Teach Your Child to Read Series is definitely off to a great start! If you missed last week’s kick off, please head over and read through Teach Your Child To Read… 5 Concepts to Master Before Learning to Read. It has all of the details for this series that I am hosting this month.
I introduced the 5 Concepts to Master Before Learning to Read last week, and this week we are going to cover in detail the first concept, Learning the Alphabet and HOW to teach the alphabet. I am including tons of resources and activities that you can utilize to teach the alphabet to your child. So, what are we waiting for… let’s get started!
How to Teach Your Child
In order to learn to read, your child must first know the alphabet. In the beginning of learning the alphabet, your child might forget some of the letters or even mix them up and that is 100% okay. The goal is not perfection, but instead, over time and with continued education from you, your child will slowly stop mixing up the letters. It could be a slow progression, which means it is important for you to not become frustrated or to expect perfection. As the teacher, you need to recognize that young children often learn & retain the most when taught through play, dance, music, and art. And lastly, please remember this is not a one-time lesson, but instead; something that needs to be continued until the child has mastered learning the alphabet.
It is also critical for you to recognize the way your child learns. Do they have a long attention span? Do they prefer doing one type of activity over another? Are they able to sit at a table for 15-20 minutes? The reason knowing the answers to these questions is important is because it will affect which activities you decide to do with your child. At this point, you’re just going to have to use trial and error to find what works best for you and your child. And don’t forget to get creative! If you don’t see something on this list and you think it would be a great way to teach the ABC’s to your child… USE IT! You are the most knowledgable person when it comes to your child and what will work and what will not work… don’t forget that!
Activities to Teach & Reinforce the ABC’s
Sing the ABC’s
- I started singing the ABC’s to my kiddos when they were babies. When I rocked them, when they were fussy, and when they were done riding in the car and we still had an hour left in the road trip. We also played various songs that sung the ABC’s as well as songs that included the alphabet.
- A quick search on any music service or YouTube generally supplies a pretty large list of a variety of ABC songs.
Read Books about the ABC’s
- If your child is hesitant about having you read, you could always try letting them select the book that you’re going to read. If that doesn’t work, maybe try sitting with them to just look at the picture and discuss what they think is happening in the book. You could even go as far as creating your own story with your child using the pictures as a guide while still learning about the alphabet. Create a story out of the pictures in the book and include your child into the story… kiddos love to be part of things!
- Now, I know some kiddos just don’t like to sit still and listen to stories, so I would suggest trying audio books. You can listen to them in the car or put them on at bedtime when the kids are getting ready to go to sleep. Some exposure is better than none.
- One big thing I would suggest when selecting books to read is to be sure to get ones that have great pictures, books that include topics that your child enjoys, and remember, it’s supposed to be fun! Here is a list of books that both my son and daughter enjoy:
- A Is for Apple by Georgie Birkett
- Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
- Sesame Street: Elmo’s ABC Lift-the-Flap by Lori C. Froeb
- The Food Alphabet ABC Book: Foods from A to Z by Lucy Ann Carroll
- Pinkalicious ABC: An Alphabet Book by Victoria Kann
- My First ABCs: An Alphabet Search by Michael Kracht
- LMNO Peas (the Peas Series) by Keith Baker
- I Spy – From A-Z!: A Fun Guessing Game for 2-5 Year Olds
- ABCs of Kindness
There are so many wonderful books out there that can help in learning the alphabet. I recommend doing a search through Google or on Amazon to find what you are looking for and where to purchase it. If you do not want to purchase the books, be sure to visit your local library, and if they do not have what you are looking for; usually the library can order it for you.
- Using flash cards is a great way to point out each letter to your child as you’re singing the alphabet. It allows your child to recognize the connection between singing the song and how the letters look.
Arts & Crafts (also helps with fine motor control)
- Print out each letter of the alphabet. Then once a day, select a letter and do some art with it. You can have your child decorate the letter using paint, finger paint, markers, crayons, or you can have your child glue various items to the letter (beads, sequins, stickers, etc.). Not only are you helping them to learn that specific letter, but they are also getting exposure to different art mediums, developing fine motor control, as well as getting to express themselves creatively. I suggest you keep each letter and use them as reference to reinforce the learning.
- Alphabet Yoga – ABC for Me: ABC Yoga: Join us and the animals out in nature and learn some yoga by Christiane Engel – This is a great book that you can use to not only learn the alphabet, but to get some yoga in.
- Go on a nature walk and find items that you can make into the shape of the letters of the alphabet.
- Melissa & Doug Building Blocks ABC/123. As you play with your child, say the letter on the block and show the child as they are using it to build.
- Seasame Street Elmo’s on the Go Letters
- Vtech Alphabet Apple
- LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set
- Foam Fun Alphabet Letters and Numbers for Bathtub Education
Please remember, you do not need to purchase things to teach your child the alphabet. However, you can browse the things I’ve suggested and find ways to use things you already have at home to teach your child the alphabet.
Cartoons & iPad, iPhone, Computers
- ABC Kids – Tracing & Phonics (app)
- Super Why Story Readers (cartoon on Netflix)
- Leapfrog Letter Factory (cartoon on Netflix)
- ABC Mouse (online subscription)
A quick search on whatever service you use, will pull up suggestions. A few guidelines I would follow are making sure to limit the amount of screen time, don’t solely rely on this to educate your child, and make sure it is age/rated appropriately.
Reading is such an important concept for a child to learn to be successful in their education. The majority of today’s information and communication is processed through reading, thus teaching your child to read is a necessary component to their overall success. Depending on your child’s age and attention span, I would recommend starting simple and adding additional activities as you see fit. Please keep in mind how long each activity you do with your child is, and that it matches your child’s attention span. This will help you from overwhelming your child with new information and also (hopefully) prevent disinterest in learning the alphabet. REMEMBER to KEEP it FUN!