We’ve been asked on many occasions by friends who have pre-school aged kids for suggestions to help their little ones learn the alphabet. Almost all budding readers will learn their letters as a precursor to learning to read. So, if you feel like your child is ready, we have one proven method that can help them to acquire letter knowledge — have them start “playing” with magnetic letters.
There are some fun activities they can do that are 100% educational. Whether you use plastic or foam letters (we prefer foam for the full magnetic backing), it does not matter, magnetic letters are terrific tools for supporting a child’s development of letter-shape, letter-name and letter-sound knowledge. One important caveat that literacy experts will make about learning the alphabet is that while learning the names of each letter is important, your child’s ability to distinguish the different characteristics and features of each letter’s shape is perhaps more critical to ultimately becoming a fluent reader. So, make sure to point out each letter’s unique shape as well as their name. Over time, a child’s ability to rapidly tell one letter from another will grow until it becomes automatic. As “teachers”, it should be our goal to help chilren begin this process in a fun, accessible way, allowing confidence to be gained through repetition and practice.
Now that you’re convinced you need to buy some magnetic letters. What’s next? Having your child engage in sorting activities with magnetic letters is a good way to enhance their learning. Here are some sorting activities that you can try with your child using magnetic letters.