Stop Taking Sausages and Ham

Stop taking Sausages and Ham

sausageI grew up in a small family and many times only my mom and I were eating at home for many years. It is not easy to cook for two persons and we are not exactly good at cooking. So we ended up with lots of junk food meals. My favourite was instant noodles and sausages. I love canned food too, from  Campbell’s soup to tuna spreads. My mom is adventurous with new kitchen appliances and we had our microwave since I was rather young. At that period of my life, I had no clue I was eating junk food.  I was not interested if I was healthy or not. I was only concerned with my weight and what I wore.

My first lesson learnt was a miscarriage.  It was extremely depressing for me and I had blamed myself for the lost. I pointed to every single thing that could have gone wrong include my food intake. The process lead me to my previous post on “Food to avoid during pregnancy“. One food I vividly remember taking prior to my miscarriage was instant noodles and sausage. Somehow I had to link the two issues, emotionally, or otherwise. However, I did the blog post almost blindly. Yes, I had avoided all the food I listed, but I did not dwell further to find out more.  I had avoided sausages and ham only during my later pregnancies, and continued to take them after I delivered.

My journey into motherhood, made me more aware of the food intake in relation to our health. Last year, the media reported that World Health Organization says processed meat causes cancer ( It got my husband and I disallowing sausages and hotdogs on our dining table. We have stopped taking sausages, ham, and canned tuna for a year, and I’m glad we did.

We are finding out about how to eat healthier.  Stay tuned for future related posts.

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How my children learned to cycle the safer way

The bicycle wobbled. My arms were stiff with fists clenched tightly onto the handles. My legs froze. Before I could move any muscle, I was thrown off the bicycle.

It hurt tremendously. My right knee was badly scrapped against the rough track surface. There were bruises on my hands and elbows. All my schoolmates who had just taught me how to cycle were way ahead of me. I was left behind, with no experience in tackling the steep and winding slope. It felt especially lonely as I sat up. I had to get back up in order to catch up, or they won’t be able to find me. (note: we did not have pagers, nor handphones then.)

That night was a painful and sleepless one. My mum ran out first thing the next morning and came back with a tube of antiseptic powder. (She is a very resourceful mum). The powder dried up my wound really fast and I felt so much better after two applications. I was 14 and it was the most painful injury I had. The wound was deep. It was one I could never forget. Today, the scar is still on my knee.

The terrible fall I had at 14 years of age had made me determined to help my children learn cycling through a safer process. I searched for information online and tried a few ways.

I got them to roll their two-wheel bicycles down a gentle slope to learn the balancing skill. They could do that easily. However, it was not easy for them to start pedaling. We were stuck at this stage for a couple of months.
Feeling clueless, I asked a few mummy friends how their children picked up cycling. One of them told me something I didn’t think of. Her children could cycle on their own without falling off their bicycles!

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the method. During the very next school holiday, DeeDee and I brought GerGer and BoiBoy to Toys”R”Us and bought them each a two-wheel scooter. For the 8 weeks that followed, the children were on their two-wheel scooters every day, learning to balance.

DeeDee suggested they try to cycle once he observed that they could balance well on the two-wheel scooters. I was busy at home that day, so I didn’t think much about what he said. An hour later, DeeDee came home with the children and exclaimed “They can cycle !!!” I was over the moon. Finally they learned to cycle the safer way!!! My wish came true!!! ^_^

So to mummies out there who hope your children learn to cycle without falling down, you may want to try the same method we did!

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Understanding my six years old boy all over again.

In 2016, BoiBoy starts his formal primary education journey. I had put in a lot of effort to adjust the daily routine for GerGer and BoiBoy last December, so that they will sleep and wake earlier. Both of them are in morning sessions this year and the morning routines will be here to stay because Ministry of Education had rolled out a plan for single session primary schools country-wide.

While the children only took a few weeks to adjust to the change in hours last December, things began to change when school officially started in January. BoiBoy’s daily tantrums got worse. His anger fits got more intense. He is unhappy over the slightest issues, and has continuously made unreasonable demands (for example, he wanted to have a pair of new boots immediately after school one day).

