How does a child learn letters and words?
Do you work with the alphabet first?
On cards, in a book, or a workbook?
Do you do picture alphabet books first?
Do you mix block-stacking with finger plays or rhyming words?
The answer is yes to all the above! Some learning is sequential, just as you crawl before walking. However, learning words and letters is kind of chaotic, as words are spoken before the alphabet is learned.
Remember, you are a presenter, not the learner. Your child's mind will see and listen, and then that mind, during rest, orders the learning. The mind will mentally practice a skill, going over and over it, getting better and better, so it can guide the hand more accurately the next day. In other words, nighttime is as important as lesson time to order and reinforce yesterday's learning.
You can start with an alphabet picture book, reading to the child, familiarizing him or her with the sounds and objects represented by those funny little symbols. The child's mind will slowly begin to understand. After alphabet picture books, it is a good idea to take your child to a library, bookstore, or department store to look at other picture books.You will see your child make choices--the truck book vs. Snow White. Please realize how critical this phase is; your child is learning books. At home, if books are available and adults value them, many children will begin to carry books around about the time they learn to walk. Your child can learn reading, counting, and a variety of other skills at the same time.