Today I want to tell you a story about how I got so involved in teaching the alphabet, and why I’m passionate about this work.
You can watch my video or read my story below.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, click here to read about my book 101 Ways to Teach the Alphabet: A Hands-On Approach to Learning Letters and Sounds Through Play.
Several years ago, I was in graduate school finishing up my Ph.D. in child development when my husband and I adopted a second child, our beautiful daughter.
At the time, our daughter was 33 months and didn’t speak a word of English. Further, as we soon learned, she had a number of developmental delays. I knew that my job was to provide her with the experiences she needed to overcome those delays and catch up to her peers.
Thanks to my professional and educational background in language and literacy development, I knew that letter knowledge was an extremely important pre-reading skill she needed to develop (I’ll explain just how important letter knowledge is in my next email).
And I knew that if she was going to successfully learn the letters (and eventually learn to read), I was going to have to teach her the alphabet in a fun, hands-on, developmentally appropriate, and multi-sensory way.
So I got busy. During our “homeschool preschool” time, I provided my daughter with engaging and enriching activities to help her learn to recognize the letters.
As she began to recognize letters, I came up with creative ways to help her learn the letter sounds. And as she was learning the letter sounds, I prepared hands-on activities for her to practice forming the letters.
Little by little, my daughter learned her lowercase letters and then her uppercase letters with no boring worksheets, no tears, and no arguments. Instead, she learned the alphabet by participating in fun, hands-on, and engaging activities that were relevant to her interests. As far as she was concerned, all the learning she had done was just play!
Today my daughter is seven and I still teach her at home. She knows the alphabet and is well on her way to becoming a proficient reader. And much of the reason she is doing so well today is because of the investment I made in helping her to learn the alphabet.
As it turns out, researchers have recognized four different components of what it means to “know the alphabet.” So when we say that a child “knows the alphabet,” we mean that a child has acquired knowledge and skills in four separate areas. I’ll be discussing these four areas in more detail in my next email.
Until next time,