Thursday, 2 June 2016

Teaching the Alphabet - Free Online Resources that I Use

I started teaching David the alphabet systematically when he was about two and a half years old, using the 'Letter of the Week' approach. Before that he already had some exposure to letters from reading alphabet books and singing the alphabet song. The many books we read together certainly contributed to his awareness of print and how letters of the alphabet look. We started from A and worked our way to Z, though I know some people advocate teaching them in a different order so they can start blending words. My purpose was to let David have a gentle introduction to the alphabet and learn the letters through play and hands-on activities as far as possible. I planned to introduce letter sounds after he knows the alphabet in both upper and lower case. (When I'm writing this post, David already knew all the letters of the alphabet as well as their sounds. It was totally unexpected that he managed to learn all the letter sounds in three weeks. But that will be a separate post...)

In this post, I would like to introduce the free online resources that I use for teaching the alphabet. You can pay for these resources if you want the convenience of having them in a bundle, but I try to keep the cost of homeschooling as low as possible.

For every letter of the alphabet, I would print out two mini-books from The Measured Mom (a wonderful website that provides tools and ideas for teaching reading). One is a simple alphabet book with photographs:

These simple alphabet books have colourful photographs that appeal to young children. The letter is presented clearly in both upper and lowercase for each picture. After reading a few times, David is able to 'read' the books on his own. He also likes to trace the letters using his fingers, which I thought was a great pre-writing activity. You can download the books for free from this link:

The other mini-book that I use is a 'little letter book' with songs and rhymes that go with a specific letter:

Each book has six songs/rhymes for a particular letter of the alphabet. David especially enjoys singing from these books. He has a greater sense of rhyme and rhythm after reading these books, which is great because rhyming is an important pre-reading skill. (Check out this link for why rhyming is important:

The books of rhymes and songs can be downloaded for free at this link:

Another great website to go to for teaching the alphabet is This Reading Mama. This website has an alphabet series called Learning the Alphabet. The activities in this series were designed to make learning the alphabet hands-on, playful and interactive. You can download the free ABC Printable Pack at this link: I do not use all the activities though, as they are repetitive in nature.

The Learning the Alphabet series is a 'prequel' to Reading the Alphabet - a free Pre-K reading curriculum designed for young children who already know their letters and letter sounds. I'll be using this free curriculum to teach David very soon. I certainly hope he'll enjoy it!

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