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How to Teach the Alphabet to Preschoolers

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.

Dog looking at the letter T

What Is Letter Recognition?

Letter recognition—also known as alphabet recognition—is the ability to:

  • distinguish between the 26 letters of the alphabet
  • say the letter name

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.

Advantages of Learning the Letter Names

Children who know the names of the letters have three major advantages:

  1. Kids who know letter names will learn the sounds of the letters much more easily. By contrast, children who don’t know the letter names often have tremendous difficulty in learning the sounds of the letters.
  2. Children who can easily name the letters of the alphabet have an easier time learning to read.
  3. As they learn the letter names, children tend to be more motivated to discover more about the letters and words around them.

So you know that teaching the letter names is important, but now you may be wondering…

Should Uppercase or Lowercase Letters Be Taught First?

Puppy looking at letters E

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:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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:

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

With the lowercase letters, there are several pairs of letters that could be flipped.

Letter d morphing into letters b, p, and q
  • b/d (flip on the vertical axis)
  • b/p (flip on the horizontal axis)
  • d/p (flip on the horizontal and vertical axis)
  • p/q (flip on the vertical axis)
  • n/u (flip on the horizontal and vertical axis)

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?

The fact is that your child will learn all of the letters–uppercase and lowercase–before he learns to read. So why not start with the letter form that is easiest to learn?

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!

Here Are 8 Free Letter Recognition Activities You Can Download!

Creating the Alphabet with Building Blocks

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

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!


ABC Caterpillar

ABC Caterpillar

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.


ABC Bracelets

ABC Bracelets

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

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

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

“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

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.

Keep Track of Which Letters Your Child Knows

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.

Downloadable alphabet progress chart

Letter Knowledge Is One of the Big Five Skills

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.

All About Reading Pre-reading set-up

Which of these letter recognition activities are you going to try out first? Let me know in the comments below!

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Leave a Comment

Kathy

says:

Thank you for this article. My daughter has been asking for help with information and activities for her preschool child. I have offered her help from my own experience and resources, but I am sending her this and a couple other articles and links you provide. I have used, and appreciated, your apps for my tutoring students. Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Kathy. I hope your daughter and her child enjoy these activities!

Lauren

says:

Thanks a mil for these great resources. My 7 year old is in Level 3 and my 4 year old and (2 year old) have started the Pre-Reading level. The caterpillar is fantastic! I printed and laminated it and after they finish their lesson, they work on putting the caterpillar together. We also love the bracelets. Such fun things to help cement their learning! 😀

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lauren,
Thank you for letting us know the caterpillar and bracelets are enjoyed by your children! It’s always great to hear that the activities we come up with are being enjoyed as much as we hoped.

Victoria

says:

Amazing resources….thank you so much!!!!

Kay D.

says:

I will make these letters for my 2-year-old grandson. Do you have lower case letter and number templates? I would like to make them also. Thank you for all the work that you do and for sharing it with us. It is much appreciated.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kay,
We don’t have a ready-made template for making fabric lower case letters and numbers, but we do explain the process for making your own template at the bottom of our fabric letter blog post.

Hadley Coble

says:

Thank you, Robin, for suggesting these for my daughter who is struggling to remember her letters. She is going to have so much fun with these!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Hadley!

Joan Lorenzen

says:

Great!

Cathy

says:

Even with 15 years of homeschooling under my belt, this will be my first time doing preschool!!! I used All about Spelling with my youngest son 10 years ago and it helped him greatly!! Can’t wait to start again with my granddaughter!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cathy,
You are going to love it! Everything is new to preschoolers, so everything is exciting.

Betsy

says:

I have a 3 year old who will be starting pre-school in the fall… He LOVES his building blocks so I can’t wait to use the building block cards!!!! 😊

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Betsy,
The building block cards are a big hit!

Heather

says:

Thank you so much for the free resources!

Britnee Harrop

says:

Play dough! So excited!

Amanda McArthur

says:

What is considered a normal age for kids to be reading? What age should they be reading at?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
Most children begin to learn letter names, letter sounds, and phonological awareness at age 4 or 5. All these readiness skills are covered in our Pre-reading level. After mastering these reading readiness skills, children then move on to beginning reading typically at age 5 or 6. There is a lot of variation in the age that children read, although being somewhat older is more common than being somewhat younger.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have further questions or concerns.

