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Notes from Storytime

Alphabet Books

Alphabet AnimalsMany alphabet books do not have a story that goes in order. When you share that kind of alphabet book with your child, you do not need to read it from beginning to end. Farms ABC: An Alphabet Book by B.A. Hoena and Alphabet Animals: A Slide-and-Peek Adventure by Suse MacDonald are two examples of alphabet books without stories. Let your child choose a page that looks interesting to him or her. Let them trace the letter with their fingers and talk about the letter and the pictures that go with it.

–Tip by Carol C., Youth Programming Assistant

By eemerick on June 11, 2012 Categories: Letter Knowledge

Round Is a Pancake

Round Is a PancakeBefore children learn actual letters, they are aware of shapes. Playing with shapes helps children see the differences in letter shapes. You can have your child look for shapes in the pictures of books like these: Pie in the Sky by Lois Ehlert and Round Is a Pancake by Joan Sullivan Baranski. See how many circles you can find together!

–Tip by Barb M., Youth Programming and Outreach Assistant

By eemerick on March 2, 2012 Categories: Letter Knowledge

A is for Amos

A is for AmosAlphabet books are one way to help children become aware of letters, how they look, and what sounds they make. It is best not to quiz your young child on the letters, but rather to mention them in the context of something that they enjoy, like a book.

–Tip by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator

By eemerick on December 12, 2011 Categories: Letter Knowledge

The Shape of Letters

My Beak, Your BeakMy Beak,Your Beak by Melanie Walsh explores sameness and differences—concepts that will help your child get ready to read. Knowing that letters look similar but are different from each other is part of the early literacy skill of letter knowledge. Gaining knowledge about letters is important long before your child actually learns the letters of the alphabet. Letter knowledge also includes knowing that letters relate to sounds. Focus on the first letter in your child’s name—talk about its shape, how it looks in upper and lower case, and what sound(s) it makes. And remember to have fun!

–Tip by Brad J., Youth Technology Librarian

By MPPL on September 20, 2011 Categories: Letter Knowledge

Learning About Shapes

ShapesLook for a couple of same-shaped items that are familiar to your baby. Use various words to compare how the items differ from each other. You might say, “Look at these crackers. This one is a square cracker. This one is square but it is brown. Look how this square cracker has little holes in it. And here is one with a bite out of it!” These introductory experiences with differences in objects may help your child later as he or she discovers what is the same and what is different about letters. All of this adds to your child’s letter knowledge, which is part of early literacy. 

–Tip by Jan P., Preschool/Childcare Liaison

By MPPL on June 22, 2011 Categories: Letter Knowledge


StretchResearch indicates that children benefit most from learning both the sound and the letter name at the same time. When you work on their letter knowledge, explain that the letter is called “S” and makes the sound “sss.” One fun way to help learn the letter “S” is with Stretch by Doreen Cronin. After pointing out the letter, have children stretch every time they hear an “S.” You can even say the word really slowly emphasizing the “s” sound.  For extra fun see if your child can stretch into an “S” shape! 

–Tip by Keary B., Youth Collection Specialist

By MPPL on April 4, 2011 Categories: Letter Knowledge

“L” is for Library

"L" is for LibraryShowing children letters based on subjects they like follows the child’s interest. They are more likely to remember the letter that way than if you drill them. Choose a book that features an animal or topic that starts with the same letter as your child’s name. Cut that letter out of some construction paper and glue it to a popsicle stick. Tell your child that as you read the story, he or she should hold the popsicle stick up in the air every time there is a word that starts with that letter. You could even make a game out of it by having your child count how many times he or she does it!

 –Tip by Julie D., Elementary School Liaison

By MPPL on January 24, 2011 Categories: Letter Knowledge

Shape by Shape

Shape by ShapeBefore children learn actual letters, they are aware of shapes. By using the specific names for shapes, you not only help your child learn new words, you help them understand differences between similar things. This sets the stage for them seeing differences in the way letters look. Try one of the Library’s many wonderful books about shapes, like this one: Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald.

–Tip by Brad J., Youth Technology Librarian

By MPPL on October 19, 2010 Categories: Letter Knowledge

Early Literacy Through Play

Tub ToysThe early literacy skill called letter knowledge means learning about the letters of the alphabet.  But even before children learn actual letters, they can begin to notice differences in things, like shape, size, and color.  You can practice letter knowledge with your little one by pointing out differences in his or her toys throughout the day, looking for shapes, letters, colors, etc.  For example, find all the round objects in the tub toys during your child’s bath, or find the first letter of your child’s name in letter blocks. 

–Tip by Julie D., Elementary School Liaison

By MPPL on June 29, 2010 Categories: Letter Knowledge

Marching Around the Alphabet

Songs for LearningFor most children, drilling the letter names and sounds is not fun.  Songs are a fun way to teach the alphabet.  Try the song, “Marching Around the Alphabet,” which is on the Hap Palmer CD called One Little Sound.  Write the letters of the alphabet on slips of paper and lay them out in a circle on the floor.  March around them to the song and when you hear the whistle, have your child pick up a letter and tell you its name and what sound it makes.  You can help your child if he or she is just beginning to learn letters and their sounds. 

–Tip by Barb M., Youth Programming and Outreach Assistant

By MPPL on April 13, 2010 Categories: Letter Knowledge