Are you wondering how to teach the alphabet to preschoolers? Or just looking for ideas? You’ll find hundreds of ideas for playful learning at The Measured Mom.
My oldest had a fascination for letters before she could talk. Even though she didn’t even call me Mommy until she was over two, she knew all her letters and added the sounds as soon as she could talk. Her younger brother picked them up just as quickly.
But it doesn’t work that way for everyone — and when my third little one was pushing three and still knew only a handful of letters, I knew I had to try a different tactic.
In fact, my decision to start a letter of the week study at our house and keep myself accountable was the very reason I began this blog. I’d like to share some simple ways to teach the alphabet to preschoolers – and direct you to a giant set of resources that will keep it fun!
How to teach the alphabet to preschoolers:
1. Read, read, and read. Read nursery rhymes, rhyming books, picture books and chapter books. Just READ.
2. Notice print in the world around you. Call attention to exit signs, the toothpaste tube, and the Cheerios box.
3. Begin letter learning by helping your child learn the letters of his name. Before I start a more organized approach to teaching the alphabet to my preschoolers, they learn to recognize the letters of their name. For many playful ideas for name learning, visit my Name Activities for Preschool Pinterest board.
4. Teach the alphabet letter by letter. Not every early childhood teacher uses the Letter of the Week approach; many children learn their alphabet without it (my oldest two did). But I’ve found that Letter of the Week has been a helpful structure for me when designing learning activities at home. Even if you use more of a theme or unit approach to teaching preschoolers, you’ll find a huge variety of learning activities in my alphabet archives.
If you take one or two weeks per letter, you’ll have time to:
- read books for each letter
- do fine motor activities
- learn simple rhymes and songs
- create some fun crafts and art projects
- make math connections
- have some sensory fun
4. Keep bringing it back to the whole alphabet. If we’re doing a lot of meaningful activities, we will keep coming back to the whole alphabet. If you’re looking for ways to do this, you’ll love my most popular Pinterest board, Alphabet Activities.
5. Be flexible. You may find that after a few months of letter of the week, your child suddenly recognizes every letter. Awesome! Don’t feel tied to this series. Pick and choose what (if any) activities you’d like to continue with. Even if you don’t continue Letter of the Week, your child will still benefit from listening to the many wonderful books I recommend in my alphabet book lists. You might also enjoy choosing some crafts and process art activities to do each week. And math activities certainly don’t need to be tied to a particular letter!
6. Keep it fun. One way to keep your alphabet learning enjoyable is to include music. We love listening to Heidisongs’ alphabet songs for the car. Also remember that kids this age learn best through play. They don’t need fancy flash cards or loads of worksheets. They need a variety of activities to stimulate their brains and to reach them the way that they learn best.
You know your children better than anyone. Choose the activities that your child needs — the ones that your child will love. I’ll provide a big set of ideas for each letter — not so you’ll do every one, but so that you have a lot to choose from when you pick what works best for your kids.
We’re exploring the uppercase alphabet in this order:
E, F, H, I, L, T, V, W, X, K, M, N, Y, A, Z, C, O, G, Q, B, D, J, P, U, R, S
The only reason I chose to go out of order is because it moves in order from easiest to hardest in terms of letter formation. Teach the alphabet in whatever order you’d like.
You can find crafts, books, math connections and more by clicking on these links:
Looking for more alphabet resources?
- Simple alphabet books for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers
- Large printable block letters from A-Z
- Free beginning sound coloring pages
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