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The IB Library and Parents – Our Commitment to Personal Relationships

I am a personDear Parents:

Below you will find an example of the kind of relationship we hope to have with every parent and child we work with.

We offer help, assistance, and a large quantity of quality materials to assist you and your children with English Learning & Literacy.

Please feel free to use the collection and let us know if we can be of additional assistance.

Lisa MacLeod – Director & Parent Advocate

PS:  This is an actual email conversation.


Hi Sanjay
My daughters I have realized can recite the alphabet and count but do not recognize the letters and the younger one does not recognize numbers. I am quite concerned that they are very behind their peers. I have downloaded mobile apps to help them learn how to write and recognize numbers and letters and it has been futile. I wonder how I can teach them in a way they will remember. I am a bit stressed because of this.
My eldest is 5 years old 2 months and my youngest is 3 years old 5 months.  – Eleanor


“Hello Eleanor,
Thank you for reaching out to us about your daughters. What lovely girls you have. Such bright smiles! And you sound like an amazing Mom!
I am a teacher of 16 years and a Mom of two boys. They are 6-Matthew and 9-Collin. I know what it’s like to try and teach your children everything they need to know. It’s not easy but there are many ways to help.
First, not to panic. Although the apps are a great idea sometimes children respond to things in different ways. Perhaps they are more “hands-on” and need more concrete examples to learn the basics. It can seem overwhelming to you and them so remember- start small and then add things slowly.
For numbers, you can start by using “manipulatives”. This simply means “things” they can move around to count and visualize just how much a number is. So you can try this:

• Gather some rocks, beans, coins or puzzle pieces.
• Write the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 on individual cards or pieces of paper. (You will do numbers in groups of 5 for now so it’s not overwhelming to them. Once they master these numbers you can move on.)
• Starting with the number 1 ask your child to put one item on the paper that says “1”.
• Do this for all of the numbers, 1-5, in order. Do this several times.
• Then, mix up the numbers and see how they do. If they get confused go back to the numbers in order.

You can have them count things at meal time. Ex. how many pieces of food do you have on your plate?

For letter recognition there are many fun things that you can do. You can start with a magazine, newspaper or even letters that come in the mail. Anything with print on it. They do not have to be able to read it at all.
Start with one letter at a time. Write it on a piece of paper by itself so they know what it looks like. Then ask your child to go through the magazine and circle as many of that single letter they can find in one sentence or one paragraph.

Like this… imagine this was a paragraph and the RED are the letters your child found…

I went to the store.
I got an apple.
I ate it at my apartment.
I love apples.

Then you can move to pointing out letters in a sentence in one of our online books. Below I share some book suggestions.

Then praise your child, no matter how many right or wrong. You just want them to feel happy about their effort.

Another good activity is using letter magnets (plastic letters with magnets on the back they can hang up on something such as a metal door) if you have them in your stores. Or you can even have your child use their finger to trace a letter in the sand. If you are working on the letter “A, a” then have them trace that letter, even if you have to help them.

Be sure to let them work on both the “Capital A” and the “lower case a”. They look different and they have to learn both.

Do not expect them to know this over night, it will take some time and that is ok. You are building their foundation. Once they have the basics down, recognizing the letters and numbers, then you can move to sounds and small words. We call this our “Dolch/Fry” sight word list. We are creating books on those as we speak.

Another thing that is just as important is reading to your children and letting them follow along with their finger as you read. They need to see words, see letters and hear them even if they can’t read on their own. It can be as little as a few minutes each day or night.

Here is a suggestions of book titles to begin. At this point they will not be able to read them but they should be able to follow along with their eyes and you can move their fingers along under the words as you read.

  • I Am A Person
  • Well, For Goodness Sake Little Jake
  • Spunky’ s Special Friend
  • One Star at a Time
  • Mr. Sun Smiles Down on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne
  • Zoo on the Moon

Letters and numbers are all around us. When you are in a store point out letters- “Look, can you find the “C” in the word “Can”?” Repetition is the key! They need to see it over and over again, in a consistent manner, to learn it.

Best of luck to you. Reach out to their teachers as well. Let me know how it goes and I’ll be happy to make further suggestions.”   – Lisa MacLeod



“Hi Lisa, Thank you so much for getting back to me so promptly. You have really cute boys with warm smiles. I have noted they both have tablets. I think that is an easier way for each of them to get the lessons and books that apply to each of them. I will try implement the methods you have advised and will get back to you. Yesterday Bracha recognized the letter ‘A’ and ‘B’ so I am quite chuffed. We are getting there slowly :) I am quite grateful to the IB library team for your constant support and advice. You are a real God send. I don’t know what I would have done without you!” – Eleanor