child building words

Teaching Letter Recognition

Letter recognition… It is the foundation for all of literacy.

It is no wonder then why letter recognition is vital to your child’s early academic success! However, I want to stress that it is important to wait until your child is developmentally ready before you start introducing letters. Otherwise, the whole process will be overwhelming for your child and will leave both of you feeling frustrated.

Approaches to Teaching Letter Recognition

There are many differing opinions out there on how best to teach letter recognition. You can find a brief overview of the more popular approaches below.

Letter of the Week

letter recognition

One popular approach is the Letter of the Week. This method is just like it sounds, where you focus on one letter each week. You start with A and work your way through the alphabet, down to Z. Activities are planned each week to teach the focus letter and its sound. People like this approach because it follows a set structure and is easily organized. This may work for some children (and if it works for yours, then keep it up!). However, I have found it to be rather challenging. The problem that I have found with a Letter of the Week is that the letters are isolated. By the time you get to Z (26 weeks later!), your child has forgotten the letters at the beginning of the alphabet!

Teach letters in a certain order so that children can make words

Another approach is to introduce a few letters at a time in a certain order. The popular phonics program, Jolly Phonics, introduces the letters in such a way so that children are able to form words more quickly.

jolly phonics

As you can see, after a child learns even just the first set of letters, they are able to make words such as tap, sit, pin, etc. I find that this works great for older children who are ready to start learning words, however younger children may not be ready yet.

Teach meaningful letters first

When you begin teaching you child letters, you may find that they just cannot seem to retain the information. They know the letter one day, but then forget it the next. Sometimes, the letters just look like a bunch of meaningless scribbles and shapes.

One approach that I have found to be wildly successful with my tutoring students is to teach meaningful letters first. This helps the child make a connection between the letter and what it represents. To start, I would teach the child the letters in his or her name and then move outward from there. You could try the letters in their sibling’s names, their pet’s names, or the letters in mom and dad. Think about their interests and things that are important to them. By the time you are done covering the letters in all of those words, I bet that you will have covered most of the letters in the alphabet! Then you just need to fill in the ones you missed.

child building words

There are so many great activities out there for teaching letter recognition. Below is a list of some of my favorites. The most important thing to remember is to keep the learning light and fun!

Letter Recognition Activity Roundup

I’d love to hear some of your favorite activities for teaching letter recognition!

Happy Tutoring,


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