Great tricks for learning letters
Before your child starts school they should have a reasonable grasp of the alphabet as this is a key foundation for learning to write. However, teaching your child the alphabet doesn’t mean you need to sit them down and show them flashcards until they can recognise the letters. Children learn though exploring and discovering which they do through movement and the five senses.
Incorporating learning the alphabet into your daily life is the best way to engage children and show them that learning can be fun. A good starting point is the letters in their name as they will need to be able to recognise and write their first name before starting school. Letters that have only one sound are also the easiest place to start and progressing on to vowels will be helpful in creating words later on. Here are some fun ways to get your child interested in learning the alphabet:
Children learn to form letters through learning the movement of the shape first. Create letter dot-to-dots so that they can join the dots to form a letter. They will see how the shape of the letter begins to develop and what the end result is. Get them to repeat the sound of the letter with you so they can associate the sound with the shape.
- Glitter Letters
Another way of helping your child recognise letters is by using glue and glitter. Using a glue stick draw a letter onto an A4 piece of paper and then get your child to sprinkle the glitter over the paper. This will stick to the glue and a letter will appear out of nowhere.
- Letter Treasure Hunt
Cut A5 sized letters out of coloured card and hide them around the garden or in the sand pit. Then let your child loose to find all the letters – for example you could hide all the letters of their name. When they find one and bring it back to you tell them which letter it is and then spell out their name at the end of the hunt.
- Bath crayons and foam letters
You can buy these from most toy shops and they are perfect for playing word games in the bath. Put a few letters in the bath and ask your child to find the letter you call out, or use the bath crayons to write letters and read them out together. This will help your child make the connection between the sound and shape of letters and familiarise them with the alphabet as a whole.
- Painted Letters
Make or buy wooden letters and get your child to paint them in different colours. You could buy all the letters in their name or their favourite toy or a hobby so that when they’ve finished you can display them in their room.
Letter games such as letter bingo, letter snap, and letter memory are all fun ways to teach your child to recognise letters. You can also use shaving foam, coloured sand and magnetic letters. As you play, sound out the letters so your child gets used to the way letters sound as well as how they look. You can also play the ‘Get Squiggling’ game on the Cbeebies website.
- Use real life
You can teach letter association with everyday objects to help your child understand how letters relate to things. For example when you give them a banana, say B is for banana, the banana is yellow. Or you can use toys, such as D is for dinosaur, the dinosaur goes roar.
Children learn better when they are interested so making learning enjoyable will improve their literacy development. Bear in mind that some children will learn faster than others but persevering with these letter activities will help boost their confidence with words.
The STABILO Early Writers Pack helps young children practise and develop the fine motor skills that are the building blocks for learning to write. Click here to download the free resources.
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