Lauren

says:

Interesting, I’ve heard the sounds are more important than the letter names so now I’m wondering if there are any sources to look into this more.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lauren,
Learning letter names is equally as important as letter sounds. However, Marie, the author of All About Reading and All About Spelling, did extensive research on the importance of learning letter names and she found that research shows that children that know letter names will learn the sounds of the letters much more easily. Children who don’t know the letter names often have difficulty in learning the sounds of the letters. Research also shows that children who can easily name the letters of the alphabet have an easier time learning to read and as they learn the letter names, children tend to be more motivated to discover more about the letters and words around them.

If you would like to receive the list of books and educational journal articles that Marie found on this topic, please email us at support@allaboutlearningpress.com. It is an extensive list.

Sara

says:

Excellent I information and downloadable resources.

Joyce

says:

These are great downloads. Thank you!

Amanda Ritter

says:

Thank you for the resources! Added a bunch of books to our library holds!

Melissa

says:

thank you so much, My developmentally delayed foster kids will love feed the dog

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Melissa. We have a “Feed the Monster” activity that they may enjoy as well.

Melissa

says:

thank you so much

Rose

says:

Love these resources. Thank you.

Amy

says:

When my eldest was in first grade, I helped out a lot in her classroom. Many children were still struggling with the alphabet, and we worked and worked with them. Eventually they got them. Then, they would read cat as see ay tee. *frown* what’s a seeaytee? Wouldn’t it make more sense to teach them the primary sound, then link it to the name?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Teaching only the letter sounds seems logical, but the research doesn’t uphold the idea. Rather, research into reading shows clearly that children that know letter names and are very familiar with the alphabet have less difficulties learning to read than those that learn only letter sounds.

However, children do need to be taught letter sounds in addition to letter names. Our Pre-reading level goes through the alphabet three times. First the capital letters, learning the names. Then the lower case letters, matching them to the capital and reinforcing the names. Then, finally, learning the most common sound for each letter. Then All About Reading 1 builds upon that, reteaching the most common sound for three or four letters at a time and then having the student read words formed from letters they have learned.

In this way, children move into reading /k/-/ă/-/t/ with no problems.

Lily Butler

says:

These are so wonderful! Thank you for such great free resources!

Kate

says:

My little one is so eager to follow his sisters in reading so these tools have been a great way to have him involved!!! Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Kate. I was just telling someone this week how I sometimes wish I had a preschooler so I could use these wonderful printables!

Patrick McLaughlin

says:

So thankful for these! I’ve only made the dog box so far, but the kids just love it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Patrick. That “Feed the Dog” activity seems to be the most popular one we have!

Mary S

says:

Thanks for the free printables! My kids loved making their puppies

melissa m.

says:

Thank you so much for how to teach preschooler activities cant wait to start teaching my little one. I do have a question would it be best to do a letter a week or what would be the best approach? Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
The best way to approach learning letters is the way that works best for your student. Many preschoolers find a letter-a-week pace to be ideal. It allows to do a lot of activities with the letter, and allows them the time they need to learn each one. However, occasionally a preschooler is ready and able to move faster, maybe as fast as a letter every other day.

We recommend moving at the pace that seems most appropriate for your unique child, although a letter a week is a safe pace to begin with. Keep in mind that with preschoolers it is okay to go slower, even if they are capable of a faster pace, as long as they are having fun.

I hope this helps. Let us know if you have further questions.

Jessica Wong

says:

Thanks for the ideas! My 3 year old is very keen on learning his letters now, so these would be great for him!

Kathy

says:

Thanks so much for this. I so appreciate these little blips to help us out. I am a customer and will be again, but I love that these are offered just to help. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Kathy. We are happy to be a help.

Sara

says:

Looks like fun!

Natasha

says:

I think these are fun ideas! I really want to try the pre reading program with my preschooler!

Launa R

says:

Thank you! My 3 year old got the capital letters down and now we’re working through the lower case letters. She keeps asking why she can’t read yet but she’ll get there one step at a time.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Launa,
I had one that was that impatient too. He learned three or four letters and wanted to know why he wasn’t reading yet. It’s cute and sweet.

