We usually start teaching the alphabet by singing the ABCs song. Once kids have that down pat, it’s time for the next step—recognizing the letters in print. This skill is called letter naming fluency, and it’s a key step for pre-readers. Mostly, it just takes a lot of practice. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to make that practice fun, like these letter naming fluency activities. Easy as ABC!
1. Start with name letters
We often start teaching letter naming fluency with the letters of students’ names. That makes those letters meaningful to kids, and they’re more eager to learn. Try a simple activity like selecting the letters of their name and placing them into an envelope.
Learn more: Name Letters/How Wee Learn
2. Point, say, and learn
This is one of the simplest letter naming activities. Simply type or write the letters you want students to practice, then cut the paper into strips. Have the student point to each (they can use their finger or a colorful pointing stick) and say the letter. If you like, they can also say the sound that letter makes.
Learn more: Letter Strips/Conversations in Literacy
3. Roll and name
Grab this free printable at the link. Then have your student roll a die and read the letters in that row. (This one sneaks in a little counting practice too!)
Learn more: Fantastic Fun and Learning
4. Clip the letters
Use this tip with letter strips or make colorful letter circles like these. You can write the letters on the clothespins and ask kids to match them up. (This is especially useful for matching capital and lowercase letters.) Or, simply use plain clothespins and ask kids to clip each letter as you call it out.
Learn more: Learning With Mrs. Langley
5. Play a game of Bang!
Grab a pack of wood craft sticks from the dollar store and use them to make your own Bang! game. Players take turns pulling a stick from the container and reading out the letter. If they get it right, they add it to their pile, but if they’re wrong, it goes back into the container. If they pull the “Bang!” stick, they have to put all their letters back!
Learn more: Stay at Home Educator
6. Pull and Say
Try this with alphabet beads or a digital alphabet board. Have students pull each letter down, saying the name as they do. Then, as they slide it back up, they say the sound the letter makes.
Learn more: Pull and Say/Conversations in Literacy
7. Park letter cars
This is so fun for active learners! Label toy cars with letters and have kids drive them into parking spaces, saying the letter names (and sounds, if you like) as they go!
Learn more: Letter Cars/I Can Teach My Child
8. Pull letters from a sensory bin
Fill a plastic bin with colored rice and magnetic alphabet letters. Then give kids a magnet wand and have them pull out the letters one by one, naming them as they go.
Learn more: Powerful Mothering
9. Swat the letters
Kids love getting to play with flyswatters! This one’s easy to set up, too. Just trace circles onto a large piece of paper and write a letter in each. Have kids swat the letter and say the name or call out a letter and have students swat it, repeating as they do.
Learn more: Hands On As We Grow
10. Enjoy a bowl of alphabet beads soup
Mix up a bowl of alphabet bead soup! Label spoons with letters and have kids dig out the match. You can mix the letter beads with plain beads for more of a challenge.
Learn more: Play Teach Repeat
11. Seek and find letters
This one’s so fun! Tape letters around the room and send kids off to find them as you call them out. Then have them say the sound that letter makes.
Learn more: Busy Toddler
12. Send letters down a zip-line
Kids are going to get a real kick out of the letter zip-line. Make your cards by attaching an unbent paperclip to the back. Then send them flying down the line to students, who name each letter as it arrives!
Learn more: Letter Zipline/Stir the Wonder
13. Whack balloon letters
Balloons make everything more fun! Hang balloons labeled with letters from the ceiling. Then have students swat them with a racket, saying each letter as they do.
Learn more: Balloon Letters/How Wee Learn
14. Match up apple letters
Grab this free printable game at the link. Kids will enjoy matching upper and lowercase letters, placing the apples in the right baskets.
Learn more: Playdough to Plato
15. Stamp letters in Play-Doh
Invest in a set of alphabet stamps, and you can use them for letter naming fluency activities and beyond. Kids stamp the letter and say it. When the Play-Doh is full, roll it out and start again.
Learn more: Letter Stamps/I Can Teach My Child
16. Match upper and lower case letters
Matching upper and lowercase letters is an important part of letter naming fluency. All you need for this activity is an egg carton and some alphabet beads.
Learn more: Letter Match-Up/I Can Teach My Child
17. Splash out with some water play
Float alphabet beads in a bin of water, then practice scooping them up and saying their names. Take this one outside on a warm day!
Learn more: Fun Learning for Kids
18. Give Chicka Chicka Boom Boom a new twist
“A told B and B told C, ‘I’ll BEAD you to the top of the coconut tree!’” This is one of the best books for building letter naming fluency. Craft a tree from pipe cleaners, then read the story and have kids add the letter beads along the way.
Learn more: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom/Stir the Wonder
19. Try letter flashcards
Flashcards are a classroom staple for a reason—they work. See how many students can do successfully in 30 seconds, play a matching game, or try any of your other favorite flashcard games. Get lots of free printable letter flashcards at the link.
Learn more: The Spruce Crafts
20. Put together letter puzzles
Get the free printable puzzle at the link, then have kids match the upper and lower case letters as they say their names out loud.
Learn more: Primary Playground