When it comes to early learning, I believe very much in lots of fun exposure but definitely not in pressure. I am in the "kids will learn when they are developmentally ready" camp. I read to my boys like crazy, sung ABC songs with them, had lots of ABC books and a poster on the wall, and played reading games. Both learned to read very early in life. All kids are different, but I thought I would share with you some of the things we did to teach letter sounds in a fun, informal way.
ABC books - We had a whole collection of ABC books. At night I always read three books to my little one, and I always included an ABC book as one of them. During the day I would leave ABC books lying around the house for my young one to look at. When we would look at one of the books together, sometimes we would sing the A Beka alphabet song: "A says a like apple, a says a a a. B says b like ball, b says b b b. C says c like cat, c says c c c. D says d like dog, d says d d d. . ." but of course I used whatever picture they had in the book for each letter.
ABC poster - I also had an ABC poster hanging on the wall and we would sit in front and I would point to a letter and the child would tell me what sound the letter makes. I didn't force this if the child just didn't feel like it though.
Keyring of ABC cards - We had this plastic keyring with a picture card for each letter of the alphabet. I found it at a garage sale, but you can find one by Munchkin here. I would put this in my purse and bring it with me when we went on errands. Then I would choose an item and pull out the cards and ask my child to find which card went with the item. For example, at the grocery I would pick up a banana, hand my son the keyring of ABC cards, and ask him to show me which letter banana starts with.
A B Seas game - I bought this alphabet fishing game from Discovery Toys. You put the magnetic ABC fish into the "ocean", then use the magnetic fishing poles to fish and catch an alphabet fish. You also have cards, like Bingo, where you have to put a fish on each letter of your card to win. This game is fun to play and the child can identify the letter and its sound when (s)he catches a fish!
What do you do to practice alphabet letters & sounds with your child?
This post has been submitted to Helpful Homeschool Hints.