When your child is about to go to kindergarten, it can be of great help if they have had some previous knowledge about the Alphabet.
So how can you teach your kids the Alphabet in the most effective ways?
1. Introduce them to the Alphabet and its main features
Before the age of 3, most kids are not familiar with the concept of an Alphabet. To make sure your kids do not feel disoriented when first comes into contact with the Alphabet, parents should explain to kids what the Alphabet is.
And please refrain from complicated terms! Kids need something easy to understand so that they can relate to the idea of the Alphabet.
For example, you can say: “Each word you say has different letters. And these letters make up a list called the Alphabet.” To make it more alluring, you can add adjectives to describe the Alphabet.
For example, letting them know the Alphabet is a “big” combination of all the “tiny” letters used to create words.
Either way, it is of utmost importance that your children get to know the gist of the Alphabet. Once the introductory step is done, let’s move on to exploring the characteristics of the Alphabet.
Your kids only need to know some key points as listed below:
- How many letters there are in the Alphabet. In the English language, it would be 26.
- How many forms each letter can be. In the English language, each letter can have upper-case and lower-case forms.
- How many vowels and consonants there are in the Alphabet. In the English language, there are 5 vowels and 21 consonants. However, if you think this piece of information is a bit extra for your small kids, you can skip this part.
A general understanding of the Alphabet is vital to your kids’ learning process, so make sure your children know what they are about to deal with.
2. Make letter recognition a goal
The ultimate goal of teaching your child the Alphabet is for them to recognize and distinguish different letters.
Sadly, many parents are more focused on temporary results rather than the actual understanding of the kids.
If parents force their kids to learn the Alphabet by heart in a rigid way, the kids are more likely to know the letters only in its correct order from A to Z. Remember, this is not what teaching the Alphabet is all about.
You want your children to pick up a random letter and say its name confidently, not mumbling whenever they have to read a letter not listed in Alphabetical order.
In short, make sure both you and your kids understand the purpose of learning the 26 letters.
3. Present the 26 letters of the Alphabet to your kids.
Alright, now that the preparation is properly done, let’s proceed to how you can teach your child the Alphabet. You should kick off by letting them know the 26 letters included in the Alphabet.
But instead of giving them a large piece of paper containing the Alphabet, you can consider using more creative approaches.
- Alphabet boards. There are boards designed to hold up the Alphabet with multiple colorful drawings. Some boards even come with an illustration standing for each letter, so that your kids get a better insight into the use of the Alphabet.
- The ABCs song. Nothing is more exciting for kids than to learn through a song, and nothing beats the classic ABCs song when it comes to teaching the Alphabet. Turn on the song – preferably with an animated video – and see how your kids react. After listening to it a few times, ask the kids to try to sing along.
- Drawing the Alphabet. A kid may benefit from sketching the Alphabet themselves, so you can hold their hands and slowly guide them on how to draw each letter of the Alphabet.
You should bear in mind that a single introduction will not help.
Children learn through repetition, and it is especially true for the Alphabet. Do not forget to expose the kids to all 26 letters at least once a day, so that their minds gradually grow a sense of familiarity for these letters.
4. Help children learn the letters of their own names
For a typical 3-year-old kid, having to learn 26 letters all at once can be a daunting task. To increase the efficiency of the learning process and prevent your kid from feeling overwhelmed, you should instruct kids in learning small groups of letters.
The most familiar letters are the ones in their own names. First, you need to write down your child’s full names. And then, separate the letters from each other and show them to the kid.
Slowly read out loud the letters and ask your kid to repeat. Once they can memorize the spelling of their names, you can add more by teaching them the spelling of their family members’ names.
Start with the people the kids spend the most time with. It could be Mom, Dad, siblings or grandparents. This will create a sense of familiarity, and children are generally more willing to learn about someone they know and love.
Once your child has learned about names a few times, you can test their memory by showing them pictures of a particular person and ask them to read out loud all the letters in that person’s names.
5. Read alphabetical books.
Alphabetical books are books designed to help kids learn the Alphabet. Most of these books feature fun, child-friendly stories with main characters depicted as the 26 letters in the Alphabet.
Some of the books contain short, easy-to-understand explanations about the letters.
You can even buy alphabetical books with numerous analogies to make learning the Alphabet less difficult and more exciting.
For example, the letter C is compared to a crab with two clamping claws, and the letter F is a fireman fighting the fire. Reading these simple yet informative sentences will give your kids a better sense of the Alphabet.
6. Use alphabetical printables and coloring pages.
Printables and coloring pages are the two things that allow kids to work on the Alphabet without feeling like they have to learn something.
You can download printables and customize them to the needs of your children, then hand them over to the kids. Or you can design your own printables to help the kids improve on a particular group of letters.
Either way, the purpose of printables and coloring pages is to lift the pressure off the kids’ shoulders.
Let them see that learning the Alphabet can be relaxing, and they should not feel stressed about it at all.
7. Make learning the Alphabet fun and exciting
The moment the kids feel like learning is a must, they stop paying attention to whatever you are trying to teach them.
Thus, make sure that learning the Alphabet is less of a duty and more of a game.
- Using toys. Counting puzzles, alphabetical wooden blocks, alphabetical fridge magnets, alphabetical foam mats,… are things that can add the fun element to your kids’ learning experience.
- Using floats shaped in letters. Even when having a bath, your kid can still learn a bit more about the Alphabet. You can purchase a set of alphabetical floats, and bring them to the bathroom whenever you feel like a change in the teaching environment.
- Matching cards. You can prepare two sets of cards, one with 26 letters and the other with different daily objects. Ask the kids to create a match by putting the letter card to the drawing that starts with that particular letter.
- Bingo game. Gather a few kids to fuel their sense of competitiveness. Draw a letter on the board and give a candy/lollipop to the first kid who shouts the name of the letter.
- Random mentions of the Alphabet. When you are walking with your child on the street or around the house, point to a sign or print that comes with multiple letters. Challenge your kids to spell these letters, and promise them a reward if they get it right.
Remember, whatever you do, the ultimate purpose is for the kids to enjoy learning the Alphabet. Be creative, and be original in how you approach the Alphabet teaching.
7. Do not place pressure on kids.
A mistake that many parents usually make is to expect kids to know all the 26 letters by heart after a few days. Not only is this expectation unrealistic, but it also puts unnecessary stress on the children.
When the kids enter nursery school, and then the primary school, they will wind up learning about the Alphabet anyway.
The reason why parents should teach kids the Alphabet beforehand is to prepare them for their future education. Thus, there is no need to make a fuss and force your kids to memorize everything.
If you want your child to feel comfortable about learning the Alphabet, you yourselves need to be understanding.
In short, teaching the Alphabet is as difficult for parents as it is difficult for kids. But all it takes is a little bit of creativity, patience and ta-da, you are set on your track!