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Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

By Mikee Mapalo

Teaching your child the alphabet is one of the key things you can do at home to set them up for school success and prepare them to become a thriving reader. Letters are the building blocks of literacy, but at first it’s hard for kids to distinguish them from squiggles—much less to tell individual letters apart. 

Learning to recognize and identify them takes years, which is why parents are so well positioned to teach the ABCs. Fit a little alphabet play into your schedule from time to time, and your child can learn all their letters by kindergarten. By the time they enter elementary school, kids should recognize the full alphabet, including upper and lowercase forms, as well as the sound that’s connected with each letter.

There are many techniques and activities parents can use at home to teach children the alphabet, and using many different ones is ideal to keep the learning playful. Our free alphabet tracing printable lets kids practice writing letters, a good way to build their awareness (and keep them entertained to boot). Our printable is 26 pages, with one tracing page for each letter from A to Z. The pages are available in black-and-white for easier printing and are low-ink friendly. You’ll find the template below, followed by evidence-based tips for teaching the alphabet.

We recommend investing in a presentation book with plastic sleeves to put the tracing pages into, so your child can write the letters and then wipe them clean to use again another day. You can find plenty of options of presentation books in craft stores or online for under $10. Then, when they know their letters, you can remove the pages and replace them with other write-and-wipe activities, from fill-in-the-blank words to mazes and more. It’s a win-win for money savings and for the environment.

Materials:

  • Printer
  • Regular printer paper (26 pieces)
  • Presentation book with plastic sleeves (optional)
  • Whiteboard/dry-erase marker (optional)
  • Baby wipes (optional)

Cost: Under $10 for a presentation book

What to do: Just print out the free alphabet-tracing printable templates on regular paper. You’ll need 26 pieces of paper to print out all the pages of the activity from A to Z, and you can choose between printables with just the lowercase or uppercase letters (best for beginners), as well as one with both for more advanced learners.

Tracing sheets for the letters A, B, C and D

You can use them right away for one-time tracing, but to make them reusable, we highly recommend a presentation book. Just carefully insert all the pages into the pockets of the book. (Alternatively, you can also use contact paper to laminate each page.) 

Tracing sheet for the letter A being inserted into presentation book

How to Teach Your Child the ABCs with an Alphabet Tracing Book

Don’t try to teach your little one all 26 letters at once. Start with the first letter of his or her name, or with another letter that holds meaning for them. Make the learning fun so that your child will enjoy the process. 

Invite your child to trace the letters by following the dotted lines. Each page contains plenty of room to practice, but don’t push your child to do more than they want at one time. Keep it light and follow their interest and attention level. If they make a mistake or when they’re done tracing, use a baby wipe to erase the marker. (Be sure to wipe the marker off right away, to ensure you can remove all the traces and use your book again and again.)  

Important: To maximize the learning, talk to your child about the shape of the letters and how they’re formed. Point out where there are straight lines and where there are curves. Call their attention to details like short and long lines; open and closed curves; hooks, humps, and dots. Point to where lines intersect or where curves stop and start. These features will help them learn to tell apart the different letters and begin writing them on their own.

(Get more science-backed tips in our post addressing frequent questions about teaching kids the alphabet at home.)

Reusable tracing sheet for the letter A
Hand wiping off marker on a reusable tracing sheet for the letter A

We hope this educational alphabet tracing activity will offer you and your child lots of opportunity for fun and interactive learning together. Enjoy using our free printable and let us know how your tracing goes! 

And remember, MayaSmart.com is your one-stop-shop for raising a reader, from evidence-based advice to fun activities that support key literacy learning and recommendations of great reads. Browse around the site for more tips and tutorials, or message Maya with your questions or activity requests!

Book Pairing

We believe that every activity with kids is even better when it’s paired with a great book. For this activity, check out our list of 9 awesome alphabet books or use whatever your local library has on hand. Snuggle up and read about the ABCs before or after practicing with your tracing activity. The idea is just to draw attention to letters and help your child start noticing them. As your child advances in their knowledge, the book An Inconvenient Alphabet offers a fun way to start helping them bridge from alphabetic knowledge into reading and spelling.

Want more wipe-and-write activities to put in your presentation book? Let us know your requests!