All About Reading is a great phonics program, and now author Marie Rippel has produced a simple pre-reading resource for younger children called ABC Snacks: Eating Your Way through the Alphabet. ABC Snacks is free and it is available only as a digital product.
Each "lesson" begins with a creative snack that's generally as much of an arts-and-crafts lesson as it is food preparation or reading. For example, for the letter "c," children help construct a "creeping caterpillar sandwich" made out of a tortilla, peanut butter, jelly, a cherry tomato, and bell pepper slices. Children use a black food marker to draw eyes on the caterpillar's tomato head or insert pieces of black olives or mini chocolate chips as eyes. Each snack includes a list of possible variations to help accommodate special dietary restrictions or personal preferences. The snack preparation is simple enough for children to participate in, and the results are delightful. Full-color illustrations show both preparation and the finished product.
Brief instructions follow the snack directions. For this lesson, while preparing the snack, children can try forming the pepper slices into the letter "c." You can help children practice the hard-c sound by saying, "/k/–/k/–creeping caterpillar" with them. After enjoying the snack, you would then read a caterpillar book together; The Very Hungry Caterpillar is recommended for this lesson, but you can use any book with a caterpillar character.
You might do one or two recipes per week. There are about 60 recipes in the book, so there are clearly more than one for some letters of the alphabet.
ABC Snacks is a delightful, age-appropriate way to introduce pre-reading skills to preschoolers, but it's also fun to use if you do nothing but create the snacks. And since it's free, there's no reason not to try it out.