Alphabet learning is something that is near and dear to me. Having taught Kindergarten I have worked with many little people and helped them learn the alphabet through play. Some little ones I have worked with learn the alphabet really quickly, and for others, it takes more time. My preschooler falls in the latter group.
It is hard for me not to push (in a helpful and well-meaning way) to have him learn his ABCs. It’s especially hard when I chat with other Mamas and hear how their little ones know all of their letters, can read, and have written their first novel …
But I don’t. I take a deep breath, accept him for the creative and wild little man that he is, and provide him with opportunities to learn.
We have bean bag letters in the toy box, put painter’s tape letters on the floor, and we read a lot. Through play, he now has a handle on the uppercase letters of the alphabet. You can see the alphabet recognition activities we played to have fun and introduce that first step to alphabet learning. Our next step is matching uppercase and lowercase letters.
I introduced the idea of matching uppercase and lowercase letters to Sammy through this simple letter matching activity. I did it this way so he would look at each detail of the letter and begin to recognize the fact that there are two shapes for each letter – one uppercase (or big) and one lowercase (or small). Throughout the week he was noticing lowercase letters in books and in print all around him. It seems he has started to show an interest in alphabet learning, so I am treading lightly and cautiously as we move on … only a few small steps away from his first novel …
Introducing matching uppercase and lowercase letters
Much like I introduce alphabet recognition by starting with my little one’s name, I introduce lowercase letters with names too. We made this introduction into a post office game … because my Sammy loves to play mail games!
I started by writing the names of everyone in our family on envelopes the way you would normally write a name—uppercase for the first letter and lowercase for the rest.
Then I wrote each letter for each name on little squares of paper in uppercase letters.
Since we have done a lot of playing with names, Sammy is familiar with our names and can recognize the name letters quite easily. By writing the lowercase letters on the envelope he only had to recognize the lowercase letter and then he could sort through all the uppercase letters (which he knows much better) and match it.
To make this matching game a bit less intimidating I wrote each name in a different colour. Mommy was written in Orange, and each uppercase letter for MOMMY was also written in orange. This helped Sammy when he got stuck on a letter.
Madeline made up a cute story to go with this game. She told Sam that she was delivering letters to her family when she got spooked by a great big dog. She dropped all of the envelopes and all of the letters inside got mixed up. Sammy really loves stories and make-believe play, so this helped him really engage in the activity.
I am a big believer in giving kids the time they need to learn. I am truly in no rush for Sam to learn his alphabet, learn to write, or learn to read. I provide him with the opportunities, but if he is not interested I never push. We read each day and we talk a lot. Really, that is all my little one needs.
Thank you for reading friends! I hope you are having a lovely week.