Way back in 2013, I have used interesting ways to coach BoiBoy on Anger Management. I conscientiously chose to use time on coaching his emotional management, over coaching on academic aspects. All along I had thought that I was doing pretty well. From early 2013 to late 2015, I got busy with the retail business I had embarked on, and I guess the emotional coaching took a back seat, though we still talked about it when BoiBoy gets angry in my presence. While I was soaked up by the retail business, BoiBoy had his angry fits at home and AhMa would usually give him snack treats to distract him.

This year, the challenge of facing BoiBoy’s daily angry fits midst the morning rush, the daily after-school homework, and weekly enrichment classes almost made me bonkers. My emotions went downhill with each anger fit I had to face. I started to blame myself. Perhaps my parenting style is not good for him? Perhaps I should be working again so he would not have to face me so much? But who will coach him on school work? Who will help him transit into Primary School Life? I have lost all every bit of confidence in me by the end of January.

Thankfully, I have mommy friends who share similar issues and we would confide in one another to feel better. After chatting with a few parents, DeeDee suggested that we introduce a Nap Time for the children. Although GerGer does not really need to nap, but we thought it would be easier to have them nap at the same time so I could take a shower or quickly fit in a task before they wake up. Changes are always challenging. I had the honor (as usual) for implementing the change on 18 February 2016. For the first week, BoiBoy and GerGer were angry when I tried to wake them up after an hour. In the second week, I tried to wake them up after 30 minutes (according to the Power Nap Theory). They were also angry. We are still adapting as I write this post.

Although they were angry when I woke them up, I noticed a tremendous change in BoiBoy’s learning attitude during his piano lessons on Tuesdays. For the whole of January and part of February before we implemented Nap Time, he was not paying attention, and he did not pass any practice pieces. On 23 February, he passed a piano piece which he was tasked to practice since December 2015. This encouraged me to continue the Nap Time routine. The other challenge I had was that we started to be late for the Thursdays English Enrichment Classes after the Nap Time was introduced.

My mind had been busy all these while, thinking and thinking about BoiBoy and me; our interaction. The thinking created a link in my head between my negative reaction to BoiBoy’s emotional outburst. For example, when he gives out a whimper or whine when I asked him to do his homework, I would react negatively and my negative reaction ignited his anger outbursts. So I started to change my response to his whines and frowns. The change in his response was only slightly delayed; he still got angry. Maybe because my changes were also minor. I tried to persist.

DeeDee asked BoiBoy one day on what we can do to help him when he was having his anger fits. BoiBoy said a hug would be good. And so we tried. Each time, I tone down my responses to his whines, and when he gets into the anger fits, I hugged him. It failed. I told myself I had to be patient. Changes need time. I was impatient inside.

One Saturday, we were out shopping for BoiBoy’s boots on his request. That day, he was holding DeeDee’s hands more than mine because I was mostly with GerGer shopping for her girly stuff while the boys were looking for boots. From a back view, I noticed how BoiBoy would hug DeeDee’s arm and rubb his ears against his arm while we walked. It hit me that he had always did that to me too, and I wondered if that is a signal I could pick up to understand BoiBoy better? I decided that he need to be touched. I had my doubts but there was no harm believing that his language of love is touch right?

BoiBoy with BalloonFrom that day, I hugged him more. I stroked his head more. I held his hand and counted to 50 in a calm voice when he was angry.   I carried him when he was angry, though he tried to gently push me away to show his anger. I used every bit of my sanity left to absorb all his anger and not retaliate in any negative way. (I wonder why I didn’t doze off…. *hee*). He indeed calmed down faster than before, after weeks of such rituals. My reward (finally) was that after he calms down nowadays, he springs back into a super good mood and he does his homework and other stuff with a smile. Do I have any sanity left? Not really.

I didn’t give up. I kept reading more to see if I can find anything. This week, I started to associate some of his behaviour to that of a “Sensitive Child”. Well, he is not Highly Sensitive, but he does display some of the traits. At the age of two until now, standing on sand barefooted is unbearable for him. He still wears socks at home because he feels more secured to do so. He hated the touch of cotton wool and furry stuff at two years old (he is now able to withstand this). He screams hard and has bad dreams when he has a cut near his fingers or toes – it was just too much for him. And we thought that he was just being unreasonable. I think ……….   we have misunderstood him.

Since young, he was always reacted negatively to our Time-Outs, Standing Corners punishments, raised voice, etc. He always learned better with us just talking to him in a serious tone. Now I associate this with the traits of a “Sensitive Child”. He scares easily. He is scared when he sees a page of words and would conclude that he knows no words at all. He is a reluctant reader because the sight of many words puts him off. All along, we thought he is a lazy boy. Now I’m starting to see this in a different light.

I continue reading about child development and on reading. It is perfectly alright that he reads the same book every night. We should not label him lazy. We started to observe that his comprehension of the story levels up each time he read the same book. He has the desire to understand deeper; instead of reading widely. He still wants me to read to him because he is scared of the number of words on the pages. I should not label him lazy. I should continue to read to him even until he is 12 years old, maybe vary the involvement each time. I should not expect him to read on his own since he is 6 years old.

Where have I been in the past 6 years? I feel like I’m only getting to know this adorable boy now. Or was I expecting him to grow up too fast? I never expected my parenting journey to be so mind-boggling, hair-pulling, and puzzling. I guess there will be more to come. It is really challenging to parent children but I guess the reward is in the process of getting to know one another better. Will I be able to cope with the endless challenges of parenting?

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A pleasant surprise on first day of 2016.

A pleasant surprise on first day of 2016.
The 2015 year end school holiday is coming to an end. BoiBoy was sick for the first week of the holiday. When he recovered GerGer got the virus. Her symptoms were different. She had fever for about 5 days, recovered for two days (we managed to go out for that two days) and then she had fever again for 5 days. When she recovered, we caught a movie, went to KidsStop!, Jurong Safra Kids Amaze, jogged, and shopped.
Our new domestic helper arrived shortly in mid December. Instead of being a great help, she arrived with a strong cold bug and passed on the virus to the whole family. Her arrival brought us distress. She is slow at learning, refuses to listen to our instructions and does everything against our practices. The family quarreled over the decision to send her away or keep employing her. Unhappiness filled our flat.

It is no joke to have the whole family sick and an unhelpful helper in the house. On Boxing Day, DeeDee and Grandpa went overseas for a night to attend a wedding. Grandma was too sick to join them. I was home taking care of two sick and grumpy children. Two days later we brought them to the General Practitioner: GP (their regular Pediatrician was on long leave) and they were given antibiotic. They had so much medication that they lost their appetite, felt lethargic, and were grumpy. We were so worried. The next day, I had fever. “Not another problem?!?” I teared. After self-medicating for two days my fever and cough did not go away. Reluctantly, I went to the GP with GerGer on New Year’s Eve. I brought GerGer along as her fever seemed to be stubborn and she vomited twice that day.

BoiBoy chose to accompany her when GerGer rested in my bed, instead of watching television. I smiled with joy as I watched this attention-seeking boy show concern for his sister.

On New Year’s Day, I vomited the whole day. I couldn’t not keep any food down. My fever wasn’t getting any lower. The fever medication made me felt nauseated. I felt so weak that I had to ask BayBee’s mum to help bath BoiBoy and GerGer. At about 4 pm, BoiBoy came into the room and wanted to accompany me. I was so touched. This boy, who is ever so grumpy, easily irritated and angry, and thinks of his own play time every moment – actually wants to accompany me?!?!?

We had a casual chat. We laughed. We played a little with a teddy bear. When it was time for dinner, he sat beside me (even though he already had his), and watched me eat. He suggested I should burp in order to hold my food down. He told me to massage my stomach in a downward manner, the same way I used to message for him when he had stomachs. I was surprised this suggestion came from him and I quickly did that. Soon, I was burping and I could really hold the food down. I thanked him for his great suggestion. After dinner, he accompanied me again, lying down by the window, watching how the dark clouds moved with the wind. We chatted about clouds, air pollution, and other topics.

BoiBoy’s concern for GerGer and me was what I had never expected. It was a pleasant surprise. I’m happy beyond words and I will remember this day. This is the best day ever for me! ?

