Typically, children begin to recognize letters around the ages of two and three. They can begin to draw shapes that resemble letters, and start to understand that the words we speak can be written and read. As your child forms their relationship with the written word, there are some fun, age-appropriate ways you can help them to learn the individual letters of the alphabet.
Teach the letters of your child’s name
Identifying the individual letters of your child’s name will help to form a personal connection to the alphabet. Write your child’s name and point out each individual letter, and make a fun game out of finding those letters elsewhere, such as in books and on signs.
Find words that start with the same letter
Once your child understands that a certain letter makes a specific sound, it can be fun to help them discover more words that begin with the same sound. The popular game “I Spy” is ideal for helping your child identify objects that begin with the same letter.
Play alphabet games
In addition to “I Spy,” there are many ways you can make a game out of learning the alphabet. Some examples include: arranging magnetic letters on your fridge; writing letters and having your child trace over the shapes with crayons or paint; or playing letter hide-and-seek with letters printed on cards.
Read alphabet books
Visual aids such as books are a great way to help young children learn the alphabet. There are many good books available that focus specifically on the letters of the alphabet and help the child make connections between a letter and a familiar word, such as apple or giraffe. Even non-alphabet books can also become a source of learning. For example, when reading your child’s favorite book, you might ask them to point out the letters they know, or ask them to trace the shape of a letter with their finger.
Ask your child’s preschool or daycare teacher for advice
Working together with your child’s preschool or daycare will give you support and strategies that you can continue to use at home. Talk to your child’s teacher or caregiver to find out what ways they are helping children learn the alphabet during the day. This can help you to craft strategies that you can use at home to help strengthen your child’s growing knowledge of letters.
From an early age, children are curious about the alphabet, especially once they begin to understand that letters are the building blocks of the books and stories they love. Helping your child learn the alphabet can be a fun activity you can enjoy in your everyday life.