6 Ways to Use Alphabet Books to Teach Letter Recognition, Phonics, & Pre-Reading!

At the end of this post you’ll find a review of the WordsBright ABC book, “S is for Smiling Sunrise”.

My little guy is at that stage where he is so ready to start learning to read.  He recognizes some letters and sounds, points out letters in words, traces alphabet worksheets with joy, and just has a blast learning the alphabet.

Is your child reaching this milestone?  Then this is the time to start putting those alphabet books you’ve been casually reading to your kids to serious use!

Here’s how we do it:

1.  I have him repeat the letter and sound after me as we go through the alphabet.

2.  I encourage him to trace the letter with his finger as he says the sound aloud.  (I do it first and he copies me.)

3.  Together, we think of different words that start with each letter.  (Example: Z is for Zebra but could also be for Z for Zipper or your friend Zack!)

4.  We keep a small dry-erase board nearby and write words and letters as we go.  (The visual is helpful, and he enjoys copying me.)

5.  After I’ve read through the book a few times, I call out letters and have him find the correct page/letter.

6.  Once he began recognizing all of the letters we put them together into short words, saying each sound slowly.

My main tip is to keep it fun and casual in the toddler/preschool years.  Lots of singing, playing with the words and letters, letting your child show off his or her knowledge, laughing over the silly things – these are the ways to make “school” nothing like school.  It should be a great bonding time for you and your little one.  :)

If you like these tips, you might also want to read:

When should kids learn to write?


And now I want to introduce you to an alphabet book that isn’t your run of the mill, simple, A-is-for-Apple type book. It’s called S is for Smiling Sunrise and it’s full of colorful pictures, rhymes featuring the focus letter, and even shows the uppercase and lowercase letters on each page.


You also have access to a free PDF teacher’s guide with ideas for teaching using the book, and a free downloadable MP3 with ABC songs that coordinate with the book’s rhymes and create a sing-a-long book. Brilliant, right?  This could potentially be a preschool program by itself!

Our thoughts…

We received a copy of S is for Smiling Sunrise through the Schoolhouse Review Crew so I was given an opportunity  to see how Isaac felt about it.  I’m going to be completely honest here – on its own, the book wasn’t our favorite as a read-aloud.  The “rhymes” seemed a bit disjointed and seemed to be closer to poems than rhymes to me.  But when paired with the music (the free song is mentioned above), Isaac perked right up!  He began learning the letters and sounds without realizing he was doing it.

So this is basically a large hardcover songbook with alphabet poems sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star – only at a faster pace.  Once we caught on to how to sing through each page, he asked me to read sing it with him more and more often.  This kid is a sucker for music!


I believe that learning through song is a wonderfully easy way to memorize educational facts.  The combination of the alphabet song along with the visual of the letters makes this a great preschool resource.  It would be best suited for toddlers and preschoolers or anyone learning their letters and sounds.

Fun Fact:  S is for Smiling Sunrise is written by a father especially for his daughter.  It’s intended to be the first of many books.  :)

Want It?

You can purchase S is for Smiling Sunrise by clicking here.
Also note that you can buy the ebook version for only $5.99 here!

Would this book be a good fit for you and your little one?  
Check out www.wordsbright.com to look inside the book and watch a detailed video feature on it which also shares some of the special downloadable song that coordinates with the book’s rhymes.

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