66 answers

Teaching 3 Yr Old Abc's/numbers

For months I have been trying to teach my 3-year-old her ABC's and we are stuck on A, B, and C. She just can't get past these and still doesn't know those real well. We have been using flashcards and a doodleboard. I'm assuming she'll need to know these before she enters preschool? Do any other moms out there have any creative ideas for her to learn these? Thanks!

2 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the EXCELLENT advice. A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I don't feel so pressured to have her learn them. I'll let the teachers be teachers and mommy be mommy. I'll just do a little here and there and make it fun for her. I guess I assumed she needed to know them since my daycare's daughter knew hers prior to entering preschool and I didn't want Alyssa to be struggling just in pre-school! Thanks again for all the great responses - everyone has been a huge help!

More Answers

After checking your post, I checked my email and this is what a relative had posted on her site!!!

Teaching Letters

Posted: 29 Mar 2009 03:58 PM PDT

I found an article in Parents magazine May 2008 (Um, yeah, I'm a little behind in my magazine reading, carrying on...) on teaching your child letters, I found a few good pointers and thought I would share them.

~ It's best to begin by teaching your preschooler to write their name
~ Even though it's easier to write capital letters don't encourage them to write their name in all capital letters - it's a hard habit for kids to break later
~ From their name you can teach them the rest of the upper case letters
~ MANY (if not most) kids write some of their letters backwards, don't worry it doesn't mean they're dyslexic
~ Don't be focused on just writing with pencils and crayons - these may actually be too small for your child's motor skill level, try using rubber grips (sold at any school supply store) or even larger markers and crayons)
~ "Straight Talk: after a child learns how to write her name in uppercase and lowercase letters, teach the rest of the capitals. Go in the order of difficulty: start with straight letters, then curvy ones, and end with diagonals, says Jan Olsen, a handwriting expert in Cabin John, Maryland."

2 moms found this helpful

ARe you talking letter recognition or just being able to sing the ABC's? My daughter has been in daycare, preschool and now 4-year old kindergarten and will be 5 in June. She STILL does not recognize all of the upper case letters, much less the lower case ones. Am I worried? Absolutely NOT! She is very bright, just not so interested in sitting down to learn letters (for some reason though, she recognizes all numbers 0-10!) She loves books and being read to, knows all her shapes, colors, etc and knew those "early". Do not worry that she doesn't know all those letters! Sit back, relax and just play!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.,

I see some people have already addressed this, but I think kids learn best when they are not forced to learn something. Your 3 year old should be playing, not studying. Whatever she picks up on her own through PLAY is fine, but forcing her to learn something before she is ready is not developmentally helpful.

Personally, I do not think flash cards are a good idea. Kids are being forced to learn everything so much earlier now than ever before. I am not convinced that this is a good thing. Denmark has the highest literacy rate in the world, and they do not begin to teach their kids to read until they are 7. (Of course, there are many factors that create this statistic, but it is something to consider.)

I selected a preschool based on PLAY and learning social skills, not in attempt to create some sort of genius that will get her in to Harvard some day. (I am an attorney and my husband is an engineer, by the way.) I am just not convinced that this kind of pressure is good for kids...and I don't think it makes them happier. Happiness - not genius - is my goal for raising my child.

Good luck with your decision.

1 mom found this helpful

Kids do NOT need to know their letters before pre-school! Please don't push her or learning will stop being fun for her!

1 mom found this helpful

When my oldest daughter was about 3 or so, her aunt bought her a LeapFrog alphabet magnet toy that sticks to the refrigerator and has the letters you can put in it to hear the name of the letter, and what it sounds like. Since then, my 2 1/2 yr old daughter has now been playing with it, and because there is a little button that she can push to hear the whole alphabet, she has been learning her abc's, and can pretty much (she misses t,u,v) can say her abc's all by her self!!


Just make it fun. And, one thing we've enjoyed is the DVD "The Letter Factory" from Leapfrog. It puts learning the ABC's into song, plus teaches phonics.


I don't have the energy to read 44 responses, so I don't know if anyone else suggested this, but I can tell you this REALLY WORKS.

Leap Frog has a DVD called "The Letter Factory". Not only does it teach the ABC's, but it teaches the sounds the letters make. My 3 y.o. has known his ABC's and letter recognition since 2 because he has been in daycare/ preschool his entire life, but he LOVES the DVD and it taught him the sounds each letter makes within a week. It's awesome!

After that they have ones for math, pre-reading, reading, etc...I bought a 5 DVD set that has it all and the price was very reasonable.

Good luck!

I have never heard that ABC's and knowing numbers were required for preschool entrance. I taught my kids their ABC's and 123's by using them constantly...singing, counting toys, playing with blocks. And if you have a 16 month old, you will probably be surprised to find that while you are teaching this to your 3 year old that she will learn it at the same time. I think that singing the alphabet and number songs was what really helped cement it for my kids. Also driving time is a great time for this, you have a captive audience.

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