Sunday, April 1, 2012

Alphabet Drills (A To Z Challenge)

Learning the alphabet is a big projects, but it shouldn't be stressful. Making fun games to help memorize the letters, sounds and associations is a huge task. Here are three of our favorites to help you get started! Remember what works for one child may not work for another so feel free to tweek and refine these until they work for you.

1. Magazine Hunts 
Don't run out and buy a whole bunch of magazines to start some alphabet magazine hunts. Instead ask around parents, grandparents, neighbors. Just put the word out that when everyone is done with their magainzes you'd like them (you may end up with a few you don't want your kids reading if you don't specify they are for children). Then sit down and start writing in the letters each item starts with. Such as in the picture below write a 'b' in the balloon. A 'p' in the plate etc. You can do this before your kids sit down to hunt, or with them if they are old enough or interested.
Then give open the magazine to a page and say "find the f", "find the d" etc. Let them point and help them as much as needed. The pictures and bright colors will grab their attention and getting to feel like their reading is fun!

How to mix it up:
Write lower case and upper case letters on the same page.
*If your child is good at this game try going for the not so obvious. Write 'o' in the balloon for orange instead of balloon and see if they can figure it out.
*Write the wrong letters in some items and have your child circle the ones that are incorrect.

2. Photograph The Alphabet 
Have your child find an item that starts with each letter of the alphabet (you can split this up into different days) and photograph the item. They can use a camera, cell phone, or my children use their LeapPads. This teaches great motor skills, as well as the alphabet. Don't direct them away from something that doesn't make sense just have them explain it. You maybe surprised what they come up with. For example the picture below could be used to illustrate any of the following

g is for grass
g is for green
f is for flower
y is for yellow
o is for outside
f is for floor
g is for ground

Of coarse if your child does not have a correct answer to give with their photograph then you may want to help re-direct them to a better choice. You may choose to view the photographs on the camera or device or print them at a 1 hour place to grade them and review later. Or print them at home on the printer and review them right now.

3. What Does Airplane Start With?
Here's a great game to do while waiting in line, driving in the car etc. You can play "I spy" and whatever is being spied must also have the first letter identified! I spy with my little eye something blue. Once the item is guess in this case a pen, you would proceed with "what does pen start with?" help direct your children if they aren't good at this at first. It's a new way of thinking about the alphabet it now has a real world meaning.

Hope you enjoyed A is for Alphabet Drills and come back tomorrow for B is for Bead Games. Please take a moment to like Pirate School on Facebook for even more ideas on how to use teach the alphabet.


  1. Hooray A-Z Blog Challenge and meeting new people. And hooray for teachers of all kinds.

  2. Stopping by to say hi on the A-Z Challenge! Great ideas for alphabet drills! Those days are long over with my kids ages 19, 19, 16. Yep, two are twins! We're a homeschooling family. The early years were tough, or so I thought at the time. But they've been a great time of growth and discovery! My twins are now getting a degree in Communications and then they want to get a master's degree and a PhD to teach in a seminary or college. I guess they just can't get enough of learning! :)

  3. Great site. I hope to come back and look at some more of your A to Z projects!

    Jemima from Jemima's blog