Learning at Home: Hands-Ons Learning Letters of the Alphabet part II

sorting names learning at home journeyintoearlychildhood.com

Young children learn best through hands-on activities (not from worksheets.) Parents can continue to engage with their children practicing the letters of the alphabet using developmentally appropriate strategies.

Children love their names. Learning will stick with children when we can connect it to something in which they have an emotional connection.

Here is a document to send home with ideas of how to learn the letters of the alphabet by sorting the letters in the child’s name…

Add in some practicing of fine motor skills by providing the child a pair of tweezers to pick up the letters.

FREE DOWNLOAD

Sorting Names Home Learning Activity

Home Learning Sorting Names
Sorting Names Journeyintoearlychildhood.com

Document for sorting names with sorting mats and headings for teachers and/or families that have access to a printer:

Sorting Names

Learning at Home: Hands-On Learning of Letters of Alphabet

learning at home sorting letters journeyintoearlychildhood.com

During this most unprecedented and challenging time in history, we all want our children to continue to learn and families want information on how to support their children.

However, I am dismayed by the number of worksheets that are being shared and ideas that involve lots of needed items such as pompons, playdough, rainbow mats, different colored Solo cups, etc. Don’t get me wrong- the ideas are very cute but they are also unrealistic for many of our families. Our families cannot travel to purchase these items- they should not be in stores and many cannot afford them or afford even the gas.

So here is an idea to share with parents for learning letters through sorting that uses only letters cut from cardboard food boxes or magazines. I have revised this from a document of ideas that I shared with teachers- I removed the colored background, etc. so that it is easier for you to print for parents if that is needed. It can be printed and sent along in food bags to families.

Please feel free to share:  FREE DOWNLOAD

Sorting Letters of the Alphabet to send home to families

Sorting Letters - Home Learning

Here is the original that includes lots of sorting mats for teachers

sorting letters of the alphabet

Teaching Letters of the Alphabet: Sorting Names

Learning about letters, sounds and words are important to developing young readers and writers. Letter knowledge is necessary, but it alone is not enough to read and write. Children will be reading and writing stories long before they can identify all of the letters of the alphabet.

In the past, “letter of the week” was a common practice but teachers now realize the

no more letter of the week FREE DOWNLOAD
https://journeyintoearlychildhood.com/2018/09/26/no-more-letter-of-the-week/

severe limitations of this practice. When you spend a great deal of time on “letter of the week”, many children work on letters they already know, while others see and study letters out of context. Sometimes children forget last week’s letter while working on this week’s because they are looking at one item at a time.

YES! We still include instruction in letter name and sound learning with short lessons on how to look at letters- starting with those that have the most meaning.

 

Picture1To a child, there is nothing more important than his or her own name. In the blog post, Teaching Letters of the Alphabet: Learning Through Children’s Names, I shared ways to teach letters with names during whole group instruction and transitions.

 

sorting names FREE DOWNLOADAnother way to use student’s names is during small group instruction and during center time by setting up opportunities for the students to sort names to begin to pay attention to all of the letters in names, the path of motion of letters, and the similarities and differences of letters and names. We can differentiate our instruction for students who already know the names of the letters and present children with ways to sort the names by the sounds of the letters including beginning, middle, end and vowel sounds.

Labels and Ideas for Sorting Names: FREE DOWNLOAD

 

 

 

Teaching Letters of the Alphabet: Using Books about Names

To a child, there is nothing more important than his or her own name.  Using names to teach letters and name recognition is a very powerful teaching tool. See blog post, Using Name to Teach the Letters and Sounds of the Alphabet. 

This post provides lots of ideas for using children’s names to teach the letters of the alphabet.

Teaching Letters with Names journeyintoearlychildhood.com
https://wordpress.com/post/ journeyintoearlychildhood.com/739

chartHowever, not all letters of the alphabet will be in the children’s names. We teach all letters of the alphabet during small group and centers but we can also use books with names to include more letters in all of the graphs, charts and chants we use with the student’s names.

For example, we can read A My Name is Alice by Jane Bayer and Steven Kellogg. Allow the students to choose a couple of the names from the book that contains letters not yet on the name graph to give a name to favorite classroom stuffed animals or pets.

Here are some other great books to teach letters of the alphabet through names:

(Click on the book titles to link to Amazon.)

A My Name is Alice by Jane Bayer and Steven Kellogg

51Uo-AorKtL._SY459_BO1,204,203,200_My Name is Yoon by Helen Recovitis

Great book to help students pay attention to the formation of letters and the meanings behind names.

 

 

 

chrsthanChrysanthemum by Kevin Henke

Students love to chant this name and add it to the number of letters per name since it is so long!

