21 answers

Super Interesting Ways to Teach Toddler Letter Recognition and Sounds

Hello Mommies! I have a very sharp little man who will be 3 soon. --- With some of the stuff he knows and has memorized I have NO DOUBT that he could learn letter recognition and the sounds letters make, but I have NO idea how to start working on this with him. ---- Here's the trick. He's strong willed (almost any 2/3 yr old boy is) so it will have to be really really fun or it won't happen. ----- I'm not really bent towards the whole home schooling or creative thing, but I want to try to work with him on this. ----- His pre-schools goal is ONLY that he know the letter "K" (the first letter in his name) by the end of the school year. I know he can do more if we figure out how to teach him. --- Do any of you have interesting fun ways you worked on this with your kiddlings?

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There are several things that you can do, Leapfrog/Leappad, and many websites for toddlers, here are a few: http://www.starfall.com/ , http://www.schoolexpress.com/# , http://www.playkidsgames.com/ , http://www.funbrain.com/ , http://www.coloringbookfun.com/ , http://www.apples4theteacher.com/ . At one point or another, every child I know has done activities from these sites, some have downloadable pages, others have pages that the child can do on the computer. My kids have been playing on the computer since they were about 3, although the youngest deleted half of the computer's brain at about 30 months. I am a mom and not a teacher by trade, but many of these sites were given to me by teacher friends, and all were fun to play with my children on

1 mom found this helpful

Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD is great for that. I stumbled on it by accident. My kindergartener was struggling. So we bought it for the car. It was the only movie I would play. In two weeks my new three year old had learned all the letters and sounds. We spent a lot of time in the car. All three of us would sing the songs together all day long. She was speech delayed and couldn't talk but knew all the letters and sounds individually.

1 mom found this helpful

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There are several things that you can do, Leapfrog/Leappad, and many websites for toddlers, here are a few: http://www.starfall.com/ , http://www.schoolexpress.com/# , http://www.playkidsgames.com/ , http://www.funbrain.com/ , http://www.coloringbookfun.com/ , http://www.apples4theteacher.com/ . At one point or another, every child I know has done activities from these sites, some have downloadable pages, others have pages that the child can do on the computer. My kids have been playing on the computer since they were about 3, although the youngest deleted half of the computer's brain at about 30 months. I am a mom and not a teacher by trade, but many of these sites were given to me by teacher friends, and all were fun to play with my children on

1 mom found this helpful

Do you have a train set or something of the like? O.K. this will sound super silly but my son got a kick out of this activity….When my son turned 2 we bought him the Geotrax train set. Anyhow, when he was about 3 I knew we needed to move to the next level with the alphabet sicne he could recognize all of them so I took his ABC letters which were the wooden upper case & lower case Melissa & Doug set, and we pretended that they were passengers on the train. The Upper letters were the Mommy/Daddy and the lower case were the kids. We would have the train go the station and say something like “Calling letters that make the (making a letter sound) sound – All Aboard" and the ltters would get into the attached compartments. It was a very repetitive game but that’s how kids learn. I would only work on a few letters at a time (having a letter of the day). Within a couple of months or so my son knew all his letters sounds. It was cute because he would always be the lower case letters and say stuff like “Come on Mommy ‘A’, let’s get on the train that’s our sound!” My son is now 4 ½ and still loves that game but now we make words out of the letters.

1 mom found this helpful

Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD is great for that. I stumbled on it by accident. My kindergartener was struggling. So we bought it for the car. It was the only movie I would play. In two weeks my new three year old had learned all the letters and sounds. We spent a lot of time in the car. All three of us would sing the songs together all day long. She was speech delayed and couldn't talk but knew all the letters and sounds individually.

1 mom found this helpful

Smear shaving cream on the table and have your son write the letters in the shaving cream or you write them and say the name of the letter. For sound recognition go on a treasure hunt around the house looking for things that start with the "S" sound (or other sounds of course). If your son likes to be on the computer at all there are a lot of free online sites that have letter recognition games that you can play with him. Get a dry erase board or easel or doodle pro for the two of you to write on together. You write a letter and draw a picture to go with the letter and have him guess what it is. When you hand him something accentuate the first letter sound and tell him the letter, for example, "B"anana, banana starts with B. Most importantly just play and have fun with it, he'll learn.

Good luck,
K.

I bought my 22 month old a Leap Frog refrigerator magnet alphabet and letter sound game. She is now 25 months and can identify about 75% of her letters.

