Tips to help your child learn the letters of the alphabet

Para leer la versión en español haz click aquí.

Learning the letters of the alphabet and identifying how they sound, are the first steps to start reading.  If you want to help your kids to learn new letters, here are 7 tips so they can learn them.  It is very important to remember that toddlers can’t be still for long and that they need to have genuine interest in the activity.  The idea is that they learn while playing.

  1. The alphabet song.

You can use the usual melody or a new version, sing it together many times.  Repetition will help your child remember the letters.

  1. Spell their name.

Your child will love learning how to spell their own name.  You can start little by little by showing the first letter of their name in different books or sounds.  You can write down their name when you draw together in different colours while repeating the letter aloud.  Very soon, you will hear them say “J for John!”.  You can do the same with other words like “M for mum (mom in American English J), “D for dad”, or any other word that relates to anything that your child finds interesting, like dinosaurs or animals.

  1. Join the dots.

You can form words by drawing dots so your little one can join them.

  1. Colouring in letters and a picture that starts with that letter.

This is a quiet activity that you can do together.  You can start with a few letters at a time, two or four, depending on how long your child can focus her attention.  I made this animal alphabet book colouring pages which you can download here.  Also, you can find many other alphabets to colour in on the web depending on what your kid is interested in.

  1. I spy.

You can play I spy, especially when you have to wait.  This has worked well for us when we are driving.  Here I give you the Spanish versión which is called “Veo, veo”.  You can see how it works with the following YouTube link.


Veo, veo, ¿qué ves?

Una cosita

¿Y qué cosita es?

Empieza con la “N”

I spy

With my Little eye

Something that

begins with the letter “N”


  1. Find letters in signs.

When you are in the street, you can point to letters in a big sign.  For example, “F for Fatima”.

7. Reading.

Reading will always be one of the best ways to learn the letters of the alphabet and its sounds, especially when  your kids show interest in letters.  There are many styles of alphabet books either in English or Spanish.  Some haver ryhmes, some have textures, some have sofisticated illustrations.  You can pretty much find an alphabeth book for every taste.

If you are looking for alphabet books just in Spanish, this is a great list to start.

If you are after English only alphabet books, you can have a look here.

Of course, these are in addition to my book “Bilingual Zoo”. 🙂

I hope these tips have inspired you to play with letters and help your toddler to learn them in a fun way.  If you want to share a tip that I did not include here, feel free to include them in the comments below.

Happy Reading!


Why an alphabet book?

Si quieres leer este post en español haz click aquí.

When my daughter turned two, she was given a beautiful alphabet book.  The book is small, for small hands, has die cut letters and bright colours.  Until then, I had always translated books on the fly from English to Spanish, but it is not the same to translate a story using the images to translate only a single word.  I could not say “G” is for garden but in Spanish it is “J” for jardin.


I tried finding alphabet books in English and Spanish, but none of them caught my attention enough to buy.  I had to search a bit better.  So in the meantime, I created the animal alphabet colouring pages using animals that start with the same letter in both English and Spanish.  Then I thought “why not putting these little animals into a book? Maybe, many other bilingual families are having the same problem”.


This is how I turned my animal alphabet colouring pages into a book.  Just before sending the file to print, and with the help of very good friends, I realised that the book was missing “something”.  I realised that if kids where going to enjoy this book, it had to be a bit more fun and not just have the animal sitting there doing nothing.  How boring!  So, I decided to write ther third Millie book and leave the alphabet book for another time.

One day, I Heard my daughter say “P for daddy”, instead of “P de papá”, “P for dog” instead of “P for perro” and I almost had a heart attack.  I know that this is mostly because, living in Australia, her stronger language is English.  This was enough for me to think again about that alphabet book.  Time to go back to drawing!  Everyday, after work, dinner and putting the little one to bed, I would set up one hour to draw my characters.  Thank Goodness I have a great husband and we are a great team! 🙂


I have to say that now, I am very happy with the result.  I hope this is a book that you and your kids enjoy reading together.

See you soon!