 

 

 

 

41iOW1kx8fL._SX260_Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Great book to discuss the importance of your own name and of origins of names.

 

 

 

 

 

The Chronicles of Nannie by N.C. Memeh5101mm4bU3L._SX260_

Using Name Books to Teach Letters of the Alphabet
Journeyintoearlychildhood.com

 

 

Teaching Letters and Sounds of the Alphabet: Using Books (Part III)

A couple of teachers requested even more reviews of books that teach the letters of the alphabet.

As discussed in the blog post, Teaching Letters and Sounds of the Alphabet: Using ABC Books Part II, we need to be intentional about which books we are choosing for the specific objective we want to accomplish.

In the post linked above as well in the post, Teaching Letters of the Alphabet Using ABC Books Part I, we examined books that address the learning target of teaching letter names for both upper- and lowercase letters.

With intentional choosing of books and guidance from the teacher, we can also use ABC books effectively to help expose, practice and explore the sounds of letters and even all 40 sounds of the alphabet.

Here are some additional books not mentioned in the first blog post:

(note: the titles are linked to Amazon)

teaching letters and sound - review of books journeyintoearlychildhood.com

 

Great book to encourage girls to broaden their ideas of what they can be when they grow up. When using for teaching the sounds of the letters, however, be careful since C is a chef. Therefore, the book cannot be used to teach the most common sounds of each letter.

 

Another great book for girls, especially since it has women role models that they will have heard of such as Beyonce, Coco Chanel, and Flo Jo plus others that are incredible role models for them to learn about.

 

 

Great book to learn about different parts of cars.

This book contains blends; therefore, it would be a good book to use after the students know all of the most common sounds for each letter and you want to expand their knowledge of sounds. I do wish that is was not written in all capitals since that is a poor model of writing for our students.

 

  • Another book about car parts that does model appropriate writing of first letter of the sentence starting with a capital and the other letters in lowercase is…
  • A is for Alternator by Alex Smith

I also really like the realistic photos of the car parts in this book.

  • A book that I like for alliterations is…
  • Pandas Love Pickles by  Liz Lynch. It is a simple pattern book that introduces children to different animals and foods. In order to match foods with animal names, not all letters are used with their most common sound; although this book sticks to the letter’s most common sounds more than many others. So again this would be a book to use after students know most of the common sounds and you want to expand their knowledge. I do love that for letter C the author uses both common sounds with “Cows try cinnamon buns.”

 

 

Teaching the Sounds of the Alphabet: Using ABC Books Part II

One strategy for teaching the names and sounds of the alphabet letters is through frequent, repeated readings of ABC books, as we discussed in last week’s post, Teaching the Letters of the Alphabet: Using ABC Books.

We need to be intentional about which books we are choosing for the specific objective we want to accomplish. In a previous post, Teaching Letters of the Alphabet Using ABC Books, we examined books that address the learning target of teaching letter names for both upper- and lowercase letters. ABC feature sounds

With intentional choosing of books and guidance from the teacher, we can also use ABC books effectively to help expose, practice and explore the sounds of letters and even all 40 sounds of the alphabet.

CHOOSE with INTENTION based on your objective. Let’s explore books that go beyond beginning teaching of the letters of the alphabet and their most commonly used sounds.

The books below can be used to teach letter sounds beyond the most commonly used sound, letters in all positions in words, and applying letter sounds.

(Click on each book to link to Amazon.)

A My Name is Alice by Jane Bayer and Steven Kellogg

LOTS of words that start with the same letter in one sentence. This book is one of my favorites since it has SO many different extensions and learning opportunities.

  • Explore lots of sounds made by the same letter or letter combinations.
  • Great book to extend into geography and place a picture of each animal on the country in which they live on a large map.
  • Make a list or a book of animals that start with each letter.
  • Follow up by making a class book of alliteration sentences using student’s names.

Q is for Duck by Mary Elting and Michael Folsom

LOVE the riddle part of this book. Students need to already have a good working knowledge of the letters of the alphabet and their most commonly used sounds but this is an excellent book to help them apply those skills. This is not a book to use for beginning learning of the letters of the alphabet.

  • The students have to guess why a letter would stand for a word that does not begin with that letter. For example, B is for dog- because it barks.
  • Includes great critical thinking skills of associations.
  • I do not like, however, that uppercase letters are used in the middle of sentences. We can point out that sometimes authors write using different fonts and sentence styles but that when we write we do not use uppercase letters in the middle of sentences unless it is a name.

 

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert

ABC fruitsC vegetables

 

 

 

 

 

and

Search and Find: Alphabet of the Alphabets by AJ Wood

Both of these books are excellent for comparing all of the different sounds that can be made with one letter and letter combinations starting with that letter.

