Memory Manipulation and Learning the ABC’s

Learning the ABC’s in the early childhood years can be a fun experience when students discover meaningful connections to letters. For example, students get connected to letters through their name, favorite animals, plants, colors, shapes, foods, and themes within the curriculum.

Creating multi-sensory novel experiences in the process of learning letters can stimulate more brain areas for recall. When students can do more than draw lines on a worksheet to match letters or color the picture that begins with a letter, they can increase opportunities for success.

Here are some ideas I’ve tried with students who are stronger “hands on” learners. It may be more practical to do these activities in small groups:

*Use small cubes or blocks in which some have letters and others have an animal or bug. For example, to learn the letter “L”, I placed L stickers from the craft store on five blocks and ladybug stickers on another five blocks. Building a tower with a pattern of L’s and ladybugs can be a novel way to learn. Add a challenge by using tongs to pick up the cubes! (See photo)

*Use dominoes and heavy card stock with half inch lines drawn in a sequential placement that represents the letter. The student holds the end of each domino and carefully places it on a line in a pattern that forms the letter. The fun part is knocking them down and trying again.

*Hide letter beads from the craft store in clay or playdough. Students can match their “buried treasure” beads to labed cups.

*If your school has a die cut machine, letters can be cut on heavy card stock. Then, hole punch the letters and let students sew them like sewing cards.

*Take wood or foam letters matched to small objects whose name begins with that letter, for example a wood letter “T” and a small toy turtle, a tiger and a train. Show the student the letter and the objects, then hide one in some way (behind your back) and present the letters and objects again, asking the student to remember what’s missing.


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