Monday, September 30, 2013


During the summer I present various reading workshops across the state of Alabama.  One common question is: " How do you teach letters and sounds?"  That is actually a tricky question because there are so many activities that you can use to practice letter knowledge.  However, NOTHING takes the place of explicit, intense letter instruction.  I usually introduce the letter(s)/sounds on Monday, using large alphabet cards and telling the children "This is letter "T'". Then I do activities all week that cause children to find, write, read, recognize, and spy the letters anywhere we can find them.  So the pics below show all of things that we do during a common week.  Friday is my BIG review day for letters.  As the week goes on, the responsibility begins to rest on them, not me, to name the letters.
Monday- letter introduction
Tuesday- letter recognition (finding the letter(s) in daily news, small group texts, etc.
Wed- writing the letter in whole group and small group
Thurs- Naming the letter upon command
Fri- Review all letters taught
Here is good rule of thumb: IF THEY CAN"T RECOGNIZE THE LETTER, THEY CAN"T NAME THE LETTER!!!  In other words, if you place two letter cards in front of them, one being "T" and the being "A", and they can't point to letter "T" on command, they will not be able to name the letter when prompted.  Recognition comes before letter recall. 

 I'm sure you know my drill... I could not get the pic to turn..grrrr.... This is from our station work on Thursdays.  A great way to review sounds and beginning sounds
 Every Friday we create letter/sound charts that reflect words that begin with the letters that I have taught that week.  I know that you have seen charts that are much fancier.  PLEASE REMEMBER THIS when looking on pinterest or any website..... If the chart is colored by the teacher, written by the teacher, and created by the teacher... who is the learner?????  When children are able to interact with any graphic organizer or chart, they become actively engaged which multiplies the learning experience.  To ensure that EVERYONE is able to create the chart, I give every student a dry erase board.  I pull a child's name from my equity stick container.  That child comes up with a word that begins with Aa and then he/she comes to write that letter on the chart.  All of the other children write that same letter on their dry erase board.  This ensures that ALL children are actively engaged and learning!!  What a great formative assessment. They all have multiple times to write and say the letter/sound.  It is also a great classroom management technique.  All of the children are busy, which cuts down on discipline.
 I saw these on the website  They are letter of the week animals.  How cute is it!!  LOVE these!!

Just an example of small group writing.  I give the sound, they write the letter that produces that sound. "Write the letter that makes the sound _______"
 I spy letter search.  The letters are inside a bag and they pull one out at the time and circle each letter a different color.

Environmental print is a great way for children to recognize letters.  It quickly teaches them to attach the letters/sounds to something they are familiar with.

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