In the growth and development phase of every child, he or she will learn about the alphabet letters, and there are many different ways that children are first exposed to early literacy skill development. Often times, a child's first encounter with the ABC letters comes from letter blocks, foam letters, or magnetic letters.
There's no shortage of "advice" and information on how to teach ABC to a toddler, while the intensions are well, often times, the advice given isn't all that helpful for helping a child develop literacy skills. Often times, you'll likely find advice on teaching the letter names to a child for example: A for Apple, B for BEE, or C for Cat. This helps a child learn the alphabet names; however, it does little in terms of helping children to learn to read eventually. The fact is, you need to teach both the name and the sound of the letter to your child.
Why should you listen to me? I've spend years learning and researching the topic of teaching small children to read, and have written a complete guide and program for teaching toddlers and young children to read. I've helped thousands of other parents teach their young children to read and to "crack" the alphabetic code - many children as young as 2 and 3 years old, and of course, I've taught my own children to read at just 2 years old. See video here.
How to Teach ABC to Toddlers
So, back to the topic of teaching ABC to toddlers. Teaching only the letter names to a child will have little to no benefit in helping the child learn to read later on. In fact, teaching only letter names can lead to some stumbling blocks later when the child fails to associate the proper letter sound to the letter. Teaching things such as C (see) for CAT is not going to help a child catch on to the connection that C actually makes the /c/ ("cuh") sound in CAT.
Even scientific research has shown that teaching letter names WITH letter sounds is the most effective approach. So, the next time when you have an opportunity to teach your child the alphabet, teach letter names together with letter sounds. For example:
- Letter A makes the /a/ "ah" sound. (Instead of A for Apple.)
- Letter M makes the /m/ "mmm" sound.
- And so on...
It will be to your child's benefit that he or she learns the name and sound of the letter. Of course, English is not a simple language, and there are a LOT of complexities within the "code". For example, letter C most often makes the /c/ "cuh" sound; however, there are many instances where it actually makes the /s/ sound - in words such as "pencil" or "center". So another thing to keep in mind when teaching the ABC's to your child is that stick with the "BASIC code" - that is, teach the most common sounds first, and leave the "complex code" for later on to avoid confusing your child.
If you would like to teach your toddler to read and help your toddler get a head start, click here to learn more about a super simple and effective reading program.