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How to Teach a Toddler Letter Recognition: A Helpful Illustrated Guide.

Disclaimer: This post Disclosure might contain Amazon affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission (or referral fee), at no extra cost for you. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products that I personally use and/or genuinely love (I would never promote any products or services that I wouldn’t pay for myself), and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart.

I taught my daughter how to read at the age of two, she is now 4 years old and is a strong reader. Now that my son is 18 months old, it is time to get started teaching him. These helpful ideas can be incorporated into your homeschool curriculum for preschool. You will find in this post many multi-sensory ways to teach a toddler letter recognition. So let’s discuss how to teach a toddler letter recognition.

The best way to teach letter recognition is to use all of the senses. Teach letter recognition and letter sounds concurrent. Combine each letter activity with singing the ABC song and make sure to emphasize the letter name as well as its phonetic sound. Here are 10 ways to teach letter and sound recognition:

  • Making letters out of pipe cleaners
  • Making letters out of playdough
  • Letter matching with magnetic letters
  • Playing with Wooden letter blocks
  • Playing with alphabet floor tiles
  • Melissa & Doug Alphabet Puzzle
  • Tactile sandpaper letters
  • Foam Bathtub Letters
  • Reggie’s Boxes from Reading Eggs
  • ABC Mouse

In what order do I teach my toddler letter recognition?

You do not have to teach letters in alphabetical order. It is more logical to go in order of the sounds that each letter makes. The following order is recommended:

  • s, a, t, i, p, n.
  • c, k, e, h, r.
  • m, d, g, o.
  • l, f, b, q, u.
  • j, z, w.
  • v, y, x.

How to Teach a Toddler Letter Recognition?

1. Make Letters Out of Pipe Cleaners

how to teach letter recognition. make letters out of pipe cleaners.

Making letters out of pipe cleaners is a fun and artistic way to teach letter recognition. It includes hands-on learning as well as sensory stimulation. Help your little one to build the letters and allow them to feel the texture of the pipe cleaners.

Bonus Tip: Combine this with singing the ABC song and make sure to emphasize the letter name as well as its phonetic sound.

2. Make Letters Out of Playdough

shapes for a toddler: letters out of playdough

Playdough is an excellent medium for building letters which also strengthens fine motor skills needed for writing. This is another sensorimotor way of teaching letters. Toddlers love playing with playdough. Help your toddler build the letter of the week and discuss the letter name as well as its phonetic sound. Or you can build all of the letters of the alphabet and as your toddler sings the ABC song point to each letter to help your child navigate through the alphabet.

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3. Magnetic Letters

how to teach letter recognition by playing with magnetic letters

It is always fun to play with magnetic letters. My daughter loved arranging the letters on the fridge. You can arrange the letters in alphabetical order and sing the ABC song or you can help your toddler to make fun words out of the letters and sound them out. Toddlers love hearing about themselves so you can even use the letters to spell out your child’s name so they can see what their name looks like in print.

4. Playing with Wooden Letter Blocks

how to teach your toddler letter recognition and play with alphabet wooden blocks

The blocks that I got for Kennedy came in a pull-along cart and the letters were arranged in alphabetical order. I would have her sing the ABC song and as she points to teach letter. Knowing the ABC song beforehand allowed her to properly guess which letter she should point to next. We would also build words out of the blocks.

Each block has the same letter written on each side in different fonts as well as a number and a picture. The main face of the block has the letter carved into the wood which is useful for sensorimotor style teaching. I would have my daughter feel each letter and trace it with her fingers as I would emphasize the letter’s name and its sound.

We would also explore the pictures that are on the blocks and we would emphasize the initial sound. For example for the block that had a picture of a cat, We would emphasize C is for Cat and make the C sound. The key is to make it fun and every time your toddler plays with the wooden letter blocks you should make it a learning opportunity.

