Current eBook Series: Short Vowel Shorts

How To Teach My Child His ABC’s Before School Starts (Without Spending A Dime, In 42 Summer Days or Less)

By Tate Johnston on June 7, 2016 in Skills, Teaching Reading

You do the math(s).

No, wait. Let me : )

At some point this summer, you’ve probably got somewhere between 26 and 60 days before your little munchkin steps into the challenges of Reception, Kindergarten, Year 1 or First Grade.

There’ll be lots of new experiences, lots to learn, some excitement,

and probably some leg-clinging.

Having confidence in one area can spread to other areas.

Here’s a 42 Day Plan to build your child’s confidence in one area: knowing their ABC’s (and their abc’s!).

Whether they’ll be getting ahead or could benefit from some catch up, 42 summer days is all you need to help them to see progress and gain confidence.

Having confidence in one area can spread to other areas.


Here it is: Letter of the Day.


What you need:

Only 4 things (which you probably already have, thus the not spending a dime):
1 black marker or Sharpie
Scrap half sheets of paper
Scotch tape / Sellotape


The strategy: 1 letter a day x 52 days

52 days because you go through the alphabet twice:

once through in CAPITALS = 26

once through in lowercase = 26

Plus 8 days off. 26 + 26 + 8 = 60 days, or about 2 months

Hey, wait! But you said 42 days?


Alphabet Math

True. I said 42 days.

In my estimation, 10 lowercase letters are small versions of the upper case.

U & u and X & x for example.

That means a child needs to learn at least 26 + 16 symbols to recognize all the letters.

26 + 16 = 42.

In my estimation, 10 lowercase letters are small versions of the uppercase.


Help! I don’t have 42 days before the first day of school!

That’s okay. That’s the “or less” part.

Our aim here is to build confidence over time.

You can continue on past the start of school, right?

So, I suggest still going for the Letter of the Day.

Just do the 26 lowercase letters.

Why lowercase?


Warning: Don’t be unpleasantly surprised!

Uppercase, lowercase, cursive, De’Nelian.

According to a teacher friend of mine, with some regularity, some parents are surprised that their child can’t read in Kindergarten when they’ve already begun to read at home.

“What’s going on?” they wonder.

It can be because the school uses lowercase and the parent has only worked with uppercase at home.

(Keep in mind that some places (in the UK for example) may begin school with cursive letters!)

If you can, find out which style your school will use and begin there.

If you have time, teach UPPER and lowercase and be prepared to support you child if the school uses a different type like cursive or De’Nelian (curvy/connected up).


How to Letter of the Day:

1) Get On Your Knees

Ever visited your old elementary school?

Everything is so tiny.

Remember that scene from Uncle Buck?

If you can, actually get down on your knees and see what they see.

Put the letter at your child’s eye height, somewhere they’ll see it multiple times a day.

(I put it on the side of the kitchen cabinets, where they walked past it a lot.)


2) Hunt for that Letter occasionally/throughout the Day.

Have your child/ren hunt for that letter, both it’s shape and it’s main sound, throughout the day.

On signs. Mmmmowing in progress.

As you eat breakfast. Mmmmmilk.

Play. Zoommmmmmm.


Draw. Mmmmmmagic Mmmmmmarker.

Talk. Hmmmmmm.

Zoo. Mmmmmonkey.

Make dinner. Yummmmmmy. Etc.


3) Avoid 1 Common Mistake Parents Make When Teaching Their Child the Alphabet: Use the King Tut Technique.

When you show your child the letter and say the sound the letter represents, use the “King Tut technique.”

More on the King Tut Technique.

About the Author

Tate JohnstonView all posts by Tate Johnston


Add comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *