Timmy is in Kindergarten and, despite 5 years of being read to aloud, going through Seton's preschool books last year, and hearing his many older siblings sing the ABC song and practice their phonics, he started the year not exhibiting any letter recognition. Part of this is that he is male and in our home that means he is going to learn later than the average and part of this is that he has so many older siblings so Mommy's time to focus on preK concepts is non existent.
But when he wasn't understanding his letters this fall I resorted to an item Charlie and I made several years ago: the letter book. Some moms make fabulous ABC books for their kids, scrapbook-worthy with pictures of items all decorated and framed and placed on the page "just so." Not this mom (remember I don't have any extra time). Charlie and I had gone through a stack of magazines and old phonics workbooks (these are the best for those hard letters like Q and X) and cut out pictures of items, stuck them in blank book (I used some large drawing paper that I folded in half and stapled), wrote the capital and lower case letter neatly at the top and labeled each item.
Every morning, our first schoolwork is to review the letters we have covered this year by having him say aloud the name of each item on the page and try to remember the sound and name of that letter. After 3 weeks he can now recall 8 letters and is adding a new one every 3-4 days. Timmy doesn't care that our book is not anything Martha Stewart would touch with a ten-foot pole, but so far it is doing the job of helping our 5th child start on the road to reading.