It is a worry when you are working hard with your son to master the alphabet and he doesn’t seem to be getting it. My best strategy is this:
Make a tactile alphabet for him.
This is how you do it.
- Get a copy of the cursive letter scripts from your local primary school. You can also search online for it. Make sure the alphabet you use is the same one he will be exposed to and learn at his local school.
- Trace the letters onto some fine grade sand paper. You can get packets of this cheaply in the $2.00 shop. Make the letters about 20cm high. Do both capital and lower case letters. Using some tough scissors cut the big thick letters out of sandpaper using the script as a guide.
- Get colourful cheap poster paper from the $2.00 shop and stick the sandpaper letters onto each piece using PVA or a glue stick. Put an upper and lower case letter on each piece of colourful paper. (A a)
- Now this is the important bit – Each day get your son to trace the letters both capital and lowercase with his finger and say ‘A says ahhh’ (2x for each letter), ‘B says buh’ and so on as he traces. Working his way along the alphabet. This multi-sensory activity will help him to start to remember how the letters, look, feel and sound. He will also start to develop a kinaesthetic/muscle memory for the way the letters are written.
- Also use a black permanent marker to draw a dot where the letter starts and an arrow pointing the way so he has a visual cue to trace in the right direction each time.
- Another step you can take with this, is to cut images out from magazines that start with the corresponding letters and stick them around each letter. For example (A a) could have ape, apple, apricot, etc.
I taught all my children the alphabet this way and every child who came to our house young and old had a go too. They couldn’t resist the tactile letters. I put mine on the back of our breakfast bar in the kitchen with some blue tack, but any long wall will do the job.
There are other tools called Bumpy Boards or Texture Tables which you can buy, but you can also make your own. I made a tactile table cloth out of rubberised drawer liner material – again I purchased this from the $2.00 shop. I used permanent markers and wrote the letters on to it and then got the children to trace over them with their fingers, whilst saying the letters and the sounds. This is a multi-sensory way to learn and remember the letters, how to write them and how they sound. You can also use this method for remembering how to spell particular words.
There are lots more ideas in this ebook I wrote. Here is the link to download it. Have a read and let me know if you have any other questions.
Here is also a song I wrote way back in 2009. That has been used by lots of parents to teach the alphabet to their kids. I must get a professional to sing this for me with a good voice and a decent backing track. For now you’ve just got me.
I hope this helps to get him learning and remembering.
Wishing you and your child every success