Notes from Story Time Category: Letter Knowledge

Letters and Shapes

WednesdayThe book Wednesday by Anne Bertier takes two basic shapes—a circle and a square—and shows how they can be moved around and divided to form other shapes and pictures. Playing with shapes is one way to help your child become better at identifying key differences in the way letters look.

–Tip by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator

B is for Bed and Bear

A Bed for BearUse books about things children are familiar with to increase their letter knowledge. If they are interested in the word or have a connection to it they will remember it more easily. In the book A Bed for Bear by Clive McFarland, point to the letter “B” and say its name and sound. Then let your child know that the letter “B” is the first letter in the words “bed” and “bear.” You can even help your child make the letter in the air with his or her finger. By focusing on one letter during your book sharing, you will help to increase your child’s knowledge about letters.

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

Shape Up!

ShapesYoung children learn through their senses, and they learn best by doing. When children are learning to read, it is helpful to recognize letters and be able to tell the difference between them. Younger children will start by learning the difference between shapes. One way to help children do this is by moving their arms and bodies into shapes and letters. While doing this, you can also talk about the differences between shapes, or sounds, in the case of letters.

–Tip by Claire B., Youth Outreach Coordinator

Alphabet Box Game

Alphabet Box GameMaking learning about the alphabet fun. Play this fun alphabet game with your child. Find a shoe box, mark it with a letter of the alphabet, and search with your child to find objects that begin with that letter to put inside the box.

–Tip by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head


I Can Make Letters

101 Rhythm Instrument Activities for Young ChildrenLetter knowledge means knowing that letters are different from each other and that letters relate to sounds. Children learn through their senses, and they learn best by doing. Practice how different letters look, sound, and feel by making them out of things around the house—crayons, food, popsicle sticks, yarn, or even your bodies! Sing this song after each letter you make.

London Bridge Letters (to the tune of “London Bridges”)
I can make the letter __,
Letter __, letter ___,
I can make the letter __,
With my (crayons, sticks, yarn, body).

–Tip by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator

Looking at Letters

Dog's ABCAlphabet books can be a lot of fun! Don’t feel like you have to read the entire book with your child. Let him or her choose letters or pages to look at. Say the letter, sound, and word aloud. Especially show the letter that begins your child’s name. Letter knowledge is a pre-literacy skill that will help your child sound out words when learning to read.

–Tip by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

Letter Play

My Teacher Can Teach-- Anyone!Alphabet books are one way to help children become aware of letters. Researchers have noted one of the six areas of early literacy as letter knowledge, which means recognizing letters, being able to name the letters, and knowing that each letter has its own sound. The book, My Teacher Can Teach–Anyone! by W. Nikola-Lisa, shows people doing jobs from A to Z. After each page, talk with your child about the letter name and sound. Remember that you do not need to read alphabet books from cover to cover; try beginning with your child’s favorite letters instead, like the first letter in his or her name.

–Tip by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator

The Human Alphabet


The Human AlphabetAt home, have silly fun trying to spell short words using only your body! This activity introduces the concept that words are made up of letters, and we use only 26 letters to form many different words. Take a look at the picture book The Human Alphabet by Pilobolus and see the entire alphabet created only by human bodies!

–Tip by Amy S., Youth Library Assistant


Hidden Alphabet

The Hidden AlphabetReinforcing the early literacy skill of letter knowledge with your child can be as simple as pointing out letters as you read, drive, or shop. In the book Hidden Alphabet by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, you’ll discover letters in BIG and interesting ways that connect each letter with its sound. See the balloons in the letter B? With fun lift-the-flap pages and all sorts of colors, you’ll want to read it more than once!

–Tip by Amy S., Youth Programming Assistant

C is for Crocodile

Clarabella's TeethHave your child make a letter “c” with his or her arms. After reading Clarabella’s Teeth by An Vrombaut, go on a letter scavenger hunt. How many times can you find the letter “c” in this book?

–Tip by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head