  • Comparing the sounds in the book to the sounds that the letter makes at the beginning of children’s names.
  • See blog post on why and how to teach letters of the alphabet through students’ names.

The Alphabet Book of Lowercase Letters by Helena Feltus

lower casealliteration

Great book for showing the letters of the alphabet in all places within a word, not just at the beginning. This is another favorite of mine since we want children examing letters in words in all positions and this book shows both upper- and lowercase letter.

  • Follow up by making a class book of alliteration sentences using student’s names.

Alpha Oops! The Day Z Went First by Alethea Kontis and Bob Kolar

512Xk5956JL._SX452_BO1,204,203,200_

Great book for examining the letters in random order. The book refers back to letters multiple times as the letters argue and discuss the order in which they should be.

Includes a storyline.

  • Friendship and feelings topics can be discussed as an extension with this book.

Teaching Letters of the Alphabet: ABC Books Part I

ABC book featureIn a previous blog post, Teaching Letters: Sorting, we discussed the importance of moving away from the old practice of teaching one letter per week to exploring, teaching and integrating letter instruction into through more holistic, meaningful experiences.

One strategy for teaching the names and sounds of the alphabet letters is through frequent, repeated readings of ABC books. However, we need to be intentional about which books we are choosing for the specific objective we want to accomplish.

Aspect to consider when choosing an ABC book….

  • Do the words listed include the sounds that you are teaching?

For example,

    • Some books use blends instead of the single consonant such as bread for B. One book even uses knight for K!
    • Some books use a mixture of long and short sounds for the vowels which might be confusing to children.
    • A couple of books I have examined even use air for A or artist for A.
  • With intentional choosing of books and guidance from the teacher, we can use ABC books effectively to help expose, practice and explore the letters and even all 40 sounds of the alphabet.

CHOOSE with INTENTION based on your objective:

For Example:

  • You are teaching the sounds of the alphabet, what is your current learning target…
    • The most common or frequently used sounds each letter?
    • Exposure to or knowledge of lots of sounds including blends and digraphs?
    • The most common or frequently used vowel sound?
    • Exposure to or knowledge of lots of vowel sounds including diphthongs and r-controlled vowels such as A is for artist?

Intentionally choose the book that best addresses your learning target. Here are some books for beginning teaching of the letters the alphabet and their sounds. (note: next week’s blog post will explore books for teaching the sounds of the alphabet letters)

(Click on each book to link to Amazon.)

The Letters are Lost by Lisa Campbell

This is a good book for beginning learning of the letters of the alphabet and their most commonly used sound (except A which is A is flying in an airplane.)

  • I do wish that the author would have written the word that begins with the letter in lowercase as we want from our students and just highlighted it instead of using uppercase letters. You could use whiteout tape over each letter and have the students help you write the lowercase or simply point out that the author chose to add capitals to show the letter of the alphabet but that is not how we write.
  • Letters are shown in an easy to read font.

 

ABC: What Can She Be? 

ABC girlsAn awesome book for exploring a variety of careers and practicing the names of the letters but not for the most frequently used sound. For example, C is for Chef.

 

 

 

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming

One long sentence as the mouse constructs the alphabet.

  • Great book for an extension of action verbs.
  • Displays the uppercase letter large on the page- great for reviewing letter names.
  • Uses airbrushes and air for A with no other words presented for A that includes the long or short sound

 

ABC by Eric Carle

A simple format of one word per letter.

  • Some of the vowel sounds are the long sound and some are the short sound.
  • Some of the letters contain blends such as frog for F.
  • Displays both the upper- and lower-case of each letter.
  • Great extension for counting of the animals on each page.

This IS a good book for beginning learning of the letters of the alphabet and their most commonly used sound (except A which is A is flying in an airplane.) As with the book, Q is for Duck, you will need to point out that the author chose to add capitals to show the letter of the alphabet but that is not how we write.

 

ABC for Me: ABC Yoga by Christina Engel

Love how it adds physical movement to learning the letters of the alphabet. When we include movement, learning sticks.

  • Be very careful about words that the first sound is not clear. For example, in the word “elephant”, students often hear the /L/ sound instead of the /e/ sound. Make sure to overemphasize the /e/ sound.

 

 

51wfzW0QnXL._SX381_BO1,204,203,200_Of course, we cannot forget a favorite of many for teaching the names of the letters…

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin

 

 

 

Alphabet Adventure by Audrey Wood and Bruce Wood

Alphabet Rescue by Audrey Wood and Bruce Wood

Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood and Bruce Wood

All three of the above books contain a storyline of an adventure for the lowercase letters of the alphabet. Great book for pointing out and naming the letters of the alphabet- both upper- and lowercase letters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Letters of the Alphabet: Using Names

namesIn a previous blog post, we discussed NO MORE LETTER OF THE WEEK.

