There are a variety of ways to introduce letters to children. Remember that letters and sounds are abstract for little ones, so you must make them real with objects they can associate with, art projects, manipulatives, and games.
Generally, it is best to introduce one letter at a time, teaching the sound along with the letter name. You can go straight through the alphabet from A to Z, introduce all the consonants and then the vowels, or skip around.
Alphabet Felt letters
Apple to Zebra advise the use of the Alphabet felt chart to evaluate and identify where are the areas and specific letters that teacher needs to spend more time on. Teachers’ and home-school parents’ observations are crucial and critical factors in informing their decisions on where to prioritize.
Randomly draw from a bag upper case letters, and ask the child to name each letter as you draw and show them. If the child gives you a sound or word, say, You are right. That letter has that sound, but can you tell me the name of that letter? Repeat with the lower case letter card, name each letter.
Give to the child each letter successfully guessed and ask the child to place the number on the chart. It will allow the child to touch and better appreciate the shape of the letter. And the act of placing it on the board will reinforce the memorization of the said letter.
This short exercise will give you the opportunity in evaluating which are the letters the child is the most comfortable with as well as the areas you will need to have a better focus on.
For your curriculum to be effective just be aware that a great lesson would preferably take advantage of every senses of the child. You should use sound repetition, their sense of touch, their use of fine motor skills, but also through art & craft and their ability to create with their own hands. Putting letters through a story telling context or by associating them with funny characters are also a fun and interactive way to introduce letters.
You can use the Alphabet Felt Chart through games by mixing up lowercase and uppercase letters and leaving the child to find the matching pairs.
Write the letter you are studying on a piece of cardboard and stand it up in the middle of a small table or on a shelf. All week long, the child can bring objects that start with the sound and place them on the table or shelf.
Give the child a sheet of paper. Ask the child to write the letter you are studying on the paper and draw pictures of the things that begin with that sound. You could also let the child cut out magazine pictures of objects beginning with that sound. Label the objects on each child’s page, then staple them together to make a book.
Act out different things that begin with the sound you are studying. For example, if “L” is the letter of the week, you could “lick a lollipop,” “love,” “leap,” “look,” “laugh,” etc.
Plan art projects around sounds you are learning. Bubble painting would be good for B, puppets would tie in with P, and paper snakes would be fun for S.
Cook a snack or eat food that begins with the letter of the week. You could make applesauce for A, banana boats for B, carrot salad for C, and so on.
In terms of teaching the child to write letters, possibilities are endless. The child can follow the dots to make letters, trace around letter stencils, draw letters in sand, cut letters out of paper, make letters out of clay or play dough, write letters on the chalkboard, make letters with glue and sprinkle them with coloured sand, or practice writing letters with markers, crayons, coloured pencils or paint.
Make BINGO cards with alphabet letters. As you call out a letter or word, the child can cover up that letter with a paper squares. The first one to fill up four corners or a row wins.
Make games where the child must put pictures in the correct pocket using the Bus Pocket Chart.
Remember in every lessons to teach reading so that each child can experience success and feel confident. Have realistic expectations for your students. It takes a long time to develop readiness skills and to teach children to read. The age at which children will read varies. Relate to the child’s background of experiences and build on what they already know while assessing them continually and allow them to learn at their own pace. Do not teach reading in isolation, but integrate it with writing, listening, and speaking activities across the curriculum. Provide children with a rich environment where they are exposed to books, print, and writing materials.
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