Tips For Parents: Using the Neighborhood to Learn ABCs

Photo by Otis Kriegel.

Editor’s note: To start the new year we have a new  feature –   tips for parents from Otis Kriegel, M.S.Ed., a veteran elementary school teacher, author, and artist. He offers advice for parents of elementary school kids on TheK5.com.  

We’re lucky we live in the city for a number of reasons.  But one of those reasons is that neighborhoods provide kids ample opportunity to read while they’re walking down the street.

There are letters everywhere. If your child is in the stage where they’re just beginning to recognize the letters, and even attaching sounds to those letters, this activity is perfect for you.

Walk around the neighborhood with your kid. Look for letters, whether they’re in street signs, businesses or even created by objects that are not normally read, like an “L” in some scaffolding, or maybe a lightpost that stretches out like a lower case “r.”  A dependable place to find letters is at the entrance to subways (F, D, B, J, M, Z, in our neighborhood).

As you find the letters (and do it in A, B, C order), take a photo of them with your phone or camera.  When you get back to your apartment, upload the images and you have created an ABC Book of the local neighborhood.

It’s simple, easy, gets you and your kid(s) out of the house and uses the neighborhood in a fun way.

After you create the book of letters, you can attach words to each letter.

In my next post, we’ll take this project to the next level — connecting the home to the street.

You can read Otis’s bio here