Learning to read starts in the beginning with learning to recognize each individual letter. This is a process that can take anywhere from a couple of months to years to master, depending on the age of the child, the time spent on teaching the letters and the individual child's aptitude toward visual learning.
- Until letters can be recognized by sight, a child cannot add several letters together to build words or add words together to build sentences. This can take a great deal of work in order for a child to remember each individual letter. This process often begins at home with letter cards or by pointing out individual letters in books. Preschools and kindergarten classrooms employ several tools to teach visual letter recognition, including flash cards, puzzles and letter art.
- After a child can recognize the letters and has no trouble with visual cues for each letter, the next step is for the child to recognize the letters by their sound. This means that saying the sound will make the child think of the letter and seeing the letter will make the child remember the sound. To do this requires both saying the sound of each letter out loud and requiring the child to say the letter sounds. The child may not be able to make each of the sounds, but attempting the action is an important learning tool for many children.
- There are a number of computer programs that display letters for children to learn and can even enunciate each letter correctly. Some websites also have resources for teaching letter recognition. Literacycenter.net has pages of large, colorful letters that are displayed as a voice speaks the name of each letter. This allows children to learn at their own pace and allows them to hear the name of the letter clearly.
You may want to read an article on Early Letter Recognition By Lizz Shepherd, eHow Contributing Writer to know more about this idea.