Teaching alphabet to a kid is like making a new pot every day from the potter’s wheel. By the time a child is two years old, he/ she begins to show his/ her inclination towards learning alphabet/ letters.
As we all know that each child is unique, so while some kids might learn their letters very quickly, others may need more repetition, time and patience to learn the same letters. So, today let us find out some fun, interesting, and happy ways to teach the English alphabet to our little ones.
Following are some of the things that a teacher/ parent should know before he/ she begins to teach letters to his/ her child or students:
- Be able to recite/ sing the letters
- Be able to match the uppercase letters with the lowercase letters
- Be able to identify the sounds each letter makes
How To Teach Kids English Alphabets At Home -11 Proven Fun and Effective Ways
Learning is always fun when it is done in creative ways. Kids are always excited when they are able to do alphabet recognition. Let us try to find out some innovative ways about how to teach alphabet to nursery kids in a way that they will like and have fun too. Some such ways are:
- Read: Books are the best ways to help a child learn his/ her letters. As you read and re-read the stories, you can keep pointing out the letters and their sounds by making those sounds.
- Touch and Learn: Many kids can learn only when they touch and experience something. These hands-on activities keep the body and mind busy. Like, you could help your child learn how to make the letters using play dough.
- Shaving cream letters: Squeeze some shaving cream on a flat surface or plate. Spread it around so as to create an amazingly funny and muddled writing surface. Your children will be able to practice writing their letters using their fingers and even if they make a mistake they can wipe the cream and start trying again.
- Straw letters: Create colourful and fuzzy letters using straws. Help the children bend the straws to form the letters that they want.
- Rainbow letters: Kids with a creative streak can be asked to practice writing the letters of their choice using the different colours of the rainbow.
- Collage of Letters: Give your children a pile of old magazines or story books and give them the task of finding certain letters. This will help them in recognising letters and improve their fine motor skills as well, as they try to cut and glue their findings together.
- Eat the Alphabet: Make yummy and tasty snacks and eatables for children that are in the shape of various letters. Then, make them speak those letters aloud while eating them.
- ABC Cookies: You can very easily find different styles of alphabet cookie shape cutters at most of the grocery stores or super markets. Involve your child in the entire cookie baking process, and keep revising the letters as they bake them and then eat them.
- Become the Letters: Help your child to try to form the various letters with their bodies or fingers! This can become quite an exciting teamwork (parent and child bonding), where making most of the letters is possible.
- Letter Hunt: Take your child for a walk through your neighborhood or to a nearby market, and ask him/ her to find as many as they can and then make them find the other letters too, making a game of it in the process.
- Play Spirit: Take your child to the playground and make him/ her jump the loops, dribble the basketball, or run across the jungle gym, all the while working together to say all the letters and their sounds out loud.
Even if the child makes a mistake during all this, do not scold or get angry, just say that “Wonderful! You were able to speak till the letter J without stopping. Next time, let us see how much further you can go.”
Ensure that they keep on practicing regularly until they can speak the complete alphabet till “Z” without stopping. Children enjoy this so much as it is a fun and interesting way to combine alphabet practice with the gross motor development.
Toys and Games for Better Results in No Time
Finding new, exciting and interesting ways to teach a child to identify the alphabet is always the best thing to do. This is where alphabet learning toys come in handy. Through these toys, children get to learn and have fun at the same time. Isn’t that pretty cool?
All of us (adults or children) get excited on seeing new toys. So, imagine how happy a child will be when he/ she sees something that he/ she recognises. He/ She will be so eager about learning the new letters and will be more motivated to understand and remember them.
Nowadays, there are and tons of alphabet activities and games that children can indulge in. This can lead to the parent and child exploring this new world of letters together.
When a parent buys toys for his/ her children, he/ she want to get the things that are both educational as well as fun! So, let us try to compile a list of the latest favourite games and toys of the preschoolers, which will also definitely help them learn the alphabet. Some such games and toys are as follows:
1. Einstein Box
The Einstein Box is a product that has been created to assists the parents in teaching their kids fall in love with the world of knowledge. Each box has wonderful books and many fun exercises, which help a child, develop his/ her thinking abilities, and increase the vocabulary too.
The different puzzle games in the box assist in creating creative minds, interest, rationale and memory. Each box concentrates around one age group, making it age and grade appropriate too.
The Fun with Words Puzzle box has a lot of three-piece word making puzzles. It also has an activity book and an activity guide. As the children try to join the right pieces to complete the image and speak aloud the letters, they get a hang of the spelling and construct style.
This puzzle box helps in improving the letter recognition, letter sounds and small word creation to help the children in building their language skills.
This toy has a wooden colourful learning educational tray. The tray has two sets of wooden letters and numbers, painted in many different colours. It helps the children learn letters and numbers from a very early age.
Its board is well-polished, non-toxic and made keeping in mind the safety regulations for young children. This game board promotes hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills in the children. It also assists in letter and colour recognition.
At What Age Should a Child be Able to Recognise Letters?
We have all heard the song “Now I know my ABCs, next time won’t you sing with me?” and remember singing it while growing up or with our children. For many children, this song acts as the first introduction to the world of letters.
The rhyme is also at times, the first time that the children are able to speak the letters from their memory, without anyone’s initiation. We all know that the English alphabet is a group of 26 letters.
