Letter recognition is the foundation of reading. At a very young age, toddlers can be taught object and color recognition. This is also the golden period for teaching a child how to identify letters. The earlier a child learns these symbols, the easier it is going to be for him to read and write later on in life. Teaching may have to take a different approach at this age though, as the common style in classrooms may not necessarily work at this stage. Here are a few ways of helping your toddler learn letter recognition.
- The goal is to incorporate play time with learning. Make it a point to always watch your child as he or she plays. Is your child already having fun playing with blocks? Why not use alphabet blocks to encourage learning the letters? Once you notice that your child is already showing interest in the symbols written on the faces of blocks, step in and teach your child by repeating the sound of the letter while pointing at the block. This would be a great first step in teaching your child the name of the letter as well as the sound that the letter produces.
- Read with your child. There are many children's books that have big print letters ideal for toddlers. Repeated reading sessions would most definitely help your child recognize letters, as well as combine the sounds that form words. This is arguably the best way to help children learn about letters and also gain a love for reading.
- Put up a poster of the alphabet in the play room. This would make the alphabet something that is ever-present in your child's environment. You may also use this as a teaching tool or as reference material. You may ask your child to locate certain letters on the poster to quiz him on the letters he can recognize.
- Take the learning out of the house as well! If you take your child for walks at the park or running errands, like grocery shopping, make it a point to ask him to identify the letters that you see around. Words and letters are literally everywhere, from street signs, to house numbers, to shop signs.
- Invest in toys that can facilitate learning. Toys that are visually attractive and still educational at the same time would be great. These would include anything from puzzles to alphabet mats and audio books that would help your child learn to identify letters. Not only do they help your child with reading, it also enriches your child's eyesight with visual stimulus.
Be sure that you don't overdo it. Child development goes through many stages, and sometimes there are children who are just naturally late when it comes to learning. This, however, does not mean they would have difficulty in the long run. Always be supportive of your child. Offer words of encouragement if your child seems to be confused, or if he often makes mistakes. Mistakes are a part of the learning process. Let your toddler develop at his or her own pace. What's important is that as parents, you stay supportive throughout the learning process.