Let’s scramble up some eggs … not our kids!

I saw familiar truck in traffic recently, and a had a good giggle. Every time I see a UPS truck it reminds me of  a precious four year old boy in one of my Pre-K classes.

Each time we would go outside to play he LOVED watching (and hoping) the driver of that truck would pull up near our school. He may very well become a driver himself, or become CEO of that company someday!
He’d yell, “Miss Barb, look the P-U-S truck is here!”   You realize he’d say each letter because he wasn’t reading words yet. Busted us up each time!!

It sure demonstrates the importance of teaching about the correct sequence of letters in words, right?

The little guy got the thrill of his life when I ordered something that was delivered to our school, a few months later, and he actually met the UPS driver!!

It is an important lesson because as children learn to read they will learn the correct order of letters in words when they see them often. However, when they are expected to write words, and sentences, the spelling sometimes comes out a tad all scrambled up.

I can see it clearly (Okay, I remember it clearly) after going to the zoo with second graders years ago.

I was a big hippopotamus.  No dear you should have written it this way:

I saw a big hippopotamus.

Obviously, there is a BIG difference in what those sentences mean.

Do you see the problem won? I mean ….

Do you see the problem now?

One day driving home from work, a laughed again as I saw another UPS truck. And, then I saw a license plate that got the creative juices of ‘my former teacher self’ all excited. The license plate looked like this one, with numerals on either side of a letter.

However, the same three digits in each numeral are in a different order. So I said to my self, “Hey Self, why don’t you write a post to encourage parents, and teachers, with an easy way for kids to learn and use numbers, and maybe letters?”

Wordpress License plate

Generally, before children are able to write numbers, and letters, they begin by correctly identifying, and matching them. As an educator it is second nature for me to develop meaningful lessons from everyday life. If the digits are in a different order that car might belong to someone else!

As I saw that license plate, I thought, “What a fun way to have children identify digits (individual numbers) and numerals, and then recreate what they see.”

I started by asking the children to identify the digits to the left (of the letter K) and then the digits on the right. (And, of course, encouraging them to identify from left to right is  a good way to remind them that we read from left to right as well.) It also helps them to say those numerals aloud so they can hear the difference.

Once they have read them correctly, then I would ask if they look exactly the same.

“Does 356 look like 536?”

Then, I would give them cards, and ask if they could rearrange the digits so they would look like the numeral circled in red. (See photo below)

Wordpress license plate with numerals circled

You could give an example like this, and ask if these are arranged correctly to match what is inside the red circle. Which one matches?

Wordpress 653 card          Wordpress 365

I decided to use cards from the Set game because they are nice and large but you can use whatever you have available.

Find a variety of ways to practice this with lots of repetition. In November, we would do this with a fire truck because fire fighters are so exciting for kids. Holy Smokes!

(Get it? I couldn’t resist, sorry.)

Kids love the fire fighter unit! Let them correctly arrange the digits, and the words, on the trucks.

Wordpress Firetruck

While you teach about community workers or transportation, it’s good to include road signs. And, all kids seem to recognize the famous S-T-O-P sign.

STOP sign
Encourage them to place the letters in the correct sequence
STOP no no no POTS sign
Oops, read that word to them so they understand the problem. Give them another chance now.








As children learn the letters in their name, it is important that they learn the sequence of those letters too. I mean Tom is not Mot, and Brian shouldn’t be spelled Brain.

And on a personal note, although, I prefer to go by Barb I do occasionally sign my full name on certain documents. But, I promise you I do not spell it like some Barbra’s. I know many folks use that spelling but I’m a much happier camper without BRA in my name, thank you very much. Talk about embarrassing! Well, for me it is.

Whether you help children with the correct order of digits, numerals, or letters, it is all worth it because we wouldn’t want anything like this to happen to our kids, right? Hopefully, no one turns in a book report with such a mistake.

Silly spelling error

With children so into electronic screens these days, encouraging them to read and write has become my passion. Maybe this is true because I struggled in school, and I believe it is important to encourage this generation of students to become thinkers and excellent communicators.

Click here for more information on Barb’s Author Visits and Book Making classes



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