Teachers should help children recognize at least some of the letters of the alphabet. Preschoolers who can recognize and print some letters have an advantage at school entry. Therefore, children should have easy access to letters in many forms: alphabet blocks, letter cards, board games, and ABC’s on wall charts at the child’s eye height, to name a few.


Include a number of alphabet books in the library. Share them frequently, inviting the children to name each letter and the pictures on the page that go with it.

Have a Letter of the Day for each of three days in a row. For each letter, decorate a big poster with the uppercase letter in the middle. Ask the children whose first name starts with that letter to come and tape their name cards to the poster. On the second day, compare the posters from the two days. On the third day, compare all three posters. Have all the children find the

From a Well-Known Book on Beginning Reading

When challenged to name these two letters (“C” and “G”), my daughter, now just three years old, looked me squarely in the eye and said firmly,“I call them both ‘C’.” It is not that she could not discriminate their shapes: she regularly performs perfectly on an uppercase letter-matching game on the computer. Nor is she unaware that I like to call these letters by different names: her answer was clearly intended to preempt the correction that she knew I would produce.

But she has a point. In what reasonable kind of world would people agree to call a dachshund and a St. Bernard “dogs” while calling one of these characters a “C” and the other a “G”? To us, the answer is obvious: in the kind of world where people use “C’s” and “G’s” discriminately for reading and writing—which, of course, she does not yet do.

—Marilyn Jager Adams

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