How to Teach the Alphabet to your Preschooler

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Does your preschooler love for you to read books to them—whether that’s the same book over and over and over again, chapter books, picture books, magazines, or nursery rhymes? This is a great sign that your preschooler might be interested in learning the alphabet.

Learning to recognize letters is an important step in learning to read. When a child learns letter names it can make learning letter sounds easier for young minds. The sounds of many letters, not all, are closely related to the sound the letter makes. For example, say “B” and you will hear the /B/ sound as you say it. This is the same for the letter “M.” So when learning to recognize letters, children are also being exposed to the letter sounds.

So how can you teach your preschooler the alphabet? Here are some ways:

1.       Continue to read with them! As you read, ask your preschooler to point to letters they recognize, and introduce the sound of the letter to them.

2.       Make learning fun! No preschooler wants to sit and be quizzed with flashcards, instead sing songs, use alphabet magnets, puzzles, playdough, stickers, etc.

3.       Point out print in the world. Call attention to the letters on labels, store signs, street signs, or their clothes.

4.       Teach your preschooler a letter a week. My book, Toddler Lesson Plans: Learning ABC’s, is a great resource to use to teach your child a letter a week through hands-on, fun activities that are low-prep. You can choose the order you want to teach each letter. I taught them in order, but I’ve heard others have great success by teaching the letters of their child’s name first.

5.       Practice writing letters. Again, make this a fun experience! Let your preschooler practice writing letters in shaving cream, paint letters, write letters on the sidewalk with chalk, draw letters in the air with their finger, etc.