Letter recognition is the foundation for developing the ability to read. In order to teach a child to recognize letters, it's important to use fun activities. Small children have short attention spans, so any educational activity needs to be creative and exciting to do. Letters can be taught using a variety of materials already present in the home. If the child participates in the following activities a few minutes each day, she will gradually be better able to recognize the letters and be on her way to learning how to read.
Using 26 pieces of construction paper, write a letter of the alphabet on each one. Grab some old magazines and cut out a picture that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Glue them to the jumbo-sized flash cards. Draw the pictures if there are no old magazines lying around the house. Take the cards to a teacher supply store and get them laminated. Another option is to purchase a roll of contact paper and laminate them at home.
Each day, practice saying the letters with the child. Show the child the flash card, say the letter, make the letter's sound, and have the child repeat both the letter's name and sound. Place the flash cards on the floor and ask the child to hop on a specific letter. Most children love to move and play, so turning this activity into a game will keep the lesson from becoming boring.
Purchase a pack of magnetic alphabet letters and place them on a metal cookie tray. Help the child point to each letter and say its name. Allow the child to move the letters around the tray or trace them as she says each letter name.
Using nontoxic modeling clay, help the child mold letters. Hold up one of the alphabet letters and ask the child to make the letter by pinching and shaping the dough. Children will often be so engrossed with creating the letters, they won't realize they are learning letter recognition.
Raid the bathroom for some shaving cream and spray it on top of the kitchen table. Let the child use her finger as she practices writing letters inside the shaving cream. This will allow her to practice writing, preparing her for future work using a pencil. The goal is to make the activity fun and hands-on.
Gather old newspaper and magazines and hand the child a box of crayons. Ask the child to go on a letter hunt. The letter hunt game requires the child to look through newspaper and magazine print for a specific letter. For example, if the parent wants the child to recognize the letter "M," she can ask the child to use a crayon to circle all the uppercase and lowercase "M's" she can find. Once again, this lesson turns an educational activity into something that will entertain young children.
With a bit of creativity, parents can help children master letter recognition. Turning lessons into engaging, hands-on activities will inspire even the most wiggly preschooler. By using common items around the house, parents can help their children transform into future independent readers.