When to start teaching alphabet

14+ Simple Activities to Teach Toddlers the Alphabet


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Learning the ABCs is the foundation of reading and writing and something that you’ll want to start teaching your child early on.

Teaching toddlers the alphabet can often seem like a daunting task because you’ll want to create a strong foundation to build on for higher level skills.

The last thing you want to do is make letter learning stressful or frustrating. The goal is not to have them just memorize the letters and spit them back out, but to interact and grow from what they are learning now.

When Should You Start Teaching Your Toddlers the Alphabet?

The good news is that little ones are like sponges and they love to learn!

Your toddler may begin to recite the alphabet from memory by learning the ABC song closer to 18 months old, but recognizing and identifying the actual letters is a skill that may come later on.  

You can start teaching toddlers the alphabet around age 2, but can even begin earlier than that.

Now that’s not to say that at two years old your child will know their whole alphabet. Two is simply the age that they can recognize a letter here and there.

Don’t overwhelm your child by showing them the entire alphabet at once. Work on one letter at a time and your toddler should pick it up quickly.

How to Teach Toddlers the Alphabet

Children typically start recognizing the letters in their own name first and then recognize all other letters after that.

Be sure to have your child look at both uppercase and lowercase letters when learning. Most children are taught all of the uppercase letters first, however, the lowers case letters are the ones that they will see more often when they read or see words.

Incorporating the Alphabet in Everyday Activities

One of the best things about teaching toddlers the alphabet is that you can include simple activities throughout the day. Some of my favorite ways to do this are:

Board Books

If you aren’t already, reading to your children is so important and great for development. Exposing them to books helps them start to recognize letters.

Any and all books provide so much benefit for recognizing letters as your child gets older, but board books with large letters are best for teaching toddlers the alphabet. This book allows your toddler to trace the letters with their fingers and lift-the-flap fun to help with letter learning.

ABC Toys

There are lots of different toys out there that help children learn their alphabet. Try finding toys like these letter matching puzzles that have your child match the shape of the letter.

Magnetic letters are also great. You can have them on the refrigerator so when you are cooking they can play with the letters. 

Related Post: 20 Important Things to Teach Your 2 Year Old

Name Learning Recognition

Writing your little one’s name out large on a piece of paper and going over each letter is a great way to help them recognize the letters in their name. You can have them trace the letters in different colors to make a “rainbow name” activity. 

These name puzzles from Bloom Owl are a great way to get your child learning the letters of their name. They’ll love playing with the puzzle as they start to recognize the letters they see all the time. 

Sing the ABC song

Singing the ABC song is a great way to help your toddler learn the sequence of the alphabet. When doing an activity like letter recognition, you can sing the song and point to the letter at the same time helping them to recognize the letter name with the letter shape. 

Workbooks and Printable Worksheets

Workbooks and worksheets are great tools to help children learn the alphabet and teach them what letters look like. Even if they aren’t quite able to trace yet, exposing them to the letters is still a great idea.

Letter Shows

By far the easiest resource for having your child learning letters and letter sounds is the Leap Frog shows on Netflix. They include Letter Factory, Phonics Farm, and more. If you have Netflix you can access these shows! My 20 month year old was reciting all of the letter sounds because he loves this show so much!

Games and Activities for Teaching the Alphabet

Since toddlers learn through play and exploration of their environment, they understand best when taking a hands-on approach to learning. Finding fun games and activities is a great way to teach toddlers the alphabet by making it an engaging learning experience.

Every child also has their own style when it comes to absorbing new information. Some children may learn best while jumping up and down, feeling objects with their fingers, or listening to a song.

Here are a few games and activities that incorporate sensory modalities to build on letter learning. They don’t involve actually writing letters, so they’re great for young toddlers as you teach them the alphabet.

Related Post: 31 Things That You Can Teach Your 3 Year Old

Alphabet Soup Via Busy Toddler

This activity is great for toddlers because it helps them to interact with letters and have fun. You can help them by asking them what letter they found and then associating the sound the letter makes.

Writing Let

ters with Shaving Cream Via A Gift of Curiosity

Writing letters with shaving cream is one of the ways my mom helped me learn letters as a child. I remember having so much fun writing with shaving cream.

ABC Hide and SeekVia Discovering Mommyhood

Bury some letters in rice (beans would work too!) and have your toddler find them. This is a great way to engage them with play and also help them learn to match up their letters. Another way you can change this up would be to have them match uppercase to lowercase and vice versa.

