This post is for tomorrow's discussion at ABC and 123 Picnic. At her ripe old age of 2 years and 7 months Anna knows her ABC pretty well. In fact, her preschool teachers (she goes to the class that has kids age 2-5) has commented to us several times with surprise that she consistently trumps her older classmates in ABC activities. That's why we don't really do any targeted "letter-of-the-week" activities outside of occasional discussion of the letters we encounter and the sounds they make. She sort of understands letter-sound correspondence, but it didn't move her any closer to actual sounding words out yet - when she is not interested in something, she wouldn't budge. But what we did we do to encourage her interest earlier? Well, here is the short list:
Very early exposure to letter shapes -our nursery decor was based on ABCs. My husband personally selected the fabrics and sewn pillowcases and curtains (I mentioned before that he is the crafty one in our family).
A lot of ABC and word books before she was one - I have described our favorites for that age in my earlier post.
Computer Time - while I don't believe in educational TV programming (because it's not interactive), computer is different in my mind, because we play on it together. Even though, all forms of electronic entertainment combined are limited to max of 30 min a day in our house. I cannot say enough about Starfall - we started doing "letter of the day" there (for about 10 min a day) when Anna was about 9 months. I also tried various games with her - the only one that we both liked for a while was Reader Rabbit Playtime.
Tactile activities - playing with foam letters, sticker letters, magnetic letters (we intentionally bought only lowercase, because many parents focus too much on uppercase alphabet) making letters out of play-doh, out of sticks, etc.
As our daughter got older, we progressed to more story-like ABC books like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Dr Seuss's ABC. However, our favorite ABC book turned out to be this one. I believe firmly that emotional intelligence is as important to young children (and to adults) as knowing their ABCs or learning to read.