The time has come to introduce my youngest daughter to the alphabet.
Being the youngest, she has grown up watching her older brother and sister do their schoolwork and has been chomping at the bit for awhile, even though she is only three years old.
There is no right or wrong age to begin teaching your preschool child early reading skills. It has a lot to do with the individual child and their eagerness and excitement to learn. All the same, while our letter of the week packet has a lot to offer three year old's, they definitely cannot do all the activities in it by themselves, as yet. But let's look at what a smaller child can do.
With young children, there are so many ways for them to experiment with letter-sound relationships. The way I like to begin teaching the letters, is with a story.
Let it be known, I didn't coach her to cry when the kitty "disappeared", but this does demonstrate one of the reasons why I use a friendly animal character to accompany children on their alphabet journey. Glimmercat helps children to learn because young children love familiarity and routine in the midst of newness, and this is exactly what this friendly kitty establishes.
So, I introduced my daughter to Glimmercat and shared the first story of how Glimmercat slipped off the letter A on her way to pick apples, and now she had a solid mnemonic introduction to the sound of aaaaa (short a). At that point, she was ready for flash cards.
There are only four flashcards in our Letter of the Week packet. We try to keep it simple.
I recommend letting children work together on these, after you first introduce them. That way they are practicing "reading" the little words, connecting the letter words to the pictures, and feeling just a little important about all their knowledge in the process. See what this looks like here:
Now that we have practiced our flashcards, there are millions of ways to learn just a little bit more about letter A...children will see and recognize it in street signs, they can cut the letter A out of magazines or junk mail, they can draw it in sand at the beach or in salt in a pan, they can point it out in the stories you read to them.
Speaking of stories, let's look at a few of the stories I love to read out loud and include in my letter A week! I try to focus on one of the A subjects from our flash cards each day, so I have found fun children's books for each.
Feel free to print the above list out and keep it on hand the next time you go to the Library to check out some letter A books!
Interspersed with these books, you can purchase our Letter of the Week for A packet and print out easy crafts and activities for children that tie in perfectly with the subject areas in these stories.
Although some of the activities in this packet are intended for older children, (as mentioned) some will work perfectly with little ones, too. Let's look at those!
This one above, is our Path of Motion Practice sheet. I laminate this sheet (using clear contact paper from Dollar Tree) and then my daughter can use a dry erase marker to follow her arrows. It's the perfect size for her small hands!
I believe it is important to teach the correct way to make letters from the beginning, but not at the cost of enjoying the writing process. My daughter had several days of working on her letter A practice sheet. Each time, I would remind her to follow the arrows. Now she does the big letter "A" and the little letter "a" on her own, correctly. And as you can see, she is able to do them perfectly:
We don't over-do this, by the way. At age three, little ones can be done in five minutes or twenty. My daughter is anxious to do "her work" because she watches her old brother and sister doing theirs. To her, this makes "work" a delightful and exotic experience in her life.
We want to keep it that way for her! Here's how we do that: Crafts...
|A is for Alligator|
|A is for Ant!|
And anything Edible you can fit into your Letter Fun!
|A is for Apples and Apple Pie!|
As long as you fill your learning times with these engaging experiences, little ones will be able to handle more challenging attempts like this one with our Letter Maze that we modeled in our Teaching Lesson here:
Keep it fun! Keep them coming back for more! Children are already geared towards wanting to learn. All we have to do is steer them in the right direction.
If you feel you need more concise or scripted lessons, those are also offered in our Letter of the Week packet, where we walk you through five days of fun learning experiences for each letter.
Check out our store for more information about our Letter of the Week packet for A.
And feel free to share your own ideas in the comments...what do you love to include in your letter A curriculum?