Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Learning Letters and Having Loads of Fun

During the first few months of Kindergarten we eat, breathe, and I'm pretty sure dream about letters! If you're a Kindergarten teacher, you know what I am talking about. We pull out every trick in the book to help our little ones master letter recognition. So today I'm sharing with you some tips and some of my favorite learning letters activities. 

Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!


Letter Introduction Order

Before you dive in and start teaching letters, you need to decide the order in which you will teach your students. You may have a curriculum map that you need to follow or you may need to make your own letter map. While I think it is important for kids to be exposed to all of the letters, I focus on teaching only a few at a time. When I introduce a new letter or set of letters, I always go back and review the ones previously taught. There are certain letters that I avoid teaching together because kids can easily get confused when letters look similar.

Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!

For the most part, there is no right or wrong way to teach letters. All children learn differently so we need to have a million different ways to teach the same skill. You've got to do what works for your kiddos. And each year that might mean something different. What worked for learning letters one year might not work the next.

Letter Books

One way that remains the same is you've got to read to your students! Read often. It may sound silly or obvious, but reading is an important step to learning letters. Reading to little ones lets them see why letters are important and how we use letters (to make words). I love using books as a way of teaching letters. Pictured below are a few of my favorite alphabet read alouds.

Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!

If you'd like to order these books directly from Amazon, here are my affiliate links:

Letter Singing & Dancing

Get up and move with singing and dancing! I love using my Smartboard so students can see the letters while we sing about them. Have Fun Teaching has a lot of fun alphabet videos on YouTube. If you don't have a Smartboard, use flashcards or your alphabet chart. Whatever you use, it is so important to have a visual so students can see the letters while they sing.

Learning Letters Hand Motions

I also like using hand motions to letters and letter sounds. The motions serve as great reminders when kids struggle to recall the letter name or sound. Often times, if a student can't remember the letter name or letter sound, I will make the motion (or prompt them to make it) and viola! just like that...they remember! You can make up your own hand motions or adapt these to fit your classroom, but these are the ones I use.

 Aa is for apple. Cup your hand to your mouth and pretend to eat an apple. 
Bb is for baby. Cross your arms in front and pretend to rock a baby.
Cc is for cut. Open and close your fingers like scissors and pretend to cut.
Dd is for dive. Put your palms together over your head, pretend to dive into the water
Ee is for elephant. Make an elephant trunk with your arm.
Ff is for five (or fingers). Hold up five fingers.
Gg is for guitar. Pretend play a guitar.
Hh is for hair (or head). Stroke or point to your hair/head.
Ii is for itch. Softly scratch an itch on our arm. Be sure to emphasize the word softly!
Jj is for jump. Lay one hand flat with your palm up, use two fingers from the other hand to jump.
Kk is for key. Pretend to use a key to open a lock on a door.
Ll is for lollipop. Pretend to lick a lollipop.
Mm is mmm. Rub your belly like the food is mmm good.
Nn is for nose. Point to your nose.
Oo is for octopus. With your palm facing down, wiggle your fingers to make an octopus.
Pp is for pizza. Put your palm up, over your head, and pretend to toss a pizza in the air. You know, like they do in a pizza parlor.
Qq is for quack. Open and close your hand to quack like a duck.
Rr is for rip. Put your hands together in front of you. Move hands in opposite direction and pretend to rip a piece of paper.
Ss is for snake. Use your hand to make a slithering motion like a snake.
Tt is for time, tick-tock. Bend your elbow, point arm toward ground and move it back and forth like the tick-tock of a clock.
Uu is for up. Use your finger to point up.
Vv is vacuum. Use your hand to make a V with two fingers, turn fingers towards ground and pretend to vacuum
Ww is for wave. Wave to friend.
Xx is for mix. Round your arm to make a bowl and use the other hand to mix. (Note: You could also have students cross their arms in front of their body to form an X.)
Yy is for yawn. Cover your hand with your mouth and pretend to yawn.
Zz is for zipper. Move your hand up and down and pretend to zip a zipper.

You can download a printable version by clicking on the picture below.

Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!


Letter Sorts

We sort letters to practice visual discrimination. Visual discrimination is a person's ability to differentiate one object from another. This is an important skill because our brain is constantly discriminating letters and words as we read. Plus, this is a great activity for exposing kids to different fonts so that they become more comfortable with different texts and environmental print.
Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!


