Reading is an essential milestone for kids. However, before reading can begin, we need to teach our kids the alphabet. Teaching children the alphabet is foundational to learning how to read. Before children can put together sounds or combine letters that make up words, they need to know what they are.
Words will progress to sentences. From there, sentences will become stories, essays, books, and so on.
Chances are that you never taught the alphabet before, the concept may sound abstract and you are wondering how do you teach something that comes so naturally to you?
In this article I will share ideas on how to teach the alphabet to preschoolers in a simple and fun way.
- Have A Plan
- Read To Your Preschooler
- Sing Alphabet Songs
- Letter Hunt
- Mystery Alphabet Box
- Sensory Bag
- Make A Book Together
- Alphabet Arts And Crafts
- Alphabet Puzzle
Have A Plan
Create a plan of how you’d like to teach your child letters and stick to it. This is incredibly important because kids need consistency to flourish. You can incorporate playful, fun activities that will engage your child and teach her that learning can be fun!
There are many theories on what works best but most prescribed curriculum will probably include teaching a letter a day or week. This is where the kids learn their alphabet letter by letter, as in “A is for Apple, B is for Ball, C is for Cat” and so on.
Read To Your Preschooler
There are several excellent methods for teaching the alphabet to youngsters but even the best of these pale in comparison to the effectiveness of simply reading to them. Reading aloud to your child submerses him in language and forms a bond between you both. It also teaches him more than basic language skills, it teaches him nuance and inflection. Point out the letters on the page as you say the words so he can associate the sound with the letters. According to a research paper from The Ohio State University “ Young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to, a new study found.
This “million word gap” could be one key in explaining differences in vocabulary and reading development, said Jessica Logan, lead author of the study and assistant professor of educational studies at The Ohio State University.”
Read as many books as you can as often as you can. Read rhyming books and picture books, read nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Kids especially love it when you make up the stories as you go along, usually using their names in place of the hero of the story. Even reading from menus or everyday items around you like signs, or magazines can make a huge difference in the progress of their language skills.
Sing Alphabet Songs
Obviously, we all know the English-language, “A-B-C-D, E-F-G,” song. Sing the ABC’s in an easily recognizable tune.
Singing the alphabet helps kids learn the alphabet because their brains recall the information more easily if that information has a ‘catchy’ rhythm. As a result, they remember it better.
Kids should go from singing the song, to being able to say and point out the letters without a tune.
Do a Letter Hunt , It’s like an Easter Egg Hunt only with letters
A Letter Hunt is an easy and entertaining activity that increases your preschooler’s letter knowledge as he searches for a specific letter.
Cut out letters from magazines or create your own cutouts from colorful paper. Hide these letters throughout the house and challenge your child to a letter hunt. When he finds a letter he should scream out the name of the letter as loud as he can.
While teaching your child to recognize a letter is an obvious first step, it’s also very important to encourage him to recognize the same letter in a wide variety of places, in large and small fonts, and in a multitude of styles, shapes, and colors.
Mystery Alphabet Box
Have a weekly “alphabet box” session.
You create a box that your child can open to discover objects that relate to the letter of the week
For example, on the week covering the letter “B” you can have in the box a bat, ball, book,balloon banana and so on. Don’t tell you child right away what letter the “mystery box” represents. Ask her if she can guess the letter of the week by observing the objects in the box .
While some kids learn letters very quickly, others need more repetition and time to learn letters. Children learn best when they have many multi sensory experiences with letters.
When children have meaningful activities with repeated exposure, they start to pick up on letter names.
Make a sensory bag with an apple in it for A, ball in it for B or a car in it for C etc.
Sensory play is a great, hands on, way for kids to engage with the alphabet and practice letter recognition and letter writing. Using all the senses, and especially the sense of touch, really gets the kids involved and can be a great tool for little ones who are struggling with letter learning.
Make A Book Together
Make little books by folding a sheet of paper into a booklet. Each book must represent a letter of the alphabet. Cut out pictures from magazines that start with a certain letter and glue the images inside the book. For example, the book representing letter “A” could have pictures of an acorn, airplane, apple, ant and so on .
Alphabet Arts And Crafts
Children absolutely love arts and craft, so include this activity where they get to use paper and scissors, paint and glue, crayons or felt pens to design their own letters. You can help your child make alphabet bracelets with the letter of the day/week on it.
Puzzles are a great way to teach the alphabet
Puzzles help increase visual spatial awareness and develop a deeper understanding of themes and topics. These themes and topics include alphabet letters, shapes, numbers and colors. Puzzles can serve as a tool to help young children understand and memorize these concepts.
Teaching the alphabet is foundational for reading and writing. Around the age of 2, children begin showing interest in learning alphabet letters. While some kids learn letters very quickly, others need more repetition and time to learn letters. Using some of the above ideas I have shared could kick your little ones learning of the alphabet.
If you have tried any of these techniques , I would love to hear about it. Maybe you have used other methods that are just as fun and simple. Please share. Please leave your comments and opinions below.