Letter recognition is the ability to visually recognize letters, differentiate one letter from another, and name the letters of the alphabet. It is a foundational precursor towards learning letter sounds, spelling, reading, and writing. In fact, early skills in letter knowledge are a strong predictor of reading success.
At Skills 4 Life, we work with many children on beginning writing skills. A child cannot be expected to independently write a letter that they don’t have a clear mental image of. Writing letters is a great way to reinforce letter recognition.
There are many fun letter activities you can do at home- it’s important to keep it FUN! Do a variety of activities to keep your child engaged and help your child learn the letters in different ways. Have your child participate in a letter recognition activity for a minimum of 10 minutes a day to help build these skills.
Before you get started, here a few tips:
- Make sure to only introduce 3-5 letters at a time.
- Practice both in alphabetical order and in random order.
- Once your child can recognize and name each letter, begin teaching the corresponding letter sound(s) each letter makes.
Alphabet Bean Bag Toss: This is by far the favorite letter naming game of my students! Have your child pick a mystery letter from the bag of alphabet bean bags. Start with only using the upper case letter (you can add lower case letter recognition later). Have your child name the letter, tell you the sound it makes, and a word that starts with that sound (start with the first step and add the additional steps as your child develops solid letter naming skills). Next, have your child toss the bean bag to a designated target for points. I give my students two tosses per bean bag. If your child is also working on writing skills, have him write the letter after tossing it. See 12 Ways to Make Handwriting Practice Fun for additional tips!
Letter Memory Game: Write pairs of letters onto separate cards (choose 3-5 letters to start and gradually work up to the whole alphabet). Turn the cards face down and lay them out into rows and columns. Turn them over two at a time. If the pairs are a match, that person removes those cards. If they are not a match, turn them back over. Say the names of the letters as you turn them over.
Alphabet Go-Fish: Using the pairs of letters from the Letter Memory Game above, play alphabet Go-Fish with your child.
Alphabet Bingo: Letter Bingo cards can be found online or you can make your own. Call out letters and have your child find the named letter on his board and put a marker on it.
Alphabet Spot It!: Alphabet Spot It is another great way to work on letter recognition, naming, and visual discrimination. Play per game instructions.
Alphabet Scavenger Hunt: Write letters on sticky notes and stick them around the room. Call out a letter for your child to find, or have her find all of the letters in alphabetical order.
ABC Sorting Tray: Find a tray with separate sections (cupcake tray, egg carton, etc.) and label each section with a letter. Have a bowl of foam letters or write letters on white beans. Have your child sort the letters from the bowl into the correct section of the tray.
Letter Construction: Have your child make letters out of various materials (Wikki Stix, modeling clay, Play-Doh, etc.) Make sure to teach or reinforce proper letter formation for this one.
Letter Flashcards: Make large letter flashcards on construction paper. Write one upper case letter per sheet of paper. Have your child draw a picture, or cut out a picture from an old magazine, of something that begins with the letter on each flashcard. Laminate. Practice having your child say the letter on each flashcard. For variation, place the flashcards on the ground and have your child hop or jump to certain letters or play a version of Twister with the letters flashcards.
Magnetic Letter Sensory Bin: Click here for everything you need to make and do this fun sensory activity!
About Skills 4 Life:
Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers a broad range of pediatric occupational therapy services to help your child master age-appropriate developmental skills, become more independent, increase academic success & develop confidence. The experts at Skills 4 Life specialize in handwriting, keyboarding & executive function coaching, but also work with children on social & emotional learning, motor skills, self-regulation strategies & activities of daily living. Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers your child a safe, compassionate environment to learn the critical skills they need to be successful. Learn more about our team & services at www.skills4lifeot.com, or you can contact our office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 303.351.1828 for a free consultation.