Thursday, May 19, 2011

Learning the Alphabet- a few ideas

Children love to sing the "ABC" song, and it is a fun way for them to learn the names of the letters, but play with the song a little or all they are learning is a song. It will not have a connection to them that it has any meaning other then being a song they like to sing. Especially the "LMOP" part, it becomes a blob of letters that are one. Here are a few ideas for the song, and other things to do to help your child learn the alphabet.

  • Sing the song slowly, emphasize each letter.
  • Get some ABC cards (upper and lower case) and point to each one as you say the letter while you sing the song.
  • Hum the song, leaving the letters out
  • Using the flash cards, turn one over and when you get to it, don't sing that one....later turn a few over.
  • You can do these same activities without the song too.
Introduce your child to upper and lower case letters, (capital and small) some look the same, but some don't so it is good to teach them both.

The letters that have the most meaning to children are the ones in their name. Write their name on things they draw or color, using an upper case letter for the first name and lower case letters for the rest. Write it in the upper left hand corner when you can. Point out the letters in their name when you see them in writing elsewhere.

You can also point out the sounds the beginning letter makes.....popcorn starts with the letter "P", that is the "p(a)" sound. As they get more used to this, you can say, "Can you think of another word that starts with the "P (a)" sound? Write down the words they say. If they say one that starts with a different letter, sound out both words to help them learn the difference, but praise them for trying and see if they can think of another word or suggest one yourself. You can even write a list for each letter and tack it up. The words they say do not matter, they are not words they need to learn, just words they have thought of that start with that letter. You will find later they will say "Goodnight papa" and then come running to say, "Papa....that starts with the letter P". The consonants are easier than the vowels, so start there. Later they will learn ending sounds.

At preschool we also talk about the letter's shape, and the children love to practice writing the letters with dry erase boards and dry erase markers. We make all of this part of fun activities, not drill work. We also have the children who are able to write their own name on their art work.

If you are ever concerned that your child has a speech delay due to inability to say some of the letters, pay attention to what they can and cannot say. Some missing letter sounds are very normal in preschoolers and will develop as they mature. But some require speech intervention. If you are concerned contact your local school district and ask when they do screenings for speech evaluations. At times, because you are always hearing your child speak, you get used to how they say words, but if other people ask "What did she say?" all the time, you may want a speech evaluation.

Letters and words surround us all the time, so make some games out of word fun and your child will learn the letters with more ease. Go on a letter hunt in the grocery store, have him point out each time he sees the letter "C" today and next time the letter "M".

Put magnetic letters on the front of the refrigerator and have a letter of the day.

Read fun alphabet books, like "Chicka chicka boom boom", and "Alphabet Rescue" .

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