LEARNING LETTERS AND SOUNDS
Updated: Nov 18
Letter Learning Tips:
Initially, it is best to introduce the letter sounds rather than placing too much focus on their names. This makes blending to read simple 2 or 3 letter words far easier. As children progress, they will start to learn that some sounds can contain 2 or more letters, for example, ‘ch’ or ‘ai’. They will then need to learn the letter names.
Make sure that the sounds (phonemes) are pronounced correctly by children and adults! Sometimes people add /uh/ on the end of a sound (for example, /m/ becomes muh). If you are a parent or guardian, check with your child’s teacher if you are unsure how to pronounce the letter sounds. There are also clips online demonstrating the correct pronunciation.
Introduce new sounds alongside objects and pictures which begin with that sound. Also, encourage children to listen out for the sound in the middle or at the end of words.
Ask children to look in a mirror whilst saying the sounds, so that they can focus on the shape that their mouth should be making.
It is more important to learn lower case letters first rather than capitals. This is because most early books consist mainly of lower-case letters! You can introduce the capital letters at the same time but focus more on the lower-case letter.
When you do start to teach capitals, ensure that children realise that capital letters make the same sounds as their lower-case version! It is a common misconception that the capital letter is the ‘name’ and the lower-case letter is the ‘sound’!
Letter names can be taught using the alphabet song. Point to an alphabet display as you sing.
Always demonstrate how to correctly form each letter. If you are a parent/guardian, ask your child’s school to give you a sheet showing how they teach children to form each letter. Different schools use different approaches to teach handwriting. Bad habits are very difficult to break!
Vary the activities to keep learning fun.
Teach phonics daily; little and often is key.
Make learning hands-on and engaging!
Letter Recognition Activities:
You Will Need
Strips of paper/card
Mini hole punchers
•Write letters on the strips of paper.
•Call out a letter (or children can pick one from a bag).
•Children punch holes underneath that letter on their strips of paper.
Trucks and Rocks
You Will Need
•Write your focus sounds on rocks.
•Children dig or scoop up the rocks and put them into their trucks.
•Can they tell you the letter sounds?
Dig for Letters
You Will Need
Spades, trowels, etc.
•Bury magnetic letters in the sand.
•Children hunt for the letters and say the sounds as they collect them.
•They can also make the imprint of letters in damp sand.
Check out my book for more amazing activities for teaching letter recognition and formation.
If you enjoyed these activities, make sure that you also check out these blog posts: