There is no question that the Internet has changed the way we do business and how we interact with one another socially. While the world of social media is filled with beautiful images of smiling children, the stark reality is that much of the content is child-friendly garbage. The same is true of many educational websites and apps. While all of these tools can be used for good, there is always the concern that what the children are learning isn’t age-appropriate, or worse, downright dangerous. When it comes to children and technology, it’s a battle that parents and teachers fight on a regular basis. As a parent, it’s hard to find the right tool for your child without worrying about the safety of your children online. With this in mind, what do children learn from salt tray writing sight words?
The best part of the salt tray method of teaching sight words is that it allows your child to build their vocabulary without danger of learning a keyword or trigger word. Since the words are generally unrelated to one another, your child will have to learn to associate them with something new – in this case, food! As a parent or teacher, seeing your child’s excitement as they discover new words or combine words to make new words is priceless. Unfortunately, this is also one of the major downsides to the method, as it takes time to develop the vocabulary needed to be successful. With this in mind, some parents choose to avoid salt tray sight words all together, while others look for alternative methods. For those who choose to continue with this approach, it’s important to expose your child to a variety of words and their meanings rather than restrict them to just a few.
When it comes to grammar, vocabulary is almost always the key. Children learn new words and structures all the time, but unless you’re teaching them how to properly use those words in sentences, they’ll never truly understand what they’re learning. It’s the same with grammar, kids can learn new rules all the time, but without the real-life examples of how the rules work in practice, they’re never truly going to get it.
For this reason, whenever possible, try to use real-life examples when teaching your children grammar. Going back to our earlier example about food and restaurant tips, if we want to teach our children how to order food correctly, we could model the behavior by taking them to a fast food restaurant and having them order something simple, like a grilled cheese sandwich. Even better, we could take them to a fancy restaurant and have them order something more complicated – like steak and lobster or a prime rib sandwich. By taking them to different places, you’re giving them the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in a real-life situation and ensure that they’re using the correct grammar. This is the best way to ensure that their knowledge isn’t purely theoretical and ensure that they can actually apply the rules in real-life situations.
On the other hand, some parents prefer to avoid grammar completely when teaching their children. After all, they argue, they’re only learning the rules and aren’t equipped to understand how they should be applied in real-life situations. While this might be true for older children, it’s important to expose them to as much grammar as possible even if it is theoretical. Why? Because when it comes to writing, grammar isn’t always easy to understand, and as a result, your children might even think that it’s not worth learning. By taking the time to explain to them how to correctly use the English language, you’re creating an interest in learning something that might otherwise have been dismissed as “just a skill”. At the very least, a familiarity with grammar will make it easier for them to locate the correct spelling of a word, which is certainly a valuable skill to have!
Just because your children are able to spell words doesn’t mean they understand how to apply logic to solving problems, and just because something is valuable doesn’t mean they should learn to spell it. This is one of the major downsides to the method, as it can easily lead to the misuse of words because they’ve learned to spell them incorrectly. In all honesty, this is one of the areas where the younger the child, the easier it is to teach them logic and reasoning. As they get older, it becomes increasingly difficult to ensure that they’re not simply copying what they’ve learned without actually understanding how to apply it. For this reason, the sooner they start learning, the better.
One way of avoiding this is by using visual aids, like diagrams and analogies. For example, if we want to teach our children how to add, we could use a diagram showing the numbers 1, 2, and 3. If we want to teach them how to subtract, we could use a diagram showing 1, 2, and 3 with a line drawn through them to demonstrate that they are now “less” than before. In the case of addition, this is a positive thing, but in the case of subtraction, this is a problem because the line through the numbers implies there is something missing instead of something extra. By using visual aids in this manner, we can ensure that they’re not only learning how to add and subtract, but they’re also understanding the why behind the “rules” of adding and subtracting. This is one of the best ways of avoiding word abuse because it forces the student to actually think about what they’re learning rather than simply parrot back what they’ve been told.
Last but not least, we have creativity. While we might want to limit our children’s access to all kinds of media and avoid letting them spend too much time on their phones or computers, we need to foster their creativity. After all, we all need a break sometimes, and being on our phones or computers isn’t always easy for adults either. For this reason, adults need to be careful not to limit their children’s access to technology altogether, as this will stunt their creativity rather than encourage it.
Encouraging your child’s creativity requires a bit of a balancing act. On the one hand, you don’t want your child to be completely sheltered from the world, but on the other hand, you don’t want them to be exposed to too much technology either. The best approach is generally somewhere in the middle. Even if your children spend a lot of time on their phones or computers, they should still have access to art supplies and other things that might inspire them to be creative. This is easier said than done, of course, but creating an environment that encourages their creativity can be a valuable endeavor. Art supplies are a great way of doing this. Having a box of paints and other art supplies in the house is one way of encouraging your child’s creativity, but so is setting up a painting station in the garage or even the basement. In addition, having music playing in the background when they’re doing their homework or practicing their spelling is also likely to result in improved performance. This is because music has been shown to increase focus and improve recollection, two important skills for any child learning to spell. Of course, these are just some of the many benefits of salt tray sight words. The best part is that it’s a simple and effective way of introducing your child to new things while not exposing them to negative influences or risks. It might not be for everyone, but for those who choose to continue using it, it offers a valuable lesson in educational psychology that simply cannot be overstated.