If you are the parent of a young child, you might be interested in helping your child to read by learning phonics.
In this article, I talk about how you can encourage the independent development of phonics awareness in your child by using quiet books. In particular, I talk about phonics letter E, and how you can easily create this letter E quiet book page at home yourself.
According to WebMD, 4 to 5-year olds are starting to develop pre-reading skills. This means that they are starting to sound out basic letters. And by the time children reach grade 1 in school, they are capable of blending the sounds of two different letters. Eventually, they can move on to three-letter words.
Intrinsic motivation and phonics letter E
Children learn best when they are intrinsically motivated to learn, rather than being coerced into doing so. Interesting and fun tasks that children can explore independently while feeling secure in the presence of their grownups are best at intrinsically motivating children to learn [Ref: 1, 2].
The Oxford University Press recommends using pure sounds when teaching phonics. ‘Egg’ is one of the words listed by the OUP to teach the pure sound of letter E.
Learning phonics through quiet books
There are several resources and methods that you can use to teach and reinforce phonics among children. However in my experience of being a mom to two little ones, quiet books remain one of the best forms of learning phonics through independent play.
This is because quiet books provide children with interesting, relevant and age-appropriate tasks that are also autonomous enough to be intrinsically motivating.
You can find extensive information about quiet books all over this website. This link is a good starting point where I talk about quiet books and how you can start making one for your child.
Quiet book letter E page
In this post in particular, I want to talk to you about how you can create this adorable interactive quiet book egg page to reinforce the pure sound of letter E. This is part of a series of posts where I share with you how I got confident creating my own quiet books. And how you can do this very easily too!
Printing and cutting the quiet book pattern
Quiet book patterns can seem daunting if you are just setting out making a quiet book. But you don’t have to worry because you can find a ready-made pattern for this quiet book egg page here! Simply download and print it out and you’re good to go!
Once you have the printout in hand, you need to cut it out.
I used fine curved scissors to cut out the egg shapes as smoothly as possible. These scissors would also work beautifully on the HTV (heat transfer vinyl) that I would need to cut later for the top of the eggs.
I also used small sharp scissors to cut the other details of the quiet book pattern such as the little space between the two egg slots on the egg box. But for the simpler lines of the quiet book template, I just used a regular pair of sharp scissors. I was done in no time at all.
Pacing yourself while making a quiet book
It is important to pace yourself when you are making a quiet book. So I did not immediately use the quiet book patterns to cut out the materials.
Instead I took a paper envelope and placed all the little pieces of the egg quiet book page inside it. I carefully labelled it and put it away. I would return to cutting out the quiet book materials a short while later after taking a break.
Preparing to cut the quiet book materials
It is good to read these posts so you know what other preparations you need to make before cutting out the pattern pieces. For this letter E page, I used the following materials:
- Stiffened felt fabric in two different colors, speckled grey and plain white. These were both high quality 20% wool mix felt. I heat pressed fusible web behind both the felt pieces before tracing the pattern on.
- Yellow felt, unstiffened, to create the 3D egg yolk.
- A piece of burlap/ hessian/ jute fabric to make the top of the egg box.
- Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) in two different colors: green and white.
- Two flat pieces of polyester batting/ wadding along with a little lump of polyester wool .
Cutting the letter E quiet book materials
Now it was time to cut out all the felt and HTV pieces that I needed for my cute quiet book egg page.
I traced the simpler parts of the letter E quiet book patterns on the fusible web’s backing paper. This mainly included the white of the fried egg. I was careful to flip the pattern over while tracing the outline. Since this was an easy shape to cut, I used a simple pair of sharp scissors.
For cutting out the perfect circle for the egg yolk, along with any heat transfer vinyl (HTV) pieces, I directly taped the quiet book pattern on to the materials and cut around it.
My curved scissors made quick work of cutting out the egg yolk. My regular sharp scissors worked beautifully in cutting out the clean lines on the jute and HTV.
Putting together the quiet book egg page
Finally all the pieces of my letter E quiet book patterns were ready to be put together!
I first sorted out the HTV bits. I pressed the green strip of heat transfer vinyl on to the jute fabric. The lovely smooth white HTV went on top of the stiffened white felt.
Next, I fused the egg white on to the quiet book page using a hot iron. I also fused the top layer of the egg box, which is the jute fabric, on to the bottom layer of grey felt.
Sewing the quiet book pattern parts
Next I took all of these to my sewing machine and here’s what I did.
Quiet book egg white
To make the egg white, I did a tidy stitch all around.
Quiet book egg box
For the egg box, I first did a zigzag stitch along the top of the burlap/hessian fabric and trimmed away the excess. Then I placed all of this on to the quiet book page and did a zig-zag stitch on all sides except the top. This created two pockets for the eggs to slide into.
Quiet book whole eggs
To make the whole eggs, I sandwiched flat pieces of polyester wadding between the white HTV-treated felt and a bottom layer of stiffened felt. Then I did a tidy stitch all around the edge of the white HTV.
I hid the thread ends under the felt layer using a curved needle. Then I snipped off the excess length. Finally, I trimmed around the white HTV and gently pressed the curved edges to tidy up the eggs.
Quiet book egg yolk
For the egg yolk, I placed the yellow felt circle in the middle of the stitched egg white. Then I sewed halfway around.
Next I took a tiny piece of polyester wool, scrunched it up into a ball, and stuffed it under the yellow felt. I used the back of a paint brush to stuff it in. Then I sewed the circle close to create a cute 3D egg yolk.
Now the toddler can pull out the eggs from the egg box and also squish the 3D egg yolk. Yay!
Finishing off the quiet book egg page
I passed the threads to the back of the quiet book page, knotted and trimmed the extra lengths for a tidy finish.
Finally, I sewed on a patch of Velcro on to the page itself and attached the felt letter E. I will be doing a separate tutorial on how I made the letters soon. Keep checking in to read it.
Sound of E words list
If you want to explore letter E sounds according to the phonics system, take a look at this table that lists all the sounds of E along with corresponding words. You could begin with just a single sound and a corresponding word and then gradually introduce more words along with their phonetic awareness.
For more information on how to make quiet books relevant to the age of your baby or toddler, check out my article here. Or browse my website to find tones of ideas and free resources.