At some point, every child will know all their letters and letter sounds. After all, these skills are essential to reading, which sooner or later all kids learn how to do. The ultimate goal is to make this process as painless as possible. We don’t want children to struggle or experience frustration in learning these skills. Ideally, reading should be a pleasurable experience.
In my opinion, the best option is to start early to very casually introduce the names of the symbols that represent each letter. With my own kids, I start around the second birthday. I know there are those who disagree with this tactic (for example the Montessori school of thought), but in my experience, learning the letters and sounds without pressure before you’re even old enough to remember is the least painful way to ingrain this information.
Honestly, the best way to teach uppercase letters I’ve found is to take walks with your toddler. Since they are learning to label the rest of the world anyway, it’s natural to talk about road signs near your house. My son saw the same “STOP” sign and “ROAD CLOSED” sign every day for so long that he knew the letters in those signs without hesitation in any context by the time he was 2 and a half.
However, if you’ve missed this window, there may come a time when you need to make more of a concentrated effort so that your child does not fall behind in an academic setting. In that situation, you probably still want to keep the process casual and fun.
Below are some of the homemade material and activities I’ve used. My goal is to help kids learn to recognize upper and lower case letters and start to remember the sounds each letter makes in ways that keep the child engaged and interested.
Click here for more Language Arts activities for kids.
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