Sandra

says:

We love AAR! We’ve done levels 1 and 2 and it’s been my daughters favorite subject. I am SO glad another mom recommended this program to me. Now I’m trying to get ideas for my toddler.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sandra,
We love to hear that AAR is a student’s favorite subject! Thank you.

Jerusha

says:

This is such great and useful info! I can’t wait to use several of these ideas.

Shawnelle Davis

says:

Looks like a great program!

Rebekah Amador

says:

Thanks for the free activities! I’m looking forward to doing many of them with my 3 soon to be 4 year old! She’s eager to learn more letters & their sounds!

Ruth

says:

Love the activities especially the fabric letters, building blocks, and play doh letters. Excited to try them with my child.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope your little one finds these activities as exciting as you think they will be, Ruth!

Meghan

says:

My fourth is struggling with learning letters, so I am excited to try some of these activities. Hopefully it will make the task more fun!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Meghan,
These activities should help. However, children that struggle to learn letters do well to focus on just 3 or 4 at a time. Use these activities and play other games with just those 3 or 4 letters. Only once your child has mastered those well, add 3 more but keep the first 3 or 4 in regular review. I hope this helps. Let us know if you have questions.

Naomi C

says:

I just printed these and cannot wait to do them with my girls :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Have fun, Naomi!

Nikki Howell

says:

Struggling teaching my son letters. Will definitely be trying out these games!

Erica

says:

I definitely want to try the Feed the Puppy game with my daughter.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Erica,
The Feed the Puppy activity seems to be the most popular with everyone!

Kelly

says:

Cute ideas

Mia

says:

These are some great ideas. Thanks.

Marci

says:

These resources have been so helpful, as we teach our 3yr old the alphabet!

I’m definitely going to try the playdough alphabet idea tomorrow! I have also found alphabet pasta (in a mac & cheese box) which is fun for little learners!! Love all of y’all’s ideas! I’m using AAR1 with my 2nd child and she’s LOVING it!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
If you like alphabet food, try Junior Scrabble Cheese-Its. A few times a year we use them for spelling review, with each student getting to eat the words he or she spells correctly. It’s a lot of fun.

Kristen

says:

We can’t wait to begin this program next year! All great ideas!

Laura

says:

Love all these ideas!

Katie Waller

says:

Thanks for the great resources! I’m looking forward to teaching my almost 3 year old in the next year or two!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Katie,
Have fun. Preschool age is one of my favorite ages!

Sara H.

says:

We made the puppy/cereal box project this week, and my 4 year old loved it! I intend to use it again with lots of variations (matching upper and lower case, having her select by sound, etc).

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sara,
Thank you for letting us know the “Feed the Puppy” game was such a hit!

Mindy H

says:

I printed these activities for my daughter and I honestly don’t know who was more excited, her or I! Thank you for such great ideas.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mindy,
A teacher’s honest enthusiasm is often very “catchy” to students!

Cindy Ontrop

says:

Love these ideas!

Yvette

says:

I can’t wait to try this with my littlest!

Rebecca

says:

I love that AAR encourages parents to mix up the cards when reviewing any concept. When I used to teach Kinder, I would have to remind some parents to mix up the flash cards when reviewing letters (or numbers, words, etc) at home because I noticed some students could recognize the letters in alphabetical order, but not when shown randomly. My middle son is currently in AAR pre-reading, and it’s been working great for him!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
Yes, mixed review is very important; you can’t ensure mastery without it. Thanks for bring that up.

Sarah Phillips

says:

I like the use of blocks to teach the alphabet. Both of my boys really like playing with Legos.

Julie

says:

I can’t wait to use this curriculum. I started AAR with my daughter in first grade and we did level 1. What grade would you recommend starting this one? Pre-K or K?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Julie,
Our Pre-reading level is appropriate for Pre-K or K students, it just depends on the student and his or her needs. We have a placement test for it to determine if your student is ready.

Lorraine Holmen

says:

After lots of research I’m anxious to uses this program with my grandson.

