So, how is your letter identification plan working out?
Each year, about half of my kinders learn letter names and sounds like clockwork, acquiring the entire alphabet by early November. The other half need additional support to make progress.
What games, strategies or practices work?
Each year it is important to remember:
- Immersion is your friend! Many of these kinder babes have never been read to or exposed to what a letter is. The more your students sing, chant, dance to and “feel” the shapes and sounds of letters, the better your success rate.
- Find (and stick with) a good alphabet chart that can be chanted daily, and be led by your students. This “led by students” component is key. When students anticipate they will get to lead the alphabet chart chant, focus improves markedly. I always state: You never know who will be called on to lead our alphabet chant, so be ready all the time, join your friends in chanting it all the time, and listen for your name to be called. Major point: Always state the letter name, the letter sound and an object name with each letter in the chant. For instance, A-/a/-apple, B-/b/-balloon and so on.
- Give students many opportunities to read the letters in alphabet readers, alphabet tracing books, alphabet poems, and other resources that have a letter name and sound focus.
- Give students many opportunities to write the letters. Each day, I tie our letter focus into our drawing/writing lessons. For instance, on this day students were thinking about what we could draw to represent letter Ff. This child drew flowers, then proceeded to write other letters she knew. I helped her write Ff when we conferred.
- Tactile practice such as finger tracing of letters helps to make connections. Knowing how important it is to cross the midline, it is important to use every opportunity to cement the directional path of letter formation in those little brains. I created this little booklet for practicing letter formation and naming letters. Click the graphic below to grab this FREE booklet.
- Charting still has a place for developing letter/sound knowledge. Students never tire of helping to chart objects that begin with the sound of a letter. During an average whole group lesson, we will chart one or two letters with students suggesting things to draw that begin with… This is a great activity for keeping student focus. If a student names something that does not begin by the letter we are discussing, they are still validated by seeing their object drawn in the “other” section of the chart. All contributions are important! And we keep in mind the word, “yet”. We may not know that letter sound yet, but charting things that belong to the letter will help us learn.
Implementing a routine each and every day will benefit all students.
- Use your small group time to reinforce letter skills for students who need that support.
- Our routine consists of the alphabet chart chant, writing the focus letter and naming objects whose name begin with the letter during our first few weeks of writing, and tracing and stating the name of the letter during individual pull-out time .
Alphabet Chart Chant Resource
Alphabet Chant Self-Running Slideshow for tech rotation
Companion Poem Activities