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Teaching Tip: Letter Learning techniques for teachers

Michele DufresneIt is exciting to see so many schools creating plans for Response to Intervention (RTI). Ensuring that all children learn to read and write is critical to the future of our country. Learning letters is an important component of most early intervention efforts and is the focus of this month's teaching tip.

Letter Learning techniques

Many students learn letters incidentally through experiences at home and in the classroom, but some students need special attention. Letter learning should be part of any early intervention, but should not take a lot of time out of lessons. In this month's teaching tip, we explore some of the most effective and efficient ways to help students learn letters.

Increase writing opportunities

Increasing your students' opportunities for writing will improve letter and sound knowledge and other key literacy learning objectives. Interactive writing with small groups, writing workshops, assisted writing and guided writing with dictated sentences will increase students' letter knowledge. For suggestions on how guided writing works, see Jan Richardson's book, The Next Step in Guided Reading, published by Scholastic Books.

Make personalized alphabet books

For students struggling to remember letters it is most helpful for them to make their own ABC book. Having each student select a picture of an object that has some personal meaning can help build memory pathways in the brain. Our BookBuilder software is a great tool to help teachers make individual ABC books for their students. You can also make ABC books by having the students bring in family photos and selecting pictures from magazines or old workbooks. The picture representing the letters should be something the students know well and will help them remember the letters.

Use magnetic letters

Manipulating magnetic letters can be a powerful tool for teaching struggling students. Magnetic letters are colorful and three-dimensional. They are easy to use and provide a tactile experience. Touching, tracing, and moving the letters together and apart will facilitate faster letter learning. For some guidelines for activities to do with magnetic letters, download our Learning Letters resource.

Good luck with all your teaching, and Happy Reading!

Michèle Dufresne

Michèle Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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