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Creating an Alphabet Wall

Full-sized wall
Full-sized wall
Emily L. Goodman

Teaching a young child their letters often seems like a daunting task, particularly if you’re dealing with a child who doesn’t particularly take the process of learning seriously. Obviously, toddlers don’t need to master particular skills—letters; identifying numbers; even counting—in order to be learning and growing. Toddlers and preschoolers learn best by being allowed to explore their environments, experiment, and play. However, if you’re interested in beginning the process of learning letters with your child, there’s one easy way to do it—particularly if you’re willing to make a long-term commitment.

Start by choosing one letter. Obviously, the easy way is to start at the front of the alphabet and work your way through, but you can also work through vowels and then consonants; begin with the first letter of your child’s name and work through the names of other family members; or use some other method that makes sense to you. Then, go online and search for “coloring pages” and the letter you’re using. Print them out and color them; print them out already in color; or print them and allow your child (or children) to color them. Then, think about things that start with your chosen letter. Consider favorite characters—Elmo and Eeyore for “E”; Ariel and Aurora for “A”; cars for “C”. Tailor it to the interests of your child.

If you have older children, this would be a fun time to get them involved. Have little Dr. Who fans? Include the Doctor for D week. Harry Potter makes a great “H” (and so does Hermione). You also have castles, and dragons, and all sorts of other fun things that start with each letter—which will intrigue your younger child (who has obviously seen these things scattered about the home before), but will also delight your older children, particularly if you surprise them with what you come up with. Take the opportunity to make all of them smile, and have a little fun with it yourself.

Then, throughout the rest of the week, take the opportunity to discuss the letter with your child each time you walk by it. Point it out. Talk about how each of the pictures on the wall starts with the same letter. Point out the letter sound. It may not be absorbed right away, but it will eventually start to sink in and give your child a good start on pre-reading skills.

Don’t forget to change the wall out each week, either. After a while, your child will walk past it without noticing the old things—but they will definitely notice when you add something new to change it up!