Tracy

says:

I feel soooooo much better about teaching the capitals first. Makes sense. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Tracy!

Sarah

says:

Great suggestions!

Jana

says:

I had wondered about teaching upper or lowercase first, but that makes sense. Thanks!

Kayla

says:

Thank you for putting these resources all in one spot. My youngest has an interest in letters and now I have some resources. My older kids love the AAR and AAS. Thanks!

Aimee

says:

My five year old is doing the Pre-reading book now. He will love creating the alphabet with building blocks! He wants to read so that he doesn’t have to wait for mom or dad to read a book to him!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Aimee,
“Motivation to Read”, check! He has at least one of the Top 5 Reading Readiness Skills down. :D

Tesha

says:

Thanks so much for all these ideas! I love the Lego and Feed the Puppy activities. I hope we can try them soon!

Tesha

says:

Thanks so much for all these ideas! I love the Lego and Feed the Puppy activities.

Lauren

says:

I love the Alphabet Progress Chart! So cute. We are past that for this child but never know for the future! And I didn’t know there was a pre-reading set in AAS! That is a GREAT addition! I love how you distinguished between upper and lowercase letter mistakes as a way to teach capitals first. Thank you! Lauren

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lauren,
Our Pre-reading level is for All About Reading, but as we recommend students be reading on a beginning level before starting All About Spelling, you could say the Pre-reading level is for All About Spelling too.

Temalesi

says:

I need your songs and rhymes that will help me along with teaching alphabets too.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Temalesi,
We do not have songs and rhymes in our program. The only song we use is the ABC song, and we play with rhymes and rhyming to develop phonological awareness, but we don’t use songs and rhymes for rules or teaching.

Marie Greenhalgh

says:

My 2 year old loves feeding the puppy her letters. She knows most of them!

anne Jetton

says:

I cant wait to use all about reading/ spelling as I have heard so many good things about the program!

Kara

says:

Absolutely thrilled with these resources for my four year old! It is so wonderful to have materials to work with based on the Orton-Gillingham method at the pretending level!! Thank you so much for sharing!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Kara! I love how you put it, “the pretending level.”

Anya McFarland

says:

These are beautiful resources that allow for a properly multisensory learning! I am looking forward to using them with my almost three year old while we prepare our order and wait for it to be delivered here (Northern Ireland).

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Anya,
Have fun!

Temalesi

says:

I like this method of teaching alphabets alot, it really help

Miranda W

says:

I love the resources you have included here. They will be easy to incorporate into things we are already using.

Heather

says:

What about teaching cursive first to prevent letter flipping?

Corie

says:

Thanks so much for this post! We love this program!

Lisa

says:

Thank you so much for all the free printables and ideas! My kids love them!

Jamie Clausing

says:

I can get behind a curriculum that makes learning a game for kids. Boys and girls alike respond well, and I can’t wait to use this with my almost 4 year old and eventually my other children too!

Renee Brown

says:

Thank you so much for this post! I am teaching my 4 year old his letters and we have been getting quite frustrated!! I hope these tips will help us. My daughter has had great success with the AAR and AAS levels 1 & 2.

Alyssa

says:

I was referred by a passionate friend to this program, and it’s been everything she promised! Easy, fun, and follows the Orton-gillingham approach, which I need for my four year old! I love AAR, no gaps like the program I used for my son! :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Alyssa,
I have always felt that a friends referral is the highest praise. I am happy to hear our program lived up to your friend’s promise!

Catalina H

says:

I have a handful of students with dyslexia every year. Your activities and suggestions are so welcome. I am always looking for good resources.

Kelly

says:

We use “feed the puppy” with my 3 year old and she loves it! It’s been a great learning tool with the letter sounds too. I have your app open while we play it so she can hear the letter sound after she says it out loud. I’m excited to see the alphabet progress chart and do agree that those end letters don’t get reviewed as much as needed. That was a great reminder to brush up on those! I’m also going to start the Play doh work…great ideas! Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Kelly! Thanks for letting us know that what we have hear are enjoyable and effective for your 3 year old.

Temalesi

says:

Great, it really helps my children

Kristy

says:

Great tips!

Melissa

says:

Thanks! These will be great additions to our pre-reading work!

