Learning the alphabet is the first step to learning to read. According to a parental report, the National Household Education survey found that half of the children entering kindergarten could recognize some or all the letters of the alphabet. Children’s ability to recognize letters and names, as well as literacy skills in general, is affected by parental education level, language status, and poverty. Teaching children the alphabet in preparation to read, does not, nor should it be difficult, time consuming, or tedious.
There are many different activities one might use to engage a child in learning the alphabet. A particular favorite alphabet activity in this family is making alphabet collages. We began this project when my oldest was 4 and the youngest was 3.
Here’s what you need:
12×12 paper or card stock
Alphabet cut outs or stencil
12×12 paper isn’t hard to come by. We used all the ugly left over pages from scrapbook paper packs that would never compliment a single photo. We also used some cheep plain colored card stock. We started at the beginning of the alphabet, but you can start anywhere you choose. The above mentioned article suggested starting with the most frequently used letters. You may even want to start with the most challenging letters.
Only do one letter a day, glueing one large letter somewhere on the page, we chose the upper left corner to place our letter. Take time going through the magazines together, looking for images that represent the letter of the day and cutting them out. My children really enjoyed this part. Some letters will produce several pictures, other letters will be more challenging. Such as the letter U. This is when my children got to be creative and draw their own objects to represent the letter. The children will also learn new words. Such as my daughter learning what an Urial is; it was her favorite animal for a very long time. When sufficient images are collected, glue the pictures on the paper, leaving room around the image to write the word for the picture; such as clock, cookie, etc. The word is then associated with the image and the child learns to recognize words as well as the alphabet. Hang the completed collages where ever the family will see them and be able to frequently discuss them. We hung ours around the dining table and talked about them daily. Guests in our home frequently commented on the collages. If you are particularly attached to the 26 collages you may want to preserve them by laminating them or the more frugal choice of contact paper.
By: Suzanna Tolman