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Scaffolding Learning

Maryanne was frustrated because she felt her son, a four-year old was not learning effectively. He seemed to know all the names of the letters of the alphabet, but did not seem to apply these to reading or writing. She approached Dr. Crowther to help her with her son.

Dr. Crowther met with Maryanne and her son at his home. Maryanne showed her what her son could do. He certainly could recite the alphabet and also sing the alphabet song.

Dr. Crowther placed some magnetic letters on the fridge. She asked him to sort which ones were the same. He quite willingly did so. He put b, d, e, and p together. He also placed m, w, v and u together.

Dr. Crowther explained to Maryanne that young children learn by looking at how things are similar rather than different. In the first set he sorted by curved letters and in the second set by straight lines. She suggested some fun activities to learn to differentiate between letters. These activities were broken down into logical and simple steps to maximize her son’s success.


Maryanne followed Dr. Crowther’s advice and reported that both she and her son really enjoyed the activities. He quickly learned to differentiate the letters and also enjoyed printing and writing words. He was beginning to read words in the books she read to him.