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Parents & Teachers

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


Shapes Look for a couple of same-shaped items that are familiar to 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. Here is one with a bite out of it!” These introductory experiences with differences in objects may help your child later as they discover what is the same and what is different about letters. All of this adds to their letter knowledge, which is part of early literacy.

–Tip by Jan P., Preschool/Childcare Liaison


By on June 22, 2011 Categories: Letter Knowledge


Stretch by Cronin Research 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 on April 4, 2011 Categories: Letter Knowledge

“L” is for Library

L is for library Showing 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 on January 24, 2011 Categories: Letter Knowledge

Shape by Shape

Shape by shape Before 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 on October 19, 2010 Categories: Letter Knowledge

Early Literacy Through Play

Tub toys The 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 on June 29, 2010 Categories: Letter Knowledge

Marching Around the Alphabet

One little sound For 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 on April 13, 2010 Categories: Letter Knowledge

Letter Knowledge Begins With Babies

Snowballs You can begin working on the literacy skill of letter knowledge, learning about the letters of the alphabet, when your child is just a baby.  Try tracing a round shape on a snowy surface.  Point out and talk about all kinds of things that are round.  Noticing different shapes will help your child later recognize the different shapes that letters can have.  The book, Snowballs by Lois Ehlert, has many round things for baby to look at.

–Tip by Jan P., Preschool/Childcare Liaison


By on January 18, 2010 Categories: Letter Knowledge