Learning the letters of the alphabet is more than just singing the ABC song.
Children need to recognize:
- that letters are different from each other
- that even the same letter can look different (upper and lowercase)
- that letters are made up of shapes
- that each letter has a name and that it represents specific sounds.
This skill is called letter knowledge and is a precursor to reading. Young children will be learning to recognize shapes, while older children will begin to identify letters.
Check out our Staff Picks for Look for Letters Everywhere.
- Look at the picture of the peacock and help your child find the letters. Help your older child identify the letters and think of words that begin with each letter.
- Cut sandpaper letters to use for rubbings. Put printer paper on top of the letters and rub over it with the long side of a crayon.
- Choose a “letter of the day.” Listen for words that begin with that sound, clap your hands when you hear the sound. Children are more likely to remember the letter if you use letters based on them (their name) or subjects they like (D for dinosaurs.)
- Point out shapes you see in the environment. What shape is the sign? What shape is an orange? etc.
- Make a letter collage; cut out a large letter from cardboard or tagboard. Younger children can glue anything onto the letter. Older children can look for pictures of words that start with the letter sound.
- Use words that all begin with the same letter sound (alliteration) like: the baby bounced bravely by. Talk about the letter sound.
- Make “alphabet soup” by gluing letters on to paper.
- Make letter shapes and letters out of clay, in shaving cream, in fingerpaint.
See all of our 6 by 6 Finger Plays & Wordless Picturebook videos.
The videos below are particularly great for this 6 by 6 skill.