Helping your child to learn the letters of the Alphabet is a great first connection to reading. Research has shown that children who can recognize letters of the alphabet have an easier time learning to make connections between the letters and the sounds they stand for. Children need to memorize the letter names, and they can do this through direct instruction along with many exposures to the letters in print. Practice with writing the letters is an effective, proven method of building and reinforcing letter recognition.
Here are some fun and easy activities for helping children develop their alphabet recognition skills:
** Teach letter names before children learn the sounds with which they are associated. Teach the child the alphabet song, and sing it daily. Point to the letters of the alphabet as you sing the song with the child.
** Provide the letters in different forms: printed on cards, cut out from pieces of fabric, especially felt or fuzzy materials, or cut out from materials such as sandpaper or Styrofoam. Have the child trace the letter with her or his finger as she or he says the letter name.
** Have the child make the letter out of clay, pipe cleaners, finger paint, or form the letter with her or his body.
** Teach the child the letters of her or his name.
** Some pairs of letters are easily confused. It is best to avoid teaching them together. Allow enough time for the child to learn one letter before introducing the other letter.
These pairs include:
lowercase: b-d, m-n, m-w, g-p, g-q, n-u, p-q, u-v, v-w, f-t, c-o, b-p, c-e, a-o, b-h, h-n, i-j, i-l,and v-y
uppercase: C-G, O-Q, I-L, M-N, M-W, K-X, C-G, E-F, U-V, V-Y, D-O, and P-R.
** Young children often find letters in the following groups confusing. These letters should not be taught at the same time.
e, a, s, c, o
b, d, p, o, g, h
f, l, t, k, i
n, m, u, h, r
** Provide practice in writing the letters. Let the child write the letters on unlined paper first. Students can use paint or finger paint or pencils.
** Write a series of words on a piece of paper, for example, box, ran, back, fan, boy. Ask the child to circle all the words that begin with a letter, in this case, the letter b.
** Select a letter for the day and write it on a large sheet of cardstock or construction paper. Have the child cut out words from old magazines that start with that letter. The child can also add her or his drawings of things that start with that letter.
Just a few, quick ideas that are a great lead-in to literacy!