Bookworm Basics ~ Teaching The Alphabet

The  lessons presented to you here labeled “Bookworm Basics” will be geared towards teaching a young child the basics of reading. It will focus on activities that can be painlessly integrated into your/your child’s every day life. You can just go about your normal routines with your little one feeling relaxed, confident & proud of how much you can teach your child, even on your busiest of days.

In teaching, repetition is the key to learning, and that is especially true when teaching a toddler. With that said, please keep in mind that a young child has a very short attention span. It is extremely important to work with your toddler for just a few minutes at a time. It’s the repetition, going over little lessons with your child regularly, that will have the most positive impact.

The secret to making these mini lessons happen is to set yourself up for success. If you make it convenient for you to work with your child daily then you will do it. This is the first of many lessons to help your child grow up to B.A. Bookworm.

Teach your child the alphabet

There are many ways to bring the alphabet into your childs life on a daily basis with things like alphabet books, blocks and toys. But, to showcase each letter of the alphabet daily try this:

Post the letters of the alphabet on a wall that your child will see often, such as in a bedroom or playroom.

Put these letters at your childs eye level so he/she can explore them often whether you are there or not. Do not have pictures associated with each letter as the main focus should be the letter itself. Post the alphabet on the wall in two rows so that you and your child can stand in one place to see and/or touch the letters.

Place A-N  on the top row and O-Z on the bottom row like this:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMN                                                                                    OPQRSTUVWXYZ

Make it a routine

Go over the alphabet with your child a couple of times each day when it’s most convenient for you both. As you do this, say each letter name aloud and bring attention to each one by moving your finger along beneath each letter as you name it. Do this with your child twice a day at times that are the most convenient for you, such as just before nap time and bedtime. This would also be a terrific time to sing the ABC song with your child as well. Just be sure when singing the song that you do it conscientiously and pronounce each letter clearly. It’s easy to lump the letters LMNOP together while singing if you are not careful.

Alphabet Decals

The easiest way to put the alphabet up on the wall is to use alphabet decals. The kind that sticks in place but will not leave marks on your walls and can be repositioned if need be.  These decals are very inexpensive and there are many different styles to choose from. If you go to ebay.com and type “alphabet wall decals” you will find a huge selection there, or you could just google that term. There are many different styles and colors of alphabet decals so I’m sure you could find something there to match any decor.

Take note: When shopping make sure that the letter style you choose displays each one correctly. Consider the letter I, be sure this letter has the top and bottom line and is not just presented as a line which mimics a lowercase L. Other letters to look at carefully are the G, J and Q.

Start with capital letters first

Capital letters are larger and easier to spot. Once your child is familiar with all of the capital letters then you can move on to the lowercase letters. If your child is already familiar with capital letters then simply purchase lowercase letter decals and use this activity as outlined with those.

Enjoy yourselves!

Any time you do this activity with your child be sure be sure that he/she is in a good mood and always keep these lessons short, lighthearted and fun. It’s okay if your child is fidgety or is not watching you every second. Remember that it’s the repetition of doing this over and over again that will help your child absorb what you are teaching. Above all else, have fun!

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*Please check our comments section for more great tips and while you’re there leave a comment if ya like*

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19 thoughts on “Bookworm Basics ~ Teaching The Alphabet

  1. Hey,

    I stumbled upon your page from SITS. I saw bookworm and was immediately interested (I always have my head in a book).

    Anyway nice page and nice post. I used to work as a student advisor at a middle school so I definitely understand how important it is to work with children early on as they learn to read.

    Yes a child’s spotty education can be saved, but it’s so much better to build these basic skills when they are young.

    I’ve worked with teenagers who hadn’t learned basic reading and writing skills. So scary.

    Best to you,

    -Victoria

  2. We did this with our kids. Every week as they got older I made lesson plans around a letter. I also took photos of them making the sign of the letter.

    Both of my children do very well in school, and they love books as much as I do. Barnes and Noble is always on the list of places we have to visit when we go shopping. Everyone is allowed to pick out two books.

  3. wow, I am so glad that I found this post from SITS! Working on speech and number and such with my just over 2 year old. These are fantastic tips, I’ll have to let you know how it goes 🙂
    Cheers

  4. part of the surroundings to learn gradually…
    I’m looking forward to more tips for my son Emile who’s 5.
    I’ve been catching up on the blog and was moved by the poem for your grandmother.
    i was brought up by my grandmother so when she died…But she’s always there in small gestures, I peel potatoes the way she did etc…and when I was older we used to talk about books all the time , we both had the same passion for Emile Zola, which is why my son is called Emile.

  5. you are soooo good! i have made plans to repaint my daughter’s room in january (i can’t even fathom the idea of doing it before christmas). and i think some alphabet stencils or appliques would be great! thanks!

    • Thank you Noelle! I’ve got a great tip for you if you choose to stencil. You’re going to love this one!

