You can buy all kinds of hi-tech alphabet toys and computer games to teach your child the alphabet…
But often it’s the simple, homemade things that work best. My kids learned their abc’s with the good, old alphabet fishing game. Nothing hi-tech about it, but it works!
Make some fish. Print the fish-template I’ve provided on card stock. Make 5 copies. You’ll need 52 fish. Or you can cut them out of foam. Print one letter on each fish: a capital ‘A’ on one fish, a small ‘a’ on another fish, and so on. Attach a paper clip to each fish.
Make a fishing rod using a small stick (a chopstick, a paint brush, a dowel). Attach a string with a magnet on the end. It will pick up the fish by the paper clip.
Make it easy. Put only 3 fish on the floor face down so you can’t see the letter. Your child will “catch” a fish, turn it over, and tell you the name of it. Always include letters your child already knows and add one new one at a time. If your child doesn’t know any letters yet, start with 3 fish, but when your child catches one and turns it over, you name the letter.
Variation: Once a few fish have been collected, have your child match the upper case letter with the lower case letter.
Variation: Lay out 5 different fish face up. Ask your child to catch a specific letter. Praise your child.
Here are more features about print on a page to show your child.
Once you’ve introduced the features we talked about in my previous blog – Show Your Child How Books Work, you can point out some more “advanced” items. These would be for a child about 3 and a half to 4 years of age or older.
This is about showing your child how books work. This knowledge will come in really handy once your child begins to read! Teachers call this concepts about print.
Do this while reading with your child. Look for the different features in the book you’re reading. Introduce one item at a time. One day you might talk about a period, the next day point out a question mark.
Point to a period. Say: “This dot means stop. We stop reading when we come to a period.” And then, demonstrate by reading the sentence and coming to a stop.