First, as with all “work” with young children, keep the lessons short and repeat them as often as possible. Children are eager to learn but their attention spans are short. Several five-minute lessons may be better than one 15-minute lesson for a three-year-old.
Also, make learning fun. Children respond to work disguised as games and humor better than to work that seems like work.
That said, where do you begin?
Help the child become aware that letters are all around, and that they are important. How?
- Start with the child’s name. Teach him or her to recognize his name on a birthday card, on decorations, and on your computer.
- Point out family names on envelopes, smart phones and tags.
- On food items—cereal boxes, soup cans, rice bags—point out letters, especially letters from the child’s name or family members’ names.
- When you are reading to the child, point out letters from his name or from other words he is learning.
- On electronic devices, point out letters and let the child create letters.
- In the car at a red light, point out letters on a license plate or in a company name.
Focus on the existence of letters, not their proper names. That comes next.