5. Playing with Alphabet Floor Tiles

how to teach your toddler letter recognition and play with alphabet floor tiles

My mom turned one of the extra bedrooms in her house into a playroom for the kids. Since the room is on the second floor she wanted to soundproof the floors because whenever they would jump around in the room, it would sound much louder than it really was downstairs. She has wood flooring and she also wanted something much softer so they won’t get hurt if they fall down. I suggested that we pad the floors with these alphabet floor tiles.

At the time I didn’t know how much of a big impact that they would make on my daughter’s education. These floor tiles fit together like puzzle pieces and my daughter loves taking them apart and putting them back together.

She even made up her own game to learn her letters. She would ask us to call out a letter so that she could find the tile with that letter on the floor. Whenever she found the correct letter she would also say a word that starts with that letter. She was so excited to play this game.

Out of all of the different floor tiles that I have seen, I chose the alphabet ones because I figured if we are going to get it we might as well take every opportunity an educational one but I really had no idea how wonderful this product proved to be. My daughter really got a lot of fun and educational use out of this and we will do the same with my son.

6. Melissa & Doug Alphabet Puzzle

Puzzles are an amazing educational toy for a toddler. They build 3 skills: physical, cognitive, and emotional. They improve fine motor skills because your toddler has to physically manipulate the puzzle piece by twisting or turning it to fit into place. Your toddler works on their cognitive and spatial skills because it allows them to problem solve and they build their emotional skills by exercising patience.

Combine the benefits of puzzles with the alphabet and you have the ultimate educational toy that will keep your toddler quietly occupied. You can’t go wrong with this puzzle. You can choose to have your toddler work on the puzzle independently or you can play along with them. I would suggest in the beginning to play along with your toddler and emphasize the letter name and sound as they pick up each puzzle piece.

7. Tactile Sandpaper Letters

Using sandpaper letters is an amazing way of teaching letter recognition and sound. I mentioned that the best way to teach letter recognition is by using all of the senses and this is the perfect way to do it.

Have your toddler trace the letter with their fingers as you say the letter name and its sound. Next, you have your toddler repeat back the letter name and its sound as they trace the letter with their fingers again. This combines multiple senses because they hear you emphasizing the letters, they feel the gritty sandpaper as they trace the letters with their fingers.

8. Foam Letters for Bathtub Fun

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I can’t believe that I almost forgot about this one since we really used this a lot with my daughter and are using it now with my son. I made google story about teaching letter recognition and embedded it in this post and completely forgot about this tip. As I was writing this post I thought about it and decided to add it in at the last minute because it is so important.

Toddlers love playing in the bathtub. I bought this set that comes with foam letters and numbers. I played several games using these letters. I would help my daughter hold up each letter as we sang the ABC song or we would do a scavenger hunt and I would call out a letter and she has to find it hidden in the bubble bath. When she found the letter, we would say the phonetic sound and then call out as many words that we know that start with that letter. As she progressed, we would build words and sound them out together.

9. Reggie’s Boxes from Reading Eggs

I love Reggie’s Boxes! Honestly, this was the only part of Reading Eggs that we used. Each episode has a featured letter. Reggie is in a room filled with boxes of all different sizes. Each box has a letter on it but you have to help Reggie find all of the boxes that have the letter of the day on them. There is always a surprise inside the boxes. When he opens up a box, the surprise jumps out and its name starts with the letter of the day.

10. ABC Mouse

I don’t have to do much convincing with ABC Mouse. We all know how wonderful it truly is. I incorporated ABC mouse into my daughter’s preschool homeschool curriculum. There are many fun and catchy songs, books, and poems that teach letter and sound recognition. They even have puzzles, paintings, and drawings letters as well.

Conclusion

These are the 10 fun and easy ways to teach letter recognition. It is very important to make it fun and be patient with your toddler. Teach the letter name and sound together and be consistent. Incorporate multiple ideas on this list to have the most fun and to make the biggest educational impact.

Read How to Teach Colors to Preschoolers for more amazing ways to make teaching your toddler fun.

Disclaimer: This post Disclosure might contain Amazon affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission (or referral fee), at no extra cost for you. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products that I personally use and/or genuinely love (I would never promote any products or services that I wouldn’t pay for myself), and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart.

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