Many children benefit from a multisensory approach to learning letters. At Nemours BrightStart!, we use the phrase: See It, Hear It, Do It, Touch It. In this multisensory activity, your child will have the chance to see letters (See It!), hear letter names and sounds (Hear It!), make letters (Do It!) and explore letters using textures (Touch It!).
- index cards
- household items to make letters
- textured surfaces to trace letters
- tray for sand
Step 1: Choose three to four letters that your child needs to practice (either letter name OR sound) and print them on index cards. Include both the uppercase and lowercase letters. Examples:
Step 2: See It! Talk about how some of these uppercase and lowercase letters have sticks (straight lines) and some have curves (bumps, humps, circles). Help your child identify the shapes. Where does your child notice sticks or lines (A, B, E, H, b, h, i)? Are the lines straight (L, H) or slanted (A, M, Z)? Where does he see curves (bumps, humps, circles) (B, G, Q, U, c, d)? Which letters have both sticks and curves (B, D, p, h)?
Step 3: Do It! Review the target letters with your child. Then gather items from around your home and help your child make the uppercase and/or lowercase letters (e.g., cotton balls, tooth picks, straws, buttons, yarn). Glue items on to a piece of paper or cardboard to make a letter card; allow glue to dry.
Step 4: Touch It! Use the letter card to touch and trace the uppercase and lowercase letters. Ask him to show you the sticks or curves.
Step 5: Hear it! Say It! Ask your child to say the name of each letter and make its sound as he traces it.
Provide a visual example. Create a large letter card and write the first letter in your child’s name or start with a letter that has only sticks. Say the name of the letter and the sound it makes as you encourage your child to trace the letter. Glue items on the card to create a textured letter card. Remember to do both the uppercase and lowercase letter.
Move to a more advanced level. Make a sand tray by pouring sand into a cookie sheet or tray. Ask your child to write the letters in the sand. Encourage your child to tell you if the letter has sticks or curves. You might provide additional textured surfaces for letter writing, such as shaving cream, sand paper squares or textured wallpaper samples. Write the letters in your child’s name on a piece of paper. Have your child show you which letters have sticks and which ones have curves.