Skills Elder Siblings Can Teach: Draw, Read, WriteI thought of my first day in primary school and the struggle I went through to learn how to read and write. I had a talent for drawing, but I knew nothing of how to read (but a few letters of the alphabet) and write. I wanted things to be different for my brother and sister, to have them prepared for the big day.

Teaching How To Draw

My siblings loved drawing — which child doesn’t? The work we did was mainly improving line-work and sketching from a sample (photos, toys, etc.). We had fun; after all, that was nothing but another game to play together.An older child can be a good drawing mentor to a little one. Unlike a teacher — an adult — siblings are more of a peer: they are children too, they understand the same needs, can share the same activities and don’t get upset if their younger brother or sister takes longer to complete a task.

Teaching How To Read

When I think of my 11-year-old self, I have to admit she was quite genial. Teaching 5 year olds how to read can be tricky, but it ended up being not.We started with a set of letters from the alphabet. Not written at first, I used alphabet cube puzzles with my brother and sister.The first letters I taught were vowel. Both the kids learned them fast, so I continued with the easier to pronounce consonants: m, n, p, b, g, l, s. Learning how to read the whole alphabet took 3-4 of months (they were not always willing to learn!) but it worked. My siblings were excited by the new gameand they felt less scared of starting school.I taught them to read 2-3 words then, the Italian version of Mom, Papa, Sissy. I didn’t want to stress them with further learning, nor I had the time to do more, but when they entered primary school reading was a good experience already, not something unknown to face for the first time.

Teaching How To Write

I told my brother and sister that writing was like drawing, only in a smaller form. They trusted me on the word, and weren’t disappointed.The writing step was done right after the reading one. It was slow but solid: write a letter, then a syllable, then a short word, than a 2-words phrase like “Mary laughs”.

Custom Home-Made Textbooks

I had this idea of writing my own little textbooks for my siblings: 30 pages each, with drawings to trace and color, words and letters to copy several times, 3-lines texts to read. I had fun making them, they had fun using them.Nowadays, my sister — now 20 — still keeps those old little books like a precious memory and tells me how much fun she had learning with her big sister.
About the author
Luana Spinetti is a passionate blogger who enjoys writing articles and short stories, comic art and illustration, computer science and programming, and SEO. She’s in love with the beauty of human relationships and she wishes for everybody to have the best experiences possible online. Her writing portfolio is located at writer.luanaspinetti.com
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