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A classical technique is to crop the image just around the letter, resize it to 4x4 pixels, eventually apply a dct to further slim down the search space.(then you could select first 4-6 values). And with those values, train a classifier - a neural network in your case.

Given the width/height ratio of your input, you may choose some different small resolution. Like 3x4, or 4x5.

I advise you to start with digits, or a limited set of characters. Later, you can expand it to the full alphabet, use more complex descriptors, etc.

P.S. If by "working example" you mean "give me teh codez", this is not the right place to ask. One learns best by writing code, reading carefully and working hard.

Good luck!