Learning at Home: Hands-Ons Learning Letters of the Alphabet part II

sorting names learning at home journeyintoearlychildhood.com

Young children learn best through hands-on activities (not from worksheets.) Parents can continue to engage with their children practicing the letters of the alphabet using developmentally appropriate strategies.

Children love their names. Learning will stick with children when we can connect it to something in which they have an emotional connection.

Here is a document to send home with ideas of how to learn the letters of the alphabet by sorting the letters in the child’s name…

Add in some practicing of fine motor skills by providing the child a pair of tweezers to pick up the letters.


Sorting Names Home Learning Activity

Home Learning Sorting Names
Sorting Names Journeyintoearlychildhood.com

Document for sorting names with sorting mats and headings for teachers and/or families that have access to a printer:

Sorting Names


Learning at Home: Hands-On Learning of Letters of Alphabet

learning at home sorting letters journeyintoearlychildhood.com

During this most unprecedented and challenging time in history, we all want our children to continue to learn and families want information on how to support their children.

However, I am dismayed by the number of worksheets that are being shared and ideas that involve lots of needed items such as pompons, playdough, rainbow mats, different colored Solo cups, etc. Don’t get me wrong- the ideas are very cute but they are also unrealistic for many of our families. Our families cannot travel to purchase these items- they should not be in stores and many cannot afford them or afford even the gas.

So here is an idea to share with parents for learning letters through sorting that uses only letters cut from cardboard food boxes or magazines. I have revised this from a document of ideas that I shared with teachers- I removed the colored background, etc. so that it is easier for you to print for parents if that is needed. It can be printed and sent along in food bags to families.

Please feel free to share:  FREE DOWNLOAD

Sorting Letters of the Alphabet to send home to families

Sorting Letters - Home Learning

Here is the original that includes lots of sorting mats for teachers

sorting letters of the alphabet

NO Worksheets in Early Learning: Test Yourself

NO Worksheets in Early Learning


Review the past four blog posts on why we do not use worksheets in Pre-K through 3rd grade and then test yourself.

Which pictures depict activities that are developmentally appropriate?

Which pictures are worksheets that need to be banned from early learning?

Test Yourself- Is it a worksheet? Ban the worksheets from Early Learning and use Developmentally Appropriate Hands-on Learning Activities

no worksheets answers

No Worksheets in Early Learning Part III

NO Worksheets in Early Learning:


no worksheet part 3Reason Number Four: Worksheets do NOT develop problem-solving or critical thinking

If we want children to learn to solve problems we must create safe environments in which they feel confident taking risks, making mistakes, learning from them, and trying again (Fordham & Anderson, 1992). Worksheets do not involve critical thinking or problem-solving. Children instead develop a habit of guessing with passive thinking.


Reason Number Five: Worksheets do NOT develop Fine Motor Skills

NAEYC developmentally appropriate practices (Bredekamp and Copple, 3rd Edition) states, “Writing, drawing, and cutting with precision are activities that can be difficult for young children, who are still developing comfort and agility with fine motor work… Young children should have access to many kinds of materials and objects to help them develop and practice fine motor skills, such as small objects to sort and count and pegboards and beads to string… Pushing children too early into precise fine motor activities (as required on worksheets and color in the lines coloring sheets) is likely to be both unsuccessful and frustrating for young children and may leave them feeling incompetent and stressed.”

The clipping clothespins activity above not only accomplishes the same objective as the worksheet pictured but it also serves to strengthen students’ fine motor skills!

Teaching Letters and Sounds of the Alphabet: Using Books (Part III)

A couple of teachers requested even more reviews of books that teach the letters of the alphabet.

As discussed in the blog post, Teaching Letters and Sounds of the Alphabet: Using ABC Books Part II, we need to be intentional about which books we are choosing for the specific objective we want to accomplish.

In the post linked above as well in the post, Teaching Letters of the Alphabet Using ABC Books Part I, we examined books that address the learning target of teaching letter names for both upper- and lowercase letters.

With intentional choosing of books and guidance from the teacher, we can also use ABC books effectively to help expose, practice and explore the sounds of letters and even all 40 sounds of the alphabet.

Here are some additional books not mentioned in the first blog post:

(note: the titles are linked to Amazon)

teaching letters and sound - review of books journeyintoearlychildhood.com


Great book to encourage girls to broaden their ideas of what they can be when they grow up. When using for teaching the sounds of the letters, however, be careful since C is a chef. Therefore, the book cannot be used to teach the most common sounds of each letter.


Another great book for girls, especially since it has women role models that they will have heard of such as Beyonce, Coco Chanel, and Flo Jo plus others that are incredible role models for them to learn about.



Great book to learn about different parts of cars.

This book contains blends; therefore, it would be a good book to use after the students know all of the most common sounds for each letter and you want to expand their knowledge of sounds. I do wish that is was not written in all capitals since that is a poor model of writing for our students.


  • Another book about car parts that does model appropriate writing of first letter of the sentence starting with a capital and the other letters in lowercase is…
  • A is for Alternator by Alex Smith

I also really like the realistic photos of the car parts in this book.

  • A book that I like for alliterations is…
  • Pandas Love Pickles by  Liz Lynch. It is a simple pattern book that introduces children to different animals and foods. In order to match foods with animal names, not all letters are used with their most common sound; although this book sticks to the letter’s most common sounds more than many others. So again this would be a book to use after students know most of the common sounds and you want to expand their knowledge. I do love that for letter C the author uses both common sounds with “Cows try cinnamon buns.”