Feed the Alphabet MonsterVia I Can Teach My Child

Feed the alphabet monster is a fun and silly way to help teach toddlers the alphabet. You can leave the letters in order to start and then, later on, scramble them up. Another way to make this game a little more complex would be to have an uppercase and lowercase version of each letter.

Related Post: 10 Clever Ways to Teach Your Toddler How to Share

Sticky Alphabet TreeVia Toddler Approved

I love this game for teaching toddlers the alphabet! I think it is adorable and functional. You can help your toddler associate words with each letter like “A for apple” or “B for bear”. As they become more proficient, you can ask them to say a word that starts with the letter they picked up.

Dry Erase Letter Erasing

This is a multi-sensory activity using a dry erase board and dry erase marker or eraser to help your child learn to recognize letters. Tell them that you will tell them a letter to find. Then they must locate it on the board and erase it. This is great for little ones who don’t have control of writing actual strokes.

Teaching toddlers the alphabet doesn’t have to be complicated and learning through play is a great way to build a strong foundation for letter recognition. There are so many simple everyday activities that you can do to help them learn.

The best part is when you teach your older children the alphabet, they can help your younger children learn too!

I hope that you found some practical ways to incorporate teaching toddlers the alphabet in your everyday activities and some fun games to play!

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At What Age Should a Child Know the Alphabet?

As children grow, they naturally hit learning milestones. One of the most critical educational milestones a child must reach is learning the alphabet, which prepares them for reading and writing.

But at what age should a child know the alphabet?

In this article, you will learn at what age a child should know how to recite the alphabet, recognize and write individual letters, learn letter sounds, and eventually learn how to read. Read on to make sure your little one is on the right track!

At What Age Should a Child Know the Alphabet?


Typically, by the age of three, children should be able to recite the alphabet. However, every child is different. Some toddlers may learn in their twos, and others might not pick it up until the late threes.

Children generally learn how to recite the alphabet through repetition. If you sing the ABC song to your kids often, they are more likely to pick it up quicker, just as they would any song.


Most children can recognize letters between the ages of three and four. Most kids will recognize the letters in their name first.

For example, a boy named Jace will probably be able to remember what the letter “J” looks like as well as recognize most other letters in his name. Similar to alphabet recitation, use repetition to teach your children about recognizing individual letters. You may ask them, “What letter is that?” whenever you see an isolated letter.


By ages four to five, children will start writing letters. Children will learn to write the alphabet in preschool and kindergarten, but it may be beneficial to have your child practice writing his/her letters at home. Most children at this age know that written symbols represent messages and may be interested in writing on their own. One of the easiest ways children learn how to write letters is to begin tracing them.

Additionally, teaching your child how to write his/her name is an important step that will ultimately help them become familiar with writing the rest of the alphabet.


By five years old, children will start to associate letters with their accompanying sounds, otherwise known as phonics. In other words, around the age of five, children should be able to reason that the word “book” starts with the letter B.

Children begin learning phonics in kindergarten, which is a vital step to decoding written text and begin reading.


By six years old, first graders should be able to read words aloud with ease. For the most part, children can recognize sight words and their names. Moreover, children can decode some words by sounding out their letter combinations.

By second grade, a child should be able to sound-out a simple book. By the third grade, your child should be able to read independently and fluently. By this point, your child should be a master of the alphabet and is ready to master the art of reading!

What If Your Child Isn’t Learning at the Rate S/He Should?

It’s important to remember that every child is different and may learn at a different rate. If your child isn’t learning the alphabet at the pace s/he should, one reason may be because s/he isn’t interested or is simply undergoing a minor setback.

However, if your child is falling severely behind, it’s important to find out if your child truly has a problem learning or if it is nothing to worry about. Therefore, work one-on-one with your child to determine if there is a problem. For example, practice reading and writing with your child. If s/he is having a hard time comprehending the instruction or if it’s taking him/her an abnormally long time to do the task, consider talking with your child’s teacher about it.

In the end, if you suspect your child might have a reading or learning disability, discuss it with a doctor. If your child is truly suffering from a reading disability, it can cause him/her to fall behind in his/her education. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you will be able to find a solution that works for your precious little one!

Learn the Alphabet at a Top-Tier School!

So at what age should a child know the alphabet? Learning the alphabet is an ongoing process. That being said, it’s crucial to enroll your little one in a school that will not only teach him/her but also helps develop in him/her a love of learning.

Smaller Scholars Montessori Academy helps children become more confident, creative, and independent through the acclaimed Montessori experience. You can enroll your child in the toddler program, which is for kids between the ages of eighteen months and three years, or in the primary program, for children between three and six years. In both programs, children have a rich classroom environment in which they are encouraged to explore, learn, and thrive. Then, as children grow older, they can explore the elementary program for kids up to twelve years old.

