Strengthen children's awareness of the sounds of words by reading, chanting, and singing rhymes.

  • Repeat the same poems, stories, chants, and songs until children know them 'by heart.'
  • Stop and wait for children to fill in the word that rhymes.
  • Use finger plays or other rhymes that children can act out with finger, hand, or total body motions, such as "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe," "Five Little Monkeys," or "Hickory; Dickery, Dock." 

Ask children to teach you how to pronounce their names. As they do. 

  • Name and show them the letters in their names, starting with the initial letter.
  • Find another child whose name begins with the same letter. Name and show them the letter. 
  • Ask them to print their name with rubber alphabet stamps or assemble it with plastic, wood, or felt letters.

Make certain children just learning the alphabetic principle have many opportunities to see letters and words:

  • As you read big books, frame some important words with your hands, saying "This word is baby," and so on. From time to time, frame letters and say their names.
  • Have sets of plastic or wooden letters for children to play with, sort, and find those that are alike. Without interfering with their play, name some of the letters and say their sounds.