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Use Jigsaw Puzzles to Prepare Your Child for Reading

Do you want to help your child develop those all important pre-reading skills? You can do that by doing jigsaw puzzles together. Puzzles help develop vital thinking processes that need to be developed before reading can take place.

Babies learn to recognize things by their shape. The position of the object is not important. A cup is a cup, whether it is standing upright, lying in it's side or upside down; it is still a cup. A jigsaw puzzle introduces the concept that position is important. More refined recognition skills are developed.

There are valuable learning experiences that can be gained from puzzle activities. Firstly hand-eye co-ordination is necessary to manipulate the piece into the correct position. To fit the piece exactly involves observing the shape of the hole as well as the shape of the puzzle piece. At first a young child deals with the problem by trial and error and sometimes force. The guidance and example of a parent begins to solidify the process. The youngster starts to develop spatial awareness and mental manipulation as well as increasing physical dexterity. Skill and ability develops as the child learns to place the piece in correctly and internalization of the process occurs.

The role of the parent is very important. Talking about the picture and demonstrating the correct method to complete it, will facilitate the child's learning process. This creates a great opportunity to increase your little one's vocabulary, as well as increase the recognition of objects and situations outside the child's immediate world.

Early childhood puzzles can be purchased in varying degrees of difficulty as your youngster's spatial and reasoning skills become more developed. Children learn to recognize color and shape by playing. Adult conversation increases the potential of the young learner's understanding and development. The green shape only fits in the green hole. This type of matching activity develops early reading skills.

When introducing a new puzzle spend time doing it together at first. Make this a happy social time and lots of fun. Do a puzzle long enough to maintain interest and attention, but be ready to move on to another activity as focus begins to wane. Eventually children will want to do puzzles by themselves as their dexterity and confidence increases, With praise and encouragement children will practice until the skills become familiar. Then is the time to introduce puzzles with a greater challenge.

In this technical age do not forget the simple jigsaw puzzle. The benefits and educational value of doing puzzles with your children far out weigh the small amount of time and money a parent invests in this great learning tool.

Barbara White has over twenty years experience as a parent, teacher and principal. Barbara, President of Beyond Better Development, now enjoys sharing her experience and insights aboutlearning with parents and teachers through workshops and seminars Barbara highly recommendsJigsaw Puzzles for all ages of children and adults.