It doesn’t take long for kids to realize that letters don’t always look the same. And when they start asking about it, I’ve always explained to my kids that certain letters love to dress up or wear a disguise.
As we continue learning, we’ll introduce the word “font.” That’s the word used to describe the shape of the letters.
Here are some letters that are often playing dress-up:
Why Is This Important?
Before your child starts doing much reading, you want him or her to be aware that letters won’t always look identical. They need to learn to recognize an a whether it looks like a or like a.
The brain can only focus on so much at one time. When your child can easily recognize both a and a as saying the “a” sound like in apple, they will have more brain power to devote to actually reading, and less to trying to figure out what that strange looking letter with a hat is.
5 Activities to Learn About Letters in Disguise
To help you teach this concept to your kids, here are five simple activities you can try. They’re the perfect activities to work on in your homeschool.
- Newspaper Search
- Disguised Letter Match
- Letter Collage
- Writing Letters
- Font Changer
Here are more detailed directions for each.
Activity 1: Newspaper Search
For this letter activity, your child is going to go on a newspaper hunt for letters in disguise. Whenever they spy one, they’ll point it out by circling it with a marker.
Materials Needed: Newspaper & Markers
- Hand your child one page of newspaper.
- Ask your child to point to one letter that’s in disguise—it looks different than it normally does.
- Hand your child a marker and ask them to circle it.
- Ask your child to circle all the disguised letters they can find.
- When your child is done, talk about the letters found. Use words like “hat” or “tail” to describe what’s different about the letters.
Activity 2: Disguised Letter Match
In this activity, your child will try to spy each letter of the alphabet in books. Can they spot one in a disguise?
- Baby letter index cards
- A variety of books
- Shuffle the baby letter index cards, then place them in a stack.
- Place the stack of cards on the table, letter side down.
- Place a stack of books on the table.
- Your child can go first. Ask them to draw a card and say the name of the letter.
- Your child picks a book from the table and tries to find the letter.
- When the letter is spotted, discuss whether or not it’s in a disguise.
- Your child keeps the card in a stack in front of them.
- You take a turn now, repeating steps 4-7.
- Continue until all the letters have been spotted in books, taking turns doing the finding.
- Have your child put the cards in ABC order when you’re finished.
Activity 3: Letter Collage
This activity asks your child is going to make a collage out of letters they cut out of magazines and newspapers. How many different disguises can they spot?
- Newspapers & Magazines
- Construction Paper
- Ask your child to find the letter A in the newspaper or magazine.
- After your child points to the letter, have them cut it out carefully.
- Have your child glue the letter to one page of construction paper.
- Continue finding, cutting, and gluing letters until you’ve reached Z. The letters don’t need to be in order—they can be glued randomly, to make a collage.
- Repeat for capital letters, on a separate sheet of paper.
- Sing the ABC song while cleaning up scraps. See how many times you can sing it through while you work.
Activity 4: Writing Letters
Here’s a simple activity. Your child will get a chance to practice writing letters, including those in a disguise.
- Newspaper collages from yesterday
- Ask your child to write the letter a.
- Ask your child to compare the letter they wrote to the letter on the collage. Do they look the same?
- Discuss why or why not. You may want to use terms like “wearing a hat” or other memorable characteristics to talk about differences.
- Continue writing letters until all 26 baby letters have been discussed.
- Have your child stand up and jump while you sing the ABC song, since this was a longer sitting activity and required more fine-motor skills.
Activity 5: Font Changer
In this final activity, your child will practice identifying letters on the keyboard and get a chance to put different disguises on letters by changing the font.
- Computer with word processing program with a variety of fonts (Word, Google Docs, etc.)
- Sit with your child at the computer and open the word processing program you’ll be using.
- Ask your child to find the letter a on the keyboard. (Let them do it—it’s great letter identification practice!)
- Let your child type the letter a.
- Continue finding and typing letters until you have all 26 letters typed.
- Highlight the alphabet that was just typed and show your child the font menu.
- Ask your child to pick a font and change the font to that one.
- Copy and paste the alphabet into another row.
- Highlight the new row of ABCs.
- Ask your child to select another font.
- Continue until your page is full.
- Talk with your child about the differences they notice between the fonts used.
- If possible, print the page for your child to keep.
Letters Don’t Always Look the Same
These activities will help your children learn more about the different disguises that some letters wear.
For even more simple activities to help your child learn to read, check out my curriculum: