I am a certified teacher and have been tutoring young children for more than 30 years. I am sharing my experience in the tutorial business.
Teaching the alphabet to very young kids is just like a game and not as hard as others think. The first thing that the teacher should bear in mind is to make teaching the alphabet fun to the young kids. Because young kids love visual materials it is important to use materials that will attract their attention and make learning for them fun and interesting. As a teacher, you should think of ways to make the kids listen to you since they are too young and they could be very playful especially during the first few days of school.
Here are some simple to follow tips when teaching the alphabet to very young kids.
- Introduce the alphabet by singing it to the kids. Most parents start singing the alphabet as soon as their child is born so it is likely that the kids have already heard the alphabet song earlier. Kids love to sing. They learn songs easier than the other things taught to them in school.
- Use colorful and big pictures to introduce the alphabet to the kids. It is also best to point to each letter while singing or reciting the alphabet.
- Use big bold letters to introduce each letter. Using big bold letters in visual aids will help the kids understand what is taught to them better. If you are using flash cards, make sure that they are big enough for the kids to see clearly. You should avoid using fonts that have decorative edges. Using the standard fonts is advisable when making visual materials for young kids. It is also important that you use the uppercase letters first while they aren’t accustomed yet to the lowercase letters.
Use big flash cards for young kids to see clearly.
Make sure too that you have some flash cards to show the kids and some pictures. Start by singing the alphabet in a slow manner that the kids could understand. It is also important to make the activity a daily routine. For example, you can sing the alphabet every day with the kids before starting the main lesson. To make learning more fun and effective, you can provide some posters with the alphabet to the kids that they can point while singing. This way, they can memorize the letters and learn the sequence of the alphabet.
The kids will not only learn how to sing the alphabet if you provide the proper visual and audio materials that they use to make learning more fun and effective. They will also learn to recognize each letter of the alphabet faster and easier.
There are no set rules on how to teach the alphabet to the kids. What is important to remember is to make learning for the kids fun and interesting so that they will learn better.
Alphabet Activities for the Kids
There are many useful activities that you can use to teach the alphabet to the kids. Using these activities will make the lesson interesting and fun to the young kids and will avoid boredom.
- Singing the Alphabet
Singing is one of the best ways to make lessons for young kids fun. Singing the alphabet every day will help the kids memorize the letters of the alphabet. You can sing the alphabet only while clapping the hands or you can use posters and let the kids point to the letters as you sing.
It is very hard to guide each kid to point to the letters because there are several kids in a class and a normal class has only two teachers but you can do it by turns. Say, you help two kids point to the letters of the alphabet on the first day then do it to the other kids the next day until such time that all of them know how to point to the letters as they sing. Doing this as a daily routine will make memorizing the alphabet more effective.
- Letter Recognition through Flash Cards
Using flash card is a very common method of teaching young kids. The kids love visual aids and they will enjoy telling what letter is shown to them through flash cards. The most important thing to remember when showing pictures or any material to the kids is to use big bold letters without any decorative edges and large and clear images too for easier comprehension.
It is more effective to show one letter at a time. I always start teaching the vowels first. And I teach each letter for a week or 5 days before the next letter. So if your lesson is letter A, you should show only letter A and let each child say the letter.
- Show and Tell
Show and tell is an interesting and fun activity for the kids. You show them something and the kids will tell the object. Real objects can be used in this show and tell activity but you can also use tri-dimensional objects to make learning more effective. If your lesson is letter A; find things that start with letter A and use them to teach the letter to the kids. One advice that I can share is to stick first to short a, to avoid confusing the kids. They will learn about long a as they go.
- Individual Recitation
Reciting is one of the best ways to know if the child has learned the lesson or not. Letting each child recite will make learning more effective since each child will be participating in class activities. Group recitation is good but sometimes there are kids who are just following the others. Try calling each child and you will discover that there are kids who do not know letter A yet.
- Tracing the Letter
It is always good to include tracing the letter to the lesson on alphabet. Young kids always start by tracing the letter being taught. They will not be able to trace the letter immediately so you have to teach them first the stroke. You can use the “write on the air” method then demonstrate how to write the letter on the board. It should be done one step at a time. Remember to guide the kids to write because they are still learning how to do it.
- Coloring Pictures
Coloring pictures will break the monotony of the lesson and will give the kids time to relax. Coloring is like playing so the kids will enjoy this activity. It is important to let the kids color a picture that begins with the letter that you are teaching for the day. If you are teaching letter A then let the kids color an apple or an astronaut. The point here is to make coloring related to the lesson.
Here’s a guide when teaching the alphabet to young kids.
- Sing the alphabet with the kids using posters.
- Use flash cards and let the kids say the letter.
- Give each child a chance to recite the letter being shown.
- Let the kids trace the letter.
- Let the kids color pictures that start with the letter of the day.
- Give other activities to enhance learning.
Felisa Daskeo (author) from Manila, Philippines on June 10, 2013:
Thank you Nan Jay. It is always good to hear from others especially specialists like you. your comment will be very helpful to teachers and parents as well.
Nan Jay Barchowsky on June 10, 2013:
Play is definitely key, but this is all about letter recognition. I am a handwriting specialist, and many professionals agree with me that if we teach young children to form letters, they will automatically learn to recognize them and read. Babies, young children, even older persons learn by touch. When children can be guided to form letters, instructing them in where to touch pencil to paper, and the sequence of strokes, they are putting letters into motor memory.
It's still fun. I know because I have had about 40 years with happy learners.
Felisa Daskeo (author) from Manila, Philippines on June 10, 2013:
Thank you aud. You are so right. Kids learn better if they are having fun in school.
Audrey on June 10, 2013:
As long as it is fun, kids will learn. And I think they do learn better through play and song because of their short attention span.