The Alphabet Game
Sonya Riley


I had decided that it was time for my three-year-old son to learn the alphabet and wanted it to be a fun, non-threatening experience.  After buying a package of alphabet flash cards, I tried to devise a fun way to teach him his letters.  We started in the car since that is where we spend most of our time. 


“Tell Mommy all of the letters that you recognize,” I requested once I settled into my seat. 


“Okay, Mommy, I will,” he sang as I showed him the first card.


            I had no idea what to expect.  I knew that he knew a few letters but wasn’t sure which ones.  I showed him card after card, going through the entire stack of twenty-six letters.  To my surprise he belted out six letters with no hesitation.  Turning to my husband who was sitting in the driver’s seat, I puffed up with pride.  My baby knew six letters.  I felt like doing a victory dance.  We had only three-fourths of our goal left to complete. 


            How will I teach you the rest? I thought. 


“Here is a letter,” I told him. “It is the letter H.  Can you say H?” 


            “H,” he replied. 


            “Do you see the,” I sounded out, “/h/, /h/, house on the card?”  I pointed, hoping that he would make the connection.


We played with the cards for the entire trip.  Each time we loaded in the car, he was anxious to play the game again.  On our way home for the evening, we both grew tired and drifted off to sleep.  As I hovered in that place between reality and dream world, I heard my son mumble something about H, the letter I had introduced at the beginning of the ride.


Upon our arrival home, I asked my husband, “Is he asleep?”


“Yeah, both of you deserted me on the ride from town,” he remarked.


“Oh, I thought I heard him talking.”  I looked at him quizzically.


“You did.  I think you have traumatized him.  He said something about the letter H.”


I smiled, knowing that I had actually been effective.  For the next few days my son showed pleasure in showing me every H he could find.