I read to my daughter every day and have ever since we brought her home. She now understands which way to turn the page, recognizes pictures and characters, and recognizes reading as a way to relax. When we get home after a long day of errands or from playing outside one of the first things she usually does (after throwing her shoes across the room) is grab a book.
Learning letters is the next step so I’ve started thinking of good ways to introduce and expand your child’s understanding of the alphabet.
Go Slow- Don’t just give them the alphabet and say “here!”. Pace the learning. Maybe do a letter of the week? So for the first week point out everything that you do or have that starts with A whenever in conversation. To give them a visual you can color different pictures of the letter A. This site has the alphabet available to print for free in English and Spanish.
Matching Games- There’s a lot of different ways to do this but the concept is the same. You are trying to get your child to recognize the visual characteristics of different letters. One option is using toilet paper rolls. Write letters on the outside of the roll. Then get some ping pong balls and write the same letters. Then have your child put the correct ping pong ball in the toilet paper roll. Once they get a little more advanced you can ask them to put the next letter in the roll. For example, if the roll says “A” you would say, “which ball would go after A in the alphabet?” Then they would put in “B”. Another way is using beans, rocks, or large beads and a cupcake tin. Same idea, label the items and the tin and have your child match the letters.
Dig!- This blog had a great idea for getting boys and girls active in their alphabet learning. This is also a STEM activity! Use foam or plastic letters and hide them either outside in your yard or in a sensory bin. You can hide them under leaves, dirt, rocks, beans, whatever you want (the blog has a whole list). This activity can get dirty 🙂
There are plenty (PLENTY) of kid’s books out there to help you along the way of teaching your child the alphabet. My all-time favorite is an oldie but goodie Chicka Chicka Boom
Boom. That book alone has so many crafts and activities you can do inspired by it it’s a whole new post.
Just remember when working with any child under five that you are not teaching them how to read and write in the traditional sense. You are teaching pre-literacy skills that will help prepare them for when they are ready to take the leap into reading and writing. So make it fun, make it exciting, and keep their interest in literacy alive.