A Guide To Learning The Alphabet For Children

An example of a process of helping your preschool child learn the alphabet, to form individual target letters, and begin development of writing skills.

Preschool children develop academic readiness skills at a wide range of different speeds. These differences are expected and appropriate. As parents, though, we often feel the need to give our children a head start at home with some school readiness skills. Our children have a natural interest in words and reading which is usually encouraged at home. Parents may wish to capitalize on this interest by helping their child learn to form letters at home. Although these skills are part of preschool and kindergarten curricula, not all parents have access to preschool programs in the communities in which they reside.

A first step to helping your child write letters is to build on your child's interests. Is your child obsessed with apples, cars, blocks, or super heros? Like most preschool children, your child may be obsessed with himself! Choose one of these words as your first target. It is best to choose a words that begins with a consonant.

A second consideration is your child's motor development. Is your child able to scribbles circles and fairly straight lines, or just one or the other? Frustration will build in your child if you focus on a inappropriate skill. Would your child be more comfortable with printing an "˜l' or an "˜o'? Most preschoolers find straight line letters easier to form. A third consideration is simplicity. It will be easier for your child to succeed if you provide him with a plausible task such as writing a "˜t' rather than a more complex "˜g'.



Once you have chosen your target word and letter, look around your house for some examples of this word. Perhaps your target letter is "˜t' and your target word is "˜tooth'. Find or tell your child's favorite "˜tooth' story or have your child tell it to you. Involve your child in making a collage of "˜tooth' words and pictures. Search through old magazines, newspapers and advertisements, print pictures of the internet and encyclopedia software. Make some drawings, write the target word in interesting colors, and print off target words and letters with your word processor in large fonts with bright colors. Sprinkle your collage with cut-outs of your target letter as well. Talk about each picture with your child, and talk about what sound your target letter makes. Help your child glue your collage together. Circle all of your target letters.

When your collage is complete, help your child to trace the lager of your target letters with his index finger. Have your child draw the letter with his finger in a tray of sand, salt, flour or rice. Consider constructing your target letter with macaroni pieces, craft sticks, or cutlery. See if you can find examples of your target letter or word when you take a walk together. Find your letter in a word game. Draw your target letter with a glue gun on a piece of heavy paper and encourage your child to trace it with his finger.

Before you ask your child to form the letter himself, also spend some time focusing on the correct directions to forming most letters: top to bottom and right to left.

Have your child transfer small toys from a dish on the left to a dish on the right. Practice scribbles on paper from top to bottom. Swing your arms from up to down and left to right.

To begin helping your child form letters, encourage him to practice tracing a large letter on a chalkboard, guiding him through the appropriate formation. Trace your target letter on acetate, on paper of various colors, with markers, pencils and crayons. Create multi-layered letters by tracing over the same example numerous times. Pin large pieces of paper to the wall and let your child practice. Use your creativity! Eventually, your child will be able to form this target letter independently with pride.

The process of learning to form letters in lengthy and should not be forced. Consider whether your child is interested in writing, and excited about learning this type of skill. Learning together with the attention of a parent will make any experience more valuable.

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