Learning the alphabet is a key part of your child’s education especially when it comes to learning to read and write. It is important that children learn not only to recite the letters in order, but also to recognize letters out of sequence. In addition, after mastering basic recognition, children will need to learn the sounds each letter represents and how to write it.
While many parents recognize how important learning the alphabet is to their child they are not always sure how to go about teaching the alphabet to their child. Many parents spend a lot of money on expensive products and programs designed to teach the alphabet but that really isn’t necessary and in fact may well be counterproductive.
As a literate adult you don’t need any tools, programs or books to help you in your quest to teach the ABCs to your child. You already possess all you need in your head (your own knowledge of the alphabet) and in your house. There are three simple keys to teaching your child the alphabet:
* Make it fun
* Make it real
* Make it regular
The most important rule to remember when teaching young children is to make sure that learning is fun. If you can make lessons into a game, a craft, or a song then your child will be a willing and eager participant. If you make learning into something boring or something that looks like work then you will have to fight your child every step of the way. Your child wants to spend time having fun with you so why not make lessons into fun time that you spend together so you both look forward to the experience? Just because a lesson was fun enough to make your child want to do it again-and-again does not lessen its value. Learning can be fun and something that was learned in an enjoyable way is much more likely to stick with your child in the long term than a lesson that was forced. If you can make learning the alphabet fun for your child then you will have accomplished two very important steps toward your child’s long-term success — knowledge of the alphabet and an eagerness to learn.
Young children need to experience their world through their senses. They do learn in the more traditional ways — seeing and hearing — but often prefer a more tactile approach that includes touching, smelling, and tasting. The more you can make the letters of the alphabet come alive for your child and give your child access to those letters in a way that utilizes their senses then the easier it will be to learn. Also, utilizing the real world for your lessons will not only save you money but will also help you teach your child the value of literacy.
Preschoolers learn at an incredibly fast rate but because they are learning and experiencing so many new things they can forget what they have learned just as quickly. That is why it is important to make lessons a regular part of your child’s day. It doesn’t mean that you have to set aside a separate part of the day because often alphabet lessons can take place at the grocery store, in the car, or at the kitchen table. What is important is that you consistently introduce the letters to your child in various forms and consistently reinforce the acquisition of the alphabetic principle. Even after your child has mastered the alphabet make sure you periodically review the letters so they don’t lose the knowledge.
If you make learning the alphabet fun, real, and consistent then your preschooler will definitely have a head start when the time comes to learn to read.