We have reached the final pre-reading skill of the Every Child Ready to Read model. It is called Letter Knowledge. Letter Knowledge means knowing that letters are different from each other, knowing their names and sounds and recognizing letters everywhere.
Here are some tips on how to help your infant or toddler recognize letters.
1. Help your baby and toddler see and feel different shapes as you play. (Say, "The ball is round.")
2. Read alphabet books.
3. Point out letters on toys, food boxes and other objects around the house.
4. Talk with your toddler about what is the same and what is different between two things.
Here are some tips for your 2-3 year old.
1. Help your child see different shapes and the shapes of letters.
2. Talk about what is the same and what is different between two things.
3. Write your child's name, especially the first letter.
4. Make letters from clay or use magnetic letters.
5. Point out and name letters when reading alphabet books, signs or labels.
6. Read alphabet books with clear letters and pictures.
Here are some tips for your preschooler (4-5 year old).
1. Write your child's name.
2. Make letters from clay or use magnetic letters.
3. Point out and name letters when reading alphabet books, signs or labels.
4. Show your child that the same letter can look different.
5. Write words that interest your child (like "dinosaur" or "truck") using crayons, magnetic letters or pencil and paper.
Remember that knowing the names and sounds of letters helps children figure out how to sound out words and how to say written words.
Recently in my story times dedicated to Letter Knowledge, I have been reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. I happen to have the actual tree (made of felt) with letters that have velcro on the back. I give each child the first letter of their name (I have at least 2 of each letter, just in case) and when I read out their letter, they get to place it on the tree. They love it! It gives them an opportunity to be unique with "their" letter and also helps them practice listening. The majority of my kiddos know the first letter of their name, so this helps reinforce their knowledge. I've also been reading alphabet books like Alphabatics by Suse MacDonald, Alphabeep by Debora Pearson, Creature ABC by Andrew Zuckerman and K is for Kissing a Cool Kangaroo by Giles Andreae, to name a few.
The director of one of my sites took a video of me signing the alphabet with the kids. It's not the most flattering of shots, but it gets the point across. Enjoy! :)