The letters of the alphabet are the foundation of language. Children should be introduced to their ABCs well before age 3 and have a mastery of their letters, both in and out of order, by kindergarten. This will make their introduction to school much less confusing. Once a child is armed with the ability to recognize letters and match a letter to its sound they are on the road to reading.
Do not worry about teaching all 26 letters at once. Pick a few, maybe the child’s name, to focus on, then add more as the child progresses. The most important aspect of learning anything is to make it fun so be creative! And don’t forget to provide positive verbal praise for efforts as well as accomplishments!
Below are some fun activities to make and do with your child that will put a smile on their face:
- Create “parking spaces” on a poster board labeled with letters. Use a small toy that either begins with the certain letter or mark the toy with that letter. For example, 26 cars could be marked A-Z or use one car for C, a truck for T, or P for pony, etc. Have the child park the toy in the corresponding space.
- Write each letter on a sticky note. Allow the child to find something in the house that begins with that letter and stick it to the object. Then put all the objects in order, or walk to them in order if they are large.
- Make Alphabet Soup! Fill a large kitchen pot with 3D letters, plastic or wood. Allow the child to ladle out each letter then talk about that letter. What letter is it? What sound does it make? What word starts with that letter? Spice up the experience by putting on an apron and chef hat!
- Children love to sort. Label cups with the capitol letter, mark small objects with both capital and lowercase letters, and then let the child match the letters. The small objects could be bottle caps, stones, Scrabble pieces, popsicle sticks, etc. This can be done with colors, shapes, objects, photos of family, 3 letter words, animals, anything at all! When the child progresses you can use this technique to recognize nouns, verbs, adjectives, and so on. There are so many variations of sorting, the possibilities are endless.
When you find something your child enjoys and it works, tell your friends! Parents are always looking for new ideas, I know I am!
Author: Cydney Oakes, CSD Specialist
(815) 484-9442 ex204