Alphabet fun and games

by Caroline Gee. There are lots of fun and creative ways to help your child learn the names and sounds of the letters in the alphabet.

Boy colouring and writing

Introduction

Your child is at the beginning of an incredible learning journey and it is a magical time when they begin to realise that print has meaning.

By introducing the alphabet in exciting and varied ways you can show your little one that literacy learning is fun!

How CBeebies can help

Where better to go for some alphabet fun than the Alphablocks? These 26 living letters fall out of the sky and hold hands to make words that magically come to life.

Find the Alphablocks pages on the CBeebies website and click through to the 'Watch & Listen' section. In there you’ll find lots of video clips from the show. If you click on the first video clip you can meet each letter and hear what sounds they make. Try copying the sounds the letters make and add actions too!

Why not print out the Alphablocks A-Z chart (which is in the Make & Colour section) and see if you can match the letters as you watch them introduce themselves on the video clip?

How to make a magic moment

Have a go at making an alphabet treasure hunt and see how many letters you and your child can find.

Draw the individual letters of the alphabet on coloured card and stick them up around the house. Give your child a copy of the alphabet as a checklist (why not use the Alphablocks A-Z chart for this?). Help them tick off each letter as they find it.

When you have found the whole alphabet, why not bake some biscuits using alphabet cutters as a reward for your hard work? Learning your letters can be fun... and tasty too!

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Top tips

  • Music is a brilliant way of introducing letters to children. The alphabet song has a well-known tune (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) and children tend to learn the names of letters before they can recognise what they look like.When we read, we use knowledge of letter sounds (phonics) as well as letter names, so it is important children are taught both.  The alphabet song helps teach the letter names. To help teach letter sounds, try thinking of objects that start with the same sound – the sound your child’s name begins with is often a good starting point as they can relate to this sense of personal identity.Children are more likely to pick up the concept of letter understanding if they are immersed in a print-rich environment. Have magnetic letters on the fridge, let your child see you writing shopping lists and give them plastic letter shapes to play with in the bath or sand pit.You cannot start too early when encouraging a love of words. Read to and share books with your child from the outset. Young children love this one-to-one bonding time and will pick up on the fact that you value reading and gain pleasure from it. When children see that print has a purpose, then learning becomes relevant to them.Music is a brilliant way of introducing letters to children. The alphabet song has a well-known tune (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) and children tend to learn the names of letters before they can recognise what they look like.When we read, we use knowledge of letter sounds (phonics) as well as letter names, so it is important children are taught both.  The alphabet song helps teach the letter names. To help teach letter sounds, try thinking of objects that start with the same sound – the sound your child’s name begins with is often a good starting point as they can relate to this sense of personal identity.Children are more likely to pick up the concept of letter understanding if they are immersed in a print-rich environment. Have magnetic letters on the fridge, let your child see you writing shopping lists and give them plastic letter shapes to play with in the bath or sand pit.You cannot start too early when encouraging a love of words. Read to and share books with your child from the outset. Young children love this one-to-one bonding time and will pick up on the fact that you value reading and gain pleasure from it. When children see that print has a purpose, then learning becomes relevant to them.

Expert opinion

As children develop speaking and listening skills, they build the foundations for literacy, for making sense of visual and verbal signs and ultimately for reading and writing.

Children need varied opportunities to interact with others and to use a wide variety of resources for expressing their understanding, including music-making, drawing, modelling, reading and writing.

All children learn best through activities and experiences that engage all the senses. Music, dance, rhymes and songs support language development.

Early Years Foundation Stage: Areas of Learning and Development,

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