I didn’t realize how long it had been since we talked about letters here for Teaching Tuesday!
In an earlier post, we talked about informally introducing letters to your young child. By beginning this process (and making it fun!) at an early age, our girls picked up the letter “names” very easily.
As we talked about earlier regarding numbers, it is important that our child learns to associate the letter name “a” with the actual written “a.” I tended to begin working with lowercase letters first, and moved to uppercase ones later. Once they have an understanding of what the letters are called, you can begin working on teaching the letter sounds.
I always began with the five vowels – a, e, i, o, u – as they are used so frequently and are relatively easy sounds to make. I did these one at a time, spending several days, as time allowed, just going over that one letter and its’ sound. As always, books can be helpful in teaching these sounds. You may own, or be able to find at the library, books that contain a story that introduces letter sounds.
One of the most practical ways to reinforce this concept is to find things around the house that start with or contain the sounds you are trying to teach. As you begin each sound, it’s fun to find something in the house that begins with that sound and attach a 3×5 card to the object so that every time you and your child go by it, you can talk about the sound.
Many of the same techniques you used for teaching letter names can be done again here. Place two or three alphabet blocks, letter flashcards or other manipulatives on a table, say the sound of one of the letters and see if your child can select the correct one. Outside, use sidewalk chalk to write some letters on the driveway and have your child jump on the letter that makes the sound you say. Play a matching/memory-type game or a bingo game with small cards you make. Include in the rules that your child must say the correct sound of the letter before picking up the matching pair or before placing the bingo marker on the card.
Another creative idea is to do a “theme” day for each letter. For example, on “A” day, have an apple for a snack, do apple prints with paint, read a book about an alligator, find Africa on a map and talk about animals and other interesting things you might find there, dress up as an astronaut and look for ants in the backyard!
Next week, we’ll move on to blending letter sounds as we work toward reading one-vowel words. Have ways to make teaching letter sounds fun and practical? Please share!