Learning the UPPER and lowercase alphabet

While my granddaughter Daisy has inspired many of my educational blogs, she isn’t the only young family member that I’m lucky enough to spend time with.

Daisy recently spent a long weekend with her cousins, and watching the many games and activities they shared has given me some new ideas for topics to cover.

One of Daisy’s cousins, Jack, is two years younger than her. Over the weekend, I noticed that he spent a lot of time playing with the magnetic alphabets.

In previous posts, I have described ways of using a set of alphabet letters to help a child learn the order of the letters and the letter sounds.

Just as Daisy had done in the past, Jack enjoyed sitting on the floor and sorting the lowercase alphabet into the correct order.

Two piles of multicoloured magnetic letters on a rug, one pile of lowercase and one pile of uppercase letters

With all of the lowercase alphabet letters spread out on the rug (and with his Daddy’s help), Jack gradually sorted the lowercase letters into a-z order. Together, they made the letter sounds as Jack searched for each of the letter shapes. 

Pairing up

Some of the uppercase letters were nearby and, once the lowercase letters were in their orderly line, Jack tried to pair each uppercase letter up with its lowercase counterpart. Some are easy to match because they look alike: C, K, O, P, S, V, W, X, Y, Z. Some are very similar J, M, U. There are other letters that differ in their form: A, B, D, E, etc.

A line of multicoloured magnetic lowercase letters running from a-z and below it, their uppercase counterparts, with similar letters (c and C, f and F) immediately below and less similar counterparts (A, B, D, E) separated.

For many children, some of their familiarity with uppercase letter forms comes from learning how to write their name and surname, along with family and relative’s names. Jack is quite interested in writing, so he knows how to spell both his name and his brother’s name.

The next morning, Jack appeared with a handful of animals from the Duplo box. He had decided to sort them out into two groups: animals that lived in water and animals that lived on land. Then he began to talk with his Daddy about where the different animals lived and the names of those continents.

The magnetic alphabet letters were still visible in the tubs beside a magnetic easel, but Jack didn’t decide to use the magnetic letters as Daisy had in the past. Instead, now that he’d created his groups of Duplo zoo animals, he decided that he would put the names of the continents beside the different groups, on the rug.

A pile of Duplo animals comprising a lion, a hippo, a tiger and two seals

Capitals and continents

Together we played a spelling game, helping Jack to sound out and find each letter to spell out the continents (which were, appropriately, spread out across the rug). 

Jack also discovered that continents, being proper nouns, start with a capital letter, which is an uppercase letter. He had to search through the tub for a capital letter for each continent. He was so chuffed once he had set out the animals and the words. A busy morning’s work!

The word Africa spelled in sentence case in magnetic letters, alongside several African Duplo animals: an adult lion and cub and an adult hippo and calf

This kinesthetic play with the alphabet is helping Jack to become familiar with the whole uppercase alphabet and its lowercase letter form.

Granny Smith says…

We still have to try to sort out the alphabet from Z – A…

Two piles of lowercase and uppercase magnetic letters on a rug. Above them, the word Africa spelled in sentence case in magnetic letters, alongside several African Duplo animals: a lion and two hippos

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