What are you waiting for? Ensure your child learns the alphabet and how to read by enrolling your child in Smaller Scholars Montessori Academy! Contact them to learn more.

How to learn the alphabet with a child. Learning letters together

Letters are all around us. Signs, announcements, books and magazines - all this the child sees from a very young age. But it doesn’t immediately become clear that these “squiggles” are not just incomprehensible meaningless icons, but a way to convey information in the form of text. Therefore, with the study of the alphabet, a completely new world opens up for the baby, in which letters are folded into syllables, and syllables into words that can be read and later written. In our article, we will tell you when to start learning the alphabet, how to make the process interesting for a child, and what methods are best for children of different ages. nine0003

Why learn the alphabet?

It seems that the answer to this question is quite obvious - that the child can read. However, it's worth digging a little deeper. Often, parents do not fully realize what caused their desire for the child to quickly master the letters. If the kid is already 5-6 years old, and the first grade is just around the corner, then the desire to learn the basics so that further study is easier, understandable and logical. Or maybe your child is only three years old, but you want him to show off his knowledge at a family evening? Or do all the acquaintances vying with each other say that their children have not only learned the alphabet, but also read freely? Give yourself an honest answer to these questions, and consider whether it is necessary to postpone training until a more appropriate moment. nine0003

The most important thing is whether your child is ready. Curiosity, interest in new things, the ability to memorize previously unknown information are all signs that you can start learning the alphabet. But you should always remember that there is no point in teaching against the child’s desire, all classes should be held in an unobtrusive playful way. Questions “how to read?”, “What kind of letter?” Are pouring in on you, the baby is interested in not only pictures in books, but also captions to them, or are you going to school soon? Well, then feel free to start your acquaintance with the alphabet. nine0003

Basic tips for learning the alphabet with a child

The alphabet is not just a certain sequence of letters. This is the foundation from which the child's learning to read begins. Therefore, it is important to understand that simply learning the alphabet as a rhyme or a counting rhyme is possible, but practically useless if there is no practical application of the information received. If you do not start trying to teach your child to read immediately, but after a long break, there is a high probability that your baby will simply forget the letters by this point, and you will have to start all over again. nine0003

There are a few general rules to follow when you start learning the alphabet with children:

1. Learn the sounds, not the letters

It's easy for us adults to figure out what the name of the letter is and what sound it is means may not match. For a small child, on the contrary, such a concept may be too complicated. Do not confuse the baby, he will eventually learn that the letters are called “be”, “el” or even “and short”, better demonstrate what sounds are indicated by the corresponding signs - “b”, “l”, “y”, give examples of words with these sounds. In this way, the child, with less effort, will be able to understand how syllables are read, and later whole words. nine0003

2. Do not learn the alphabet in order

Remembering a clear sequence is, of course, useful for the development of a child's memory, but it does not make it obvious to him what he actually learned and why. If, however, the alphabet is disassembled gradually, according to a clear and logical system, without overloading the child's perception excessively, there will be much more benefit, since knowledge will not be superficial, but based on a deeper understanding of the structure of the language.

3. Do not mix vowels and consonants

Learning letters mixed up is no less a mistake than memorizing the alphabet strictly in order. Vowels and consonants must be studied separately, otherwise the child will be completely confused. Always remember that things that seem clear and simple to us, small children learn for the first time, so even the main sign by which sounds are divided (vowel-consonant) is not immediately comprehended. The situation when the studied letters do not have any common feature is confusing and slows down the assimilation of the material.

4. Vowels first

There are only 10 vowels in the Russian alphabet, so the child will have to remember a little at first. In addition, vowels require only a long “singing” and slight changes in the articulation of the lips, neither the tongue nor the teeth need to be connected, so it will be easier for the baby to understand how the written sign correlates with the sound being pronounced. When all the vowels are firmly learned, it will be possible to add consonants.

5. Don't force learning

Of course, you really want your child to learn all the letters and start reading as soon as possible, but you still shouldn't rush. Learn one or two letters, repeat what you have learned more often, do not move on to a new one without waiting for the consolidation of what has already been studied. Start with very simple and clear things. Show the young student the letter "A", tell how it is pronounced, what it looks like, what words begin with it. Fold it together with the baby from sticks, draw or mold it from plasticine - tactile sensations will help the child better remember the image of the letter and associate it with sound. Apply theory to practice, for example, ask while walking to look for the letter "A" on signs, in advertisements, and so on. Only when the child has learned the letter and the corresponding sound, proceed to the next, all the same one at a time, methodically and slowly. nine0003

Age-appropriate alphabet learning

3-4 years old

If you think your child is ready to learn letters at 3 years old, here are some tips and tricks to help you get great results.

