Your child can watch any number of wonderful children’s television programs and play educational games on the computer. But, here, I’ll show you some simple things you can do at home with one of my favourite teaching tools – magnetic letters.
So, do you teach the upper case or capital letters first?
I’d start with the lower case or small letters – a, b, c and so on. Then, add the upper case letters. Why? Take a look at a page of print in a book. What do you see more of? Upper or lower case letters? Right! Your child will need to know both to begin to read most efficiently.
Read alphabet books.
Say the name of the letter and say the sound it makes.
Ask the children’s librarian at your public library for some ABC books.
Teach the alphabet song.
An oldie but goldie! This a fun and easy way for your child to learn the letter names.
Put magnetic letters on your refrigerator door.
Start with about 3 letters. You don’t want to overwhelm your little person with 26 upper case and 26 lower case letters. That’s 52 letters!
Show your child each letter and say its name. You’ll probably have to do this many times. That’s okay.
If your child already knows a letter or two, make sure to always include them in a group with the one or two new ones. This builds confidence. You want your child to feel good about learning. Praise your child.
Say the sound the letter makes, too: “This is an ‘a’. It makes the sound ‘a’ as in ‘apple’. A-a-a-apple.”
Do one new letter a day or every couple of days.
Make your child’s name with magnetic letters. It’s meaningful! It’s personal.
Use a capital magnetic letter for the first letter and small letters for the rest of the name, e.g. Larissa.
Make the name, tell your child: “This is your name. Larissa.”
Then ask your child to make it again directly below the one you made. Repeat!
Use all the letters if it’s a short name, some of the letters if it’s a long one. For example: “Chris” instead of “Christopher”. The rest can come when your child is a bit older.
You’ll probably be teaching your child how to write his or her name soon.
Don’t use all capital letters! The first letter of a name is a capital, followed by lower case letters: Alicia. This is the way of convention and it’s the way the pre-school or kindergarten teacher will be teaching your child how to write her name. Make is easy for your child by teaching it the right way to begin with!
Scramble the magnetic letters.
Later, when your child knows several letters, scramble them, and ask: “Show me an ‘m’. Show me a ‘p’, and so on.
You can still use the refrigerator door for this, or you can pick up a little magnetic board at the dollar store.
Play a matching game.
Buy two sets of magnetic letters, or three. You can buy them at the dollar store. *
Make sure you have both upper and lower case letters.
Put two sets of the same 5 letters up on the refrigerator. Mix them up.
You can do fewer letters with a younger child.
Show your child how to match them in pairs.
Scramble them again, then, say: “You do it.” Praise your child. “Good job!”
Try to do it faster.
*Scholar’s Choice has an excellent set of magnetic letters. I like these because the letters are formed the way a child would learn to print them. Notice the ‘a’ and the ‘g’. Nothing fancy.
Do you have any favourite activities with magnetic letters?
If you have good thoughts
they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and
you will always look lovely. -Roald Dahl