My daughter just turned 4 but she's very bright too. I tried to get her to do things with me during 3 but she didn't want any part of it. I finally found a site that has the letter to print out and color. Like an A inside an apple, ect. We are now coloring them together and she comes and begs me to print them out so we can work on them together. While coloring I say things like What do I do on that? pointing to the stove and she knows I mean "cook" which was for the letter C and I said what says ROAR in the forest and she knew that was a bear for B and I write down all the words we find together on MY coloring sheets. We each need one of our own. I do an upper and lower case for each day.
Here's the site if your intersted. It maybe too much for him at this point but who knows.
http://www.coloring.ws/alphabet.htm

Same boat, have a son who will be 3 in April. He has learned the ABCs through Leap Frog, it's utterly amazing to me! Sure, we also read ABC books, watch Sesame Street (letter of the day) use blocks, play games...but those videos work!! Also, there are "talking" magnets for ABC, V Tech I believe, that also work wonders I hear.

have fun!
rg

Kymberly did exactly what I did. I got letter factory and word factory (leapfrog DVDs-bless leapfrog). We watched it a couple of times (my kids were 28 months). The first day I decided not to bring things onto table so to say, I got a very cheap wooden alphabet thingie that has one letter on the front and then a picture of something on the back. My kids knew them right away. It wasn't me, it was leapfrog. I sooo recommend those dvds to everyone

A teacher friend of mine recommended Zoophonics for my daughter who was having trouble with putting the sound with the letter. It requires more of an investment from a time and cost perspective, but has been great so far as I've already seen progress in just a couple of weeks (15 minutes, 4-5 days/week). You can find out more info and download some sample activities at zoophonics.com.

For letter recognition, make the letters as visible as possible as much as possible. I would start with something as easy as getting a set of foam bath letters (and numbers). They will be fun and while he's in the tub playing with them, you can sing the alphabet song, talk about the sounds they make, spell words on the shower walls, etc.

We got a door sign for my son, and we would sing the letters and point to them. Another thing is that I have an alphabet poster in his room. I got it early so he could see it before we worked on it, just to get used to seeing letters. We also have these great dry-erase books to teach kids how to write letters, etc. My son would do them for "rewards" -could be candy, a serving of dessert in the middle of the day, a toy, or a sticker on a chart we got, and then when he filled his chart (there were 20 places) we'd go get him a toy under $10. Good luck with whatever you do!

My son is 3.5 yrs-old and knows/recognizes all of his letters...we are now working on more phonics and tracing/writing letters. Here's some of my suggestions:

* Leap Frog fridge phonics w/magnetic letters are everything the mamas here have said - it's a GREAT start -
* As someone else mentioned, foam letters that stick up on the shower walls & tub - I used to put a different word up each week (I started with his name & then moved on to small phrases)
* Again as already mentioned - Flash cards - you can find them at the Dollar Store - if you can find those that have the letter on one side & a word/picture of something that starts with that letter on the other, those are doing double duty for you in learning! You can always let him pick a few letter Flash cards & go around the house finding (or bringing to you) things that start with that letter!
* We have a great book called Eating the Alphabet - it goes through each letter with pics of fruits & veggies that begin with each letter - it's very colorful & will help to see some of the foods he already be used to eating & possibly introduce others that he may like to try
* Lastly...YouTube - YouTube - YouTube! Yes, YouTube...I've made MANY child-friendly and educational playlists from vids that people have posted on YouTube. There are many good websites and/or posters that have wonderful material. Some you can search are Wilbooks, ESAudio.net (for Spanish/English), Debikun (I believe they're from UK), Storycove, Sesame Street (yes, they have a channel on YouTube), KidzPark.com, teachmobile and XOAX.net. These playlists are part of my son's education/homeschooling program and they have been instrumental in supplementing the other methods we've been using to expose him to the basics of letters, numbers, colors & shapes.

Good Luck & have fun learing with your little one!

