How important is teaching a child to read and love reading. Frederick Douglas said “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” A multitude of choices come from the simple ability to read. It opens doors and allows creativity.
Children have their first experiences with reading at home with family. A great way to build up their interest and reading skills is to make and use alphabet cards. There are a number of ways to make and use these cards that will keep kids interested and working with reading and letters.
It is important to recognize if the children are going to use them there will be wear and tear. It is important not to put so much time and money into them that you are not going to let the child play and learn with them. It is a good idea to have several sets with different purposes.
Perhaps the first goal is to have the child learn the letters that are in his name. So make a deck of cards using cereal boxes cut up for a base. These are a little more sturdy and can easily be replaced. You want to make them small enough that the child can handle them, but big enough to see and play with. Cover the cardboard with card stock and place the letters on them. Once the child has his name down, punch holes around those cards and use as lacing cards. “Go get the B card and red lace and let’s lace the card.”
Create a new set of cards, include some of the letters he already knows from his name. These cards will be double sided. On one side there will be a picture of an animal or something that the child recognizes that can make a sound. “A pig says oink.” Flip the card over and have a letter F. An f says “fff”. This introduces phonics. The concept is that letters make a sound that can be identified. Work with the obvious ones and don’t make the picture start with the letter you are using on the other side. Where can you get all these pictures? This is a great site for getting things like worksheets that can be cut up and used. Have the child color them. Allow the child to help make the cards. He is more likely to play and use something he helped make.
Matching cards when the child is ready to learn capital letters and small letters. Concentration with six cards is another way to use matching cards.
Make some letters out of fine sand paper and put on cards so the child can trace the letter and use another sense. Glue some cotton balls on the letters so they are soft.
Kids today live in a technical world. Computers, smart phones and all the other electronics are a part of their world. There are many great sites where you can make digital cards and set up games for the child to play on the computer. This should be together time with a parent. The child should have enough small muscle control to use the program. There are many where the child just needs to touch the space bar.
Get creative with texture, sizes, lacing and games and you may find that making sets of alphabet cards is a craft you enjoy doing with your child once a week. New cards, even with the same letters, are a new game.
Reading is fun. Reading is a gift to a child. Alphabet flash cards are a great introduction to the steps that are required to read. Make some cards for you and your neighbor!