KNOWING THE ABCs
Teachers Call This Skill:
Children must learn the names of the letters of the alphabet and their shapes before they can start reading.
Children's knowledge of letter names and shapes is a strong predictor of their success in learning to read.
Knowing letter names is strongly related to children's ability to remember the forms of written words and their ability to treat words as sequences of letters.
WATCH & LEARN
Meet the Letters
Watch these videos with your student to get to know each letter of the alphabet
Captions and Languages
To watch videos with subtitles: Click the settings icon in the lower righthand corner, next click “subtitles,” and then “English.”
To see subtitles in another language, after selecting English, next click “auto-translate” and then select the language of your choice.
TRY THESE ACTIVITIES
Mystery Bag Letters
Choose a “Target Letter” to focus your child on learning
Write several “target letter” flashcards and then several other letters on flashcards
Put cards in a “mystery bag”
Have your child give you thumbs up if the letter you pull out matches the target letter
Use Everyday Moments
Point: Ask students to “find the letter M” (choose different target letters)
Say: Point to a letter you find in a store and ask “what’s this letter’s name”
Magnetic Letter Matching
Use a sharpie to write a capital letters on a cookie tray or piece of paper
Put magnetic letters in a bowl
Have your child match the letters while naming them
Say and Touch the Letters
Reading expert Linda Farrell works with Reese to master the name of every letter. She helps Reese sing the alphabet song clearly and with no mistakes. She teaches him to look carefully at letters as he names them.
Ms. Farrell also helps Reese identify every letter of the alphabet accurately, including differentiating between letters that look similar (in Reese’s case, ‘y’ and ‘v’). Learning the name of every letter is a critical pre-reading skill.
This video is part of the reading Rockets special series, Looking at Reading Interventions. Watch additional episodes and download the accompanying Professional Development Guides here: https://www.readingrockets.org/interv...
Determine What Letters They Know
Be aware of the letters and letter sounds your child knows. This can be as simple as writing down the alphabet on a small piece of paper or a chart like this and making a check next to the letters your child shows they can recognize. Put a smiley face next to the letter if they can tell you the sound and a squiggly line if they know how to write it.
Start with Their Name
Names are the most meaningful words for children, so start with having your child learn the letters and sounds of their name.
Talk about the child’s letter, for example, “Look Mia! I see your letter M, mmmmmmm, on that sign that says “Motorcycles”. Then have learn names of their siblings and favorite friend.
Search for a word with the letter “a” in it around the house, while driving in the car, or shopping at the grocery store. Try to find all 26 letters!
Match: Chalk Letters
Use chalk to write several capital letters on one side
Then mix up and write the lowercase letters on the other side
Have your child draw a line to match
Point: Chalk Letters
Write letters on the ground
Ask your child to point to “a” (letters)
Have your child take water on a paintbrush and trace over the letter while naming it
Use a plate and pour some rice or cornmeal for kids to trace a letter with their finger, then say its name and sound. Gently shake the rice on the plate to “erase”. Make sure to show them the letter first, so they can copy the shape.
Have your child trace their first and last name in shaving cream. Spray shaving cream in the bathtub and have them spell names in the foam with their finger. Have them write their name and then your name. Show them how their name is written on a piece of paper so they can copy the letter shapes.