Lori

says:

I have used Levels 1-3 with my older ones but think my youngest could use a little extra help from the pre-reading program.

Heather B

says:

I would love the preschool products for my 3 year old. Easy button! We use reading and spelling with the 1st, 3rd, and 5th graders. Ok so part of my motivation is so that the 5th grader can easily work with her little brother while I nurse the baby:). Haven’t taken the plunge ever though and purchased your preschool stuff.

Julie Roberts

says:

These ideas were so helpful as I work on teaching my preschooler the alphabet. We don’t get to it on a daily basis, but we will work our way thru.

Sarah M.

says:

My 3-1/2 year old said with a pout today “All the big kids can read and I can’t. When do I get to read?” Well, little one, how about today? Printing the playdough mats, bracelets, and Feed the Puppy. We already have Pre-Reading, just needed a new student book, so we’ll be excited for that to show up at our door soon!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
This made me smile! Thanks for sharing it.

Abby

says:

Can’t wait to use the alphabet building blocks and bracelet downloads to help my preschoolers learn their letters!

Rachel

says:

This article was very helpful, along with the freebies (thank you!). My husband and I have 3 preschool aged children at home and will be able to use these tips and tools as we help them prepare for school!

Leah

says:

Great information – thanks for the printables!!

Maria

says:

I like these fantastic ideas and suggestions for the teachers. I will share them with my colleagues.

Yamel

says:

These are great. I’ve used the “Feed The Puppy”. My kids loved it!

Jess

says:

Awesome tips! AAR has made our learning so much easier!

Jill Baker-Isom

says:

WE love all the resources and free resources that help support your AAR programs! We are thankful and blessed by this curriculum!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Jill!

Dee Neal

says:

Love AAR

Brenda

says:

Thank you so much for the free resources! My dyslexic son and preschooler are really enjoying learning with the great games. We made the duck pond game a fishing game with paper clips and a magnet “fishing pole” to capture the runaway ducks. They love it! I can’t wait to play feed the dog and caterpillar with my preschooler! Thanks for being the support we need!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Brenda,
Your duck pond game sounds great! How much fun!

grace greenwell

says:

I am going to try the alphabet bracelets and the caterpillar. They look super fun. I am teaching my 4 year old prek’er this year.

Dana

says:

So many great ideas!!

georgia

says:

My son struggles with switching letters. Thanks for these tips.

MaryAnne

says:

I love using Ziggy with my four year old. She makes teaching letters fun!

georgia

says:

Love this idea about the Lego letters! Thank you!
I’m not a user of your program but I wish I had used it with my older children. This program really could’ve helped with my third child who struggled with auditory processing and decoding.

My students and I love this program!

Ashley B.

says:

wonderful program

Kandis Posey

says:

I will be using the Lego activity today durning school!! I can’t believe I’ve never thought of it before. Thanks!

Melinda

says:

You do amazing work for children with difficulties.

Ally

says:

I’ve been using AAR 1 and 2 with my older soon, I’m excited to start the pre reading with my younger sons next year.

michelle Miller

says:

great post

Christie

says:

My 2.5 year old loves her blocks and is just beginning to recognize letters, so building the ABCs sounds like a great combination of the two!

Liz

says:

What a great list of activities ! I would never have thought about the fabric letters! It is hard to know which one to start with, but I have building blocks on hand so I will probably begin there. Definitely saving and sharing this article!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Liz,
Have fun with the building blocks! I have found if you want the cards to match up to regular size Lego bricks that printing the cards at 60% of full size works.

Donna

says:

This is interesting. I have children with learning disabilities. If I teach them the letter names, they cannot make the leap to letter sounds. For example, H. If they know the name of the letter H, they will then tell me the sound is ch. I have to teach letter sounds first. Knowing the names and sounds is too much information for them. In addition, they cannot learn numerals until letters are mastered. It’s just too confusing for them. I’m struggling with a 7 year old right now. She just cannot remember the letters. Has anyone else experienced this, letter names getting in the way of learning letter sounds?

