Will is currently learning his letters and letter sounds. Having good fundamentals in letter sounds will help your child when he or she is learning to read and sounding out words. The more you can reinforce good skills in the beginning the easier reading will come. We want to have our boys enjoy reading.
When Jack was in preschool his teacher explained to us that learning letters is a multi-step process for children. They see the lower case letter, upper case letter and sounds as individual learning steps. For kids, it isn’t just 26 letters, it is over 80 pieces of information. She also recommended that we start with the lowercase letters, since that is the majority of what we read.
To help make the process fun and not just repetition and memorization, I made letter boxes from small Tupperware containers for all of the lowercase letters. Each box contains 4-5 pictures of objects that start with the letter, a letter big enough to trace with a finger, a wooden letter from a game we had and two puzzle letters. The tactile nature of the box helps reinforce the letter more than just a book. I would have liked to put actual small objects in the box, but didn’t have enough to make it work for all. They can always be added to over time. The tracing part will also help with writing skills, so it is important that they learn to trace the letter correctly.
The boxes are on the bookshelf in Will’s room and each night we pick a letter or two to go through before we read stories. We go through the box talking about the letter sound and the letter itself. He is usually able to identify the objects. He loves doing his letters and will point some of the new ones out that he has learned when he sees them on signs. I also ask him to try and find the letter we just practiced in the book that we read for story time. Eventually I will add the uppercase letters to the boxes too.
Directions to make your own letter boxes
- 26 plastic boxes – I used some small food storage boxes
- Large font letter, big enough for them to trace with finger, printed on cardstock or laminated
- 4-5 pictures of objects starting with the letter or actual objects
- Any other alphabet 3D objects you have, puzzle pieces or game pieces
- Stickers or small printed letters for outside of box
This is a fun way for your child to learn his/her letters and create a lifelong reader in your house.
This post was originally published at Mom It Forward on April 19, 2013.