Help your child learn the alphabet and get a head start on kindergarten with these tips.
With all the skills needed for kindergarten now, I am concerned that my four-and-a-half-year-old only recognizes a few (very few) letters by sight
A mom with two jobs and a concern to help her child learn the alphabet is to be commended. Congratulations for recognizing the importance of helping prepare your son for success. I am sure that it is difficult to find lots of extra time to work on letter recognition, so you need to make good use of short amounts of time in a way that is effective and fun.
In your purse are the makings for "I Spy." Pull out an item such as lipstick and ask what it is. You repeat it emphasizing and exaggerating the "l" sound. Ask you son to repeat the "l" sound and tell him that's the letter "L." Do this with one or several items depending on his attention. Put special treats or surprises in your purse that he wouldn't expect, such as a shoe, a pea, a cookie. Keep the activity short and fun. Check out alphabet books from the library. There are many different kinds, such as Wildlife Alphabet, Bird Alphabet, Fruit/Vegetable Alphabet -- all have wonderful pictures that are very appealing. Have your son look at it with you and emphasize the letter and beginning sound of each item. Try closing the book -- you say "banana" for example and let him find the page -- always repeating the beginning sound and letter. Write an upper case (capital) letter on an index card so that you have the entire alphabet. Have these letters available for many activities. Match them with pictures cut out of magazines. Find something in the house that begins with that sound (letter). Copy them on a piece of paper Fill the bottom of a shoe box lid with salt and let your son make each letter. Shake the lid and make another - out of sequence Skywrite -- You write a letter in the air (backwards so that he sees it correctly and have him tell you what the letter is, then he does it).
I will suggest a few activities that will take less then five minutes at a time. These will get the two of you involved in a fun way so that you son's attitude toward learning is positive: