Alphabet Instruction ~ Order to Teach

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by MayerBabe09, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. MayerBabe09

    MayerBabe09 New Member

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    Oct 2, 2008

    Hello,

    Happy to have found this site and what a wonderful resource for teacher brainstorming! Love it!

    I'm an experienced kindergarten teacher turned stay at home mom. Last month I sent my newly turned 5 year olds to kinder (triplets) only to realize rather quickly that my children would not be having a good experience given their placement. I never dreamed I'd be one of "those" parents who withdraws my kids from their school, but after a week of observation/volunteering, I knew in good conscious I could not allow them to continue there.

    Long story short, the children could not change teachers/classrooms, and so I've put them into a M/W/F Montessori Kinder for this school year. I will be supplementing their learning on Tue / Thu on my own.

    So back to the lesson plan drawing board!

    My question to you kinder teachers is this:

    In what order do you introduce/teach the alphabet in your schools/classrooms? Do you simply go 'alphabetically' starting with A at the beginning of the year and ending with Z? Or is there an order in which I can follow that relates to the frequency of the letter found in the English language? Or perhaps an order which becomes increasingly more comlex to write (such as beginning with the letter O and ending with a more sophisticated letter graphically such as G or R?

    When I taught 9 years ago, we simply followed ABC order, but I'm interested to know if new research / studies have discovered even better methods in which to introduce the alphabet.

    Also, how long do you spend on each letter unit? I am thinking to follow one letter per week (2 days per letter).

    Any/all advice welcome!

    Thanks!

    :)
     
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  3. punchinello

    punchinello Comrade

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    Oct 2, 2008

    Interesting post! I am looking forward to reading the responses to your questions.

    I have 4 older children now, all successful students, one in college, 2 high school, one middle school. Before staying home with them, I taught K and also 2nd grade. I'm back in a K classroom now and loving it!

    You have the luxury of knowing your "students" better than anyone. As with most things in life, effective teaching is all about moderation. A combination of whole language, phonics, higher level skills, rote memorization....they all have their time and place.

    I like teaching the letters in ABC order. It makes sense to the kids. But you can also incorporate whole language skills at the same time. One doesn't have to exclude the other. Rich, beautiful literature can't be beat...be sure to read, read, read to them.

    You know what to do. Trust your instincts and follow your childrens' lead. It's pretty much just common sense, this teaching thing. New lingo and buzz words, but basically nothing has changed since you last taught in the classroom.

    I'd be interested to hear what you didn't like about the school. How is the Montessori K working out?
     
  4. mdith4him

    mdith4him Companion

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    Oct 2, 2008

    We use a program with Letterbooks which have different activities for each letter. The program does not go in ABC order, but instead goes in order of letter shape. We're doing all the circular letters first (C, O, G...) and then slowly moving into letters that are just sticks (E, T, L...). The reasoning behind it is that ABC order has no meaning for kinder kids. I've found that a lot of the kids know the ABC song, but if you ask them to point out the A on our alphabet chart, they have no clue. So there's really no reason to be doing it in that order.
     
  5. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    Oct 2, 2008

    I emphasize one letter a week, generally whatever I am in the mood for or a sound the will show up frequently in poetry. For example, if we are reading Mary Had a Little Lamb to practice rhyming, I might work on Ll or Mm.
    However, do teach more than one at a time. My students are all working on all letters and sounds all the time. We are also working on rhyming and beginning word sounds. Read read an ABC book every day and repeat it many many times before discarding it. Even when we have read it 10-20 times it then lands in our reading corner and they read it themselves. We practice writing our names, important words (sight words), labeling our drawings and reading all sorts of text. All of this exposure provides many opportunities ot see letters.

    Put magnetic letters on the fridge for them to use while you cook. Get bathtub crayons to use to write while bathing. Play with playdough and make letters with the dough. Put letter cards up around the house so they can go on a scavenger hunt to math the letters they have (give each child different letters), even if they don't know what they are called, they are becoming familiar with their shape and you can tell them what they have before, during, and after they search. Take every opportunity to read, write and sound out poems and words with them.
    Also, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that they have tactile, physical, and visual experiences away from television and computer. There are many great resources that can be used in moderation, but research is making connections between LDs and screen time. We all learned quite a lot with out those aides, make sure you spend the time working with them instead of a screen.
     
  6. Mommateach

    Mommateach Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2008

    Hi
    Here is what my child's former kindergarten taught.....
    http://www.jollylearning.co.uk/jp.htm
    They don't introduce the letters in ABC order.
    The first three days of school they worked on s, a and t.
    The next week of school they learned i, p, and n. They worked on the sounds, actions that go with the sounds, songs and stories that go with the sounds. They also did the worksheets with writing those letters. What I found strange was that the little letter i looks like a backwards j. Anyway, the teacher moved through the phonics pretty quickly seeing as by December they were done introducing the phonics program and were putting the phonics to use with words. Oh ya...in November they were writing words by saying it, hearing it and writing it method. They learned sight words also. The kids were expected to start practicing reading little worksheet type books (very simple readers) too. By March of the K year the children had leveled readers they had to read every night for homework.