      When my daughter was really little I stenciled the alphabet above her crib so we could go over it every day. I bought craft paint at Walmart for under $2 and some capital/lowercase letter stencils.

      Her room had already been painted with semi-gloss paint and I just stenciled the uppercase ABC’s right over that paint. Well, once she learned all the capital letters I wanted to change to the lowercase letters and I discovered that I could use alcohol pads to remove the craft paint without affecting the semi-gloss paint underneath! Cool, right!?

      Thank you for all of your support and happy decorating!

  6. That’s a great plan, nicely laid out for teaching.

    I had to come over here from SITS even though you were something like 350 comments above me because of your comment. It totally cracked me up – your Cinderella joke. Unexpected and awesome, so thanks for that!

  7. My daughter is just starting to read & repetition and constant exposure to the letters does help. I have a framed alphabet hanging on her bedroom wall & I point at it most times. Thank you for sharing your wonderful tips!

  8. Great tips on making sure that each letter gets the proper amount of attention. My husband and I do not have kids (yet!) but I love reading up on stuff like this to be prepared for the upcoming years.

    P.S. — LOVED your comment about your daughter and her “hot dog fingers.” SO CUTE!

  9. Great tips. I wonder if decals that represent the alphabet sounds are readily available as well. Like an apple for /a/, a ball for /b/, etc. I like having kids touch and say the name of the capital letter, the name of the lower case letter, and then the name of the object associated with that sound. For example, “A,” “a,” “apple,” “B,” “b,” ball,” etc. It ends up sounding like a chant and is quite fun.

    I am not used to working with toddlers and am not familiar with the research on teaching the alphabet to a toddler, so I am not sure I agree that pictures should not be there. Maybe when putting up the alphabet decals, space could be left for the pictures so that once the toddler masters the capital and lower case letters, the pictures could be added???? If this were a room for a five or six-year-old, I would definitely recommend putting up the pictures and having the child touch and say all three. One cannot learn to read or write without knowing the sounds the letters make.

    Another thing I like to do when teaching the alphabet with five and six-year-olds is to teach them how to sing the alphabet song backwards:

    Z, Y, X, W, V, U, T, S, R, Q, P, O, N, M, L, K (this also helps separating L-M-N-O-P) J, I, H, G, F, E, D, C,B and A
    Now I know my Z, Y, Xes
    I can even sing ’em in Texas

    As to the capital “I,” that is a good point. However, if the purchased decals come without the top and bottom line, it is a great teaching opportunity to point out that in books, sometimes the capital “I” does not have the top and bottom line. While tracing the letter on the wall, you could trace an imaginary top and bottom line. Again, I am not used to teaching toddlers, so maybe this is too much.

    I definitely agree about the repetition and making it a routine. You have given great advice to parents. Another suggestion I might add is to put a crate of hard cover alphabet books next to the alphabet chart on the wall. As you say, the child could explore them with or without you in the room.

    Now I will be on the lookout for research on teaching toddlers the alphabet and sounds. Thank you. I love learning new things in the field of reading.

    • Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful comment! I never even considered singing the alphabet backwards, what a cool idea!

      As for teaching a toddler the ABC’s, you will find a mixed bag of research and advice regarding teaching a toddler reading basics.
      The reason I don’t recommend using pictures is because, essentially to a toddler the picture is already there. The picture is the letter.
      This is an activity that only takes 2-3 minutes per event and simply reinforces letter recognition by making the focus strictly on the letter itself.

      I like what you said about making a chant out of a letter name, sound and beginning of a word. Very cool.

      • Mindi,

        It is fun to sing the alphabet backwards. It is just so silly. 🙂 I wish I could take credit for the idea, but someone passed it along to me. I changed the last line though. Their version went, “Next time we will go to Texas.”

        As to the picture, it is to help them associate the sound the letter makes with the letter name and symbol. Struggling readers tend to have much difficulty coming up with words that begin with a specific letter. For example, “What word do you know that starts with the letter “b?”

        Going back to the decals….imagine if they were readily available and easily interchanged. It would be a great activity for the kids to choose new representative pictures for each letter of the alphabet. Again, this is probably too much for a toddler, but would be good for older children.

        I actually used to have them make 26 page ABC books with one page per letter. I would carefully write one capital and lowercase letter on each page. Students would then select pictures of words that began with that letter and glue them on the page. I titled the book ______’s Alphabet Book (great for teaching possession early on). I would have the kids point to and read each word in the title. Then they would point to each letter and the one designated picture (I let them glue on several) as they read/chanted, “A,” “a,” “apple,” etc. They loved it and post-testing showed great growth in letter names and letter sounds.

        • I can definitely see the benefits of grouping letter names, with the sounds and words for an older child but for a toddler it’s best to just keep it short and simple repeated lessons.
          You have really great ideas. I look forward to seeing your new site when you get it going… I think you’re going to help a lot of kids and parents too {=~D

  10. Pingback: Bookworm Basics – Every Day Activities « B.A. Bookworm

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