This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Teaching The Alphabet

When Kaitlyn (now three) was not much older than one year old, my husband was shocked on night to realize she could point to and tell you what each letter of the alphabet was. We had never made a concerted effort to teach her. As best as we can tell, it happened through her simply reading an alphabet book she loved at bed time each night.

Teaching the alphabet to your child is as simple as exposing your child to the alphabet. Here are some ideas for helping you expose your child.
  • Alphabet Song: This is a simple one. Sing the alphabet. Over and over. And over again.
  • Alphabet Books: Brayden and Kaitlyn have each had a favorite alphabet book that they wore out. Brayden's favorite was The Alphabet Book. There is no shortage of alphabet books out there. You can find them with a variety of items represented or specific to suite a special interest your child has. You child might have a favorite character like Elmo. Elmo has an ABC Book. Once you have the book, the next step is to read it, and read it often.
  • Magnetic Letters: You can also get magnetic alphabet letters. There are the classic Magnetic Letters. One of our favorites is the non-traditional LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet Set. 
  • Alphabet Posters: You can also do alphabet posters. You can point to the letter as you say it.
  • Letter of the Day: And don't forget the letter of the day! Each week, you can focus on a different letter. Practice writing it, look for items around you that start with it, focus on the sound of it...make it a part of your day! Adjust your focus on the skill level of your child.
  • Shows: Leap Frog also has an excellent line of movies that teach the alphabet, phonics, and reading. LeapFrog - Letter Factory is the best one for starting out, but I love all of them. There are also two shows on PBS that I love for learning letters: Word World and Super Why!
  • Various Activities: In addition to these basics, you can do all sorts of fun activities to learn the alphabet. We have several ideas for you on this blog under Alphabet.
Learning the alphabet is an important first step toward learning to read. It is probably one of the more simple subjects to teach to your children. Remember repetition, exposure, and fun!


Raegan said...

Great ideas Val!

ys said...

Ok, I have a question on teaching letters. You teach capital letters first, correct? Do you teach lower case words together with the capital words, or alone after the capital? Just wondering the proper order as the goal of this is to get them to read and most letters aren't capital.

On another topic, anyone have "Any Baby Can Read" System? My MIL got that and I'm not sure if the kids are memorizing the words over repitition or what. I'm not sure about it:)

Plowmanators said...

I teach capitals first. Then I teach lowercase.

With words, you will do some with capital first followed by lowercase, and some all lowercase.

Don't teach your child to write the name in all caps. It takes kindergarten teachers a LONG time to break that.

I haven't ever done the "any baby can read" system.

Rachel Stella said...

I reserached the "your baby can read system" a while back. There were mainly mixed reviews. It does seem like your child is mainly memorizing words which some people think is a bad thing for reading later on, but others say it doesn't really matter if they memorize some words first and then figure out how to sound them out later. It does seem to get many kids intersted in reading which is a good thing. But I think if you read to your child every day that will probably happen on its own.

I think one of the things they advertise about this system is that it will get your child to read early on. Maybe so, but I personally don't think reading at 1 or 2 is going to make or break your child. I remember reading one review that mentioned that having children learn to read extremely early could be detrimental bc they end up skipping over some of the others things that they should be doing as young children, like playing randomly with toys etc. I don't know if this is true or not, it was just an interesting statement. I personally don't feel extremely strong either way about the system (but I'm no expert in the field of reading) but decided that I would rather have my son watch a more interactive show like signing time for 30 minutes a day than your baby can read. Plus, it suggests having your children start to watch it at a really young age and for like an hour a day if I'm remembering right, and that was too extreme for me. But it does come with some books and cards too which can be used for younger kids if you don't want to use the videos yet.

ys said...

Thanks for your input. My MIL already bought it as it was really her idea and basically just ordered it, but I definitely don't agree with watching the videos 30-60 min every day. They recommend no other TV to keep this interesting. But I don't see how that can be interesting to keep watching over and over. I too agree that the Signing Time Videos are great and educational. In general I am NOT a fan of TV, and my DD1 was about 18 months before she started watching about 15-20 min a day. Even DD2 at 21 months has only watched TV about 2 times:) I personally don't think it's great for young babies (i think it's overstimulating for their brains, but just my opinion). So I'm doing the video now about 15 min during lunch prep a couple times a week but trying to do the flap books and cards. At least those are good and both my kids enjoy them. So I'm basically doing a pretty scaled back version and definitely not all the TV. Both love to read books in general. SO I'm not really sold at all but I didn't buy it anyways:)


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