Over time, your preschooler will also come to understand that written English consists of letters and groups of letters that stand for a series of sounds — sounds that get translated into meaning. This letter-sound association is known as phonics, and phonics set the stage for reading.
The Alphabet, Letters, and Their Sounds
Phonics helps your child understand the relationship between letters (graphemes) and individual sounds (phonemes). Eventually he will be taught, for example, that the letter B stands for the sound you hear at the beginning of the word "ball." Making this phonics association will help him more accurately read familiar words, analyze new words, and write words.
Quick and Easy Phonics Activities
There are a number of ways in which your child develops early phonics skills, making that all-important letter-sound connection. Here are a few fun, simple activities you can do at home to further increase your child's phonics awareness:
1. Sing the alphabet song. Be creative — sing it as a rap, skip every other letter, start the song beginning with the letter of your child's name, sing the alphabet backwards, quietly, or loudly.
2. Play with letters. Set up a place in your home where your child can see and work with letters. Magnet letters are good for refrigerator word play.
3. Play "I Spy." Invite your child to play a guessing game. Without revealing it to her, select an object in the room and provide phonics clues to help her guess what it is.
4. Share alphabet books. Alphabet books provide perfect at-home opportunities for learning about phonics and working with letters and words. Wonderful books for preschoolers include:
ABC I Like Me by Nancy L. Carlson
Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions by Margaret Musgrove
Dr. Seuss's ABC by Dr. Seuss
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
The Calypso Alphabet by John Agard
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables From A to Z by Lois Ehlert