Here are a few suggestions for helping to introduce and/or practice the letters of the alphabet. The key is to practice every single day for ten minutes, no more, no less. This should be IN ADDITION to any other homework (but, do it at a different time from the regular homework time).
- Letters in My Name
- Make up special flash cards, one letter per card, of the child's name. Download a copy of the Flash Card Template here. Ask your child to tell you what the name is for each letter. Once a letter is named correctly on a regular basis, put that letter to rest.
- Adding New Letters
- Do not begin adding new letters to the name letter mix. Wait until ALL of the letters in that first set have been mastered before moving to the next group. Once the letters in your child's name are mastered, then select the next five to seven letters (you can work with the letters in the last name, for example). Work with those letters only.
- Post-it Letters
- Pick up a package of Post-itª notes (sticky notes). Write one letter per note (only the letters you are having your child practice). Place these around the house (bathroom, kitchen, hallway, etc.). Whenever you and your child are in that part of the house, have your child tell you what the letter is. Train the other family members to do the same. This way your child is ALWAYS seeing the letters and practicing! You can even use safety pins to pin the notes to the seat of the car or van seat so that your child can be staring at the letters instead of a blank seatback!
- Salt/Sand Letters
- Take a large cookie sheet or cake pan and fill it with salt or play sand (you can get play sand at Home Depot for about $5). Have your child practice writing the letters in the salt or sand.
- Shaving Cream/Gel Letters
- Get two plastic baggies (Ziploc® type). Fill the inside of one of the baggies with shaving cream/gel. Push out all the air then seal up the baggy. Take the second baggy and put the first one inside of it (this will help just in case the first one pops!). Have your child write the letters in the cream/gel. The simple act of 'writing' in the mushy cream/gel helps to provide a new sensation that connects various learning modalities.
- Sand Paper Letters
- Get sheets of sand paper and cut out the letters in the alphabet. Have your child trace the letters with his/her fingers. The rough, tactile feel of the sandpaper provides a connection to the brain that often helps children with learning the letters!
- Alien Finger and Books
- Whenever you are reading a story together, use something different for pointing to the letters and words like an Alien Finger! An Alien Finger is one of those vinyl witch fingers found during Halloween… Any type of unusual 'pointer' will work; it is the novelty that is the key. Point out the letters that you are working on with the Alien Finger. Have your child identify each letter or, if you are working on words, run the finger along the letters in the word.
- I have a number of alphabet games that will soon be made available for download. All you will need to provide will be scissors, a number cube (or die), some game markers (two or three beans will work or even some different coins!), some baggies, and a box to store your goodies and games.
There are a multitude of ways to help your child learn the letters of the alphabet. These are just a few ideas to get you started. Have fun!