Thursday, June 23, 2011

Letter Match

I wanted to post a little bit tonight on letters and kids learning letters because I think it's extremely important that kids learn their letters early, but that they learn their letters in a meaningful way.

The blog world is overwhelmingly full of ideas for letter games and crafts and this is so nice when you are looking for games to play with your kids, but I think it's very overwhelming when you are trying to get started in teaching your child their letters. Briefly I'm going to tell you a few pointers that I have for teaching your kiddos their letters.

  1. Start with upper case letters and stick to upper case letters until they are all learned

  2. Stay away from flash cards you can be more creative than that.

  3. Begin with simply memorizing letter names. Don't try to begin teaching sounds or teaching how to form letters (write letters). Just begin with teaching that "B" is called "B"

  4. Link up letters with familiar words or names. If your child's name starts with "J" then say "this letter is called J like James" or "look T like turtle". Make it meaningful and create a picture in their head that they can link to the letter name.

  5. Point out familiar letters in public. I'll never forget being in the elevator with James at IKEA and him noticing the I-K-E-A on the wall. We have spotted letters in public ever since and this is just one more way for him to practice and eventually see that letters have a purpose, to make words!

  6. Cut out examples of environmental print (cereal box labels that they know, fast food words that they recognize) and just let them play with those and look at them. Also label things in their room or in your house with written words. Point out the beginning letter "w" when you are playing near the window. I typed mine in an easy to read font and used shipping tape to label various things in the playroom: window, slide, Noah's Ark, Gears, Shelf, Cars, Books, etc.

  7. Start slow. Introduce one or two letters every few days. Play with those two letters over and over in different situations and with different manipulatives.

  8. Be patient, learning the letter A is no more significant to a child then learning the shape "circle". To us adults we feel pressure to teach letters because it's a pre reading skill, but trust me once they start learning a few then it will be contagious and they will begin noticing letters all around them.

Ok enough about that, but please let me know if you are needing help with ideas because I don't want anyone feeling overwhelmed with the task of teaching letters. Anyway, I got this in the mail recently. I ordered it off Amazon (have I already posted about these stamps? Sorry if I have.) I like that they are upper and lower case and I like that they are easy to hold and are small. We have big stamps, but we were needing some little stamps. These are Melissa and Doug and I believe they are still on sale on

This is a letter game that I made this week and it's been a lot of fun. If your child is still learning letter names then make sure the bottle top letters match the letters on the paper. I used different fonts on my bottle tops because I want James to start noticing that letters can look different so I used lots of different scrapbooking stickers, but if you are doing this with a child who is lstill earning letters then just use the same font in both places.

Anyway, I finally got to use some of my milk tops and I was so glad I had been saving them.

If your child already knows their upper case letters then now is a good time to teach lower case and begin matching them up with each other. Also you can begin labeling letter sounds. When James was just learning letters I would say, "This is M like Mommy". Now I might say, "M says mmm". Your words will change as your child begins to learn more about a letter.

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