While many parents know that letter learning is one of the first pre-reading and writing skills that children need to learn, many don’t know exactly how or where to start or the order in which they should follow to teach them. If you have read our blog posts before, you know that we believe the “how” to teach letter learning is to provide children with a variety of fun, engaging, meaningful, and hands-on activities and games. Today, we are going to focus on letter learning concepts that should be included in the activities you do with your child when working together. That being said, please note that every child is unique and learns at his/her own pace. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and take your time!
Start with the letters that have the most meaning to your child. Children need to learn that their name is made up of a group of letters that are put together in a certain order that goes from left to right. They can also learn the letters in other names that are important to them, such as their mom, dad, sister, brother, grandparent, friend or the name of a pet. Practice naming these letters in order and writing them repeatedly using fun materials like crayons, markers, gel pens, dot paints, chalk, etc.
Letters have both a name and make sounds. When children see a letter in a book, on a sign, in a name, or in a printed word, they need to know that the letter has its own name that they can say and that it makes its own sound. Help them make the connection that each letter has a name by pointing out that when they sing the ABC song, they are saying the name of every letter in the alphabet. Be sure to also introduce the concept that letters make sounds that when put together are used to say, read, and write words. Practice saying the name and sound of each letter in the alphabet.
Letters have both uppercase and lowercase forms that make the same sound. Uppercase and lowercase letters are all around. Some letters look the same or almost the same in both uppercase and lowercase forms and some look completely different. It may be easier for your child to start with uppercase and lowercase letters that look the same such as Cc, Kk, Oo, Pp, Ss, Tt, Uu, Vv, Ww, Xx and Zz and eventually continue on to the rest.
Letters are made up of shapes and lines. Letters are made up of shapes such as circles and curves and lines. Allow your child time to doodle and create these shapes and lines, and eventually put them together to practice forming letters.
Write letters from top to bottom. It is easier for beginning writers to pull their writing instrument down from the top of the letter rather than pushing it up from the bottom. Using paper with guidelines will help them learn to write their letters correctly. It is important to remain patient because it is normal for children to reverse letters such as S, B, D, and E. Remember that this should be fun! Try not to get hung up on mistakes that they make. The more relaxed and fun it is for them to write their letters, the more likely they will want to continue doing it.
These suggestions offer a starting point for letter learning. You can help your child to learn letters by playing a variety of fun games and doing motivating activities together. If you need ideas for highly engaging games and activities that will help your child learn their letters, check out our Pre-K Letter Learning Kit which provides 24 activities, lesson plans and all the materials you need to implement them.
Visit https://theathomeacademy.com/products/learning-to-read-letter-learning-activity-kit for more information.
Any questions? Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com. Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.