A collection of quick ideas to use for teaching about the alphabet.
March Around the Alphabet
This is a lot of fun. The children gain added exposure to the letters while including the excitement of a stop-and-go game!
- Write each letter of the alphabet on large index cards. Be sure to put the capital letter on one side and lowercase on the other.
- Spread the alphabet out on the floor.
- Have the children create a circle around the alphabet.
- As the teacher plays an upbeat tempo of music (any choice), the children “March Around the Alphabet”.
- Instruct the children to freeze, bend down, and pick up a letter near their toes when the music stops.
- Now the children hold their letter cards way up high and wait for the teacher to call upon them to tell what letter they have in their hands.
I send home a pretty decorated tin can (The Sound Can) each week with a different child as we focus on a new letter of the alphabet. Inside the lid the directions are taped. They read:
Please fill this can with as many items that begin with the enclosed letter and return to school tomorrow! Thank you! ( The letter of the week is written on a post-it and attached to the bottom of the can).
This is a really great learning experience for the child and the rest of the class as they guess the items from the Sound Can. I write the names of each item on chart paper, even the incorrect answer. This leads to some good discussions. We count the items and the Sound can is placed in the ABC center for the rest of the week.
—Lisa, Paramount Elementary School, Kindergarten 1
Go Fish – ABC
Using alphabet flash cards (2 sets) play “go fish” using the flash cards.
–Cindy Raymond, Weber City Head Start Center
The Letter “T”
When you are ready to start the letter Tt you can cut out a shape of a t-shirt on poster board for each child. Give children copies of magazines and instruct them to cut out pictures of items that begin with the letter T. After children have found enough pictures, have them glue their pictures on their t-shirts. You can do this with any letter. Just change your t-shirt to something else that starts with the letter you are discussing. –Crystal Dorband
We play a game that we have called, affectionately “You and Me”. It is a great way to throw in those sight words.(you and me) I write You and Me, and we keep score with tally marks. It is the class against me. First, I tell the students what I have to do before anybody can shout out the answer. For example.”Today, I will tap twice before you can answer.” or Today, I will wink and point before you can answer. This makes it a listening game as well.
Now, we are ready to begin! I write a lowercase letter and do the things that we decided earlier (i.e. two taps) and the students call out the answer. Sometimes I pause a bit to make it harder.
Scoring: There is some judgement in this, but if anyone gives answer before the routine is complete, the teacher gets the point. If I hear most of the correct responses the students get the point. Because it is a group activity, all the kids feel free to pitch in and try.
My kids want to play everyday!! I am trying to find some more ways to increase the difficulty. We may start on our sight words next.
Denise Walker – Kindergarten-1/2 Day- Dandridge Elementary, Jefferson County, Tennessee
An all time favourite with children of all ages yet often overlooked with the younger ones. Use words that have been the focus in class. For example, if you have been concentrating on four letter words, choose a four letter word and make a dash on the board for every letter in the word. Tell students to look at the amount of letters in the word and to refer to their word banks around the class for ideas. For variety, allow students to guess the word straight up rather than just choosing one possible letter. They love “beating the teacher” and this is a quick game if you only have a few minutes left in a session, yet is educational!
Edwina Jay, Australia.
Guess What I Am?
(Much like the touch and feel box activity) Have students reach into a bag/box and feel an item inside without looking at it. Then students must guess what the object is. The teacher will give students a clue by telling them what letter the word starts with.
Students can create an alphabet book.
This can be done in a variety of ways:
- One option is to have students each choose a letter of the alphabet to decorate. Then combine the pages to create one class book.
- Another option is to have students add one picture to each letter of the alphabet. The pictures must begin the correct letter sound. For advanced students, have them write the word below their pictures.
- A third option is to have students create letter characters. For example the letter D could be given a hat, badge, and face. The word detective would be printed below the letter. This activity is a little harder than the first two and would need additional teacher involvement or brainstorming. These books can be placed in the classroom library or the school library to view. Your class may want to donate their book to another class that is also learning the alphabet.
My favorite phonics lesson is the Phonics-Mart.
In this activity the teacher will present a letter and sound by using common grocery store items. For example, “p” is for peas. Even more advanced phonics rules can be included (“ch” is for cheerios). A nice prop would be a real shopping cart (ask your local grocery store if you can have one with “broken wheels” – they will usually be glad to help out a local school!)
–Submitted by : Charlene Ziehm
Sticks and Curves Activity
Place magnetic or wooden letters on a table and have the student classify the letter shapes as either stick, curved or both.
Have the child pull all of the stick letters into one group (i,t,l,x,w,x, etc.) then select curve letters (c,e,g,o,s).
Now look at the letters left on the table, combinations of stick and curve (a,b,d,f,h,etc.)
This is a good activity for ESL students since naming the letter and making the letter sound are not required–just visiual discrimination.
–Submitted by: JAHarris022044@aol.com
Alphie the alphabet worm …
This is something parents can make for their preschoolers. Take different colored construction paper, trace a plate on 27 sheets the cut them out. Take a big black marker and write the letters of the alphabet on the 26 circles, then with the 27th circle make alphie’s face draw however you’d like then take a paper puncher and punch holes on each end where you want to fasten them together. Then start with Alphie’s face and attach the letter A and so on with stick pins that fold over on the other side the nhang in any room of the house that your child will easily see everyday.
These are just a few things I do in my class to reinforce letter recognition.
- For end of the year review, I make a graph, with 26 squares, on a large piece of paper. I put a letter of the alphabet in each square. The children then look through magazines for pictures that start with that letter and glue them in the correct box. If they can not find an object for a letter, then they can look for the letter to glue in the box.
- Also, I write the children’s names on a piece of paper, using different colored markers. You can write the letters vertically or horizontally, leaving a good space between letters. I have the children draw atleast 3 things that start with each letter in their name. They have to label objects drawn.
- I lay letter cards on the floor and then I show them picture cards and they have to tell me what letter it starts with and lay the picture under the correct card.
- Musical alphabet is another game we play throughout the year. I lay the alpha cards in a circle on my carpet. I play music and the children march around the letters and when the music stops, they have to tell me what letter they are standing by, it’s sound and something that starts with that letter.
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