Well, we have a question of the week my friends! “What should I teach first, uppercase or lowercase letters?”
When I receive an email about a topic more than 5 times (well, 6 times – so hardly ‘more than 5’ – but I am adding a dramatic flare) it warrants a blog post. So today I wanted to share with you an AWESOME letter matching activity that is fabulous for teaching letters, as well as chat a bit about teaching capitals and lowercase.
First … a picture of this awesome activity awaiting you and your littles after we get through the nitty gritty of the uppercase and lowercase conundrum.
And it is a little bit of a conundrum. There are a lot of (heated) opinions on this topic. My opinion is not really that heated, truthfully. I do HAVE an opinion, and it is an educated one at that, so I will share it happily.
Do we teach upper case or lowercase first?
Drumroll please ….
Lowercase! (Does that exclamation point make my opinion look heated? Perhaps I should reassess my punctuation …)
Anyways, let me break down the reason for teaching lowercase letters first.
- When children are exploring print in their books, lowercase letters are the ones that fill those pages. By teaching children lowercase letters first it allows them to recognize those ‘symbols’ and feel more connected to the print.
- Printing lowercase letters is easier for little hands than printing capital letters. Capital letters require more strokes and are therefore more challenging for young children to make.
- Learning 52 letters at once (26 of both upper and lowercase) is simply overwhelming.
And so … lowercase it is! (Phew, all these exclamation points. Maybe my opinion is heated?)
Now, as you likely know, I believe in teaching children their letters in a very specific order, with small groupings of letters being taught at one time. And there are also 7 pre-reading skills that these little ones need to master as well. If you are interested in that grouping and more information about teaching letter recognition and phonological awareness please grab my free bundle right here:
SO, when I introduce the letters I begin with lowercase (!!!!) BUT after the first group of letters has been played with and practiced and is known very, very well, I do a little uppercase letter matching before moving on to the next grouping of letters.
This way, my little ones have had an introduction to capital letters and see how they relate to their lowercase counterparts.
See, uppercase and lowercase letters don’t need to be a heated topic, they can coexist happy as can be.
Now onto this …
Awesome letter matching activity!
My little nephew Carter officially knows his lowercase name letters. He has them down cold! He has already dug them with his digger, as well as made them out of playdough. So this time, we added in the capitals.
(And everyone got along just fine!)
I saw this idea for a ‘letter rescue‘ on How to Entertain your Toddler and thought it brilliant! We decided to play this game, but made it a matching letters version and added in magnetic letters.
First of all, we selected the letters for Carter’s name in both lowercase and uppercase letters from our magnet letters and taped them to the table with masking tape.
Then, with a dry erase marker, we wrote Carter’s name once with lowercase letters and once with capital letters on a cookie sheet.
Now Carter, who obviously needed to be dressed as a superhero for this activity, had to rescue those letters and get them ‘home’!
Peeling up that masking tape is such a wonderful hand strengthening activity. He is working away on that pincer grip and it is just such a fabulous fine motor activity as well.
Once the letter was free, he had to match it to the letter on the cookie sheet.
This is such an easy peasy activity and one that it such a hit with kids. They just love it!
This is a fabulous way to introduce some uppercase letters in a manner that will not overwhelm, but will just introduce.
I hope you and your preschoolers like this alphabet activity! It really is a great one that practices so many skills.
And I hope I was able to ease your mind about teaching those lowercase letters first, and give you some encouragement and support about how to go about introducing those capitals when it is time.
Don’t forget to grab your free learning letters bundle:
Thank you so much for reading friends!
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