I never thought to ask anyone to put hand sanitizer on or wash their hands before holding my newborn baby. I never had a long list of questions for daycare providers, nor did I think to constantly question, comment, or complain about daycare practices. I didn't obsess over articles or fanatically research the effects of sunscreen, screen time, or vaccinations.
Depending on your parenting style, you will find me relatable, or careless and neglectful.
The truth is, I am introverted, shy, and at the time, I was single which caused me to keep my interactions, inquiries, and internet searches to a minimum.
Okay, calm down, Rooney has always been in a safe, reputable daycare and for the most part I knew what she was learning, eating, and her teachers' names.
None of that is the point of this post though. What is the point is that I got unusually vocal about Rooney being enrolled in a slightly more advanced class at her preschool. However, she had to test into it and the major requirement was being able to identify all 26 letters by sight, in addition to writing them, and knowing what sound they make.
These are some tools we used to learn those letters quickly ( a couple months) and after passing her test with flying colors, she is currently excelling in that class!
BOOM mommy-shamers, how do you like me now?! ... I digress
1. VTech Alphabet Apple - Rooney got this from her great grandma well before she was old enough to use it properly. However, in this season of learning letters it has been an amazing, fun tool that she can use on her own. There are several settings you can use but our favorite will ask, "what letter makes an aaaa sound?" and then you push the button with the "A" on it. As her mom, I love this because it (still) keeps her entertained in the car.
2. Old School Flash Cards - This is so simple but I bought some ABC flash cards from the Dollar Spot at Target and we would go through them a couple times a day. I would separate the ones she knew immediately, from the ones where she needed a hint, and the ones she didn't know at all. As we practiced and she started to recognize more letters, I would move the cards from group to group until she knew them all with confidence.
3. The Alphardy Song - I first heard this song while volunteering in a class at her school. I wish I had known it when she was younger because we would have started singing it a long time ago. I love how it incorporates both the letters and their sounds into a song. You can incorporate some body movements into this song as well, which also helps to engage energetic kids.
4. Jumbo Alphabet Magnets - I did not utilize these while teaching Rooney but I wish I had and honestly I am planning to purchase these for working on Kindergarten sight words. Magnets are so fun for kids and it is easy for them to sit in front of the fridge and learn with them while mom or dad is cooking a meal or doing dishes.
5. Letter of the Week Crafts - Pinterest is overflowing with letter inspired craft projects. I chose to put together a notebook where she had a craft project, a tracing sheet, and a coloring page per letter. You can find all the resources easily on Pinterest and many of them are free. I used this resource as inspiration for a book that I worked on with Rooney.
6. Doodle Pad or Dry Erase Board - We have at different times utilized both of these. Sometimes I would write a letter and have Rooney identify it and other times she would practice letters on her own. These are great because you can easily erase and try again without wasting loads of paper.
7. Laminated Tracing Sheet - Speaking of not wasting paper, print a tracing sheet like the one below and laminate it. Let your little learner practice tracing their letters with a dry erase marker. It is fun, different, and a great tool to use early on when they aren't able to do the letters on their own yet. This is another great car activity if you trust them not to draw on car seats and/or car doors.
Those are the tools we focused on while Rooney was learning her letters. Hopefully you will find them helpful or at least they will spark some other useful ideas in your head. I'd love to hear any other ideas you may have for teaching letters to preschoolers!