When thinking about teaching my kids to learn how to read, it was clear that letter recognition was going to be one of the first skills they would need to master. QBoy actually learned his letters very easily and naturally, with very little in the way of direct instruction. And once he could recognize all of his letters, I had to consider what was next in his literacy instruction.
You see, he wasn’t ready to read at that point. But he was ready for more. In this post I’m sharing several alphabet activities we did that go beyond letter recognition to work on slightly more advanced letter skills.
Matching uppercase and lowercase letters
There is some debate about whether one should teach kids lowercase letters first, uppercase letters first, or both cases at the same time. What is not in debate is the fact that eventually kids need to know both uppercase and lowercase letters. To help QBoy practice matching uppercase and lowercase letters, I set up an alphabet sensory bin for him.
I filled a small container with corn kernels (although just about any filler will do, like when I used split peas in a letter sensory bin for XGirl). I hid all 26 letters of the alphabet from our uppercase letter beads set in the bin. I then provided QBoy with an alphabetical list of lowercase letters. His job was to find the uppercase letters in the bin and then match them to the lowercase letters on his paper.
Once kids can recognize the letters, they need to learn to write the letters as well. Letter writing worksheets have their place, but there are so many other fun ways to practice writing letters that don’t involve worksheets.
One of the many ways QBoy has practiced writing his letters is by building them with the sticks from our Spielgaben set.
Matching letters to objects beginning with the same sound
Of course we want kids to recognize their letters and know the letter names. But more importantly, at least for early reading, we also want them to know the sounds the letters make.
We own an alphabet train set from Lakeshore Learning (unfortunately the set has been discontinued and is no longer sold). QBoy worked to match objects with the letter on each train car based on the initial sound of the object. (The language object starter set from Montessori services is a great resource for doing this kind of activity.)
Putting letters in alphabetical order
Once kids can recognize their letters, another task is to be able to put the letters in alphabetical order.
QBoy worked on alphabetical order by lining up the letter cars from his alphabet train.
He also used our Spielgaben set to write out every letter of the alphabet in order.
He also searched for letters from our uppercase letter beads set to string them onto a pipe cleaner in alphabetical order.
What else do kids need to know about letters once they can recognize them? Leave me a comment with your ideas!
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More ways to teach to the alphabet
More alphabet posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Road Letters
- Erasing letters with a Q-tip
- Making letters with straws and play dough
- I spy letter hunt
- Letter puzzles
- Montessori sandpaper letters
- Making “alphabet soup”
- Smash the puffy letters
- Kinetic sand letters
- Letter hopscotch
- Crystallized letters
- Letter hop
- Rainbow letters
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