10 Tools to Support Letter Knowledge

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Learning to recognize and name the letters of the alphabet is an early literacy milestone children need to master before they can learn to read. If your toddler or preschooler has shown an interest in learning her letters, these tools will both engage her imagination and facilitate the learning process.

10 Tools to Support Letter Knowledge

ABC Songs

Probably the most well-known tool for teaching the order of the letters is the traditional ABC song. Your child will want to know that one, of course, but there are also many alternatives which break up that pesky “LMNOP” and give you a chance to have some variety in your musical repertoire.

Alphabet Books

The best alphabet books for teaching the ABCs to very young children will have straightforward images which clearly correspond to each letter, and will show both upper and lowercase letters. My two-year-old’s favorites include Jane Foster’s ABC, My Best Ever: ABC Alphabet Book, and Animal Alphabet by Bert Kitchen.

Crayons and Paper

Drawing the letters for your child helps him to see how they are formed. Even if he is not ready to write on his own, he may also enjoy pretending to copy your movements with a crayon of his own. You can also play letter identification games, where you write down a few letters and ask your child to circle or scribble on a particular one.

Classic Sesame Street Videos

Old episodes of Sesame Street were filled with great visual representations of the ABCs. Reinforce your child’s letter knowledge by sharing videos such as Playground Alphabet CheerSesame Street – The Alphabet (evolution of writing), and Sesame Street: Firework ABCs, all of which are on YouTube.

Cookie Cutters

Alphabet cookie cutters can be used with play dough, or as tracers and stencils. It can even be fun to simply line them up in order on the kitchen floor!

Alphabet blocks

Classic alphabet blocks are a great way to casually incorporate letter knowledge into your child’s playtime. Because capital and lowercase letters are usually shown separately on the blocks, they are also a great way to test your child’s knowledge of each in isolation.


There is no reason to use flashcards to quiz a toddler or preschooler on the alphabet, but for kids who love putting cards in rows or piles, they can be another fun way to introduce the letters. We especially like the National Geographic Alphabet Cards because each one presents a different interesting animal.

Alphabet Book Bags

These bags contain large, thin books, each of which focuses on a different letter. The outside of the book shows the shape of the letter and inside are listed words beginning with that letter. These books provide a great way for tactile learners to become familiar with the letters through their sense of touch. There are two versions: Winnie-the-Pooh and Dick and Jane.


Alphabet puzzles help kids become more familiar with the shapes of the letters, the order they go in, and in many cases, words that begin with them. The Melissa and Doug Alphabet Puzzle Book is a particular favorite in my family.

Magnetic Letters

Last but not least, classic magnet letters give kids the opportunity to combine letters and attempt to form words. These are especially fun to use with children who have just about mastered the alphabet and are ready to begin understanding letter sounds and recognizing sight words.

Do you have a favorite toy or game for helping young children learn letter names and sounds? Share it in comments!

About Katie Fitzgerald

Katie Fitzgerald holds degrees in English and library science, and has worked in small town and big city libraries, serving both children and teens. You can read her book reviews and posts about story time, picture books, and early literacy at Story Time Secrets. Also follow her blog on Facebook for kidlit quotations, story time suggestions, and interesting links.

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