English Language Arts Foundation: 2 - Early Reading

Topic: ELA2.1 - Demonstrate awareness of alphabet

Awareness of the alphabet is the ability to understand that the alphabet is made up of different letters and to distinguish those letters from numbers or other symbols.

The development of awareness of the alphabet leads to:
*Foundational skills for reading and writing
*Foundational skills for phonological awareness

Looking Ahead to Kindergarten Family Engagement Special Populations
In kindergarten, students will work to identify and name all uppercase (capital) and lowercase letters of the alphabet (K.R.2.4) Encourage families to:

*Create their own simple literacy corner/area at home with books, pencils, and paper.
*Make letters at home out of playdough, string, or sticks.
*Point out print to their children during their regular routines (e.g. “Can you find a sign with the first letter in your name?”) or go on a letter hunt with their child.
*Talk about the alphabet (e.g “I am using the letters of the alphabet to write this letter”.).

Educators can:

*Use texture letters such as playdough, felt, or magnets to support in how the letters are made.
*Encourage children to trace letters as they say them using various mediums (e.g. using a salt tray). This allows them to feel the parts of the letter.

Powerful Practices
Across all developmental stages, educators can:

*Create an environment filled with print materials to increase their skills for alphabet awareness.
*Introduce the alphabet in meaningful ways as it relates to children's everyday experiences within the environment.
*Use materials across all interest areas that are geared toward letters (e.g. using magnetic letters, letters in the sensory table, sandpaper letters to trace in the art area, and letters on blocks in the block area).
*Add print to the environment to encourage the child to find letters that they can recognize.
*Provide daily opportunities for children to interact with various books, magazines, menus, and charts in order to become aware of the different letters that make up the alphabet.
*Encourage children to manipulate letters and to become familiar with them.


Frequently engage infant in books by reading, looking at pictures, and providing opportunities to handle books on their own

Consistently provide infant with board or cloth books (that can be cleaned and mouthed) with a variety of real pictures and textures

Younger Toddler
Point to pictures, words, letters, symbols, and labels while engaging with books

Consistently provide child with board or cloth books (that can be cleaned and mouthed) with a variety of real pictures and textures

Older Toddler
Display and point out each child’s name throughout the environment

Intentionally incorporate letters, words, and common symbols in the environment

Younger Preschool
Use songs and rhymes to increase name awareness

Write, display, and point out child’s name often

Provide many types of reading materials, including informational, poetry, alphabet, counting, and wordless picture books

Offer opportunities to create letters out of different materials (e.g., pipe cleaners, playdough, yarn etc.)

Create space in interest areas where children can make letters with paint, sand, shaving cream, etc.

Older Preschool
Model and support using letters for meaning (e.g. writing an agenda for the day or making a card)

Assist child in identifying their own first name in print

When reading to a child, point out upper and lower case letters

Read books that also have numerals, and talk about the distinctions between numerals and letters