My little peanut has shown quite a bit of interest in learning his letters at the age of 3 and a half. We’ve pursued his interest by using Nell, which is actually a great app for little ones. I helped create the Montessori based curriculum that the app uses. With this app, Peanut learned the letters in his name and a few others.
We haven’t been very regular about practicing, and I’ve been working more lately so there’s been less time to focus on activities with him. When we do spend time together that doesn’t involve eating, doing chores or going to bed, we usually read books or do a craft.
But, that’s changing because we’re setting aside at least 10 minutes each day to work on his ABC book. What’s an ABC book?
Basically, it’s a book with one page for each letter of the alphabet. On each page, your child can practice tracing the letter. There’s also space for cut-outs or drawings of words that begin with that letter sound.
You can see below I helped peanut draw a monkey and he drew a very faint moon, the circle on the right-hand side of the page. Here you can see he’s starting to trace the “m”s. Yes, he’s a lefty! And that pincer grip is looking pretty good I must say. Go peanut!
Here are some of the important things to know when working on an alphabet book:
Children learn letters most easily by teaching phonetic sounds. That means instead of teaching letter names like “A” as in play, letter sounds are taught. So the “a” would be taught “aaaa” as in apple.
Each time you get out a new page, look at the letter together. Say the sound. Ask your child to repeat the sound. Then, get started thinking of words that begin with that sound and draw together or look for pictures in a magazine to cut out.
Take Your Time
Don’t expect your little one to learn a new letter every day. You should mix in other letter activities to reinforce each letter. We enjoy drawing with sidewalk chalk, using cardboard letters and using the app, Nell, to practice. There are so many ways to practice! I’ll be posting some more ideas soon.
The Montessori curriculum recommends teaching in an order that helps children notice differences between letters. In the traditional alphabet, the letters “b” and “d” are very close together. Also, children aren’t able to form words quickly using this order.
So, I recommend teaching in this order:
a, s, m, e, t, c, o, p, u, d, f, j, g, l, b, i, n, w, r, h, y, q, z, k, v, x
This way, children can quickly form words such as “sam, sat, met, set, mat, cat” within learning 5 or 6 letters. That’s great!
**Note** The book I’ve included goes in alphabetical order, so feel free to print out and mix them up according to the order you prefer.
Some people also choose to begin by teaching a child the letters in their name.
I chose basic print for our book. Also notice that I’ve only focused on lowercase. In the Montessori curriculum, children learn lowercase first because the majority of what we read is written with lowercase letters. Learning lowercase is the most efficient way to start to read.
Get Your FREE ABC Book
I made a quick and easy abc book using a great worksheet creator. For our book, I included lots of animals because that’s what peanut likes the best! For other children, consider making changes to tailor to their interests. For example, change the “tiger” to “truck” or “tree”. Just be careful with the vowels because pronunciation of these letters is very important. For example, the letter “i” needs to be the sound you hear when saying “igloo” not “ice”.
Get your FREE copy of our ABC book here!