Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Alphabet: Tips and Tricks!

Hi friends! Today I'm teaming up with Simply Kinder, The Kindergarten Smorgasboard, and The Kindergarten Connection to talk about one of my favorite topics: 

I want to share with you some of my favorite ideas and tips to help keep your kiddos engaged while they are learning their "ABCS"! The alphabet is something that is at the heart of Kindergarten curriculum. Kiddos need to have a good and solid foundation of the alphabet in order to be successful readers down the road. All of the ideas in this post are things that I review with my class throughout the school year to help ensure a thorough understanding of the alphabet. 

First up, one of my FAVORITE simple and easy center ideas:  

ABC letter spoons are easy to create and last all year long! Use a sharpie and write lowercase letters on clear spoons, and capital letters on white spoons. Put clear nail polish over the sharpie to help it last even longer! I didn't do this the first time I made these spoons, and they still managed to last for the whole school year. :) 
 I keep the lowercase letter spoons in one cup, and the capital spoons in another cup. My students LOVE sorting the spoons, and matching the letters. I also have them put the spoons in ABC order as they are matching them. 

Another easy and quick way to make letters to use during centers or small groups is to collect water bottle caps and write the letters on them with sharpie! My students collected these for me last year during the first month of school, and we ended up with a huge collection. You can put clear nail polish over the sharpie again for added protection. My students use these for letter matching, ABC order, and for sorting. Later in the year, we use them for spelling and making CVC words. These bottle caps would work perfectly with the activity below: 
Being able to "sort" and make groups is such an important Kindergarten skill, and my students love being able to sort letters in their small groups. They sort bottle  caps, letter cards, beads, and all sorts of fun things! I have them sort by capital and lowercase letters, as well as by consonants and vowels later in the year: 

Make sure to check out stores like Dollar Tree, and The 99 Cent Store to get cute things to make letter cards out of: 

In addition to Dollar Tree, I always check the bargain bins and discontinued section at my local teacher stores like Lakeshore to see what deals I can find! I snagged these library pockets years ago and wrote capital letters on them. I also got random cut outs like the bones and bananas pictured below to write lowercase letters on. My kids LOVE putting the letters into the pockets to match them. 

Another fun way to help students master letter matching and ABC order is by using ABC puzzle pieces: 

My students love using stamps to stamp the alphabet. This activity is especially fun the first few weeks of school. It helps me to see whether or not my students have any knowledge of the alphabet before coming into Kinder. 

When I work with my students whole class, I like to do LOTS of tracing practice! I also send home tracing practice in weekly homework packets during the first few weeks of school. 

My kids love reading any kind of alphabet books. 

The alphabet Bob Books are a favorite of mine too! Great for parents to read with their kiddos, or to use in small groups in the classroom. :) 

My students also like making their own fold and read books that they can take home and save! I like to give each student an envelope or ziploc bag to save all of their alphabet books in. They can take out old letter books and read them when they have free time. 

This is how we store our alphabet books:

I have saved my favorite tip for last:

I am a BIG believer in the power of music to help children master letters and sounds. 
  • I have used the "Zoo-Phonics" program to help students associate a letter and sound with an animal action. My kiddos love the song and have lots of fun getting to act out each sound. 
  • Dr. Jean is another awesome resource for alphabet songs. Some of my favorites by her include: Letter Pops, Who Let the Letters Out? and Phonercise. I love using any song for the alphabet in my classroom that my kiddos can also do an "action" to. It is so important to give kiddos the opportunity to get up out of their seats and wiggle around. Being able to do that while reviewing the alphabet at the same time is a total win win! 

Thanks for stopping by today! 
To learn more about teaching the alphabet, stop by: The Kindergarten Connection, Kindergarten Smorgasboard, and Simply Kinder


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