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Is your preschooler ready to learn the alphabet? If so, you may be wondering how and where to start. Teaching the alphabet is one of the most important responsibility for you as a parent and the absolutely necessary foundation for reading and writing. This means that the earlier your little one learns it, the earlier they will start reading and writing. Children can start showing interest and readiness to learn the letters as early as the age of two. Have in mind that the age may vary and that each child learns at their own pace. Most often they will need a lot of repetition and various activities to master the skill. But don’t worry! There are different approaches, methods and activities that you as a parent can choose from to make sure that the learning process is effective and fun.
Listening to songs
Music is an essential part of a toddler’s life. The reason is that it can have a lot of benefits to their overall development. You can choose ABC songs from Youtube. There is an abundance of options and the tunes are usually really catchy. Moreover, the videos are brightly colored to capture your little one’s attention. After some time your child will start recognizing the different sounds and words. And eventually they will learn all the letters of the alphabet. In the beginning they may not even realize that these words are actually the names of the letters, but with time and more practice they will get the hang of it.
Reading ABC books
Reading to your child is of utmost importance for developing their literacy, enriching vocabulary and stimulating imagination. Some parents start reading aloud at a very early stage when babies do not even understand the language. They, however, get used to the tone, voice and intonation of their mother. Research shows that kids that were frequently read to start speaking earlier than the ones that were not. When it comes to how to teach the alphabet, reading ABC books can be very beneficial as they are usually written in rhymes. This makes them more appealing and your child will memorize the letters more easily. You can also point out the different letters in the book, so that they can be visually recognized as well.
Tracing and writing the alphabet
The next stage of learning the alphabet is tracing and writing the letters. It would be a good idea to start with some prewriting activities which will improve your little one’s fine motor skills. These can be tracing different lines, curves and shapes, which are the base for writing letters. When your child is ready, you can proceed with tracing the letters themselves. There are numerous printable worksheets that you can download for free. You may want to put them in dry erase plastic sleeves for more durability and use dry eraser markers, so that they can be used over and over again.
Alphabet flashcards are really helpful when you teach or revise the alphabet with your little one. You can do different activities, such as arranging them in alphabetical order, matching the upper with the lower case letter, letter hunt etc. If your child likes drawing, you can print out coloring alphabet flashcards to make the whole learning process more fun and practice fine motor skills.
After your child has learnt all the letters and mastered the skill of writing, you can offer a suitable ABC workbook for more practice. The wipe clean workbooks are also a good option as they can be used over and over again. Another suggestion is the Alphabet mini workbook. It is a fun way to practice the names of the letters. Each mini page contains the upper and lower case letter, a picture starting with the corresponding letter and writing practice. Cut out the flashcards, laminate them and bind the mini pages together. As it is so small, you can take it with you when you travel or when you go out for a walk, so your little one will have a fun activity to do all the time. If you prefer to work on upper case letters first and then on lower case ones, check out the I know my lettters – upper case and I know my letters – lower case. Each workbook consists of 26 pages. Each page has a capital letter with arrows to show the sequence and direction of writing, a picture for coloring, and handwriting practice with dotted letters.
Kids are eager learners. They start learning new things form the moment they are born and can never get enough of it. But their natural way of learning is through play. If they do not have fun, the educational process won’t be as effective as you would like it to be. So, be sure you provide suitable educational games and toys for your little one and you will see the progress very soon. Magnetic letters are a good choice as they can be used for sticking to a magnetic board, but if you do not have one at home, your fridge will do the job. Wooden letters are anothe option and as the set contains multiple vowels and consonants, they can be used not only for learning and practicing the letters, but also for “writing” words.
Whichever method you choose, make sure your little one is having fun. Combine the activities that they like the most and show interest in. Remember, there is not a universal perfect approach to how to teach the alphabet. Let your little one choose the most suitable for them. Happy learning!