When I first decided to teach reading in a fun way, I was a bit overwhelmed.
I was wondering what letter I should teach first.
Which option is the best, is it phonics or introduction to ABC?
I tried the ABC sequence, but it fell flat with my kids.
They aren’t really that interested in the letters.
Later I learned a valuable gold and can’t wait to share it with you.
So what’s the first letter that I teach my kids?
#1: What’s the first letter to teach
It’s the letters that make up their name.
Yep, that simple.
Why not teach letters following the ABC sequence?
You might wonder why don’t we introduce the letters in the ABC sequence?
It’s because kids are the type that cares about themselves first.
Did you notice little babies are fascinated just by looking at their own toes and fingers?
The same thing with a toddler and preschool-aged kids.
They want to know about themselves more than their curiosity about other people.
So we use this fact to learn letters; to learn the letters in their name before any other letter that exists in the world.
What we did…
Her name is Maryam.
I’d print her picture and write her name. I’d then tell her that this is how her name is spelled.
For little kids, the most they can grab is just the first letter.
For my girl, it’s the letter M.
Every time she drew a little girl, she’d put an M by her.
It’s always M here and there. We also have several activities just with that one letter.
Going slow to go fast…
My old self would think that this thing is slow.
But my current self knows that learning letters are a process.
It may take a little bit of time to get familiar with that one letter. But it’ll be worth it; because once your kids are comfortable with that one letter, they’d ask for more letter activities.
In Maryam’s case, while we’re learning about the letter M, I’ve also never failed to keep on writing her name in full, which includes all the other letters.
Other Letter M activities
For this letter (and later for the other letter as well), we are doing the letter tracing, the letter dot sticker activities, and the letter cut and paste.
We learned what the letter M sounds like and what things start with the letter M.
But the most exciting part is the letter hunt like below.
The backstory: I used to ask her to search for the letter M in her storybooks and circle them.
But her storybooks are getting many doodles that can’t be erased.
So I created letter hunt activities for her.
You can shop your letter M activities here. You can also find other letter activities for your kids here in my shop.
PS: If you’re looking for a letter activity for your very beginning learner, I suggest that you try to take a peek at our letter craft printable activity.
I used to do this kind of activity first before we dive in to learn about specific letters.
#2: Letter that make up family member’s name
Once she knows what letters that make up her name, she’d want to know what letter that make up her siblings’ name.
So I created a simple chart with a mom, a dad and her siblings – then put names on it.
I pasted this at a place that she can easily see so that she can refer everytime she wants to draw a picture or portrait of our family.
She loved to draw and label her drawings.
#3: Letters with Themed Activities
For example, if it’s January and winter season; we’ll be doing the Polar & Arctic Animals theme activities.
So we’ll be exploring polar bears, arctic fox, penguin, etc.
While at this, I find it’d be helpful to learn the letters that spell these animals; because my little kids love themed activities. I guess yours too, right?
For example, we’ll be learning the letter P in January because P is for polar bear and penguin.
We then do some craft or printable activities with letter P.
Themed activities plus hands-on plus cute pictures; these spells fun learning letters and easier for our little kids to know the letters.
#4: Letter hunt using the storybook
There are times when I was swamped with my younger babies, that I can’t pay much attention to teach my older kids.
So this is the time for me to fully utilized the storybook.
I’d pull out a few storybooks (she can’t read yet at this time), then I’d ask her to circle or mark on the letters that she can find.
For example, I’d ask her to “Find me letter S in this book. Can you find it?”
She’d circle the all the letter S and showed me.
#5: Varies your letter activity
Each and every child learn in different pace and different way.
We’d never know which type of activity that’d light the bulb.
So I highly recommend to varies your letter activities that fit your energy, and your kids’ interest (must fit your energy because happy and energetic mom and teachers resulted to happy kids)
If you don’t have much time on your hands, but you’d love your kids to do some hands-on activities, I’d recommend these:
- Our Letter Printable packets – jam packed with cut and paste and tracing activities, just print the pages and you’re ready to go
- Letter hunt on the storybook like above example
- Doodle and label like above example
If you’re the type who have a bit more time to look for extra supplies, I’d recommend these letter activities:
- Letter crafts – Oooh my kids love this to bits, but it’s up to my energy whether we’ll be doing it for the week, or not
- Letter messy play – like tracing letters in shaving creams or sand, or forming letters using playdough
Whatever letter activities that you choose, never ever compare yourself and your kids to other parents and families.
I used to do letter crafts and some themed projects with my little kids.
But once I got pregnant, I don’t have the same energy, so I switched to easier and manageable activities. Thankfully my older kids can cope fine and still learning their letters well (and after few years can already read and write perfectly)
Don’t beat yourself too much, and enjoy teaching letters.