Is your preschooler ready to learn the alphabet? If so, this post is for you! Jam-packed with letter recognition activities designed to help you teach the alphabet, this post contains enough fun to keep your child busy for months!
Read on to discover more about this valuable pre-reading skill for young children, or scroll down to download eight of our free, top-quality letter recognition activities.
Letter recognition—also known as alphabet recognition—is the ability to:
If your child already knows “The Alphabet Song,” that is a great start! But there is more to letter recognition than being able to sing the ABCs. You want your child to be able to pick out the individual letters and name them, and that’s where the downloadable activities that follow really shine.
Children who know the names of the letters have three major advantages:
So you know that teaching the letter names is important, but now you may be wondering…
Developmentally, it will be easier for your child to learn capital letters first. That’s because the visual form of the capital letters is more distinct. Take a look at this row of capital letters:
The only letters that could be flipped and mistaken for another letter are M/W.
Now take a look at this row of lowercase letters:
With the lowercase letters, there are several pairs of letters that could be flipped.
So that’s why I recommend starting with the “easier” uppercase letters.
But what about the fact that most text is composed of lowercase letters? After all, this sentence has 57 letters, and only one of them is uppercase. Doesn’t it stand to reason that kids should learn the lowercase letters first?
Honestly though, it isn’t critical. If you want to teach lowercase letters first, that is fine. Just be aware that some kids do mix up those letters mentioned above. (And here’s help if your child already reverses similar letters such as “b” and “d”.) The most important thing is that your child has an enjoyable introduction to the alphabet, and that she can recognize the letters with confidence.
Now let’s dig in to the fun stuff!
Creating the Alphabet with Building Blocks
Creating the alphabet with colorful bricks is a fun way for preschoolers to become more familiar with letters and enjoy a favorite playtime activity—building!
ABC Playdough Mats
Crafting letters out of playdough allows children to feel the alphabet as they roll and bend the dough to form the letters. Your child may not even realize he’s learning!
As your child inches his way through the alphabet with this colorful caterpillar, he’ll get plenty of hands-on alphabet play, including putting letters in alphabetical order.
Your little one will admire her “letter of the day” every time she glances at her wrist. And tomorrow she’ll get a brand new bracelet to “show off” to family and friends!
Tactile Letter Cards
Children learn about the world around them through their senses. Our tactile letter cards let children use their sense of touch to learn about uppercase and lowercase letters.
Make Your Own Fabric Alphabet
Playing with the alphabet is a great way to help your preschooler get ready to read. This easy-to-make, soft, and colorful alphabet turns learning letters into a tactile activity.
“Feed the Puppy” Alphabet Game
Our “Feed the Puppy” Alphabet Game lets kids practice the names of the letters in a super-fun way. After all, who doesn’t love learning with a cute puppy?
Alphabet Picture Books
Alphabet picture books are the perfect way to increase letter knowledge. No crafty mess required! All you need are books, a comfy couch, and a cuddly preschooler.
These activities will give your child hours and hours of fun while helping prepare him for formal reading instruction.
When you are teaching letters to your child, make sure that you get to the end of the alphabet. This may seem obvious, but all too often, young children don’t master the last several letters. Be sure that your child knows U, V, and W as well as he knows A, B, and C!
To help you keep track of which letters have been learned, you can download this great little alphabet progress chart. Post it on your fridge or playroom wall.
Did you know that there are five skills that your child should master before beginning formal reading instruction? We call them the “Big Five Skills” and these skills lay the foundation for learning to read. In fact, they’re so important that we cover all of them in the All About Reading Pre-reading program.
If you’re ready to tackle the rest of the Big Five Skills, be sure to check out the All About Reading Pre-reading program. Your student will enjoy special games, crafts, and story time read-alouds, and you will love the way your student effortlessly learns essential pre-reading skills.
Which of these letter recognition activities are you going to try out first? Let me know in the comments below!
1. Mason, Jana M. (1980). When do children begin to read: an exploration of our year-old children’s letter and word reading competencies. Reading Research Quarterly, 15, 203-227.
2. Bond , Guy L., and Dykstra, Robert (1967). The cooperative research program in first-grade reading instruction. Reading Research Quarterly, 2, 5-142.
3. Chall, Jeanne S. (1967). Learning to read: The great debate. New York: McGraw-Hill.
4. Chomsky, Carol (1979). Approaching reading through invented spelling. In L. B. Resnick and P. A. Weaver (eds.), Theory and practice of early reading, vol. 2, 43-65. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum Associates.
5. Mason, Jana M. (1980). When do children begin to read: an exploration of our year-old children’s letter and word reading competencies. Reading Research Quarterly, 15, 203-227.
6. Read, Charles (1971). Preschool children’s knowledge of English phonology. Harvard Educational Review, 41, 1-34.