Karen Fan

says:

My 8 y.o. is experiencing this too. After years of practice, she knew the letter sounds very well. Then, while pursuing help through vision therapy for the past 6 months, she has been required to say the letter names. Now it seems she has lost most of the letter sounds. It’s like too much information for her to keep in her mind at once. And for the record, she struggles with additional capital letter reversals: C/U L/J V/N/A. We’ve done 4 out of these five ideas listed (all but the building blocks). Nice to have one more idea to try. We’re persevering, but are far from automaticity.

Donna

says:

Thanks for your comment. As a homeschool parent of 5 who struggle to learn, it can feel like Im the only one! My friends all have brilliant children who read at high school levels in elementary! They cannot begin to understand what it is like to spend years on one seemingly simple thing…letters. Forget numerals, forget writing… little brains that can only hold one bit of information. I would insist in vision therapy that they allow letter sounds from your 8 year old. Its not helpful if she forgets the sounds! My daughter couldnt have an eye exam for years because she could not learn the alphabet and they wouldn’t take her until she knew it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Donna,
We are not suggesting that the letter name alone allows a child to get the letter sound. As you showed with your H example, some letter names do not sound like their sound. However, lots of research has shown that students that know letter names first do better learning letter sounds later.

Many children will have confusion when trying to learn letter names and letter sounds together at once. That is why Pre-reading level teaches capital letter names, then the lower case letter names, and only then teaches letter sounds. The Pre-reading level goes through the alphabet three times, each time taking as long as it takes for the child to master. Some children need a week per letter to master just the names of the capitals, with ongoing review throughout. Others can master them at the pace of a letter per day. Either is “right” if it is right for the child.

With a child that is struggling to learn letters, it is important to teach just 3 or 4 new letters at a time, and to not add any more until those 3 or 4 are fully mastered. Equally important is to review for a few minutes a day at least 5 days per week. If you find your daughter struggles to remember letters on Monday that she knew on Friday, consider adding in a quick 2 minute Saturday and maybe even Sunday review. Short, but very consistent, daily reviews are the key. Keep reviewing previously mastered letters as well.

We have a report on Helping Your Child’s Memory that you might find helpful.

Please let us know if you have any questions or further comments.

Donna

says:

Hi Robin, Thank you for your response. My daughter went to a private school for Kindergarten. She was unable to learn what Kindergarteners learn. I regret putting her in school because she cannot handle two bits of information about a letter…name and sound. Names don’t relate to reading, sounds do. For a child with questionable intellect, it can take years to learn the alphabet. My 12 year old took 4 years to learn letter sounds. I think I will purchase your pre reading program for my 7 year old, take it back to basics, and see if I can have success in less than 4 years with her. I love AAS, so Im sure I will love AAR too!

Lebo

says:

Very creative indeed. I love the feeding of the puppy and dough activities. Great ideas.

Carrie m.

says:

I’m thinking my son is ready to begin letter recognition and these are some amazing tools to use!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Have fun, Carrie!

Mary

says:

I really like the variety of assignments.

Peggy

says:

Wonderful resources!

Amy Charbonneau

says:

Looking forward to using these ideas :). Thanks for sharing!

Sandra

says:

I absolutely love this post. My almost 4yo is already learning so much but these tips and activities will help us even more. Thank you!

Karis

says:

Thank you for the ideas. My 3 year old is keeping me on my toes.

Meg

says:

These are wonderful ideas! Thank you!

Sarah Wensley

says:

Thanks for the free tools!

Julie

says:

What fun ideas! Thank you!

Lori H

says:

These tips are helpful as I have a little one learning his letters😊

Megan Thomas

says:

Thank you for the creative ideas! I’ll be using several of these with my children.

AAS has not disappointed me yet! I have children at home ranging in age from 2 to 18, and they all benefit from things learned or overheard in AAS! Thank you for an amazing program that really works!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Carolynn,
I love how you mentioned “overheard”. It does work that way sometimes too.

Christine Wadleigh

says:

Just absolutely love both, All About Spelling and All About Reading. Have children in K, 3rd and 5th grades and they all, despite their different personalities, thrive with these programs. Love it.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Christine,
Yes! All About Reading and All About Spelling well to so many learning styles and needs.

