Monday, March 28, 2011

Now I Know My ABC’s

Well, not quite, but we are certainly working on it. Last week we made these cutout letters. I want to laminate them so they will last longer, but we’ll see if I ever get around to it.


I drew the letters on sheets of cardstock (two on each sheet) and had the kids cut them out. In hindsight I realize I probably should have done the lowercase letters, since when you read, you read lowercase letters more often than uppercase letters – and I would like them to be able to point out the letters in our picture books. Knowing the capital letters isn’t going to hurt them, but I wish I had started with lower case. Maybe we’ll work on that next month.

Before I cut out the letters, I let the kids color them up. They weren’t really interested in coloring the letters, so I helped. Then we cut them out.

DSCN4727 DSCN4729 

As we were cutting them out, Baby and E started stepping in some cheapo plastic planters I had bought for my poinsettias. I didn’t want them to break the planters, so I suggested that we sort the letters. We had three planters, so I tried to think of ways letters have three “types” – the best I could come up with was “curvy letters,” “pointy letters,” and “letters with holes.” After I showed E what I meant, he excitedly sorted all the letters. Baby still doesn’t get sorting, and just wanted to move the things around in the buckets.  We’re working on it, though.

So far, E can recognize R, G (it has a “table” inside) and a few other letters, although R is the one we did first, since our (real) last name starts with R. Baby recognizes that things are letters and numbers, and will point them out to us, but all of them are “I!!” E also knows that “R is for Rainbow and (our last name).” At first he was saying “R starts with Rainbow” but thankfully we were able to correct that pretty fast.

My goal is for E to be able to recognize all the letters of the alphabet (upper and lower case) by the summer so that we can start learning sounds. I’m not as interested in him learning sounds right now, but I do think it is important for him to start being able to recognize the letters, and hopefully to be able to write his name soon.

What things are you doing to prepare your child for reading? What age do you think children should start learning sounds? Should recognizing letters and words come before learning sounds? Or should sounds come first? Or should we just expose our kids to both and let them figure things out as they go?


  1. I really like the sorting game! What a great way to get your kids touching and exploring the details of the alphabet. We have done a lot with both letter recognition and letter sounds. I introduced both when they were young and we play with whatever skill they are interested in at the moment. One of my favorite letter sound games is to ask M and M to give a hug to the person who's name starts with a "J" (then I make the sound). I give them a few seconds to think, and before they lose interest throw out another clue. "This person starts with a J and wears glasses."
    I am going to be posting another letter sound game tomorrow. That is if I can tear myself away from your site long enough to write it!

  2. When I was learning about teaching children to read (teaching 1st grade), one of the most important things that was emphasized (and I saw it in the classroom too) was that kids need the foundation of phonemic awareness. This means that exposing them to language as much as possible so they can hear all the sounds before they actually start putting sounds and letters together. Reading, nursery rhymes (and rhyming words, etc...) and hearing the sounds is what really helps them to develop that awareness before they learn to read.

    And I think that uppercase letters are easier for kids to identify at first, so usually we teach those letters first and then teach the lowercase ones after (or maybe during the process...but you don't want to confuse them too much, so take it at your kid's pace). Most 1st graders are still learning about writing with lowercase letters (not all uppercase) at the beginning of first grade and into the year.

    I'm planning to start letters with my little one this next fall (we already do it a bit when we're reading). Hopefully I can get a few things planned out before the twins arrive--ahh! Anyway, we'll see :) I think that encouraging writing goes along with reading too...this is maybe for a little bit older kids (kindergarten/1st grade) but I always had my kids sound out whatever letters they heard and put them on the paper. That way kids at ANY LEVEL could write and feel like they could write, even if they were missing some of the letters/sounds.

    Anyway, my two cents :)