When children have learned to recognize a variety of shapes, you can start teaching them to find and name letters. This is a wonderful step in the early literacy process. Children will begin mastering the skills they will need to know so they can learn to read and write.
Everyday Letter Finds is a way to think of learning letters as an ongoing game. Here are some examples of everyday activities to incorporate:
- Getting dressed – Does your child’s shirt have words on it? If so, tell him what it says while you trace the letters. He will feel your touch and see how you make each letter separately.
- Driving – Show your child a stop sign. Ask her if she knows what it says? Spell out the letters – “S – T – O – P. That says Stop. What should I do here?”
- Eating – Some shapes are also letters. What letter is round like a Cheerio? Can you put two green beans together to make a T? Point out the letters on food cans, boxes or cartons.
- Reading – It’s easy to talk about letters when books are open. Help your child find the letters that are in his name, or look for a favorite book character’s name.
- Playing – Blocks and other toys for children often have letters and words. As you build or play, occasionally ask your child if she knows a letter. Build the shape of a letter.
Many more ideas for looking for letters can be found online. The state library of Kansas’s site for “6 by 6” describes the 6 skills children need to learn before they can learn to read, with activities related to each skill. Try “Notice Print All Around You” or “Look for Letters Everywhere” to find more ideas on this topic.