I still sing the ABC song to myself when I am trying to figure out how to alphabetize something. Don’t you? Organization is how our minds learn and apply our knowledge base and alphabet is a very widespread way to do just that. What does that mean when we want to teach ABCs to kids?
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The ABCs are a super important first step on the road to learning to read.
Children must learn to read fluently if they are to have an easy and productive education. Think about it. Can a child be great at math if he can’t read and comprehend the word problem? What about science? History?
ABCs lead to phonics, grammar and productivity. All subjects rely on reading as the basis of acquiring knowledge.
We must help ingrain those same unconscious links we have into our kids too.
According to Mrs. Whiting, a Kindergarten teacher who has taught 20 years, children are coming to school for the first time at the age of 5. She explains that they can not use scissors or hold a crayon and color for more than a minute before their “hand gets tired.” Little to no fine motor skills is just the beginning.
She goes on to say that the knowledge base children start with has been decreaseing steadily. Children no longer start Kinder with the knowledge of their letters and numbers. Parents are not enforcing homework contracts (even the ones simply asking them to write their name).
1. The number on way to teach ABCs to kids is to read to them.
Read the toy boxes at the stores.
When your driving around town read the signs.
Put subtitles on their favorite shows.
Read them to sleep each night.
Go to the library.
2. Getting kids interested is half the battle.
Start with their own name when you want to teach ABCs to kids. This will get them to feel empowered.
Then do the other easy names at home. i.e. Mom, Dad, Nana, a siblings name.
Praise them when they get it right. Clap your hands, give them a kiss and hug and tell them what a good job they are doing.
Make some cool sensory bags.
ABC Mouse is another cool way to get kids interested today. It is super cheap per month and you can try it for FREE!
3. Fill in the letter gaps one at a time
There are several reading books using stories to talk about a specific letter. My local library had a tons. Amazon is always available if your library is out.
YouTube is another great resource. There are a great variety of specific videos which can help teach ABCs to kids.
I went to the dollar store and bought a container, craft supplies and my kids had a blast.
4. Don’t forget the song!
Singing with our kids, no matter how off key, makes them happy.
Don’t forget to get silly and sing the song that taught you.
In the car is a great place for you to all belt out some tunes.
Put YouTube on at home and have a silly dance party to the tunes. Here is my favorite by Patty Shukla. Phonics and sign language in the same video.
5. Pinterest has tons of free resources!
I swear by Pinterest whenever I am trying to come up with ideas about almost anything.
There are thousands of boards to choose from about reading, writing, free printables, and how to set up and do almost any activity easily and cheaply.
I do recommend using printable letter worksheets. This will help your little one build the fine motor skills that they will desperately need when they start school.
This doesn’t mean that they have to color in the lines or cut super straight. It’s about building endurance.
Brainstorming is something I live on which is why Pinterest is my biggest social media love.
Some Mistakes I Made With My First Daughter
1. Too Many Worksheets Can Drain Interest
Let me start by saying that I love worksheets. They are super useful tools to introduce children to new ideas or reinforce known ones plus build the foundational fine motor skills. However, They should not be the only thing you do nor should a preschooler be expected to always follow the directions on the page.
Seeing the letters over and over again is enough to start building their recognition so who cares if they cut the paper to shreds or color the whole page green. Children need to be free to express their creativity.
2. Pushing Too Hard Before She Was Ready
Looking at #1 it is easy to see that my pushiness took a lot of the fun out of learning. She just wasn’t interested….until she was!
Keep up the “play learning” until they are ready. Then the letters started to fly out of her faster than I thought possible and they will with your child as well.
3. Allowing Myself To Be Frustrated ( Relax to teach ABCs to kids)
When I was overly pushy and so focused on the progress I was seeing, I allowed myself to get frustrated. I thought maybe something was wrong with me or maybe her. I even considered talking to the doctor. Finally I decided to wait till she went to school before stressing out about it.
Then something amazing happened!! I relaxed and she started progressing. Its truly amazing how much our children feel our tension. It makes them tense and those aren’t good feelings to teach ABCs to kids.