Your kit may include some Milestone Cards. There are two types of Milestone Cards: horizontal lift-the-flap cards and vertical lift-the-flap cards. They are designated as follows:
Step 1: Horizontal Lift-the-Flap Cards – Blue
Step 2: Vertical Lift-the-Flap Cards – Orange
Step 3: Vertical Lift-the-Flap Cards – Red
Step 4: Vertical Lift-the-Flap Cards – Green
Step 5: Vertical Lift-the-Flap Cards – Purple
Please start with the Milestone Cards with the blue backgrounds that open sideways. The same ten words (clap, wave, mouth, nose, arm, ears, head, hand, hat, and waving) are written four times each with different fonts, font colors, background colors, and font sizes. The generalizable shape of the word stays constant while less important factors vary. This is to highlight that the shape of a word is more important than less relevant characteristics. By age two, children have a shape bias, or a tendency to organize objects by shape rather than other attributes (such as color). Learning the shape bias is an important milestone for understanding the meanings of words because categorizing objects by their shapes generally gives infants more information about the objects’ functions than organizing by color or texture.
The Milestone Cards with orange and red background colors are designed to give infants and young children many opportunities to see and hear words that differ in only one phoneme – the smallest unit of speech that can impact the meaning of a word. These Step 2 (orange) and 3 (red) cards have words that differ in only one sound. These cards have similar derivations of the same word (such as ear and ears) on each card, which gives your child opportunities to notice very small differences between spoken and written words. Please highlight how the words are similar and different while pronouncing them precisely. The fourth set of Milestone Cards (with green backgrounds) combines familiar words into short phrases. Some of the phrases are very similar, making it challenging for many children to notice the differences. Again, please point out how the cards are similar and how they differ. You may use these cards to encourage your child to say more phrases – an important language milestone for communicating.
The fifth set of Milestone Cards (with purple backgrounds) focuses on highlighting phonetic patterns in written language by listing rhyming words that are spelled similarly. As an additional activity, try writing down more rhyming words with similar spellings so that your child can see other patterns in written language.