Letter Books

My kids LOVE the camera theme on these pages. They cut apart the strip of letters on the right side of the page. They decide whether or not the letter matches the target letter on the page. If the letter matches they glue the letter in the picture frame. If the letter doesn't match they glue it at the bottom of the page.  These are available in my TpT shop by clicking here.
Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!

Alphabet Flip Books are another hit in my classroom. I do the first few with my kids, but after that they can put these together on their own. There is so much learning with ONE piece of paper. First, we cut the pictures apart to get a little fine motor practice. Next, we rainbow write the large letters for some handwriting practice. Then, we say the letter name, letter sound, and identify the beginning sound pictures.  The kids love bringing these books home to read to their families. There's 31 flip books included (one for each short and long vowel sound), and you can check them out in my TpT shop here.


Learning Letters with Magazines 

Use magazines to go on a letter hunt. (Be sure to preview the magazines first and remove any articles or advertising that is not Kinder friendly.) Students look through the magazines to find matching letters. They cut them out and glue them on the page. You can have students match uppercase letter to uppercase letter, or hunt for the lowercase letter match.

Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!

Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!
You can download the magazine recording sheet HERE.


Learning Letters Spinner Activity

This is another no-prep interactive activity and makes a fun center. Students need a paperclip and a pencil to make a spinner. They will spin and record the letter they land on, either uppercase or lowercase. To help students with letter writing, each page displays correct letter formation and has three letters for students to trace before they write independently. There's 26 included, one for each letter of the alphabet.
Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!
This spin and write activity is available here in my TpT shop.


Letter Hunt

Have students hunt for letters in a word search book. You can pick these books up at the Dollar Tree. Look for the ones with the largest font. To prep this activity, tear out the pages, add several different colors of highlighters, and the alphabet cards (download link below the pictures).

Students will pick a letter card and a highlighter. They hunt for the letter on the page and highlight it when they find it. They can pick another card and use a different color highlighter to find the new letter. I only put out a few letter cards at a time so you may want to make two copies of the letter cards, depending on how many students will be using the activity at a given time.

Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!

Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!
You can download the alphabet cards here.


Letter Matching

This is another class favorite for learning letters. Honestly, I think any time there's bingo dabbers involved, it's a favorite! Be sure to read this post for tips on introducing bingo dabbers to your students.

Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!

This packet includes 8 center activities with "I Can" visual directions pages. There are 3 different center types included: match the uppercase letter to the lowercase letter, match the lowercase letter to the uppercase letter, and decide if a given set of letters is a match (ex: Mm vs Fe).

The center cards and recording sheets are picture coded to keep your organized. Also included are extra no-prep pages for additional practice. I use these for center activities and for remediation as well. You can find these here.

Be sure to stop by my Alphabet Pinterest board for some more great ideas!

Learning letters in Kindergarten is a much needed skill! This post has great ideas to keep your students engaged in their letter learning in a fun way. Click through to learn more about alphabet books, singing, dancing, hand motions, letter sorts, letter books, using magazines, letter spinners, letter hunts, matching letters, and more! Plus you can even download a great FREEBIE! Click through now to see how well this will work in your Kinder classroom or homeschool today!

Thanks for reading along! I hope all of these learning letters activities and ideas are worthwhile for your students!


9 comments:

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing your ideas! I plan on using the word search idea as a letter id intervention. Love your products and am glad you have a blog!
    ~ Amy

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    1. hi Amy! Thanks so much for stopping by and your words of encouragement...they are very much appreciated! :)
      -Melissa

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  2. LOVE the magazine hunt idea! Once we get centers up and running, that is sure to be in our rotation! Thanks!
    Jenn
    Crayons & Cuties In Kindergarten

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi Jenn, The magazine hunt is always a hit. You're kids will love it!
      -Melissa

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  3. Where do I find the alphabet board with the letters that the students color code? Love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi there, I think you are referring to the activity in this packet: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Its-All-Fun-Games-Back-to-School-Math-Literacy-Activities-for-Kindergarten-1977712

      Hope that helps!
      -Melissa

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  4. Thank you for this post! I love your work!

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  5. Thank you for this post! I love your work!

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  6. Wonderful job!!! Gosh my list for items I want to purchase keeps getting longer! I thank you also for your great freebies! xo

    ReplyDelete