Walking is hard. Learning how to walk is even harder. Caregivers can relate to the incredible journey a baby goes through as they build the muscles to learn how to sit up, stand up, and then eventually walk. Learning how to read is a similar journey that also takes time. Before reading a paragraph we have to read a sentence and before the sentence we have to know the words. What comes before the words? The alphabet.
Letter knowledge is the early literacy skill that enables children to learn the alphabet. Learning the sounds, shapes, and names of letters are the building blocks to achieving letter knowledge. It’s important to work with all three of these steps.
The alphabet song is a staple for learning the names of the letters. Teaching children animals sounds is a great way to start helping them learn that different things, including letters, have different sounds. Letters are also made up of lines, circles, and curves. Being able to make and recognize those shapes is a way to start the process of recognizing the different letters. Make sure to prepare them for knowing that letters themselves come in different shapes. What’s the difference between a big A and a little a?
Don’t let the diverse process intimidate you. The quest for letter knowledge can include a vast number of specific activities and methods including:
- Make letters out of playdough or other sensory items
- Read books about letters
- Play games that involve shape recognition
- Get children moving by walking out shapes
- Point out and sound out letters often
- Sing songs about letters and their sounds.
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