Teacher Mama: Teaching Your Child the Alphabet

Ideas for Teaching Your Child the Alphabet

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I recently had a dear friend ask me for some suggestions for helping her son recognize the letters of the alphabet. I proceeded to write a lengthy email with all my best ideas and then thought, hey, I just wrote a blog post! So, here are my thoughts about teaching your child his letters.

Learn and Sing the Alphabet Song

Sing: Sing, sing, sing, sing the Alphabet Song. Sing it fast, sing it slow, sing it high, sing it low!

Alphabet Song CD: I searched out a bunch of different versions of the Alphabet Song and made our very own Alphabet CD.  My kids are huge music fans and this was very helpful. Here are a few different versions we like:

  • Crazy ABCs from Snacktime by the Barenaked Ladies; 
  • Alligators All Around from Really Rosie soundtrack
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom from the recording with Ray Charles
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep/ABCs Songs for Wiggleworms by various artists
  • ABCs from Ralph’s World by Ralph
  • A You’re Adorable by Martha Alexander, Buddy Kaye and Fred Wise

Read ABC Books

Read ABC books: There are a gazillion out there written for varying age levels and interests.  Don’t expect your child to necessarily learn the alphabet from these books.  They are usually more interested in the story or the action. That said, your child WILL pick up some alphabet related concepts while reading whether it is obvious or not.  Some of our favorites are:

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr
  • Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
  • Alligators All Around by Maurice Sendak
  • The Alphabet Tree by Leo Leoni
  • A You’re Adorable by Martha Alexander, Buddy Kaye and Fred Wise
  • Alphabet Rescue by Audrey and Bruce Wood
  • The Sleepy Alphabet by Melissa Sweet
  • Alligator Alphabet by Stella Blackstone
  • A is for Annabelle by Tasha Tudor
  • B is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC by June Sobel
  • Alphabeep: A Zipping, Zooming ABC Book by Deborah Pearson.

ABC Wall Strip 

I think hanging an alphabet strip on your child’s bedroom wall or in another place he spends a lot of time is invaluable.  As a teacher, I had both an alphabet strip and a number line hanging in my classroom (as most teachers do) and you would be amazed by the number of times throughout a day that my students referred to them. The strips are an excellent visual cue to children for letter formation and letter sounds (they often have a picture to go with each letter).  There are many quick, but effective things that can be done with an alphabet strip in your own home as well.
  • Hang it Up: Simply hang one up and talk about it throughout the day. For example, “Did you notice that the letter A looks like a tent?” or “I think the letter S looks like a snake, what do you think?”
  • Make it Yourself and Hang it Up: If you are feeling creative, you can create your own and have your child help you hang it up. You can do it all at once, or better yet, do a few letters a day and talk about how each letter looks and sounds. You can also have your child anticipate which letters will be put up the next day by singing or saying the alphabet and listening for what comes next.
  • ABC Pictures: Cut out (or draw) pictures to go with each letter and hang them up.
  • Sing and Point: Sing the alphabet song and point to the letters. Give your child a “teacher pointer” and have him recite the alphabet as he points to the letters. Anytime a child gets “play” teacher is great because you can really see what he knows and he gets to see what you know as well!
  • Play “I Spy the Letter”:  Say to your child, “I Spy the letter M” and have your child point to the letter M.  Be sure to give him a turn to say “I spy the letter ___” and you have to point to it.

Other Alphabet Activities

  • Alphabet Treasure Hunt: Try an Alphabet Treasure Hunt from Playdough to Plato 
  • BIG Alphabet Games: Write the letters of the alphabet on the sidewalk (or you can write them on paper) and try these ideas:  Letter Jump– Jump from letter to letter and say the name of the letter you land on; Rock Toss– Using the same letters, have your child toss a rock and name the letter it lands on; Letter Mix-Up– Lay the letter out on the ground out of order and have your child put them in ABC order. Note– All these games can be used to practice letter sounds as well. Simply say the letter and its sound when landing on a letter.
  • Alphabet Hop: Print out the Alphabet Hop game and play it together. For a copy, email me at [email protected]
  • Magazine Hunt: Search for the letters of the alphabet in magazines. Cut them out and make an ABC collage or simply circle them as you go.
  • Letters on the Go: Try Letters on the Go from No Time for Flashcards

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5 thoughts on “Teacher Mama: Teaching Your Child the Alphabet

  1. Pingback: Class Four: Assessment and Driving Home Letter Names - Playdough To Plato

  2. Pingback: Creative books and a lively CD we have been loving……… | Learning is Messy

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  5. Awesome ideas as usual! Can’t wait to check out some of the songs and books. I personally love the Crazy ABC’s by the Bare Naked Ladies!

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