Learning to Read – Alphabet books and printables

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Most children know how to sing the alphabet song by the time they are 3 years old. However, being able to say the names of the alphabets is not the same as recognizing the shape of the letters. In order to learn to read, the child must be able to rapidly identify the printed forms of the letters out of its regular sequence and learn the sound that is attached to each alphabet.

You can help your child learn these alphabets by regularly pointing out and identifying letters in environmental print, such as, signboards, road signs, product packaging, posters, etc. Also, reading them alphabet books will encourage interest in learning the alphabets, here are some of the recommended titles;

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1. A, My Name is Alice

2. Alphabatics

3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

4. Eating the Alphabet : Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z

5. Tomorrow’s Alphabet 

6. An A to Z Walk in the Park

7. Alphabet City

Children who can recognize letters with accuracy and speed have an easier time learning the sounds associated with letters, as they are better able to focus on learning the sound-spelling relationships.

So do we teach the uppercase or the lowercase letters first? I usually go with the uppercase or the capital letters, even though uppercase letters only account for 5% of all letters in the written word. This is easier for the child to distinguish between the shapes of each letter, since there will be less confusion between the similar looking letters like b-p, q-b, b-d, h-u, i-l.

Even if most children can say all the letters by age 4, most need up to two years to learn the corresponding shapes (Adam, 1990).

Once the child can recognize all the capital letters, I would put an alphabet chart with both capital and lower case letters and talk about them with the child. Let the child see the alphabets, compare them, play games of matching up lower case with their capital letters.


Here are some printables that you can use with your child;

Alphabet Match Up Mittens Printable Match Up Alphabets

Clothespeg ABC game

Alpharecog1(from 1plus1plus1equals1.com)

With the Clothes peg ABC game, your child can learn to identify the matching low case letter and attaching the wooden clothes peg on the card above the letter.

Some 3-4 year olds, might need help to distinguish between similar looking lower case letters. They seem to be able to differentiate them when they see it separately, but will struggle when some letters like ‘b’ and ‘d’ and seen together. I use memory methods like, “b has a big tummy, as it pokes in front of the long line”, and “d has a big back-side as it is behind the long line.” Further associating the letter ‘b’ with words like ‘ball’ and ‘d’ with ‘dinosaur’ also aids the child to remember the differences between the letters.



Adams, M.J. 1990. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Looking for Alphabet games to play with your child? Go to this post.

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Phonics Fun – The Letter B

I started alphabet lessons with K when he was about 2.5 years old and created his first alphabet lapbook/file folder. At the start of each alphabet lesson, I will use a word wall.
Letter B Word WallYoung children are very visual learners and are affected by what they see. Seeing words on the wall helps them become excited about words and understand that words are important and can be used over and over again. The word wall helps them learn the names of letters, letter-sound relationships and the list of words and things beginning with that letter. It provides the reference support for the child when he/she goes through the elements in alphabet lapbook and the activities related to that letter through the week. The wordwall for Letter B can be downloaded here.
We read books that featured things starting with the Letter B, sang songs and nursery rhymes, went through the Letter B lapbook together and did many kinesthetic activities
Here’s what we did for our Letter B Lapbook and activities –
1. Letter B Lapbook :
 Big and Little bus sorting + pockets to store the cards
 B Wheel
 Baa Baa Black sheep sequence cards
2. Matching and Numeration with Number Dot cards and Counting bears counters (you can substitute the counting bear counters with edible gummy bears, buttons or craft pom pom balls). The Number Dot cards can be downloaded here. 
3. Sorted buttons by colours / sizes using a muffin tray (you can use use plastic bowls or containers to store the buttons). 
4. Played the balloon game. The rule of the game was to make sure that the balloon does not touch the ground and we had to make the sound of b when we touched the balloon. This progressed to shouting out the B words that he has learnt.
5. Made a Binoculars by taping two pieces of recycle toilet paper tubes together
6. Created buildings with wooden blocks.
7. Played a game of marble ball roll, with added goal posts (for added challenge) made from lego bricks
8. Played basketball and football
9. Made cinnamon buns together
These activities were completed in one week and managed within one to two 15-30 minutes sessions per day. We had so much fun learning the Letter B and I hope you and your child will enjoy the activities as much as we did.
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Learning to Read – Alphabet Lessons

One of the ways to get your child started on learning how to read is to learn to recognise the alphabets. Apart from knowing the form of each letter, children need to learn and use the Alphabetic Principle, i.e., system of letters associated with a series of sounds, to acquire phonemic awareness.
Phonics instruction is an essential ingredient in early reading instruction. The majority of English words are phonetically regular, thus teaching the most common sound-spelling relationship is extremely useful for readers. When children are able to learn the relationships between letter and sounds, most of them will be able to successfully decode words and English words become accessible to them in print.
So when should you introduce alphabets to your child? From 2 years old to 4 years old, language is developing very quickly. Thus it is the best time to provide children with experiences that are relate to the development of phonics and literacy. 
Alphabet lessons at home should not be just based on the child’s age, but on the readiness of each child. Each child differs in their rate of progress, some 3 year olds will be able to work happily on phonic activities while some others will prefer to work on kinesthetic activities and craft. Some 3 year olds will immediately show that they understand the idea of the sound, while some others will not. It is important that the parent offers a hands-on experience that a young child will enjoy, with no pressure and no failure.
Alphabet activties
The best method of introducing the alphabet or teaching reading is that it is delivered through a pressure-free, enjoyable multi-sensory experience; incorporating visual, auditory and kinesthetic elements. There is no need to introduce sounds in an alphabetical order, start with easily recognisable sounds that begin familiar words related to interesting objects and concepts.
View this video to learn the individual letter sounds for all the alphabet :
For more alphabet phonic practice, drop by these interactive sites online:
 Starfall: Click on letters and hear the sounds and words beginning with the letter
 Chicken Coop : Practice Phoneme matching
 Sounds Fun : Click on the alphabet for the right sounds
And here are some of my alphabet lessons introducing alphabets to my son, K :
– Letter F
– Letter M
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