Before your child can start reading and writing effectively, they would need to learn and recognize all the letters of the alphabet- alphabets are the foundation for writing and reading.
Some children show interest and learn the alphabet very quickly- some can already recite all the letters of the alphabet by age 2-4 however, some children need a little more time to learn.
If your 4-year old still can’t recite the alphabet, there’s nothing to worry about- you can help them learn faster with the following tips and tricks:
#1. Use the Alphabet Chart:
Alphabet charts have all the letters of the language printed on them in alphabetical order, along with picture cues for each of the letters.
The lower case of each letter is also printed alongside the upper cases to help children learn the difference between upper and lower case letters.
You can buy one of these charts and hang it in your child’s bedroom, playroom or somewhere around the home where they can see it often. You should also go through it with them several times a week.
#2. Teach Them to Spell Their Names:
Get your child one of those fancy alphabet buckets and teach them to spell their full names and the names of their friends, favorite uncles, siblings, and other people that they love.
This is a fun way to help your child recognize different alphabets and how to use them to construct words.
#3. Have them sing the Alphabet Song:
Children learn things faster when it is introduced to them in a fun way. The alphabet song is an interesting way to help your child learn about alphabets, alphabet sequence, and how alphabets are used to form words.
There are several alphabet song toys and CD’s that you can use to achieve this although I found the Alphabet CD by Discovery Toys particularly helpful.
Get your child to listen to the CD as many times as possible until they know it all by heart.
#4. Read to, and With Them:
Reading books to your children and having them read the book to you as well, helps them to learn how alphabets make up words.
You can start with alphabet books which help to teach them all the 24 alphabets that make up the English langue and know them by heart, after which you can progress to reading short story books, poems, and other helpful literature to them.
#5. Use Sorting Magnetic Letters:
Alongside learning all of the alphabets that make up a language, children also need to learn the difference between lowercase and uppercase letters, letters with straight lines and letters without straight lines, and letters without holes versus letters with holes.
Sorting magnetic letters can help your child learn all of these, and learn the difference between letters that look alike.
You can get sorting magnetic letters online from Amazon, or from children toy shops around you.
#6. Create Alphabet Themed Art Projects:
Your child may not enjoy reciting the alphabets but they may enjoy painting, drawing, or engaging in several arts and crafts that can be helpful for learning the alphabet.
You can buy them alphabet themed drawing or painting books or alphabet art project toys like the Letter Watermelons, Letter Constellations, Letter Snowman, Chicka Chacka Boom Boom Tree, Alphabet Murals, or the Alphabet Photo Magnet.
#7. Use Phone Apps:
These days, there’s nothing kids love more than playing with Dad and Mom’s phones; you can seize this opportunity to help them learn the alphabet.
You can download some games and apps that help children learn the alphabet. There are many free apps that you would find very helpful like Starfall ABC’s ABC Kids- Tracing and Phonics, Super ABC!,
Letter School-Little Writer Tracing App for Kids, ABC Go, Monkey Word School Adventure, Dr. Suess ABC- ABC Alphabet Phonics, Laugh and Learn Learning Letters Monkey App.
These apps are available to download on the Android Google Play store as well as the Apple iOS store.
#8. Use Sandpaper Letters:
This is one of the methods that teachers use to teach the alphabet to kids in the classroom and you can use it at home too.
The method involves using sandpaper letters to teach your child the alphabet in three steps:
- The first involves introducing the letter where the child is shown a letter and then instructed to trace the sandpaper letter.
Have your child say the letter out before tracing so that the phonetic sound of each letter.
- The second step is the ‘show me’ stage where you instruct your child to pick up a letter from a group of letters.
You can arrange the letters on a table or by the window, and call out the letter you want them to pick.
You can have them pick out as many alphabets as possible, especially those ones that they are finding very difficult to identify.
Have them pick up difficult letters repeatedly until they become very familiar with them.
- For the third step, place a letter in front of your child and ask them to identify the letter on their own before tracing it.
Repeat this exercise every day and try mixing upper cases with lower cases sometimes so that your child can identify and differentiate between the shape and feel of lower and upper case letters.
You can get the Didax Educational Resources Sand Paper Letters for this- it is available for sale on Amazon for less than $20.
#9. Use Alphabet Puzzles: Alphabet Puzzles teaches your 4-year old problem-solving skills, along with helping them to become more familiar with the alphabets.
The Melissa & Doug Alphabet Art Wooden Puzzle is a durable alphabet puzzle that requires children to match the letter pieces with photos to solve the puzzle.
Along with helping your child learn the alphabet, it also helps to improve your child’s hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
All of these exercises help your child recognize the shape of letters, and how the letters are written. It also helps them feel the shapes, and learn how to pronounce the letters.