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Motherhood and Business in the year 2015

The year 2015 is coming to an end very soon. GerGer has completed her Primary 1 and BoiBoy has graduated from Kindergarten this year. This is also the year we sold

Christmas Card Design MHMB

Christmas Card Design MHMB

off our business setup, at the right time and price. On the domestic side, we have sacked our helper as we found out she was meeting her boyfriend while she lied to us about needing time off to run emergency errands.

It has been a rough year. Wait a minute, which has hasn’t been rough on me after I started my Motherhood Journey? Hmmm….

I seldom rant here, but I think I need to let out a little here this Season. My apologies to followers to hates to read rants.

GerGer’s Primary One Journey

GerGer teared at the school gate for the entire period in Term 1 when I sent her to school. My heart sank each time I watched her bravely walking into her school with tears rolling down her eyes. We knew that she is a sensible girl. What we discovered was her emotionally brave side, and we were so proud of her.

I kept chit chatting with her whenever I had the time in Term 1. DeeDee agreed to let me take time off from our business operations during this time. GerGer was sad she had no friends. She was shy (is still shy) and introverted. In school, she was soft spoken. She was not adapting well to a system much larger than her Kindergarten.

To my dismay, our Supervisor resigned, and I had to return to oversee the operations of our business. I had no other option but to let GerGer take the school bus. Although it was more economical to let her take the school bus to and from school, DeeDee and I decided to fetch her to school ourselves. We did not want her to feel that our business was much more important than her.

The rest of the year was not a bed of roses for GerGer and myself. We thought she had found a great friend in school but after knowing her for three terms, we discovered that she was trying to “earn” money from GerGer. It was a tricky situation. On the academic side, I found out by the end of Term 2 that GerGer was reading books and text without much comprehension. That was one of the reason she struggles in her Journal Writing assignments.

During the June Holidays, I looked up materials to help her in comprehension and writing. We read many books together and we discussed story plots, interesting words used in the stories and chatted about the story elements. BoiBoy joined us for the “MeeMee Classes” (named by BoiBoy and GerGer) too and he enjoyed our sessions (or so I choose to think).

I was glad that GerGer showed improvement in comprehension of text in Terms 3 & 4. However, we are still working on her writing. We rewarded her for putting in effort (together with me, that was) for her final exams with a meal at Swensen’s. The ice cream dessert was the main attraction for her; not the food.

BoiBoy’s K2 Journey

“MeeMee Classes” used to be held only during the School Holidays in previous years. This year, it was a daily event. Unexpectedly, BoiBoy wanted to join in at the session at the start of the year. His intention was negative : “jealousy”, but I took the opportunity to involve him. When he wanted to opt out later, and I was evil and refused. He had to learn his weekly spelling tests (one for English and one for Chinese each week) and I used the sessions to teach him the words. The year of learning his spelling words was not without tears for BoiBoy and not without anger for me. It made us realise that he cannot remember the sound of words well. I got worried. It was not long after I started worrying that he exclaimed “I hate reading!”. My heart broke when he said that. It shattered into pieces I could not recognize.

Reading has been the gift I had always wanted to give to BoiBoy and GerGer. I don’t get to set all our house rules; I don’t get to do bedtime reading with them consistently; I cannot remove the television in our flat and replace it with a bookshelf (out of respect as Grandma and DeeDee loves to watch television). **sobs** But I did the best I could. I read with them whenever I could. I bought books that boys would love. Books about cars, superheroes, and books that were funny.

I went through phonics sounds with him, I bought story books with synthetic phonics, and I honestly did all I could. Well, okay okay, I could have done more. My excuse? Not enough time.

Since he turned two, I have been working with him on his emotional outbursts. He has improved a lot. But I’m feeling so drained that he is still constantly (I’m dead serious about the description “CONSTANTLY”. I am not lying) demanding for play time, play mate, going downstairs to play, buying a new toy gun, a new I-cannot-even-count-anymore……. I had many serious talks with him about this meltdowns. He is much better now, but I’m secretly wishing that he could be way better so my tired mind and drained heart can have some peace (how about for 1 day at least?). I am asking for too much, I know. Perhaps I am a failure at raising this boy.

