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Your A to Z Guide on Teaching the Alphabet in Preschool

By Elizabeth Wistrom

Let's learn the alphabet! With this guide, it's easy. Compiled here are lessons on letter recognition, sound identification, and letter formation - perfect for the preschool classroom.

A is for Alligator, B is for Bear

A basic foundation for learning how to read is being able to identify the letters of the alphabet and the sounds that they make. For most children, this foundation is laid at the preschool level. Preschool alphabet lessons comprise a majority of the learning which takes place. Just what information should be included in these lessons? This guide provides not only the direction you need, but offers lessons, activities and games which you can use in your own classroom.

Letter Recognition

The first component to your preschool alphabet lessons should be teaching letter recognition. In doing so, students learn to discriminate, identify and eventually name the shapes which comprise the 26 uppercase and lowercase letter symbols. The goal is for this to be automatic - both in and out of sequence and context.

By the time they enter preschool, many children are able to identify the letters of their name, as well as some environmental print. However, since children come into school at various stages of knowledge and understanding, starting with an alphabet assessment will provide the teacher with baseline data. From there, lessons may be selected based on classroom needs. Here is a quick and easy assessment you can use, along with more information about teaching letter recognition.

Learning the Sound

While there are 26 letters in the English alphabet, the sounds represented by those letters are far greater in number. For this reason, another important component of preschool alphabet lessons is teaching students auditory identification of the different sounds. This is referred to as phonemic awareness.

Learning the sounds that each letter makes is often accomplished in tandem with letter recognition activities. Here are several articles which detail how to begin the teaching, as well as ideas for targeting specific sounds.

Learning to Write the Letters

The final component to learning the alphabet is a written one. Familiarity with the shape, size and direction of each letter comes from repeated practice creating them. Offered here is information about different writing curriculum, activities for teaching and practice, and directions on how to make practice sheets which can be reused over and over again.

Learning By the Letters

Lettter recognition, sound identification and basic written formation are interrelated, and many teachers use thematic units based on the individual letters to teach them. Here are lessons and activities which may be used when teaching specific letters. Check back often, as we will continue to add additional articles until all of the 26 letters are represented.

Additional Practice

When it comes to learning the alphabet, you can increase your students' success rate by simply offering opportunities for repeated practice. Without a concentrated effort and consistent reinforcement of the concepts learned, mastery will not occur. Below, we have compiled ideas for additional practice and study. These activities can be used both in and out of the classroom, or offered as homework for additional reinforcement of the lessons learned.

Above all, learning the letters and sounds of the alphabet should be fun! As a gateway to reading, letter and sound identification should be taught in a manner which inspires a love for learning. Do your best to incorporate parents in the classroom activities, as the majority of learing support will come under their watch. Finally, it cannot be said often enough that the key to learning alphabet letters and sounds is practice, practice, practice! By using the resources offered above, the preschool students in your care will be well on their way to becoming successful readers.

Do you have favorite activities for teaching the alphabet, or ideas for articles which you would like to see included in this guide? If so, be sure to visit our comments section below.