Jan at Queen's Square | July 22, 2019
Recognizing letters of the alphabet and the sounds the letters make is a necessary skill for reading. Try to practice a little bit every day.
How? Start by helping your child to learn the letters in their first name. Eventually everyone needs to learn both upper and lowercase letters, but my suggestion is to start with what they use in school, which is the lowercase alphabet.
You will need a large pad of blank paper (plain or construction). Take one letter at a time and print it very large on half of the page of paper with a crayon or similar. After you print the letter SAY: “This is the letter “a” and it makes the “ah” sound like apple” (plus other examples). Have them trace it with their finger and repeat it with you.
This can be a slow process as most children need lots of practice with each alphabet letter. And if their attention span is short you need to do this a few times each day. They will learn faster if you add a tactile element to it and call it “The Alphabet Game”. Here are some ideas:
-print a letter, then use a glue to stick something tactile on it (rice, sand, cereal, glitter, fabric, etc.)
-use chalk on the sidewalk, fence, chalkboard or paper
-you can have them trace a letter in a sand
-paint letters with water and paintbrush on the sidewalk, or fence
Sing the “Alphabet Song” with them also, which will help auditory learners.
Keep it fun and surprise them by making a letter using cereal, small candies, or mini-marshmallows. Some children need lots of encouragement and praise as they learn, but each child is unique. Some kids learn the alphabet quickly and easily while others need more practice. Some children need the grown-ups to be very firm and insist we play our “alphabet game” then we can do (fill in the blank for something they will enjoy).
Leapfrog has a DVD called “Talking Letter Factory” which teaches kids lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and the sounds they make. These ideas can be used hand in hand with my suggestions, when they are ready for the entire alphabet.
Once kids can know the alphabet they can start learning their first sight words. If you're having trouble finding suitable material, check out Idea Exchange's Read the Rainbow collection. The red level is most suitable for children just learning how to read and recognize language. In addition to individual titles, Read the Rainbow kits are now available to borrow at our Queen's Square location.