First of all, in no case do not force or coerce the child into classes, they should take place exclusively at the request of the child, in a fun way, and end as soon as you see signs of fatigue and weakening of concentration. The optimal lesson time for a three-year-old is 5-7 minutes. nine0003

Do not set a goal to learn the entire alphabet in a short time, it is at best pointless, and in some cases it can even be harmful - up to a certain point the child's brain may simply not be ready for this or that knowledge. Do not try to outwit nature, at three years old your task is more to interest, captivate the child, show him the basics.

Do not overload your child with a lot of information - let your “lessons” take place no more than twice a week, and take the rest of the time to consolidate and repeat the studied material. At the same time, the regularity of classes is very important, conducting them from time to time is not the best idea, the child will get confused and forget what you went through with him. nine0003

Start with vowels. Move on to consonants only when you are sure that the child has firmly learned all 10 vowels and brought the skill to automatism. Vowels are best taught in pairs: A - Z, O - E, U - Yu, E - E, S - I. So it will be easier for the baby to remember. Later, this will also help with the assimilation of the principle of hardness-softness of consonants.

Use books with bright, large pictures. Closer to the age of four, the child will also be interested in blocks with letters, coloring books and stickers, posters with and without voice acting; but be careful with the posters - remember that we need to learn the sounds, not the names of the letters, so look for posters that pronounce exactly the sounds. Magnetic letters will also help - they can be placed on a magnetic board or simply on the refrigerator. You can learn rhymes and songs with the mention of the sounds that you are studying, play with letters cut out of paper. nine0003

Let the child represent the letter in different ways - by drawing, modeling with plasticine, folding with sticks or drawing lines in the sand or grits. Such activities are also useful for fine motor skills, and this is a very important skill for the baby, which affects, among other things, the development of speech.

There are more consonants in the Russian language, so it will take a longer time to study them, and if you consider that most consonants have both hard and soft variants, the task becomes even more complicated. But with the right approach, there should not be any particular difficulties. If the child has already mastered all the vowels and understands the difference between, for example, “A” and “I”, then it will not be difficult for him with your help to figure out how “ma” and “me” differ. You can make a table where such pairs of syllables will be shown clearly. The main thing is to always clearly pronounce the sound yourself and achieve the same pronunciation in the child. Correct articulation is the key to both good diction and correct reading in the future. nine0003

5-6 years old

For all our commitment to early development, many experts agree that the optimal age for learning the alphabet is 5-6 years old. The child will soon go to school, which means that his brain is already quite ready to memorize all the letters and gradually learn to read. At this age, it is especially important that your preschooler speaks clearly and correctly, so pay maximum attention to his speech, whether all sounds are pronounced without problems, whether some of them need to be corrected independently or with the help of a speech therapist. nine0003

If at three years the emphasis is on the play component of classes, then by the age of 5-6 it can be slightly shifted towards the child's consciousness. Tell us about how great it will be to read books yourself, how knowledge of the alphabet will come in handy at school. Keep the elements of the game, use the same methods that are suitable for four-year-olds, but increase the lesson time, introduce more printed materials. You will need special recipes for preschoolers, books and manuals with creative tasks, various sets of cards. nine0003

Introduce your child to syllables. Use single letter flashcards to show how a syllable is built - for example, say that a consonant and a vowel run or are attracted to each other and demonstrate their convergence by saying the syllable at the same time. Later, use cards with a ready-made printed or hand-drawn syllable in the lessons. Do not forget about the regularity of classes and the constant repetition of the material covered.

Primer learning

By the age of six, a good primer will be clear and easy to learn. For example, the “Primer” by N. Zhukova is considered one of the best, although for younger children it may seem boring - it focuses on learning without providing entertainment materials. But in this primer much attention is paid to speech therapy moments. nine0003

“My primer: a book for teaching preschoolers to read” N.V. Nishchevoi - a manual also with a speech therapy bias, but the author adheres to his own methodology for studying letters and sounds. The path from simple sounds to complex ones will help the child develop both reading skills and good articulation.