Business Decision

The time was right. The price was right. We sold our retail business operations set up in Autumn. It was an extremely difficult decision. It was fate that everything went on fast and smoothly, and in a blink of an eye, we have no more daily operations to care for. Of course we were still busy with the rest of the business, like the back end administration, accounting, and legal stuff. Our online business which was not part of the retail portion is still on going.

We have learned so much in a short span of over two years. Our personality might have somewhat changed. Our viewpoints turned. We are almost changed person after going through the learning journey. We understood our strengths and weaknesses much better than from the personality reports we have done in the past. It was definitely a worthwhile journey. We will continue to look out for our next venture.

Best-to-Bad Friends Forever

There are many articles written about mothers losing BFFs because of the commitment of motherhood. I was lucky it did not happen to me. Unfortunately our friendship could not stand the test of two commitments I had : Motherhood and Business. I could hardly meet up because I was working retail hours, and BFFs were 9 to 5 working personnel. Our only common slot was Saturday mornings. The fight was between time for my children and meet up with BFFs. They never uttered “no kids allowed”, but they ever told me “PLEASE DON”T, NEVER DO THAT” when I suggested to bring GerGer along for a trip with them. They have been lamenting that I don’t want to go on a Girls’ Trip with them.

They were too objective. I was too emotional. I never expected them to understand my Motherhood Struggles, nor my Business Struggles. But their negative comments to me, for not being able to meet up ever since I started my Business (or perhaps also because GerGer has started Primary School) had drained my Emotional Bank Account with them. I am sure I have drained theirs by not being able to meet up for so long.

The thing is, instead of giving me time and space, and letting me be who I want to be, they claim that they only wanted what’s good for me “A TIME-OUT”. They say I have neglected them. Ok, I have, but I honestly could not bring myself to leave the house and go have fun on my own. I have my own take on “Time-Outs”. Many mothers know that “Time-Out” leads to more issues like “kids sleeping later than usual, or taking naps when they were not supposed to, eating chocolates for the whole day, watching television for the whole day, or similar stuff”. It is more tiring to correct these behaviour over the next few weeks !!!! A Time-Out is costly for me. I’m not complaining about having people mind my kids while I’m out having fun. I’m only trying to avoid the Emotionally-Draining Experience of behaviour-correction which can take FOREVER or until I lose all my hair!!!

So I have lost my BFFs. I could not withhold my thoughts anymore and ranted. POOF! I have hurt them and pushed them out of my life. It is sad. My other friends (some marrried, some single, some with children and some without) understand me much better and can chat (over Whatsapp) with me more comfortably these days. Anyhow, life goes on.

Emotionally Drained

I’m so drained this year that I had totally forgotten about my Wedding Anniversary. I realised that when I was working or at my shop, I had idle time to be reminded of the special day. With my domestic helper sacked, kids falling sick, keeping kids’ day according to schedule, shifting ahead their sleeping time as they need to wake up early for school next year… and .. and … and (never ending list)……. my mind had ZERO idle time. Stay Home Mums have minds occupied and overflowing things to remember and do… and they don’t have the luxury of keeping an outstanding list because honestly, we sometimes don’t even get to Pee, Poop, Shower or Take a Meal…..  I’m not a 100% stay home mum but I can understand how tough it is.

The next year…..

I’m getting mentally prepared that next year will be another rough year. BoiBoy who hates to read and is restless and demanding is going to Primary 1. GerGer who still hates to write is going to Primary 2 with more demanding Journal Writing Assignments. Career paths will change for DeeDee and myself. We have a new domestic helper….. will she fit the job well?

Motherhood leaves me with no time to feel as much as I would love to. It gives me so much on my plate that I JUST HAVE TO MOVE ON WITH NO TIME TO WASTE.

Bye bye 2015 and Hello 2016!


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Confused about phonics?

Ever since my previous blog post about “ Marrying the Letterland Characters with Phonemic Chart“, I am glad to have received various requests for the materials. However, many in my circle of mothers have responded that they do not understand what I have written.

I figured that my earlier blog post might be too technical for those who do not know what phonics, or phonemes are. In this blog post, I will attempt to put in simple terms what these are all about.

