How to Teach the Alphabet
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Teaching the alphabet is the first step in a child’s journey towards literacy—and the wonders hidden in books. How to teach the alphabet, however, isn’t something that comes naturally. If you’re struggling for ideas, we’ve got a list of helpful, alphabet-friendly strategies to help your little one learn her ABCs.
The more you read to your child, the more she’s exposed to the ABCs. Any storybook helps with letter recognition, but books dedicated to the ABCs are ideal because they link letters to animals, people, and occupations.
Begin Letter Recognition with Names
While it might be tempting (and logical) to start with the letter A, it’s often best to start with your child’s “own” letter—the one at the beginning of her name. Children identify strongly with their names, and are very motivated to learn which letters make up their own, special names. You can take advantage of this eagerness by reading personalized books such as ABC What I Can Be, which has the child’s name written throughout the book.
Go Week by Week
Every week, pick a letter and make it the “Letter of the Week.” Play games centered around that letter. You can ask children to spot the letter on signs as you drive, or ask them to think of animals or objects that begin with that letter. Print out coloring book pages from the internet showcasing the letter and color the page in together, talking about the letter as you do. (“Let’s color the apple. What letter does apple begin with, do you think?)
Sing the Song—You Know the One
Almost everyone knows the ABC song. The old tune helps children not only remember the alphabet, but also the sounds each letter makes. If you’re not a fan of the traditional song, you can easily find other songs that celebrate either the alphabet or individual letters.
A Little Television Time
Don’t forget children’s television programming while you’re figuring out how to teach the alphabet. There’s a reason Sesame Street has been on the air for so long.
Sit with your child during the program, actively looking for letters and talking about the show. Watching together turns a usually passive activity into an interactive one, and reinforces the lessons on the show.
Don’t Stress It
Not all children enter preschool knowing their ABCs, and that’s fine. Children learn at different rates, so if your little one doesn’t master the alphabet right away. Don’t worry. Keep reading, keep working on the letters of her name, and she’ll get there soon enough. In the meantime, you’re building strong memories of games, Storytime, and fun.