This is one of those nifty little resources that has actually worked for all of my kids I've tried it with (I bought our copy when our now ten-year-old, was three or four).
Many people are familiar with Montessori-style sandpaper letters to help children learn the alphabet in a multi-sensory fashion. Children look at the letter, trace it with their finger and say the sound of the letter at the same time; particularly helpful for children with special needs. It works, but some children (particularly those who are sensitive to texture) find the feel of the rough sandpaper very irritating. Besides, the set of sandpaper letters on wooden backings are quite expensive to buy (and a bit of trouble to make). Enter The Red Letter Alphabet Book. It's a heavy cardstock, comb-bound book with a felt-textured letter on each page. The opposite page has black and white images of objects whose names contain the sound of the letter (you can also buy these images on cards to play related word games).
We've used this book quite casually with each of the children as soon as they were interested in it. We reached this stage with our three year old just recently. Frank, proving Montessori's maxim of "work" having a "normalizing" effect, was wigged out over something out of our control (can't remember exactly what) and was completely miserable. I knew that this wasn't an occasion for discipline, but for distraction. The Red Letter Alphabet Book was handy and, on a whim, I brought it to him. Within seconds, and without any convincing needed, he was having me trace his index finger over the letters, his face locked in open-mouthed bliss (what a contrast from a few moments before!). He made me do it three times straight through with him right then and there. He’s brought it to me numerous times since.
The book is published by Montessori Services, who also offer The Blue Number Counting Book. This has also played an important role in our family's learning. I particularly remember Angela first using this book and, basically, falling in love with numbers right then and there. It was partly a matter of introducing the concept at just the right time for her, but I'm very grateful for these simple and gentle books for little ones that make it SO easy!