I am so excited to be kicking off this year’s 31 Days of ABC series! This is one of my favorite series because it focuses on one of the a major early literacy milestone: learning the ABCs! So today I want to spend time looking at how to get started teaching the alphabet to very young children, from sensory bins and board books to hands on activities. What are your favorite ways to teach the ABCs?
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Early Literacy: Getting Started Teaching the Alphabet
Create a Text Rich Environment
What is a text rich environment? Basically, let your little one see written language all around your home. Post the alphabet in an attractive way somewhere the child can easily see it. For example, we have put these cute Animal Alphabet Sticker Decals on the walls in our toddler’s room. She loves looking at the animals, and I read the letters to her frequently. I particularly like this set because it pairs the upper and lower case letters together. We also have beautiful alphabet posters in Spanish and French. It’s never too soon to get started on a second language!
Connect Letters with Language
Technically called “print awareness,” this is helping little ones make the connection between the written word and language. So, for example, you can point to the words in a book as you read together, point to signs as you read them, and so on. This will make a big difference for them when they start learning to read!
Related Post: Reading with Children 0-5 – Everything You Need to Know
Read Read Read
Building on print awareness is cultivating the simple joy of reading. This step alone is one of the single important tasks you can do for early literacy and indeed to lay the foundation for all future learning. If a child loves to read, the whole world will be opened up to her! Here are some of our favorite alphabet books:
Little hands will love the shaped pages and cute cutouts of Alphablock. We love this series! The illustrations are bright and engaging, and the text simple for young readers. My daughter loves sitting and looking at these books on her own.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a classic, and it’s easy to see why! The rhythmical text fairly bounces along, making it super fun to read aloud. And kids will enjoy seeing what happens when all of the baby letters climb up the coconut tree! We also love the illustrations, as the letters are variously tied up in knots, or get a stubbed toe, etc. from falling out of the tree. Here is a fun extension activity – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom play dough!
LMNO Peas is a really cute book that works for a range of ages. Very young readers will enjoy the alphabet illustrations, while older children will get the gentle humor, as the book explores all the different kinds of peas there are, from architects to zoologists! (My favorite is the page for “K,” which includes a drawing of a king – plus a drawing of the other King – that is, Elvis).
Sensory play is great because children are interacting with the letters and letter shapes using all of their senses. Here are some fun ideas to get you started:
Early literacy crafts, such as this cute B is for Bus craft, are another fun way for children to interact with letters. You may think that your toddler is too young to do alphabet crafts, but there are many ideas for simple crafts that are still meaningful for letter recognition, such as this “fill the alphabet” toddler craft. And I love these hand print ABC crafts – one for every letter of the alphabet!
An important part of early literacy is recognizing your own name. There are lots of fun ways to do this – I love this sticker activity, as most toddlers I know are obsessed with stickers! Here is a letters in my name sensory activity, plus a name construction activity that also includes great tips about teaching name recognition.
More Hands On Activities
Hands on activities are so important for early literacy. Here are some really fun activities you can do with your little one:
It’s time again for another fantastic month of alphabet fun with the 31 Days of ABC! All this month you can look forward to 31 more days of activities, crafts, books, apps, and more, all dedicated to teaching young children the alphabet.
I am so happy to be working with an amazing group of kid bloggers, who will be sharing their ideas with us in the coming days. So join us as we jump, skip, hop, and read our way through the alphabet this October!
Don’t forget to follow our 31 Days of ABCs Pinterest board for even more great ABC ideas!