To a child, there is nothing more important than his or her own name. Using names to teach letters and name recognition is a very powerful teaching tool. Names are very meaningful to children, therefore they are eager to learn to identify the letters in their own names first; it is very empowering and motivating for them. A child who is eager, motivated, and feels empowered about his or her own learning is going to learn more quickly and retain more than a child who is not.

Ideas for Letter Instruction through the Use of Names during Whole Group Instruction and/or Transitions:

  1. Each day choose one to three names during morning meeting or as a transition; can be one of the classroom jobs such as the line leader or teacher helper.
  2. The number of children names examined each day (1-3) depends on when in the day this activity is incorporated, and the amount of time provided.
    • If adding the activity to a morning meeting, you may only want to use one name to keep the whole group sitting on the carpet time short and purposeful.
    • If adding the activity to transitions, you may want to use 2-3 children’s names throughout the day at various transition times.
  3. Complete the same activity each day until you have used all of the student’s names in the classroom.

Examples of activities:

Round 1: Chant My Name

  1. Hold up a name that has been printed on cardstock with the student’s picture.
  2. Ask “Whose name is this?”
  3. That student stands at the front of the room and points to each letter as it is chanted by the class. (example with Becky)

Teacher                      Class

Whose name is this?        Becky

Give me a B                          B

Give me an e                        e

Give me a c                           c

Give me a k                          k

Give me a y                          y

What is the word?           Becky

One more time                Becky

(Can add movements for each response or a cheer such as fireworks at the end etc. If students know the letters in their names, then they can lead the chants)

  • During transitions throughout the day, pull cards and have students identify their name to line up, move to the next activity, etc.

o Extension: Teacher/TA carries the name card while traveling the hallway to chant the name in a whisper during any times that the students may need to be waiting in the hallway.

 

ROUND 2: Mixing Up My Namefix it

  • Show the students a name and have the child whose name it identifies the name
  • Place the letters in the name mixed up in a pocket chart and have the student sequence of letters in his/her name.
    • Differentiation: Ask students to place the letters in his/her name in sequence…
      • on top of the model of his/her name = letters are in the same font
      • under the model of his/her name = letters are in the same font
      • under the model of his/her name = letters in a different font
      • with no model in the same or in a different font
    • Encourage the student to name each letter as he/she sequences them.
    • Have all students draw the first letter of the name in the air- showing the students and verbalizing the correct path of motion. A Magna Doodle works well for this activity using the circle shape piece. Draw the letter on the Magna Doodle so that all students can see and hear the correct path of motion. (or a whiteboard)
    • Have all students say each letter in the name
    • Teacher: “What does that word spell?” Students: (say the name)

 

  • Extension: Graphing: Have students color in a square on a graph for each letter of his/her name. If the student has two or more of the same letters, he/she would color in that number of squares. Compare which letter is used the most in the student’s names, the least and which letters are not used at all in the names.
  • Extension: Add a large variety of letters cut from cardboard food boxes and cardstock advertisements in the art and creation station. Allow students to make posters of their names. This is a great way to add in various fonts. Capture
  • Extension: Write students names on an 8×11 or 11×14 piece of paper in large letters using appropriate upper- and lowercase letters and correct letter formation. Allow students to use a variety of hole punches to cut circles or shapes to glue onto the lines in his/her name.

For 9 more additional rounds of ideas, follow the link:

No More Letter of the Week: Teaching Letters Through Meaning

Teaching Letters of the Alphabet: Sorting Letters

In a previous blog post, we discussed NO MORE LETTER OF THE WEEK.

Instead of letter of the week, children benefit from exposure to all letters with meaningful experiences. Children need to compare and contrast letters based on formation and sounds. To help students with comparison, we can provide multiple experiences for them to sort letters.

As noted by researches Fountas and Pinnell:Sorting Letters- FREE DOWNLOAD labels to sort in multiple ways journeyintoearlychildhood.com

“Children’s first efforts at matching and sorting may be with letters of different shapes or colors, but they can soon learn to sort letters, match letters, find letters with features in common such as tails, circles, short sticks, tall sticks, tunnels, dots, capitals, and so on. Their time spent sorting letters in a myriad of ways is essential to learning how to look at print in the early levels. They need to develop fast, flexible recognition of letters. Begin with just a few letters rather than all twenty-six, and concentrate on the lowercase letters and get the children to develop speed in matching or sorting.“

From Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (C) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

 

FREE DOWNLOAD: Labels and Ideas for Sorting Letters

Some fun materials to use for sorting:

(link to Amazon or just use found materials!)