Helping kids learn the letters of the alphabet can get kind of dull after awhile! A is for Apple. B is for Ball. Meh. The only interesting part is looking to see what the author came up with for "Q" and "X".
This alphabet boredom is true for kids too! To keep their attention (and yours!) give them a fun twist on the usual alphabet book. Read one with an alphabet surprise in it.
In Z is for Moose Moose gets impatient and bossy when he can't wait his turn for the letter "M" page. Watch Moose shove other animals out of the way, cross words out and generally make a nuisance of himself...so much so that MOUSE is chosen for M, which doesn't improve Moose's behavior AT ALL. Moose is in tears until his clever friend Zebra shows him that even Z isn't too late for a Moose.
If you like Z is for Moose and the idea of an alphabet book that makes talking about the letters fun, try one of these. It's one thing to name a letter and say a word that begins with that letter. It's a step more challenging to point out an alphabet mistake. What kid doesn't like pointing out the mistakes other people make!
As soon as a child can hold a crayon or pencil, he or she naturally wants to put marks on paper (or anything else!). By watching adults write children understand very early that the squiggly lines on a paper mean something. Young children will pretend "write" on a paper and ask, "what does this say?"
Understanding that printed words have meaning is an important reading skill. This skill is called "print awareness." Print awareness is when a child realizes, "I see letters!" and then "I see words!"
Some important print awareness skills are:
- print provides the reader with information
- print is read from left to right
- print is read from top to bottom
- letters are used to form words
- spaces appear between words
- words are on paper, in books and on many things in our everyday environment (like signs and menus)
Here is a video that helps explain print awareness:
To help your child learn about print awareness...read to them. (of course!) But there are other ways to help them learn print awareness. You are probably already teaching your child print awareness and you don't even know it. Here are some ideas:
- Draw attention to environmental print (posters, signs, labels)
- Try to label object in your children’s area (shelf, chair, computer, table, door, etc.)
- Explain and demonstrate how print works on the written page (title page, cover page, reading from left to right etc.)
- Model that all spoken words can be written or read
- Introduce some other forms of print such as a newspapers, magazine, mail etc.
- More ideas on the Pinterest Ready to Read Board: Practice - Reading & Letters
- Reading Rockets: Print Awareness
- Idaho Commission for Libraries: Print Awareness
- The Literacy Connection: Print Awareness
- Children's Learning Institute: Book and Print Awareness Checklist
- GoodReads: Print Awareness Books