Free ABC Flashcards and Video Plus Tips and Tricks for Use

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Learning the letter names and sounds is the foundation for learning how to read. By starting young and using engaging materials, even babies can easily learn the alphabet. The problem I found while teaching my own five children was that the quality of materials available was sub par.

Sure, you can get a dollar store pack of alphabet flashcards, and it would be better than nothing, but I have personally hand crafted these flashcards and accompanying video in a way that is tailor made to engage children and help them to learn their ABCs easily and properly without any of the mistakes that these sub par materials inadvertently interweave into a growing child’s brain, and I am excited to share it with you!

What Makes My Flashcards Different

There are many different features that set my flashcards apart from anything else I have been able to find on the market. When I was a 3rd and 4th grade teacher, I found that many students with reading difficulties lacked phonemic awareness (the ability to distinguish and identify all of the letter sounds). As a parent, I wanted to create something that would accurately teach my children the letter names and sounds giving them a strong foundation for learning how to read. These are the features that make my flashcards unique.

  • They have both the upper and lower case letters on each card. This is so children can learn that they mean the same thing simultaneously.
  • Letters are shaped how we print them. I created my own font and made sure each letter was formed the way we teach children how to print them.
  • Each flashcard has a simple, interesting, and easily identifiable picture. Many flashcards use words like “ape” for “a” where kids might get confused thinking it was a monkey. I also try to keep the images related to things children would be familiar with.
  • The letter and sound combination makes sense. When flashcards use the word “eye” to teach the letter “e” or the word “shoe” (which has a digraph) to teach s, it can be very confusing for children. My flashcards do not do this.
  • Short vowels and the hard g and c are used. When children are just starting to learn their letters, these are the easiest versions to begin with, and it’s best to keep things as simple as possible in the beginning.
  • There is a printed word below each picture. I have found that it’s important for children to learn that letters come together to form words and that words have meaning. When children memorize the shape of the letters, the image, and a word it really solidifies their understanding of the alphabet.
ABC Flashcards

ABC Flashcards

Download a PDF of my flashcards here: ABCs Flashcards PDF

What Makes My Video Special

Because I use the same flashcards in my video that you can print out and use with your child, it REALLY helps with repetition and consistency. I also use video clips of my own children along with some stock footage to help children really understand what each word means. Not only does this help with the alphabet but with vocabulary too!

How to Use with Babies and Toddlers

Babies’ brains starts to explode with neural growth between 6-8 months. (Read more about children’s brain development here…it’s fascinating stuff!) This is the IDEAL time to start teaching them new things that will help them to connect with their world. Neural growth continues rapidly until the age of 2-3 when synaptic pruning starts happening (a use it or lose it occurrence where the pathways children use are strengthened and the pathways they don’t use wither away).

*You may not get started teaching the alphabet until your child is 12-18 months or even 2-3 years of age, and that’s okay! You may have to spend more time on task, but it’s not too late.

  1. A Little Bit Repeated Over a Long Period of Time is Best: I have started introducing the ABCs to all of my children somewhere between 6-10 months depending on their personalities and interests. By starting this young, I don’t have to think about trying to teach them every day, just little bits here and there when the timing is right.
  2. Repetition is Key: The pathways between neurons is covered with a myelin sheath. Every time children learn the same thing, this myelin sheath gets thicker and thicker which increases the speed. After about 40 repetitions, the knowledge becomes automatic and it is committed to long term memory.
  3. Use During Routines: When my babies start to eat solid food, I like to show my ABC Video. I also like to show them the flashcards when they are slightly sleepy and want to cuddle on my lap.
  4. Make it Full of Love: Make sure you are introducing the flashcards and video in way that is full of cuddles and joy so there are positive associations.
  5. Slowly Build Stamina: When you first start showing children these flashcards and video, they won’t be interested because it is something NEW, but once they have seen them both several times and start to recognize them, you will be delighted to see their eyes light up and their bodies dance in recognition. When you first get started, you may only get through the first few letters, or you may just play the video in the background without much interest. But rest assured that slowly over time, your baby will love flipping through all of the flashcards and enjoy the whole video from beginning to end!
  6. ABC Chant: In my ABC Video, you’ll hear me say a little chant, “A is for apple, /ah/, /ah/, apple, B is for ball, /buh/, /buh/, ball…” My children always love it when I do the same chant when reading the flashcards.
  7. Wait Time: Once we’ve gone through the flashcards enough for them to know a few of the letter names, sounds, or object names (which may take 6 months or so), I will say, “What’s that?” and pause. I also like to pause and wait while singing the alphabet to give them time to say the letters.
  8. Praise Right Answers: When my children are first learning their letters, I praise them for saying the letter name, sound, or word associated with the letter. Keep in mind that as children are just starting to form sounds and words, they may only say the beginning sound of a word or letter. Listen for these sounds and words so that you can model the correct way of saying it. If they are interested, really slow down and exaggerate your mouth movements so that they can study how you form the word.
  9. Keep Flashcards Accessible: I like to prop up the flashcards and leave them laying around. Because they are so familiar, my children love finding them and flipping through them independently. My older ones also love teaching my younger ones. (I also have other ABC toys and activities stashed just about everywhere throughout the house so that my children are completely immersed in it.)