These letters represent sounds in the language. Knowing, recognising and identifying these letters (and their sounds) is a basic skill that each child needs to learn and also they have to learn how to read.
Most of the children learn their letters at quite an early age. But some might need or require a little bit of extra time and regular practice to be able to know, recognise and identify all the letters. Learning and knowing their ABCs acts as a personal milestone for the kids.
Learning of the alphabet happens in various stages as not all children are able to grow and progress at the same rate. Some learn quicker than the others. But by the time children enter their kindergarten, most of them know their alphabet and are able to recite, recognise and identify them.
When a child is two years old, he/ she start recognising the letters and able to sing or speak aloud the “ABC” song and when he/ she turns three they are able to read about half of the letters in the alphabet and start to connect them with their sounds. (Like s makes the /s/ sound.)
By the age of four, children often know all the letters of the alphabet and their correct order too and by the time they enter the kindergarten, most of the kids are able to match each letter with the sound it makes.
While learning the letters, the kids also begin to develop some other skills, too. For example, by the time a child is two or three years old, he is able to figure out the letters in his name and when he starts school, he also learn that the uppercase A is the same as the lowercase a, just in the capitalised form.
By the age of four or five, a child starts to write the letters. He/ She learns to write the letters in preschool and kindergarten, but it would be a good idea to have your child practice writing his/her letters at home.
Most of the children at this age know that written symbols represent different kinds of messages and are interested in writing and creating messages of their own. One of the easiest ways for the children to learn how to write the letters is by beginning to trace them.
Also, another added feature is making your child write his/ her name. It is a very important step, which ultimately helps the child become familiar with the letters and in writing the rest of the alphabet.
What is the Correct Order to Teach the Alphabet?
Nowadays, there are many phonic programs, which teach different sequences to the children but the most basic premise rule is that the earliest letter/ sound links should be the ones that allow and assist the children to start reading and recognising the words and letters as soon as possible and that too with quite a relative ease.
Precise teaching of both letter and sound is quite important. In general, the following rules apply in case of teaching sounds of the alphabet:
- Start with the sounds that are ongoing rather than the stop sounds and can be easily spoken aloud by most of the children. For example, m, s, and f can be drawn out, leading to the easier blending of the sounds. So, these sounds are most often introduced early in the phonics-based programs.
- Always talk about the most commonly used letters first. Like letters, such as, m, s, f, c, p, t are more commonly used than q, v, z and x. Keep the least frequently used letters for later in the program.
- Introduce at least one or two short vowels early in the program and then one at the end of the next sequence and so on. Ensure that there is a lot of repetition with the vowels that are taught first before you move on to the next vowel. A child must know the vowel sounds in order to learn about the blending of words and reading them.
- It is imperative to teach the children vowels separately, leading to minimising of the potential confusion.
- Remember to teach new sounds to the children in small steps, merging the sounds learnt previously and repeating what they have learnt earlier, so that they are able remember it.
- The teacher/ parent must avoid teaching letters that are visually similar, together. Some such letters are q, p and d, b and f, t. This should be done because children get easily confused if they see similar letters appearing together.
Introducing the letters to the young ones and letting them make small and easy words from them almost right away creates a huge sense of pride and relief among them. However, if in any case your child doesn’t seem to be ready for learning the letters or their sounds then perhaps it might be wise to wait a little longer.
It seems to sound hard but, at times, waiting a bit until your little one is ready to play with the letters, will save you both a lot of frustration, anger and irritation. There should be no rush about how to teach the child about letters and their sounds.
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Should You Teach Capital or Lowercase Letters first?
Most of the parents/ teachers know that developing good literary skills from a very young age is quite important for the future academic success of a child. The first step that will help in this direction is preparing your child to read and write the letters.
Identifying, remembering and being able to read the letters is an important step in a child’s learning and education. A deep and in-depth research has shown that a young one’s knowledge of the letters along with the good overall phonetic awareness strongly predicts a positive future literacy development.
So, it is never too early to introduce your child to the world of ABCs, especially telling him/ her the difference between the upper and lowercase letters. In the world of education, there is a constant debate that keeps on happening on the topic that whether to teach uppercase first or lowercase first.
Some teachers and parents find it easier and quite convenient to introduce and teach the matching upper and lowercase letters at the same time. While neither the “big” or “small” letters should be kept aside for a long time, most of the teachers find success when teaching the uppercase letters first to preschoolers and seem to prefer that thought and ideology.
There are many reasons why that is so. Some of them are as follows:
- The child is able to tell apart the uppercase letters from one another.
- If both the child and the teacher concentrate on just 26 letters first (rather than all 52), then the learning process will become quite less frightening.
- The uppercase letters are easier for the young students to write as they mostly have straight lines only rather than the lowercase cursive letters, which are at times difficult to form and write.
- Whenever a child begins to consistently identify the shape and sounds associated with each of the 26 uppercase letters, it is then at this point that the matching lowercase letters can be taught to him/ her.
Towards the end, just remember one thing (either as a parent or teacher) that when you are teaching alphabets to kids, always ensure that you get to the end of the alphabet. It might seem like an obvious thing to say, but quite often, young children aren’t able to effectively master the last several letters.
So, be sure that your child knows the letters U, V and W as well as he knows the letters A, B and C! This will build confidence in them and make them better prepared to learn the letters. Alphabet recognition will build the child’s confidence as well.