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

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.

You can have loads of fun with learning letter names and sounds while singing and dancing.


Anchor Charts

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.



Pocket 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.


Click here for a fun and exciting game called Beat the Clock for students to play using the pocket chart. See blog post Pocket Chart Stations for more ideas and supplies.


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.


See my Blog post Word Work Stations and Sensory Tables for more ideas on setting up and using these multipurpose areas in your classroom.


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.


Hopefully, this gives you some more ideas and direction on teaching letter ID in a fun, multi purposeful and effective way.


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