What works like a charm -
1. Leap Frog makes this little toy, about $20, don't recall the name but it looks sort of like a sunshine and goes on your fridge (magnet on the back) - and it has all these letters that you fit in the middle, and you press a button, and it makes a little song out of all the letters (K says 'ka", and K says "ka", every letter makes a sound, K says "ka"!)...On the tip of my tongue! Aaargh! Mommies help me on this one...anyway, my son plays with it while I am cooking, and only a few days ago, I realized that he knows all his letters (he is 2 1/2)! I did not even realize that he knew all this, all this time he was really learning while playing with this toy. It is a great toy. I highly recommend it.
2. Now that he knows his letters, I reinforce with flashcards. I got mine at OfficeMax, and a day care friend got me a great set with both letters and numbers from Fisher Price. I offer to show him the cards whenever, sometimes as a substitute when reading (cards instead of book) - it is great. He loves it! And if he does not want to use the cards, I certainly don't push him.

I just read the other reponses - FRIDGE PHONICS! That is what I was forgetting. Wow, that is one awesome toy! Wish they made those when we were kids! I am going to get Fridge words soon.

Definately LeapFrog. We had the Fridge Phonics and Fridge Words as well as the DVDs. We also read every day. One day everything clicked and my son just started sounding out the beginnings of words. Play I Spy a letter when you are shopping. PBS's Word World is also great. My son also loved the Brain Quest Quiz Decks, which work on several skills. Does he "read" logos yet? I can remember being surprised when my son pointed out a Home Depot in a different state as well as a Coca Cola truck. It is amazing what they absorb w/o us really teaching:)

Buy some:"abc toys." My daughter learned her letters at 18 month by playing with toy blocks, a puzzle and chalk (with me writing letters). I also bought two ABC books with flaps and things that she loved to play with. There are a million ABC toys out there, I'm sure there is something your son would love.

I have 7 y/o twin boys and believe me,,,,I've there! We luckily came across the leap frog letter factory dvd, and eventually moved onto the storybook word factory and math circus (both also leap frog). It is animated and has songs and teaches the letters and sounds etc. It is great. We also had great luck with flash cards. If you can find cards with lower case letters, start with them vs the capital letters. (a couple teachers and articles I've read all recommend starting with lower case letters because it is easier for a child to go from learning lower case to upper case than it is to go from upper case to lower case- who knew?). We'd play games with the cards like go fish or what ever. We'd bring them with us everywhere. We also had color cards, shapes, animals, etc. The more the mix the better, that way they didn't get bored as quickly.

My goal wasn't necessarily that the boys be the smartest kids entering kindergarten but that they (hopefully) can get an early opinion of learning as it being fun. They're in 2nd grade and doing great. They're probably not the top in all their subjects, but they seem to have learned that learning can be fun and they do well. That's all I was hoping for.

And read read read to your son. Get the really easy board books and as you read, let him look at the pages and use his finger to follow along as you read. He'll start to associate the words you're saying to the grouping of letters on the page. Teach him the alphabet song but use either flash cards for each letter as you go or hang up a banner of sorts with the letters on it and point to them as you go.

Good luck
J.

Definitely Leapfrog Letter Factory. My 3 y/o daughter learned all her alphabets and sounds from that DVD. Try to find it in a library first if you don't want to purchase it.

We have also started tracing letters using sandpaper/tactile alphabets. This helped her learn her upper and lower case letters. Hooked on Phonics also have a computer program for pre-readers which she enjoyed. She can't do some of the games yet because it is too fast paced but the main alphabet game is fine for her.

I also recommend the Leapfrog videos. My daughter was very strong-willed. She began attending a "modified" Montessori school when she was three. Their program is very academically challenging, which she needs, but she HATED learning phonics. One of my friends told me about the Leapfrog videos. I let my daughter watch "Letter Factory" as a special treat at bedtime. After a few nights, she knew all of the letters and sounds. By the end of the year, she was able to sound out words. She's four now and reading books independently.

I recently purchased the 7 DVDs from PreSchool Prep Company. There is one for shapes, colors, letters, numbers, and three different ones for sight words. My three year old has known numbers, numbers, shapes, and colors for some time (not always consistently) but I wanted to reenforce them for her. As for the sight words, I got those so she could learn. She loves learning!

Anyway, the DVDs are definately not for the parents but kids love them. They are bright and repetitive...just what kids like.

Other than that, kids really do learn through play....sorting, scribbling, play dough, stringing past necklaces, various crafts, painting, music. Sounds like kids stuff but they are learning while having fun.

You could incorporate letter, shape, or color themes into the above activities. Doing a search on line with something like "learning through play" and should find some ideas. Best of luck to you.

My son is 3 1/2 and we both like starfall.com. Also bath letters that stick on the shower wall.

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