Learning Letters and Sounds: Simple and Fun Ways to Reinforce Letter & Sound Knowledge with Your Child There are numerous ways you can reinforce letter and sound knowledge in day to day activities with your child. These simple and fun activities can significantly impact your child’s ability to recognize & name letters and identify their sounds. *At breakfast, ask your child to point to a particular letter on the cereal box. (Can you show me a “b” on the cereal box? What sound does that make?) *While in the car, ask your child to tell you the letter a road sign start with? (Do you see that red sign right there? What letter does that word start with?) *Talk about words. Ask your child, “What sound does mom start with? What letter makes that sound?” *Write letters in the sand, in a steamed up mirror, in the snow, or in shaving cream spread on the kitchen counter. *Look for and point out words that start the same. (“Look, McDonald’s starts with /m/ like mom.”) *After reading a book, ask your child to “point to the letter that makes the /b/ sound” *Play a letter/sound memory or go fish game. Cut 3x5” note cards in half and write each of the letters you want to focus on two cards. Turn the cards upside down and take turns turning over two cards, looking for a match. Play focusing on letter names (each player must say the name of the letter of each card he/she turns over) or letter sounds (each player must say the sound the letter makes on each card he/she turns over.) Another variation would be to say a word that starts with the sound of the card you turn over (if you turn over an “f” you could say “fox” or “farm.”) *Ask your child to show you a letter he/she knows on the front of this book/magazine/newspaper/food package? You can do this in the grocery store, in the waiting room at the doctor, or while waiting in the check-out line. *Check out alphabet books from the library. *Practice stretching our words together, encouraging your child to write using invented spelling. (Invented spelling is when children listen for the sounds they hear in a word and write down these sounds. Words are not spelled conventionally and this is okay! This is what we expect of emerging writers!) Encourage your child to write grocery lists, birthday cards, letters, signs for home (keep out sign for room, etc.) *Make a list of things found around the house that begin with a particular letter. Encourage your child to stretch out the words and write using invented spelling. *Make up a silly sentences or tongue twisters of words beginning with the letter. For example, “Pink pigs play with purple ponies.” *Make an “Alphabet Checkers” game. Purchase a checker set. On the checkerboard, write upper and lower case letters in a random pattern with a white paint pen. Teach your child the rules of playing checkers, except add one more rule; before they make a move, they must name the letter in the space to which they are moving. *Make an “Alphabet Twister” game. Purchase a twister game. Write letters of the alphabet with a marker on the plastic mat. Play twister like normal, except they must say the letter in the circle where they wish to put their hand or foot. *Make “Alphabet Dominoes.” Make a set of dominoes out of 3”x5” index cards. Divide each card in half with a black magic marker and write an upper or lower case letter on each half. Use each upper and lower case letter only once. To play your child will start with one domino and look through the pile to find the domino that matches the letter on the beginning domino. Children will be matching upper and lower case letters. Continue play until all of the dominoes have been used. *Go for a Name Hunt! Give your child a stack of magazines, scissors and glue. Help him look through the magazines and cut out the letters that are in his name. Let him glue the letters in order onto a blank sheet of paper. He can also do this for other family members’ names. *Enjoy some alphabet soup for lunch. Use your favorite soup recipe and add alphabet shaped pasta for an extra treat. Have your child name a different letter before taking each bite. *Build names using “Alphabets” cereal *Zap is a great game that can be adapted for any skill. It can be used for sight words, letters, or sounds. It’s a wonderful alternative to flashcards. To play zap you will need several popsicle sticks and a cup. On each stick, write a letter on the end. On 1-2 sticks, write the word “ZAP.” Put all the sticks into the cup with the writing side down. The first player will pull out a stick. She must say the sound that the letter makes. If she names it correctly, she gets to keep the stick. If she does not, the stick goes back into the cup. The next player will then do the same. If a player pulls out a “zap stick” she must put all of the sticks she’s collected, along with the zap stick, back into the cup. The first player to earn 10 sticks wins. There are many variations on this game that you can try as well! *Use index cards, rather than Popsicle sticks, and take the top card off the pile each time, rather than pulling a stick. *Depending on how many sticks are in the cup, modify the number of sticks needed to win. You can modify the number of zap sticks as well.