Monday, June 14, 2010

Learning Letters and Sounds

Oh! I LOVE teaching students their letters. There are so many neat and creative ways to help them learn their letters and sounds! My son is going to be five in two weeks, and he currently knows all uppercase letters and sounds, and is starting to read some books. However, we have been working on these skills for most of the year! I am going to try and build a list here of the many ways you can help your child learn the basic building blocks of reading - letters and sounds! ***IN MY NEXT POST I will discuss the order in which to teach the letters and sounds!

*While it is possible to teach children upper and lower case letters at the same time, you will need to explain several times that each letter is written two different ways- Upper and Lower Case!

*Also note, that while some skills can be learned in a particular order, most students learn several skills simultaneously (i.e. they may learn to write various letters while they are learning the name/sounds). Also, your child may not show interest at first in making the letters, but if you keep showing him/her the letters and their names over time, they do learn them!

1. The first way to begin introducing a child to letters, is to help them learn their name. They are usually VERY motivated to do this! Who wouldn't be! Its the one word that they've been hearing since the day they were born! Most parents obviously begin by writing the child's name on a piece of paper. This usually includes all uppercase letters, which is fine to start.
-To help your child practice spelling his/her name, you can have a personalized writing paper for their name printed here:

2. Use a dry erase board to show the child how to make a letter, then have them practice making it. (Easy letters to begin with are X and O, then you can teach them hugs and kisses! OOO XXX). Many times you can also find dry erase boards that are magnetic! Then use magentic letters (found at dollar store, Staples, educational supply stores) to go over letters. You will also use this later when making words.

3. Make the letter in playdough. While playing with playdough, casually make the letter and show it to your child. They may not be able to make it themselves at first! I also have letter cookie cutters I found at a local store.

4. Write the letters outside using sidewalk chalk!

5. Use an alphabet stamp set like used in scrapbooking to stamp letters. Make sure they are block lettering that can be recognized easily by your child.

6. Show them letters while fingerpainting! Make a letter, let it dry, and use it to teach the letter again later.

7. While it is messy, you can put shaving cream (On a surface that can handle this material), and make the letters in shaving cream.

8. Make the letter using your body!

Other ways of teaching letters (including TV and technology):

1. Sesame Street- whether on TV, the computer, or a video, Sesame Street has been teaching children letters and numbers for over 30 years! In our area, its usually on the Public Television Station at 7p.m. You can also access the website here:

2. Leapfrog Video- "The Letter Factory" can be found at Target and some Walmarts, but can also be purchased online here:

3. You can always visit to practice letters and sounds!

4. A more traditional way to teach the letters/sounds would be using a workbook that could be purchased at a local store like Walmart. The Dollar Tree also has cheap workbooks!

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