Every year, I assess and have many of my students well on their way to knowing both capital and lowercase letters. However there are always a few who are struggling to make sense of the symbols that are called letters. They can name a person whose name begins with “that” letter, but they can’t find the letter in their memory to call it by name. What to do???
More than five years ago, I purchased Jan Richardson’s Next Step in Guided Reading. Besides being an amazing resource to aid in teaching small group guided reading, she includes one amazing tip that has made a difference in my students ability to grasp the name of the alphabet letters. This is my go-to activity that helps my students connect letter names to letters. It is meant to be done separately from your guided group time.
Print a large alphabet set that includes pictures representing each letter, laminate and bind the cards into a book. Each day, either you or a tutor should spend 10-20 minutes helping the child trace the letters and state the name of the picture for each letter. You may elect to randomly ask the student letter names to see if they are beginning to recall them. This activity should be a daily routine until the students knows the letters.
The alphabet set I use can be found here.
Another daily “must-do” station is our alphabet chant computer station. I usually have students chant the alphabet in the computer station with headphones on three times, then let the next student practice, etc. Here is a link to the alphabet chant slideshow.
Some other very helpful activities include games where students turn the cards upside down in a desk, then draw a card and state the name of the letter. The most correct letters wins. A variation on this is to put a few cards in the stack that cause the student to have to put his/her cards back in the deck and begin again. This will make the game last longer, and give students more opportunities to practice. Here is a FREEBIE with some “rotten apples” in the bunch. 🙂
We also make a chart showing all of our friends’ names. We talk about who has Aa, Bb, Cc, and so on. Students will begin to state the letter in ? name if you repeat this activity from the chart you hang on the wall in an easy access area.
If you develop a routine, especially with tracing the letters while stating their names, you should see significant progress by late November.
Have a great weekend!