Letter identification is the most fundamental foundation in early education and literacy. Students must have this knowledge and understanding of letters in order to progress to writing and reading. This is the most practiced skill taught by a early education teacher and happens to be the skill we teach all year long. How do we make identifying letters fun, meaningful, and help the kiddos retain this knowledge? How do we keep adding to this skill without becoming boring and redundant?
Teaching Letter Identification
Since there are 26 letters in the alphabet and we must teach both upper and lowercase, we need to be purposeful and effective in all our activities. Decorating your classroom with the alphabet, for instance with posters, will be the first introduction to letter identification your kindergarten students will have under your instruction. These decorations can be both colorful, decorative and purposeful. They can also be used for instruction and reinforce letter identification on a daily basis.
Letter ID includes teaching the name and characteristics of each letter along with their formation. This is accomplished by explicit instruction and can be achieved in many different ways. Do I teach letter ID along with their sounds? In a word–YES! Based on research as well as my own classroom experience, identifying letters and the sounds they make are best taught simultaneously.
Music is a favorite teaching strategy of mine. I use it whenever I can to teach academics. I love the chant “Every letter…has a name and Every Letter…Makes a Sound”. There are many different educational music dvd/cds available. Here are a few of my favorites.
- HeidiSongs – Letters and Sounds Alphabet Action Song
- Have Fun Teaching – Alphabet Song
- Jack Hartmann – Work Out to the Letter Sounds
- Jack Hartmann – See It, Say It, Sign It Alphabet Song
You can have loads of fun with learning letter names and sounds while singing and dancing.
Anchor charts are a classroom favorite. I begin with the letter introduction and then demonstrate the letter formation on the classroom anchor chart. We then complete the chart by drawing objects beginning with that letter. These are hung around the room to be referred to on a daily basis. See my post on Must make Kindergarten Anchor Charts for ideas on usage and displaying. Students can practice writing directly on the anchor chart as well. This allows for the entire class to observe and visually review throughout the day. Alphabet Picture Cards have a large variety of pictures to match letters for your anchor charts.
Since kids love to be interactive and hands-on, pocket charts can be the answer to individual and small group letter Id reinforcement. Use sentence strips or Alphabet cards and have the students put in alphabet order in the pockets.
Fine Motor Skills
Since research shows that retention of skills taught is much more likely when the neural pathways in the brain are strengthened by exercising fine motor skills, we must utilize any activity that is multi sensory. Especially while teaching and practicing the basic fundamental skill of letter identification. (See my post on fine motor skills activities.)
Practice, Practice, Practice
After the letter introduction, next is practice, practice, practice. This can be accomplished by group or individual work stations. Work stations and Sensory tables are effective and purposeful for practicing letter ID. Once these stations are set up, you can change them with the theme or activity, or letter you are reinforcing.
Digital or Computer Stations
Since technology is here to stay and most classrooms have a computer, using digital activities to teach and reinforce letter id is a must. These Boom Card activities are perfect for your computer station.
Apple Tree Letter ID Matching Boom Cards™ Digital Learning Task$2.00
Blue Cat & His Shoes Letter ID Matching Boom Cards™ Digital Learning Task Cards$2.00
Brown Bear & His Friends Letter ID Matching Boom Cards™ Digital Learning Task$2.00
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Letter ID Upper & Lowercase Match Boom Cards™ Digital$2.00
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Missing Letter Boom™ Digital Task Cards$2.00
Introduction to the Keyboard Letter ID Practice Boom Cards™ Digital Learning$2.00
Hopefully, this gives you some more ideas and direction on teaching letter ID in a fun, multi purposeful and effective way.