In order for a child to develop a love for reading from a very early age, VV Shakirova's Journey to the Sound Book is a good choice. There is more entertainment material here that will interest and captivate the child. In addition, Shakirova paid a lot of attention to the development of motivation, and this will definitely come in handy in the future, in the process of further study. nine0003

Games for learning the alphabet

In this section, we will give examples of games that will make learning more interesting and at the same time more effective. Entertaining elements will not only diversify classes, but also provide a fairly wide field for applying the acquired knowledge in practice.

"Find the letter" . On a sheet of paper, arrange different letters in a random order. Let them be bright and large. You name the letter, and the child must find it and show it. A mobile version of this game is to hang sheets with large letters around the room, let the child find and tear off the desired sheet. nine0003

Memo . Prepare a set of cards, each letter must be represented in duplicate to get a certain number of pairs. Cards are laid out in several rows face down. Have the child turn over one card and name the sound that the letter on it represents. Then you need to find a pair for her by opening other cards. It didn’t work the first time - the cards are turned back face down and you have to look again. A pair was found - the player takes both cards for himself, and so on until the moment when all the cards run out. nine0003

“What letter does it begin with?” . Arrange several animals in a row - these can be drawings on paper, cards or small toys. Select the letters with which their names begin, and give them mixed to the child. The task is to correlate which letter refers to whom, and put it next to the desired animal.

Collect the letter . Draw a letter the size of the entire sheet of paper. Cut into several parts, let the kid assemble the resulting puzzle and name which letter is depicted on it. nine0003

Dice game . Surely you have cubes with letters, and if not, they are easy to make yourself out of paper. You roll a die and see which letter comes up on top. The child needs to remember an animal (or even an object!), The name of which begins with this letter and show it, for example, if the letter “B” fell out, then you can depict a crow - wave your hands like wings and croak.

Edible Letters . The alphabet is not only useful, but also delicious! Your child will have even more fun learning if he can not only name the letter, but also eat it. You can buy ready-made cookies in the form of letters, or bake them yourself, so the baby will even be more interesting, especially if you decorate the finished cookies together. You can also cut out letters from fruits and vegetables. nine0003

No matter how your activities progress, be patient with your child, don't demand too much from him or scold him if something doesn't work out. If you follow the basic principles and recommendations, creatively approach the lessons and give the baby positive emotions, your child will definitely learn the alphabet easily and with pleasure.

At what age and how to learn the alphabet with a child

Is it good to know letters at two years old and is it so bad not to know them at four? What is the best way to learn the alphabet with a child? nine0003

When to start learning letters

Many parents want to teach their children to read and write as soon as possible and worry when the baby begins to memorize letters later than others. But modern experts believe that the rule “the sooner the better” does not apply here.

For example, according to neuropsychologist Anna Semenovich, learning letters and numbers from 2.5-3 years is extremely harmful. The specialist explains that there are certain neurophysiological laws of brain development. At this age, the sensorimotor and emotional sphere of the baby is formed, the time has not yet come for cognitive processes. If you start to actively load him with learning, that is, untimely development of one of the mental functions, the child's brain will perform the assigned tasks, but the development of other structures of the psyche will suffer. This is fraught with a violation of emotional processes, the appearance of diseases is possible. nine0003

Anna draws attention to the fact that at first the child develops visual-figurative thinking, and then abstract-logical thinking. And teaching a child to write letters reverses this process, violating the law of psychology.

In her opinion, at the age of 3–4, a child should be taught everyday knowledge, teach routine, help to study the world around him, and you can also give him to creative circles. And the letters should be left for 4-5 years.

However, she admits that there are exceptions to the general rule: all children are different, some babies learn to read on their own at an early age. nine0003

How do you know when exactly to start the alphabet? Excellent advice on this matter is given by the psychologist Olga Melnitskaya. In her opinion, the main indicator is the child's sudden interest in letters. And there is nothing wrong with that, even if it happens at the age of 6, when he realizes that in order to receive information from the world, you need to be able to read.

It's time for the alphabet if the baby:

  • imitates adults, pretending to read;
  • asks what is written in the book or on the advertisement; nine0130
  • pronounces almost all sounds;
  • builds phrases;
  • perceives well by ear - he can tell what his parents read to him from a book.

How to teach your child the alphabet

It is best to start learning with sounds, not letters: talk to your child as they are pronounced. Also, Dr. Komarovsky advises to learn vowels first - it is easier for children to memorize them.

Soft cubes, cards and magnets with objects whose names begin with different letters, coloring pages will help in learning. And many more benefits, ranging from the usual primer to modern toys like the musical alphabet. nine0003

Make the lessons playful, learn songs and rhymes together that will help you remember the letters. But most importantly - do not force the child to learn them.

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