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Teaching Tip: The ABCs of Alphabet Learning

Michele DufresneMany students come to school already knowing their ABCs, while others only seem to know a few random letters. Acquiring a firm knowledge of letters and their sounds is important for all literacy learners.  

Here are some activities to help promote strong letter knowledge:

Letter sorting and matching

Use magnetic letters to have students organize letters and match them according to various characteristics. For example, have students: find all the letters in their name; match upper and lowercase letters; find all letters with circles (o, a, d, p); or find letters with sticks (l, t, p).

Personalized Alphabet Books

Make a personalized alphabet book for each student. Have the student pick out a picture to go with each letter. You can use pictures from magazines, old workbooks, and even photos. You also can use the ABC BookBuilder to create an individual book for each student. However you decide to create the book, be sure and have the student read it each and every day.

Alphabet Charts

Use an alphabet chart with clear pictures, letters, and words that your students can use as a reference. Have a large chart that everyone can see and smaller individual charts that are kept in students' writing folders. Refer to the chart when a student is trying to hear a sound or remember how to form a letter.

Letter Books

Bella and Rosie's ABC BooksUsing little letter books can be a powerful tool for letter learning. They can help students learn what letters look like and help them begin to associate sounds that go with each letter. Students can "read" through the letter book by saying the name of the letter and then naming each picture. You may want to have them point to the letter on each page. These books can be placed in an ABC center, adding one or two at a time as you introduce new letters to the class. You also can use letter books with individual students. Have the student keep the letter book in her book box and ask her to bring the letter book home and read it to her family. There are a variety of these little letter books on the market. I hope you will enjoy the new ones we have just created with the help of Bella and Rosie.  

Happy letter learning!