It’s Back to School time and if you teach preschool, kindergarten or first grade, you are thinking about letter recognition and letter identification activities for your little students. You need ABC activities that are fun and that really WORK!
There are a lot of different ideas and games for learning the ABCs. These are just a few of them that we use. The first several listed are hands-down some of the best ways to help students learn their letters!
Reading an ABC Linking Chart, every single day, is one of the most beneficial ways to help students get those letters and letter names learned! Read the charts during guided reading time or shared reading. There are so many ways to use the linking charts:
- read it across
- read it from the bottom
- read each row backwards
- take away the letters with just picture clues remaining
- take away the picture clues
- match magnetic letters
- call out letters
- call out sounds
As student get more confident and learn more letters, you can mix it up more. This keeps it interesting too. You can find the linking charts here.
ABC TRACING BOOKS
Whenever I have a student that is simply struggling to learn the ABCs, I instruct them with tracing books. Students trace each letter (capital and lower case) with the proper path of movement, say the letter and then picture cue: trace capital A and say /A/, trace lower case a and say /a/, then say alligator. This works best if you use letter books that match your linking chart. You can also cut apart the letter cards to make letter matching games. This works best if you can do this one on one with the student to ensure they are properly tracing the letters. A para, parent volunteer, or even an older student provided that they are detail oriented for the path of movement can help with this. Tracing the letters, saying the letter names and the pictures every single day makes a big difference in their learning! Find the tracing books here.
Using Alphabet books are a fun way to practice learning letters too. After reading the book in whole group, set the book in a literacy center for students to read and match letters to the pages in the book. Here are my favorite ABC books:
The Handmade Alphabet (different hands signing the abcs with a picture cue)
As you read alphabet books or if you place them in a center, have the letters formed above the book in an ABC Arc. Students can pull down letters to match letters on the page.
Letter sorting can be done in many ways. Here are a few ideas:
- letter attributes- curved, straight, both
- sorting by colors
- in my name & not in my name
- vowels and consonants
- tall, small, and fall
PINCH A POM POM
Fill a bucket with pom poms and magnetic letters. Students reach in with a pair of tongs to try to pull out letters to match with their name card. Teach letters and strengthen hand muscles at the same time!
TOSS A LETTER
I use letter bean bags in a basket. Students reach in the basket to pull out a bean bag- capitals on one side of the bag and lower case letter on the other side of the bean bag. They decide if the letter is in their name or not and then toss it into the YES or NO bucket. Kids love this game! I use this ABC Bean Bag.
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