Mandy Kloppers

5 Effective Ways to Teach a Child the Alphabet

When children start learning about the alphabet, they’re capable of recognizing letters individually. They can also start learning the various sounds associated with each letter, and they’ll start recognizing both uppercase and lowercase letters. As a child’s early writing abilities develop, they go from making simple marks and scribbling to actual drawing and writing. The development of early writing skills helps them understand the workings of written language.

1. Use Printables

Alphabet practice sheets are best when they’re straightforward. Using one can reinforce what a child has already learned because of their structure. As they see how many letters they have already mastered, they can gain crucial confidence in learning the remaining letters.

You can find plenty of printables online that are free, but there are premium versions you can pay for and print. Look for ones that are colorful and unique to maintain your child’s engagement. Keep older ones they’re done with so you can count the letters and track their progress or even show them how much better they’re writing their letters.

Reading alphabet-themed books is closely related to this since they can see words and letters in print while hearing you read them out loud to you. Start at as young an age as you can so your kids can get familiar with the concepts of the alphabet from their earliest years. You can find plenty at your local bookstore, but you can also just visit your community’s closest library for more content and titles.

2. Utilize Memory Devices

Memory devices are a very effective method of teaching kids the alphabet and its many letters. Use a variety of them to keep things fun for your child. Consider using corresponding keywords or pictures for a letter that you are teaching.

One memory device is to mix actions with sounds. For instance, if you’re teaching the first letter of the alphabet, then you might say “ah” when you bite into an apple, which is, of course, an A-lettered fruit.

3. Teach Names and Sounds Together

When researching how to teach a child the alphabet, you might see that many American parents teach letter names first, but British families emphasize letter sounds first. It’s okay to do both at the same time. There’s research showing that doing so doesn’t confuse children or tax their memory too hard. You may never know which way a kid grasps first, so let them try both and find their way.

4. Introduce the Complex Sounds

While the language you are teaching has 26 letters, it also has 44 pounds. Some letters have multiple sounds, and this can be a stumbling block for many children learning the alphabet. Simplify things by teaching short vowels before you spend time on long vowels. For instance, the sound U makes in “club” is simple, but it’s a complex sound in the word “cube.” Also, start with one-letter consonants before you move on to blends or diagraphs. Examples of blends include “sp” and “bl,” whereas examples of diagraphs include “th” and “ph.”

5. Teach Uppers Before Lowers

When you start teaching the alphabet to a child, you might think you only have to teach 26 letters. However, you’re teaching 52 since each letter has an uppercase form and a lowercase form. Most text is lowercase, and that’s why a lot of instructors or parents might aim for them first. However, it’s easier for kids to learn the uppercase versions first because they are much easier to distinguish visually. Kids have an easier time writing them since they have long straight lines and simpler curves.


Perhaps the most effective way to teach a child the alphabet is to just keep practicing all day long. If you’re a teacher, do it from the start of school to the end. If you’re a parent, do it anytime you can. Observe everything around you and incorporate anything you can into a variety of activities that help the children around you learn distinct letters and eventually the whole alphabet.