Activity 5.1

Alphabet Knowledge

There are lots of things you can do to help your child develop the skills they’ll need to learn to read:

Knowledge of alphabet letters at entry into kindergarten is a strong predictor of reading ability at high school.

Children learn that the alphabet is a symbol system for sounds. To let your child have lots of practice with alphabet letters, try:

  • Reading alphabet books. Alphabet books don’t have a story, so don’t need to be read from beginning to the end; you can just look at some of the letters.

Looking at letters that will be most interesting to your child are:

  • The first letter of their name
  • The first letter of things that they like, eg trucks, dogs
  • Letters in common signs, such as stop
  • Telling your child the name and sound of the letter. The letter is S (ess) and makes the sound ‘ssss’
  • Telling your child about capital and lower case letters and how they are used. Capitals are used at the beginning of a sentence or at the start of someone’s name.

Example: ‘Let’s look at this capital letter T. (Point to it and say the ‘tee’ sound.) ‘Thomas’ and ‘truck’ begin with T. Let’s think of other words that start with T? (Suggest some) touch, triangle, toilet, tough. What about ‘table’? Does that begin with the T sound?’

When your child is ready, show them how to draw and trace letters.

Place a dot where the letter begins so they can practice writing the letters properly

They can have fun practicing writing letters:

  • in a tray of sand
  • in finger paint
  • in shaving cream
  • outside in a patch of dirt with a stick
  • on a concrete path with chalk

Shaping letters with playdough or real dough is another fun way to play with letters.

Write your child’s name in large letters, using Foundation Script because this is the script they will use at school (in NSW) and encourage your child to trace over the letters. If you laminate your child’s name, they can practice over and over while you wipe the resource clean. Use crayons or white board markers for best results.

Foundation Script Download PDF (430Kb)

Once your child is confident tracing their name, encourage them to try writing their name underneath your writing. The next step is to write it on another piece of paper. They may even be able to write their name all by themselves.

Encourage your child to write their name on the left hand side of the paper which will help them learn that reading goes from left to right. Of course, if they’re learning to write their name in your home language make sure that they start in the right position on the page to help them read that language.