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A is for Alphabet: Introducing the Alphabet to Toddlers

written by: Sonal Panse • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 1/6/2012

Prepare young children for reading and writing skills by teaching them the alphabet. Here are some ideas and activities to help toddler's learn their ABCs.

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    Learning the Alphabet

    These ideas are appropriate for teachers or parents to begin teaching toddlers the alphabet. This can prepare them for elementary school and eventually learning to read and write.

    A few things to keep in mind:

    • Children can usually begin to recognize alphabet letters at the ages of 2 and 3.
    • Children need to learn the alphabet letters in sequence and must also be able to recognize the letters out of sequence.
    • Children need to learn the sounds of the alphabet letters.
    • Each toddler has a different learning ability.
    • Make learning fun and let your child learn at his or her own pace.
    • Teach your toddler on a regular basis. Go over the alphabet everyday.
    • Keep learning sessions short.
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    Examples of Alphabet Teaching Techniques

    Introduce one alphabet letter at a time. You can start at the beginning with the letter A. Show your toddler what the letter A looks like and sounds like. Once your child has learned to recognize the letter A, you can make a game of spotting the letter A in the objects around you at home or you can look for it while out shopping. You might, for example, try to find objects that start with an A or try to spot an A in labels, writings or other printed materials. Once your toddler is perfectly familiar with the letter A, you can start with the letter B. Advance further only after your toddler can tell the difference between A and B.

    Cut colorful alphabet letters out of old magazines, from cereal boxes or from a variety of other materials, stick them onto a stiff cardboard and let your toddler handle these. Mix up the colorful cardboard letters and let your toddler pick them out and identify them for you.

    Get alphabet board books, alphabet letter blocks, alphabet refrigerator magnets, and alphabet puzzles, and let your child play with these.

    Buy foam letters and have fun with the alphabet at bath-time.

    Trace alphabet letters on your toddler's back and ask him or her to recognize the letter traced.

    Sing the alphabet song together.

    Incorporate reading into your child's everyday schedule. Read aloud from picture books and nursery rhymes. Reading introduces toddlers to the use of letters. Most toddlers enjoy stories and once they discover that stories are formed from letters, they will have a strong incentive to learn the letters.

    You can also try the following:

    • Watch alphabet related children's shows on television.
    • Buy alphabet activity DVDs.

    Try some of these teaching techniques to set your toddler on their way to long-time reading fun!