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Friday, October 14, 2011

Alphafriends Help Us Learn the Letter Sounds

Every year I am amazed at how quickly my students learn the letter sounds.  I start off by introducing only five letter sounds a day.  On Day 1 I only introduce a-e, Day 2 f- j, Day 3 k-o, Day 4 p-t and on Day 5 u-z.  I believe the key is that you are only introducing a few at a time but reviewing everything you have taught up until that point.  The students need a great deal of repetition.

On Day 1, I start off by telling the students that they are going to meet some of my friends.  I hold up a picture card showing the letter and the friend that goes with the letter.  We use the Houghton Mifflin Language Arts program so our letters are called "Alphafriends".  As I am showing the letter, I tell the students a short story about the letter and then I make the kinesthetic movement and sound that goes along with it.  For example, Benny Bear loves to eat honey.  He reaches up high with one hand to get the honey and he brings it to his mouth.  When he brings the honey to his mouth he says /b/, /b/.  It is not important to stress the name of the letter while you are doing this.  You need to focus more on the name of the Alphafriend, the movement and the sound it makes.  By the end of the week you will have introduced all of the letter sounds.  The next week I review all of the letter sounds each day modeling less and less for the students.  You don't need to use Houghton Mifflin to teach letter sounds this way.  You can adapt whichever program you have to make it work.  You will be amazed by how fast your students pick up letter sounds and start using them in their reading and writing.

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