When children have mastered letter recognition, they can identify letters both individually and within words. They cannot merely recite the alphabet but can recognize letters in different orders and in different contexts.
Because the letter “q” is not as common as other letters, children may have limited exposure to it. Display alphabet posters and provide children with their own alphabet charts to reference when learning the letter “q.” Engage them in sorting activities using materials like magnetic letters or tiles. Let them explore letter stamps, create the letter “q” using playdough, and go on letter hunts.
Verbal pathways provide children with a verbal cue to help them print letters correctly. For the lowercase “q,” teach them the phrase, “Pull back, around, up, and down.” If they have already become proficient in printing the letter “o,” the “q” may be a good next step. For the uppercase “Q,” teach them the phrase, “Pull back and around and cross.”
Teaching children how to print letters correctly, using the correct motions helps them with their speed and accuracy. As they begin to write longer passages, they can focus on their message’s content and not the mechanics of printing each letter. Provide them with varied opportunities to practice printing, using tools such as whiteboards, chalkboards, fingerpaints, and sand or salt trays. They can also use juggling scarves to practice the motions needed to form the letters.
To teach children the sound that the letter “q” makes, help them make a list of items that begin with “q.” For example, they can associate “q” with queens, quilts, or quarters. Have them fill a block letter “q” with pictures or drawings of these items. Display their letter so they can refer to it when trying to recall the sound.
Similarly, children can make their own alphabet books, completing a page each time they learn a new letter. Include the proper lowercase and uppercase formation for the letter “q” and have them add pictures that begin with “q.”
For additional practice, engage children in activities where they match the letter “q” to items that begin with its sound. They can also color pictures that start with the letter “q.” (e.g., Color the queen. Do not color the bear.)