Wondering about the order for teaching letters to your little ones? I am on it!
I feel as though I am always writing about waiting to teach letter recognition. Wait and let little hands get strengthened by other activities. Wait until little minds have had ample time to hear different words and sounds. But a day will come when you SHOULD teach your little ones their alphabet letters of course.
Whether it is when they are 3, 4, 5, or 6, at one point or another they will be ready and teaching letter recognition will be the name of the game. So, when they are ready, what is the order for teaching letters?
Don’t worry – I have an opinion on that too!
If you are more of a watcher than a reader, I have created a seven minute YouTube video for you all about teaching letter recognition to young children. You can watch right here (or simply keep reading below if you would rather):
When I was in the Kindergarten classroom, I did not teach letter recognition in alphabetical order. I began with “name letters” as these letters hold a very important meaning to children.
So for “Sammy” he learned all about s, a m, and y. Once children know their name letters well, I would introduce the other alphabet letters (and sounds) in this order:
Starting with the lower case is helpful, and something I have begun doing – though I haven’t always. Clearly little ones need to know both upper and lowercase letters, but since so much of the print in our everyday lives is lowercase, I find it beneficial to start in that way.
The letter order is similar to the way the letters are taught in the Jolly Phonics Program. By teaching the letters in this manner, children are able to begin forming words very quickly. After learning the first 6 letters kids can make words in the “at”, “an”, “it”, “ip”, “ap” and “in” families.
Introducing the letters and letting little ones begin to make words almost right away creates a huge sense of pride. And since you waited to introduce the letters (you did wait, right?) they are absolutely ready and will be catching on right away, grasping those letter names and sounds easily. If not, perhaps wait a little longer. I know it is hard (trust me I know!) but waiting until your little one is ready will save you both mounds of frustration, and ensure your little one loves learning. There is no rush.
Of course ideas and games using these letters can be found all over How Wee Learn.
I introduce the letters in little groups.
What Order to Introduce the Alphabet Letters:
- s, a, t, i, p, n
- c, k, e, h, r
- m, d, g, o
- l, f, b, q, u
- j, z, w
- v, y, x
At first, relatively quickly I would introduce the first row of letters, maybe over a week. Then we do lots of activities playing with those letters: their sounds, shapes, and names. Once they are mastered, we add in the next row. Building and growing, slow and steady.
If you want to learn more about this, as well as get step by step activities and know exactly what to teach and when, I wrote a FREE Mini eBook just for you. You can grab it right here:
Get your Free Printable Pack! It includes information on how to teach the letters and sounds to children, as well as a pretty Printable of the letter order recommended perfect for your fridge or classroom!
Ready to start helping your little ones learn their letters?
Here are some great ideas and fun games that will have those letters mastered in no time!
Digging up Letters – grab some dump trucks, diggers, and pebbles and “dig up” some letter learning fun with your preschooler! This post shares more information about the order for teaching the letters.
Flying into Letter Recognition – this fun one just requires painter’s tape and construction paper. Pop that first group of alphabet letters (s, a, t, i, p, n) on the ground using painter’s tape and let those little one’s through paper airplanes to learn their ABCs!
Swat the ABC Balloons – we love using balloons for fun learning games. This alphabet activity is absolutely perfect for preschoolers as it engages the whole body. And we all know 3 year olds LOVE to learn with their whole body.
Zoom and Sort the ABCs – just painter’s tape and some toy cars are all you need for this one. This one uses painter’s tape in a different way. The painter’s tape forms the road while the cars hold the letters. This letters activity for preschoolers is great for introducing capital and lower case letters.
Forming letters with pipecleaners and popsicle sticks on a homemade sticky board – popsicle sticks can be used for so many purposes!
Skeleton Bone Writing (bending Qtips!) – we use Qtips a lot over here for learning games like this one. Bending those qtips is a great way to make the curvy parts of the letters. Having children manipulate objects to form the letters is a very powerful learning opportunity.
Re-useable Alphabet Paper Chain Games – we use construction paper a lot to make simple paper chains. I like to add velcro to make these chains reusable again and again. Little words can be built and played with all day long.
Mail Play! Mailing friends their “name letters” is a great way to practice letter recognition! Matching letters of the alphabet is a great place to start with letter recognition. First little one’s recognize which letters match, then they can practice forming the letters from a sample, and finally they can produce it on their own. The order for teaching letters can be the same for all of these steps.
An A-MAZE-ing Letter Learning Game – Grab that painters tape once more! This time we made a fun maze for learning our alphabet letters.
Now that you are armed with some fun games, have an idea about the order for teaching letters, and have waited for your little one to be ready – it is time to let them learn those letters!
Have fun with this big step with your little ones. And remember, slow is always better. Follow your child’s lead and keep it light and fun. This is the beginning to a life time of learning and a love of reading.
Thank you so much for reading friends! I hope you are having a wonderful week.
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Thank you for reading friends!