Exploring upper and lowercase letters with my preschoolers

Exploring upper and lowercase letters with my preschoolers

This is a simple way I use to introduce upper and lower case letters with my students…

On a large flip chart, I print a letter in the upper left hand corner of my chart.  Underneath the letter, I print a few words that start with that letter. And on the right hand side of the chart, I print the capital and lower case letter in various places throughout the page…

I introduce the letter and run through the words that start with the letter. Then I invite each child to take a turn to come up and circle the letter.  When we first started this, I would say, “Would you like to see if you can find a letter F?”  I did not distinguish between upper or lower case.  When each child found the letter, I invited him or her to circle it with a highlighter and then I would say, “Hurray, you found a (upper) or (lower case) letter Ff!”  As you can see – there was no wrong answer.

After repeating this process with several letters each week, I have now changed the question to : “Can you find an upper letter E?”  or “Can you find a lower case letter e?”  Notice that there are no other letters on the board but the letter Ee.

The children LOVE to take a turn to circle a letter.  I make sure they all feel good about their decision of which letter they choose to circle and we talk about the upper versus the lower case letter each time…

I don’t mix in other letters at this time.  This is not a test to see if they can distinguish a letter F from a letter E.  This is simply a way to reinforce recognition of the letter we are talking about that day and a chance to explore upper and lower case form…

Now can you find the letter Ff?

Well done!


  • Amber Posted October 18, 2011 7:41 am

    Nice and simple…usually the best way to go! One aspect that I normally include with an activity like this is the thought of the “magic” C, usually with my preK students. I find that if they get into a habit of using the magic C and close it up to make circles they are are more apt to start all their letters/numbers/shapes at the top. Makes for an easier transition into formal writing. For an individual activity, I provide a large block letter with the upper and lower case letters inside and they use colored magnetic chips to cover the upper and the lower letters. I’ve done this process with numbers also. Of course, using the “magic (magnetic) wand” they wave it over their page when they are done and “abracadabra!” the chips are gone. 🙂 So simple, but they love it!

  • Roz Karp Posted October 18, 2011 8:21 am

    I notice you use the word capital letter…so do I, but the schools here use the term upper case. Do you ever introduce this other term? I love the simplicity of your activity.

  • Little Wonders’ Days Posted October 18, 2011 2:14 pm

    Such a clever idea. I had left a comment sometime ago about young preschoolers writing and you gave me some great tips. Well, regardless of me holding back with formal teaching, Sassyfras came home with “L”‘s (her initial) all over her artwork today. It looks like she’s going to write whether I show her or not!

  • Suzanne Schlechte Posted October 18, 2011 3:17 pm

    It would be worth making and laminating pages like this to use again and again. I love that I could do this with my buddies of different ages and abilities and EVERY BUDDY could be successful.

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 18, 2011 9:40 pm

    I think you could laminate the pages! I change things up as we go along so I tend to just write things out as we go along:)

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 18, 2011 9:43 pm

    I love it and that is what you want to see – follow your child’s lead and you will both enjoy learning!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 18, 2011 9:44 pm

    I intermingle the work upper case and capital letter without even thinking about it.

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 18, 2011 9:46 pm

    Haha – super cute ideas!! I will have to try them out!

  • Jackie Posted October 20, 2011 7:44 am

    This is a great idea! I pinned it so I can remember to try it with my son. I love how you set them up to be successful. One thing I might do to extend the learning is to ask them, “How are the words the same?” “Say the words. Where do they sound the same?” Sometimes we tell the kids about beginning letter sounds but I think it’s good to do a check and make sure they really understand the concept. Thanks for all of your wonderful ideas.

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 20, 2011 7:50 am

    I will definitely keep that in mind! I will build on this process throughout the school year for sure:)

  • stephanie a. Posted October 23, 2011 2:42 am

    Hi Deborah! This is a good idea and very simple. Our kids love to learn about letters, which means they are ready to learn through activities like this!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 23, 2011 10:26 am

    I agree Stephanie – children will let you know when the are ready for new learning and new processes…

  • Heather Posted February 3, 2012 5:50 pm

    I really like this idea. I used to write a morning message in front of the kids but that was taking a really long time each morning. Using something like this will be perfect to incorporate into my classroom!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted February 4, 2012 11:03 am

    We love this because it is simple and doesn’t take FOREVER!!

  • Nicole Posted September 12, 2017 3:27 pm

    Hi! Can you share a link to where I can find a notebook like this? Also what are the dimensions? I’m very new to teaching preschool and love this article! Also do you have a post about teaching the sounds of the letters?

  • Deborah Stewart Posted September 14, 2017 8:31 pm

    I get mine from our local school supply store. You can find them here on Amazon; http://amzn.to/2h67WhJ

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *