Letters are one of the first lessons children learn in English class. This is the first step so that, later on, they learn to read and write. However, it is also a fundamental learning to communicate better with those around them, either to convey their ideas or understand what others think.
As children begin to associate the sounds with the spelling of each letter, they also get to know their mother tongue better and expand their vocabulary. However, these are not the only benefits that letter knowledge brings to children.
Why should children learn letters?
Learning the letters not only improves children’s communication skills, but also positively influences brain development. Did you know that learning letters stimulates children’s brains and encourages their cognitive development ? When children learn to articulate letter sounds, neural connections are stimulated in various regions of the brain, such as Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, which are involved in language development.
Likewise, learning the letters stimulates the mental representation of abstract concepts and consolidates logical thinking, a key step in the evolution from concrete to abstract thinking. It is also an excellent exercise to develop concentration and train memory. In addition, it helps to exercise orofacial motor skills and articulatory movements, as well as to sharpen the senses, especially the ear.
Learning the letters also stimulates emotional development. This type of learning not only allows children to express their feelings more clearly, but can help them understand how the people around them are feeling. It is a good exercise to stimulate children’s self-confidence, while strengthening their self-esteem because as children learn new letters, they will feel more empowered and proud of themselves.
The proper order to teach letters to children
When children begin to speak with some fluency, something that happens between the ages of two and three, they are ready to start learning some letters of the alphabet, although it will not be until around the age of 5 or 6 that they will be able to master the more complex sounds. To make their work easier and help them learn the letters better and faster, the ideal is to start with the simplest sounds.
- Start with the vowels and, among them, bet on those that require less phonetic effort. Having a simpler articulation, it is recommended to follow this order: a, e, i, o, u.
- Once the children master the vowels, continue with the simpler consonants that do not have variants and, therefore, do not usually generate confusion as is the case with letters: m, p, l, d, n, f, t .
- Next, move on to consonants that may have variations or are prone to confusion such as: r, rr, b, v, g, j, c, q, s, z, y, ll.
- When the children already know the most common consonants, teach them those of less common use and that require a greater phonetic effort, such as the letters: h, ch, k, ñ, x and w.
- Then, continue with the stuck syllables, that is, those that combine the use of two consonants in a row, such as: br, pr, fr, cr, gr, tr, dr, bl, pl, fl, cl, gl, tl.
- Continue with the inverse syllables, which are nothing more than those in which the vowel is and is pronounced before the consonant, as in the case of: al, el, il, ol, ul, as, es, is, os, us , ap, ep, ip, op, up, am, em, im, om, um, an, en, in, on, un, ad, ed, id, od, ud, ar, er, ir, or, ur , among other.
- Lastly, teach children special syllables that require more complex articulation such as: güe, güi.
3 keys to teach letters to children
Learning the alphabet by heart can be a boring and monotonous task. On the other hand, if you opt for interesting and fun activities that stimulate children’s curiosity, your child will not only learn letters sooner, but will also master and use them better. Here are some simple keys that can help you teach him the letters.
1. Bet on significant learning
Familiarizing children with the letters by drawing on the knowledge they already master is a very effective teaching method. In this way, not only will it be easier for them to learn the letters, but they will also be able to create abstract maps and relationships more easily. You can start, for example, by teaching them the letters of their name or their favorite cartoon.
2. Use teaching materials
Teaching materials not only facilitate learning, but also motivate children to learn. The same thing happens with letters. Therefore, a good method to encourage children to learn letters is to use materials that they can manipulate such as an alphabet wall, magnetic letters or an alphabet puzzle. Another idea is to print alphabets to color at home.
3. Take advantage of every moment to encourage learning
Learning should not be separated from everyday life, any moment can become an opportunity to learn something new. Therefore, if you are teaching letters to children, take advantage of any context to introduce them to a new one. Reading sessions are a perfect time, but you can also take advantage of it while your child watches cartoons, listens to music or even while he plays.
Finally, keep in mind that not all children learn in the same way or with the same ease. Perhaps some children do not work these strategies or have a slower rate of learning, without implying that they have a disorder. In those cases, the ideal is that you adapt the learning process to their rhythm and do not demand too much from them as to generate frustration since it would be counterproductive.