Upcycled Literacy, Part 2: Letter Shapes and Sounds

ABC magnetsHave you and your budding reader had fun using your “alpha-caps”? This week we have some ideas on ways to use the bottle caps to reinforce letter shapes and sounds.

When your child is learning the alphabet, they are multitasking.

  • Imprinting in their brain that each letter has a different shape. While it is easy to see the difference between an A and an E, distinguishing a b from p takes a little more practice.
  • Connecting a letter sound (hearing) to what it looks like (seeing). Kids can point out and say “car” before they can recognize the word “car” on a page.

With those concepts in mind, here are some suggestions on fun ways to use your Alpha-caps to help reinforce that learning. Got an idea? Share it in the comments so others can benefit from your knowledge.

4 Literacy Game Ideas

Letter grab bag. Put your Alpha-caps in a bag or box. Each player draws a cap from the bag. Then, with each person taking a turn, the player says the name of their letter and the sound it makes.

  • If they don’t have the letter or sound right, it goes back in the bag.
  • If they name the letter and make its sound, they get to keep it.

More advanced: player also gives an example of a word that begins with that letter.

Vowel or Consonant? Put all the Alpha-caps in a translucent container. One at a time, each player draws a cap and says whether the letter is a “vowel” or a “consonant.”

  • If they pick a vowel and are correct, they get a second turn. During the second turn, they read from the new letter and then return the vowel back to the bag.
  • If they pick a consonant and are correct, they keep the letter.

The game ends when only vowels are left in the container.

Object Match. Put all the letters in the middle of the table. Ask each player to select two or three items from around the house. Think simple: doll, car, apple, etc. Here are three potential versions

  1. Line up all of the objects on one side of the table. Use the letters to spell out one word. Without saying the word, ask your child to read the word and say which object the word matches.
  2. Spell out each object and place the word next to the object. Ask each player to say, then spell the word.
  3. Spell out a set of words on the table. [Keep them simple]. Each player selects a word (without saying what it is) and sets off to find that object. They bring it back to the table and set it next to the word.

Sound Match. Taking turns, each player will grab a letter from the bag. The player says the letter, makes the letter sound, and then says three words that start with that sound.

  • Travel version: Pick a “Trip Letter” (with or without your Alpha-caps). As you drive from Point A to Point B, each person names things they see that start with that letter / have that letter sound.

More advanced: Instead of saying three words, the player says a word that begins with that letter and uses it in a sentence.

With the exception of Object Match these games can be played anywhere. At home, while driving, or even standing in line at the grocery store.

Also in this series: