Monday, December 10, 2012

Kindergarten Ready: 2. Learning the Alphabet

Part of getting ready for school is learning the alphabet.  Knowing the letters are important.  I've heard some say that preschoolers don't need to know their letters before kindergarten, but I think it is harder for those who don't know their letters.  They seem to struggle later on more with reading.

There are a lot of fun (key with preschoolers) ways to learn the alphabet, here is some ways I've tried.

1.  Have a letter for the week or day depending on how long they need to learn it.  Have them carry a letter in their pocket.  They are the babysitter for that letter.  Throughout the day you can ask them if they still have their letter and what it's called.  As you read with them point out that letter throughout the book.  Think of words with that letter.

2.  Alphabet Flashcards.  There are so many games you can play with a simple deck of alphabet cards.  I would suggest getting two of the same kind so you can play games like, go fish, and memory with them.  You can also play a hide and seek game with them.  As they find the letter they tell you the name.

3.  Sing the Alphabet Song--Be sure to pronounce the fast letters clearly,  L M N O P.  Those seem to get lumped all together in their mind.

4.  Alphabet Bingo--Just learning to identify the letter on a bingo card is great progress.  Later you can just say a letter name and they can practice finding the letter without the visual cue card.

5.  Learning a musical Instrument:  This really helped my daughter to learn her letter quickly.  Pairing the name of the letter with a musical note helped her conceptionalize it.  You only get A-G but it's a start.

6.  Magnets on the fridge:  I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and by having letters on the fridge I could help teach letters while I'm cooking and cleaning.  They can also start forming sounds and words by putting the letters together.

7.  Letter Associations:  I have a puzzle with the letters on it.  Each has a picture with something that starts with that letter.  This really helps pair sounds with the letters.  You can do this with alphabet picture books too.  I would suggest buying the Dr Seuss ABC book and read it often.

8.  Ipad/phone games:  We have found some fun Ipad games that teach the alphabet.  There are a lot of apps to choose from.  One I like is Monkey Preschool Lunchbox by THUP

9.  Computer Games:  I love  This website is for all ages because once you get to the home page you can click what grade your child is in and then the game appropriate for that age comes up.

10.  Upstart:  Free At home preschool program.  It's hard to get in but worth the effort. (If you have an upcoming preschooler go today and register!) Two of my kids have had the opportunity to participate and it is wonderful.  It goes through the entire alphabet and doesn't move on to the next level until your child has mastered it.  The music in the the program is catchy and fun and helps the children to remember the concepts.  Can't say enough good about it.  You have to be in Utah to participate in the free program.  But they do have product available for purchase which I would highly recommend.

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