You may not be surprised that I’ve taken a book-based approach to teaching my preschoolers the ABC’s. This method is super simple: you just make sure to regularly read your toddler or preschooler several ABC books, pointing to the letters and making the sounds before reading the text on each page. My kids have learned letter sounds and recognition easily this way without any formal teaching needed. Here are some of our favorite alphabet books!
Alison’s Zinnia is one of my children’s favorite alphabet books, and mine too! Each page has a detailed illustration of a flower beginning with a particular letter. This is a wonderful way to learn flower and letter recognition at the same time. Also, I really appreciate that even the difficult letters like X have a flower beginning with that letter!
A Paddling of Ducks: Animals in Groups from A to Z is a really fun book which teaches collective nouns and the alphabet. The illustrations of each letter play on the literal meaning of the collective nouns, which I found hilarious!
Albert’s Alphabet is a wonderfully creative alphabet book by Leslie Tryon. There is almost no formal text, but my children and I always enjoy narrating our own story about Albert’s clever use of materials to build a super-sized alphabet on the playground.
Kipper’s A to Z: An Alphabet Adventure is both funny and educational. Even my 18 month old appreciates the gentle humor and lively illustrations from Mick Inkpen.
Little Bear’s Alphabet is written and illustrated by one of our favorite picture book authors, Jane Hissey. Children who already love Old Bear will enjoy this introduction to the alphabet which features Jane Hissey’s cast of stuffed animal friends.
We all enjoy the incredibly realistic illustrations in A to Z of Animals, a Wildlife Alphabet. This is one you have to buy used, but so worth it! It also includes a section at the end of the book with information about each animal featured.
The Construction Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta was a big hit with my oldest son at about age 3. He memorized most of the book in no time, and we both learned a lot of the appropriate technical names for large machines!
D is for Dump Truck: A Construction Alphabet is a story style alphabet book about a family building a tree house. It’s a nice little poetic story about teamwork.
A You’re Adorable is the perfect board book for introducing the alphabet to very young children. A simple little rhyme which reinforces how much we love our little ones!
K Is for Kiss Good Night is a sweet concept of using a calming bedtime routine to run through the alphabet. I like that this is a multi-racial book too featuring children of different nationalities.
On Market Street, written by Anita Lobel and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, is a simple story with highly detailed illustrations which my children will spend long periods of time examining.
Eating the Alphabet is great for introducing the letters and learning about lots of unusual fruits and vegetables.
I also want to mention Catholic Icing, a great Catholic preschool curriculum which combines teaching the ABC’s with religion and simple arts and crafts!