I am the Parents as Teachers (PAT) Coordinator in Leander, Texas. PAT is a program that serves families with children from birth to age five to build strong foundations for academic success. I believe parents are a child’s first and best teacher and that learning begins at home.
Parents often ask me when is the right time to begin introducing letter recognition activities, what letters to start with, and how to go about teaching the ABCs in a meaningful and fun way. I always suggest that parents start with what is important to their child…their name!
One activity that parents may want to use, as part of a larger strategy to build early language and literacy skills, is Name Envelopes. The parents with whom I work with find that they are a fun, easy, and inexpensive way to start children on the exciting journey of learning letters.
Here is what you will need:
- Envelope (standard or legal)
- Foam paper (any paper will work, but foam lasts longer)
- Permanent marker
1. Write the child’s first name on the front of the envelope leaving a little bit more space between each letter than normal, but not so much that the name is distorted.
Ex. J o s é (Remember the first letter is upper case and the rest are lower case.)
1. Write the child’s first name on the foam paper.
2. Cut out the letters (just cut between each letter so you end up with square tiles) from the foam paper, and then place the letters in the envelope.
3. Have the child dump out the foam letters tiles and match them by placing each foam letter on top of the corresponding letter on the envelope. Be sure to name the letter as your child picks it up. Celebrate that your child just made his name!
1. Ask your child to dump out the letters and, using the name on the envelope as a model, have him put the letters in order right below the envelope.
2. Dump out the letters and turn the envelope over. Now ask your child to put the letters in the correct order to spell his name.
3. Once your child has mastered his first name, do the same activity with his last name.
4. Is your child ready to learn words? Try this:
1. Write ___at on the front of an envelope. Talk with your child about what those two letters say (sound like) when they are together.
2. Write letters on foam paper that would make words when a tile is placed on the blank (m, h, b, c, r, s, p, f) and cut them out.
3. When your child places the “m” on the line, say “You just made a word! Let’s sound it out.”
4. Go through all the letters in the envelope. “If you can read mat, then you can read bat, cat, sat, etc.”
This is a great activity for the car and at restaurants. Parents have been surprised at how such an easy activity has kept their children busy while learning name and letter recognition at the same time. Have fun! Learning letters must be fun!!
Parents as Teachers (PAT) Coordinator,