In the English language there are 43 sounds based on the Phoneme Chart (19 vowel sounds and 24 consonant sounds). Phonemes (i.e. sounds) in English are just like “Hanyu Pinyin” in Mandarin. They represent the sounds for words in the language; they help us pronounce words.

The 43 sounds are internationally represented by weird looking symbols which are hard to remember. Seriously, will you remember /ɔ:/ and the sound it represents? How about /ɪəʳ/ or /aʊ/ ? Honestly, I cannot remember, and will not remember even with sleepless nights spent staring at them. If adults cannot remember, how can we teach them to children? And so that is how Phonics was born. Phonics are a method of mapping sounds to letters of the alphabet, and there is a limitation because there are only 26 letters in the alphabet.

Teaching the 43 sounds is difficult because of these two reasons: (1) there are more than one way to spell each sound, and (2) there are more than one way to sound out each spelling. Let us look at some examples below.

The “I” sound (some calls it the ‘long i’ sound) can be spelled in so many ways :
i                in pie
ie              in cried
i_e            in kite
y               in cry
uy             in buy
ig              in sign
igh            in night
ei              in either
eigh          in height

Now let us look at the spelling “ei”. It can be pronounced as ‘I’ in the word either, and it can also be pronounced as “A” (long a sound) in the word vein.

There are no fixed rules to spelling a sound, or sounding a spelling. Phonics method attempts to teach the most common sounds and spellings.

Hope that this blog post clears some doubts.

Happy December!

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How to draw a cute flamingo [with Dagi Stylus, and Procreate on iPad]

I received a lot of encouragement on my first non-professional Demo Video on the use of Dagi Stylus P702. A dear friend suggested I demonstrate how to draw some of my latest art works (I do art works used for other purpose), and I decided to do the one on a cartoon flamingo. The artwork on the big-head character I drew was prompted when GerGer suggested to have a pink flamingo cake, since she likes pink (though she also likes blue after watching the Frozen movie by Disney).

My apologies for doing a Demo despite not having any professional skills. I hope that non professionals will also see the usefulness of drawing with Dagi Stylus. I enjoy it and I hope to share this.  Hope you like the Demo.  Keep your suggestions coming in !

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Dagi Stylus P702 Demo Video

The children’s writing table was there. GerGer was using it a while ago when I coached her with the loads of school homework she had. It has not been kept by my domestic helper. It was just there, as if waiting for me to do something on it. I took out my iPad4, and decided to do my very own Demo Video for the Dagi Stylus P702 which I have been selling for years.

My live drawing skills sucks. Alright, I know that adding the “live”  word doesn’t help me hide my lousy drawing skills. I have been, and will be working hard on my drawing skills. I promise! The video was done solely to show the performance of Dagi Stylus P702 in the hands of a wannabe illustrator like me. Argh! When will I become a professional illustrator? Ok, I will stop dreaming.

So there is the video! And I sincerely apologies for my poor drawing skills. Hope that it can help you in making your decision on which stylus to buy. Dagi Stylus, and from my shop!  Yippee !!

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It is a good thing that the children are noisy.

Before I had children, I didn’t enjoy noise that children made in restaurants, on the plane, and almost anywhere else. Now that I am a mother, and have (sort of) gotten used to the noise, I don’t get disturbed by noisy children. Instead, my attention will be to see if I can tell what the child wants or needs. My paradigm has shifted.

Having my paradigm shifted is one thing. The noise level and the endless movements in the house sometimes do get to me, still. Of course I appreciate the noise deep down in my heart (though my brows will curve upwards, and lips curve downwards). When the children are noisy, it means they are well.

The drawing in this post was done using Dagi Sylus P702 on iPad 4. Hope you like it.

Mummy Scene at Home

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The /f/ phoneme; Firefighter in Letterland

On good days when time falls on my lap, I’ll make worksheets for the children based on my earlier post about phonemes and Letterland sounds. I share one example in this post. It is about the /f/ sound in the phonemic chart, and also the sound that Letterland’s Firefighter makes.

The worksheet shown in this post seeks to get children familiar with the sound /f/, and the number of ways the sound can be represented by letters of the Alphabet. In this case, there are four ways, as shown in the worksheet.

Hope you find this useful.


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