Lending Library Highlight: ABC and 123

There is a lot involved in learning the alphabet! Letter knowledge is about recognizing letters and their names and sounds. Before reading happens, children need to learn that letters are made up of shapes, that each letter has a name and that it represents specific sounds, and that even the same letter can look different (upper and lowercase.)

With toddlers we begin by teaching about shapes and their names, then during the preschool years we introduce children to the idea of identifying letters. Children first learn to match, then recognize, then name letters. They must learn that letters have features such as sticks and curves, that the orientation of letters is important (d, b) and that there is a specific way to form each letter. Children also need to learn that letters have a consistent order in words and names.  Whew! What a lot to learn!

What can we do to help?

  • Point out letters when you read a book. Help older children identify the letters and think of words that begin with each letter.
  • Point out shapes you see in the environment. What shape is the sign? What shape is an orange?
  • Make a letter collage; cut out a large letter from cardboard or tagboard. Older children can look for pictures of words that start with the letter sound.
  • Sing the alphabet song.
  • Look at alphabet board books, for toddlers and read alphabet books to older children.
  • Make letter shapes and letters out of playdough, clay, in fingerpaint, etc.
  • Provide alphabet puzzles, alphabet blocks, and magnet letters (watch for loose magnets.)
  • Display children’s names in the classroom. Children often recognize letters in their own names first because these are the letters of words most important to them
  • Help children learn to write their names, starting with knowing the first letter.
  • Display alphabet charts and posters (at child eye level). Talk about the letters.
  • Help children to associate each letter with objects or animals that start with that letter.
  • Provide upper and lower case letter matching games.

In our preschool literacy tote, “ABC &123” we have a variety of activities to help with number and letter recognition.  Some of the highlights are alphabet books:

The  book Apple, Banana, Cherry that is fun to read along with a cookie sheet and magnetic letters.

Children can match up the magnetic letters with the letters and words on the pages in the book.

Another fun game to play with the cookie sheet and magnetic letters is the “I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Letter” game.  It starts with, “There was an old lady who swallowed an A.  What would she say if she swallowed an A?” and continues on down the alphabet.  You can add in the names of your children and familiar objects in the room as you play this game.

Check out the I Spy Bingo game where letters are included with other objects to search and find.

There is also a homemade I Spy bag game included in the tote

If you are interested in making your own, there is a great tutorial at AussiePumpkin Patch

There are so many alphabet games you can make for free!  Here are a few ideas . . .
Feed the Alphabet Monster at I Can Teach My Child 

 I Can Teach My Child

Duplo Sound Matching game from This Reading Mama 

And this upper and lower case matching game at Housing a Forest 

To check out the ABC, 123 tote, visit our Topeka lending library.  It includes number games and lesson plans, too!

What other alphabet learning games do you like to play with your students?