Making friends with the alphabet

Using word and language games, songs, poems, nursery rhymes, books and finger plays every day can help your child make friends with the alphabet.

There are a variety of ways to help your child make friends with the alphabet. Photo credit: Pixabay.

There are a variety of ways to help your child make friends with the alphabet. Photo credit: Pixabay.

Are you unsure of how to introduce your child to the alphabet? Exactly what should you do? How can you make it fun? Should you buy any of the thousands of products you see advertised? University of Missouri Extension recommends using word and language games, songs, poems, nursery rhymes, books and finger plays every day to help your child make friends with the alphabet.

Your child probably recognizes letters as letters. Your child may even know the names of some of the letters. The next step in the process is to help your child understand that each letter represents a different sound we speak. This understanding of the alphabet will help your child master reading.

Teach your child that letters are the written form of words. Do this by consistently using the letter’s sound, when you can. If you see the word bread, say something like “The word is bread and this letter is B - buh (pointing to the b). Buh starts bat and book, too. What else starts with buh?” You can also do this using a chant to help children become more involved in the learning process.

Michigan State University Extension also recommends incorporating visual tools such as a poster full of things that start with the letter B. You can make the B poster yourself by starting with a blank poster and gathering materials. You can simply use markers or you can add pictures that you cut out from magazines, too. Talk with your child about things that begin with the B sound (belt, Ben, bench, black, bun, beans, breath). Have your child draw the pictures. Help your child write B at the top of the poster or next to every picture he draws. Add boarders to make the poster look extra special and put it on your child’s wall. This will help your child begin to recognize the letter sounds and things that begin with each letter.

You can also use alphabet books to help your child learn to recognize letters and letter sounds. The following books are a great place to start:

  • Alphabet City by Stephen Johnson
  • ABC by Eric Carle
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault

Have fun making friends with the alphabet!

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