Angela Dobson

says:

These are great ideas. We have just started the pre reading program and so far we love it. These extra printables will really help I ha creased his learning. Thanks!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Angela,
Yes! These activities would blend very well with our Pre-reading program.

asma

says:

love the system! everything at the tip of finger..thank you

Patricia

says:

Enjoyed the fun ideas you shared. Look forward to trying them with my own preschooler!

Becky Huddleston

says:

Just ordered “All About Reading” for my 3rd grader. We have just started homeschooling and I’m excited to use this program to help my son gain confidence and finally begin to love reading as much as I do!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Becky,
Congratulations on beginning homeschooling! It’s a wonderful experience!

Let us know if you have any questions or need anything.

I never thought of teaching the easier capital letters first, but this is a great idea!
Thanks,
Annette

Bethany Eskro

says:

Awesome tips! Thank you so much

Emily

says:

Such a helpful article!

Amanda

says:

Thanks for all the fun ways to learn the alphabet! My boys will love this!

Jessica

says:

My six year old still gets her b&d mixed up in reading. Great article.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
Letter reversals before the age of 8 or so is completely normal and part of the learning process. However, we do have a blog post with tips and activities that may help you help her Solve Letter Reversals.

Michelle

says:

Great article! Thank you for the freebies.

Michelle

says:

Great article! Thank you for the link.

Beth

says:

My son at 4 1/2 has taken off reading, thanks to your products! They are awesome!

Tamara H.

says:

Thanks for the free printables!

Susanne Osborn

says:

These look so fun! Makes me wish I had another little one to start teaching letters to. =)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’ve had the exact same thought, Susanne! These make me want to borrow a preschooler from a friend. :D

Jodie

says:

Thank you for this. I have just started one of my kids on the Pre-Reading programme (the first time I have used it) and I was wondering about the upper vs lower case thing. Especially since when my other children were at school they learnt lower case and sound first and at the same time. In the end I decided to follow your lead, there’s no rush. I’m glad to have read about your reasoning behind it though.
What does intrigue me though, is the simplicity of the AAR programme at all levels, yet my children really enjoy it and I have no hassles getting them to work. I started Level 1 with my very reluctant seven year old in February and now he can read – and actually will read. Plus I know the learning is thorough. I’m very grateful for AAR. Jodie in New Zealand.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jodie,
Thank you for taking the time to let us know how our reading program has been working with your children! I was especially happy to read that your reluctant seven year old is doing so well. I’ll be sharing this with the entire AALP team!

Amanda B

says:

What a great post!! Just what I need for my preschooler. Perfect timing. =)

Melissa

says:

We just recently got the pre-reading program and I am shocked at how fast my three-year-old has learned the letters of the alphabet! I had tried so many other different methods but nothing was working with him up until all about reading !

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us this! How wonderful that he could have such success with our Pre-reading level!

LeeAnn Day

says:

Thanks for such awesome products and ideas!

Kezia

says:

Great resources – thank you!

Holly

says:

Love the play dough letters idea!

Shelby K

says:

My 4 year old daughter will love making the playdough letters! Thanks for the freebies– I love AAS and AAR!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Shelby! Have fun.

Bridget Meyer

says:

I’ve always liked teaching capital letters first. Nice to see my instinct was right

Nichole

says:

I’m looking forward to using building blocks to make letters with my little guy as a letter activity for AAR Pre-Reading. Thank you!

Any idea why the letter recognition chart doesn’t seem to print? I’m getting a memory issue error message on my printer. I was able to print a page for the building block letters without difficulty.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nichole,
We tried on two different computers and two different printers, and we had no trouble printing the Alphabet Progress Chart. If you haven’t been successful already, you may try restarting your computer and printer. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to google your printer model and the exact wording of the error message you are receiving.

I’m sorry we weren’t able to help more with this difficulty.

Ashley

says:

Im really excited to try the game where the kids feed the puppy letters! It will help my 3 year old learn the names and help my almost 5 year old practice sounds and reading words! So versatile!

Jenn A

says:

My daughter will love these – especially “Feed the Puppy”! Thank you for the variety of ideas!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jenn,
The “Feed the Puppy” one does seem to be especially fun for young learners!

Erica eich

says:

Lots of great information! 💕

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