    I think the kindergarten teachers did spend some time doing projects with the students with the abc's in order (just not at phonics time). I know they did do a big ABC book using glued on buttons on a large letter B, cotton for C, noodles for N, yarn for Y and such. The parents were asked to donate the yarn, buttons, cotton balls, noodles and other items.

    How do your children like their Montessori school? I wish you the best of luck with your triplets! Have fun with them too!
     
  7. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Oct 3, 2008

    It is my first year teaching, so I'm just following the district's literacy curriculum, which does not go in alphabetical order. So far we have done M, S, R, and T (in that order). I'm really not sure what the logic is behind the order. They don't even introduce vowels for quite some time. This month we are doing N, P, K, and A.
     
  8. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Oct 3, 2008

    Letter/sound sequence in core reading programs are usually introduced with the most common letters and the easiest to blend letters. For instance, you can make more words with m,s,r,t,p, and a than with a,b,c,d,e and f. ( not sure about the letter k, though)
     
  9. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Oct 3, 2008

    Last year I followed our handwriting book. Starting with F, E.....
    This year I decided to try going in ABC order so far I have done ABC and letter F (since I started the handwriting program). Next week I'll be working on D and E.
     
  10. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Oct 3, 2008


    That's kind of what I was thinking. Makes sense.
     
  11. kidsalot

    kidsalot Comrade

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    Oct 3, 2008

    Are you using "Beginning to Read, Write , and Listen" ? If so what do you think of it?
     
  12. MissB

    MissB Companion

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    Oct 4, 2008

    I don't focus on one letter a week. The research shows that it is far too slow to only focus only on one letter a week. Instead focus on all letters in context. Have your children reading and writing for a purpose on days when they are home with you. They can help write out the grocery list, they can write notes for things to do that day.

    DizzyKates ideas are really wonderful too.

    Have fun matching upper/lowecase letters, putting together abc order puzzles. Play ABC Go Fish. Have fun rhyming and singing songs together.

    Teach onset and rime and make sure your girls recognize the common patterns in words (chunks) so they can learn to read and apply it.

    If you are talking penmenship, I would do what mdith4him said and focus on the similar shaped letters first.

    If you are set on one letter a week, I would suggest what Kat53stated, teaching the most frequent letters first.

    But certainly reading lots of alpha books and teaching abc order is important for the furture, like using a dictionary (do we still use those things??) and organizing data.

    Good luck! I'm sure this is all stuff you already know and do anyway. :) Let us know how the year goes.
     
  13. harbodin

    harbodin Companion

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    Oct 4, 2008

    Hi! We teach the letters out of order, and as someone said letters that are easy to make words with, s, t, a, p, m, etc. We also do them according to "theme" (we often do A during Johnny Appleseed week, etc). I actually don't like teaching a letter of the week, because some kids are way above that, some below, etc. I start off by trying to teach the letters to each kid that are in their names (at least the first to start). I do follow the letter of the week that everyone else does in my school to stay consistent, but I keep that more as a *focus* letter. For example, when we do our morning message we would circle the focus letter. Homework is based on the focus letter one night and sight words another.

    Good luck, triplets will keep you busy no matter what I am sure! :)
     
  14. Kindtchr

    Kindtchr Comrade

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    Oct 4, 2008

    I used Beginning to Read, Write and Listen for the past several years. The students loved it. It was easy for me to plan. I liked the listening tapes/CDs, although it took time to make up those lessons when students were absent. It is expensive for the school to purchase the large, colorful books every year. The only negative I encountered was with students entering school already reading. They certainly needed the handwriting practice and really enjoyed the listening activities. I supplemented with guided reading for those students.

    This year I was asked to try using Fountas & Pinnell's phonics lessons. It is not challenging for the student that is already reading chapter books. So far it is more work preparing materials. I haven't found a set sequence to teach letters in any specific order.:confused:


    I had a set of triplets in my class last year. Two of them were already reading and writing their own stories. They liked to dictate stories and then illustrate them. The third was capable of more than she let on- she didn't want to work any harder than she had to. You might try using the letters in their names at first. Especially since they are already writing them. Good luck. :):):)
     
  15. lovemyson

    lovemyson Rookie

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    Oct 8, 2008

    In the school where my son attends kinder they don´t go in abc order. I really don´t know what order they follow, but the letters they´ve seen so far are: m, s, t, r, n, p. They see a letter a week. In addition to that they are already introduced to sight words for example: I, a, my, the, I think next week they will see: to. Sight words are very important, don´t forget them. I think it´s a sight word every 2 weeks. You can also try asking his montessori teacher and reinforce what she will be doing m,w,f on the days they´ll be home with you. Good Luck.
     
  16. Cheeka33

    Cheeka33 New Member

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    Oct 9, 2008

    What program are you using? I had a book which showed how to teach the letters in the order you are using and I can't find it.
     

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