I found that a great way to learn letters was to play games with magnetic letters. I deconstructed various toys to create an “alphabet game” using squishy magnetic letters (but any magnetic letters in the shape of the letters will do) and a magnetic fishing pole. My son (about 12 months old at the time) would fish letters out of a bucket and stick them on a magnetic board. If he got them wrong, I’d find the correct letter and put it up next to the letter. We’d talk about how is it the same and how is it different.
Another variation would be to sort all the letters on the board by color and identify them (my letters were randomly in four colors). Or try to make an alphabet train by putting the letters in order. We’d play this game 3 or 4 times a week for about 5 to 10 minutes; always letting my son initiate the game, and ending it as soon as his interest waned. It was a fun way to learn letters. After my son learned uppercase letters, we added lower case letters.
These are our favorite alphabet books. Ok, to be more correct, I didn’t mind reading these books incessantly to my child.
Learning ABCs with Alphabet Picture Books
A is for Australian Animals by Frane Lessac
This is not just an alphabet book to learn ABCs, it’s also a treasury on Australian animals that can rival any nonfiction book on that topic! You can read the book on several levels. Focus on the creature featured in each alphabet letter and enjoy the images while you read with a preschooler. Older kids will enjoy the facts about the animal in the smaller print. In this way, this is perfect for a read-aloud at night when there are multiple kids of different ages.
The artwork by Lessac is beautiful and engaging. The layout makes all the information on the page easy to read and it’s also pleasing to the eye. This is a real treasure for anyone who wants to learn about Australia (or the alphabet!). [picture book, ages 3 and up to be read like an alphabet book, and ages 7 and up to be read as nonfiction book]
Maisy’s ABC by Lucy Cousins
This first children’s book we ever purchased and is still a favorite! Toddlers will love lifting the flaps and pulling the tabs.
Robert Crowther’s Most Amazing Hide and Seek ABC Alphabet Book by Robert Crowthers
The book completely lives up to its title! My kids loved pulling the tabs and lifting the flaps! This was the book responsible for teaching all my kids their letters.
A Was Once an Apple Pie by Etienne Delessert
Finally, an alphabet book with both upper and lower case letters plus beautiful illustrations, but beware, it will make you hungry for apple pie!
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
I love Lois Ehlert’s gorgeous illustrations and hopefully, this will encourage your children to eat their fruits and veggies!
The Absolutely Awful Alphabet by Mordecai Gerstein
Chock full of SAT-level adjectives to help build your child’s vocabulary! For kids who love words.
B is for Baller: The Ultimate Basketball Alphabet by James Littlejohn, illustrated by Matthew Shipley
You don’t have to be learning the alphabet to enjoy this romp through the greatest basketball players of all time. I really like how illustrator Matthew Shipley made each page like a portrait with a stunning colorful background. This makes the book a visual treat and really makes each individual player stand out. My 14-year-old son will love this book. He’s a big basketball fan! [picture book, ages 3 and up]
A is for ? A Photographers’ Alphabet of Animals by Henry Horenstein
You and your child will have fun guessing which animal from Horenstein’s wonderful photographs.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert
A fun rhyming book that is easy to memorize and chant all day long!
I Stink by Kate and Jim McMullen
My neighbor with two small boys highly recommends this book.
The Dinosaur Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Ralph Masiello
If your child is very interested in dinosaurs, this is a great book because each letter is about a dinosaur with a paragraph of interesting information to captivate both child and adult.
The Handmade Alphabet by Laura Rankin
Learn the alphabet in sign language.
A Big and little Alphabet by Liz Rosenberg, illustrated by Vera Rosenberry
This is great because it shows lower case AND uppercase letters.
Alligators All Around by Maurice Sendak
We like to sing the story. Sendak’s illustrations are so charming. This is a classic that still feels fresh.
Max’s ABC by Rosemary Wells
Rosemary Wells creates a story out of the letters of the alphabet. My son is especially fond of Max and Ruby.
B is for Baby by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank
This is technically not an alphabet book as it focuses solely on the letter “b” but I include it because I love how it explores Nigerian culture in a wonderfully engaging way. The illustrations perfectly capture the warmth of a village raising children in this beautiful land!
p.s. Related posts:
Kindergarten Readiness FREE Printable Book: My Book About Me
Getting Kids Ready for Kindergarten
Learn Alphabet in Spanish: Fun for Preschoolers!
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.