Note: In this video, Ophelia is using my ABC Book which you can get here: ABC Printable Book *To print, select Print on Both Sides and Flip Sheets on Short Edge. You’ll also need a long arm stapler.

How to Use with Preschoolers and Older Children

The older kids are, the more creative and novel you’ll have to be to make the concept of learning the ABCs exciting. Here are some things I have enjoyed doing with my older children to reinforce their knowledge of the ABCs using these flashcards.

  • Loose Cards: With the child sitting on your lap or nearby, hand him or her one card at a time. You can say, “What’s this?” or say the letter and ask him for the name of the object. He can either collect the cards in a stack in his hand, he can pile them up on the floor, your you can suggest that he makes a pile of his favorite letters.
  • Spread Out the Cards: Spread all of the cards out on the floor and ask your child to either retrieve a certain letter or say, “Can you bring me a letter? What letters do you see?” You can also place them upside down so that only the colored side is facing up, sort them by color, or try to guess what letter it is before flipping it over.
  • Make a Path: You can spread out the letters alphabetically or just spread them out in a long line in any order. Then pretend that the floor is lava and tell your child that the letters are stones that will save her from the lava. As she hops from letter to letter ask her, “What letter are you on now? or What sound does the __ make?”
  • Pocket Chart: Get a pocket chart like this, give your child one letter at a time and have him put them into the pocket chart. You can arrange them in alphabetical or random order. You can also reverse this activity by starting with the letters in the chart and then having your child retrieve them one at a time.
  • Sticky Letters: Put a piece of masking tape on the back of each letter. You can then give your child one letter at a time to put on the wall or herself, or you can start with them on the wall and have your child retrieve them and put them on your body, her body, the wall, around the house, where ever!
  • Get Creative: If you’re being silly and having fun with it, you can do a lot of creative things that will really engage your child. Use your imagination and have some fun!

Materials to Make These Flashcards

You can certainly just print these flashcards out and use them as is, but babies love to chew on things, and laminating them and putting them together with some rings will ensure their durability.

  • Printer – A good basic printer like this will do the job, but if you’re going to be doing a lot of printing, I would recommend something like this.
  • Card Stock – I like to make sure I always have plenty of this around for all of my flashcards, posters, and other needs.
  • Laminator – I have a basic laminator like this, and it works great for all types of paper and projects.
  • Laminating Sheets – I like buying this big pack because it’s good to have plenty of laminating sheets for flashcards, posters, art projects, and more.
  • Three Hole Punch – This hole punch is really sturdy and can handle a whole stack of paper.
  • 1/4 Inch Rings – When making flashcards, I have found it’s best to use two rings on top to keep everything organized and easy to flip through, and this size is best.

In Conclusion

It has taken me four years to put together the final version of these flashcards and this video, and I am excited to share it with you! By teaching your baby, toddler, preschooler, or child of any age the letter names and sounds, he or she will have a strong foundation to build reading skills. So have fun, learn the ABCs, and get ready for a learning journey that will never end!

Check out my favorite resources for teaching the ABCs here and read more about how children learn to read in my Teach Your Child to Read blog series here.

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