I love it when my kids pleasantly surprise me; (the other type of surprise, like doing a number two with no nappy on, I can do without). Pleasant surprises, like the day I heard my kids singing their ABC’s all by themselves, that brought a smile to my face. More recently, Mr N and M pleasantly surprised me with their curiousity about letters; reading letters and writing letters.



How to Teach Reading and Writing Letters: Four Guidelines

There are many possible ways to introduce reading and writing letters to young children. Here are four guidelines I have found helpful when deciding the order in which to teach letters to young children.

{ONE} Start with the most common sound for a new letter. This is usually the sound the letter makes in a short word, e.g. fat, bet, sit, etc

{TWO} Separate visually or auditorily similar letters. Separating similar letters reduces the possibility of confusion. These sounds are similar: f and v; t and d; b and d; b and p; k and g; m and n; i and e; o and u. These letters are visually similar: b and d; b and p, q and p, n and m; h and n; v and w; n and r.

{THREE} Introduce more useful letters first. Learning more useful letters helps children decode more words. Vowels are the most useful letters. More useful consonants are b, c, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, and t.

(FOUR} Introduce lower-case letters first. Since a majority of words when writing and also in reading are lower-case letters, lower-case letters should be taught before uppercase letters.


A recommended sequence for introducing reading and writing letters to young children

Here is one possible order I’ve used to teach letters to young children.



Don’t miss our Reading Game: Mr Tongue’s House; a fun reading game for developing phonemic awareness. These skills lay the groundwork for later reading skills, e.g. sounding out words and blending.

Lessons Learnt Journal


January 2013
N&M: 4 years, 8 months


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Lessons Learnt Journal

About the author

Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is an Aussie mum and teacher who shares her love for play, math games, writing and reading activities. She believes that #playmatters, values curiosity & wonder, wisdom, obedience and respect. She also needs naps. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed.

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