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Friday, October 14, 2011

Teaching the Alphabet Through Names

The beginning of the school year is all about the basics: colors, shapes, numbers to 10 and the ABC's.  Upon meeting my new students I learned that I had a small handful that knew very little of the alphabet . . . not even some of the letters in their names.  The first month or so of school this is my "Alphabet routine":

1. Introduce the letter of the day by using our "magic pointers" to write the capital letter in the air, erase w/ our "magic easers" and then write the lower case. (our reading program starts w/ a daily intro. of the alphabet and then switches to a letter a week)

2. Play the Name Game: Student names are written on cards. Students come up and put their name under "yes" or "no" if they have the letter of the day in their name or not. Once all the names are in the pocket chart we count the "yes" side and the "no" side and discuss which side has the most, least or if they are equal. I later outline the letter we found on the student cards with a high-light marker. This game is played daily until be reach the end of the alphabet.

3. Students go to the tables and do a worksheet that focuses on the letter of the day.
That little handful of students who were still having trouble recognizing the letters in their name got to do a fun activity with me to help them.  I blew up the letters in their name beforehand and cut the letters apart. I asked each child what the first letter in their name was and whether it was upper or lower case. Once they answered, they received the letter and got to decorate it with various things (dot stamps, markers, paper squares and beans). When they finished the first letter, we continued with the next and so on until all the letters were finished.  The letters were mounted onto black paper. The kids were so excited to do this with me. Not only did it help reinforce the letters in their names, it looks fantastic!  For additional practice later in the week we had the students build and glue smaller versions of the letters onto a piece of paper.  I've added the blown up letters to our Freebies section under Language Arts for any of you who want to try this with your students. Let me know how it turns out!

Click here to get this freebie.


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