How do you teach letters and sounds in your classroom?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by zoey'smom, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. zoey'smom

    zoey'smom Cohort

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I am making some changes this year to my preschool program and need some suggestions.

    Here is a little background. Last year I taught Kindergarten and Preschool. I taught K in the morning and preschool in the afternoon. I am not a very organized person and I hadn't taught preschool for over 10 years. It was a very interesting year. Well I get to do it again. Last year I taught a letter a week, but I hated it. My problem is I want to make sure and get all the letters in by the end of the year. I do a lot using the letters in their name, but what about the letters that are not in their names.

    I want to get away from letter a week, but want to make sure
    they know all or most of their letters before they leave preschool.
    What do you do to teach letters and sounds?
     
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  3. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jul 26, 2011

    We start with names, like you said.

    Then I move to really intensely playing those phonemic games.

    Then after a few days or weeks of those games I start to ask when they draw "what sounds do you hear in......". Then we try to figure out how to write the first sound to whatever it was. So if it is mom, we try to write a M. See?

    Then we are really rolling and the neurons have caught on....it has only been a couple weeks at this point. So we start to have a theme or seasonal letter that shows up. We don't do the letter of the week (I can't stand it) but when and if the letter comes up we mention it.

    We do a lot of pulling letter out of sensory bins and things like that, I have dice that have letters on them. We treat the alphabet as a whole, and we do zoo phonics.

    Does any of that help?
     
  4. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Jul 26, 2011

    Great ideas, WaProvider! I like the idea of writing a letter on their drawings.

    I apologize in advance for this long post...I just kept thinking of more things!

    We focus a lot on names for the first month. We greet everyone by holding up their name and I label everything with their names. Then we sing songs with their names like singing The Name Game, T is for Timmy, Willaby Wallaby Woo, etc. We do a "Name Study" where they pick friends to hold letter cards that spell their name and put the friends in order.

    I would like to have a word wall that has all their names under the appropriate letter and we could add words throughout the year. Honestly, I cannot find the right space to do this. I have very little wall space - it's all windows or cubbies or shelves. Going to keep thinking about it though.

    We also talk about the letters in the titles of the books we read and relate them to our friends who start with the same letter, or another teacher, etc.

    We play a lot of "find the letter" games. One that I liked was putting magnetic letters in plastic eggs and matching them to the alphabet chart. Or I might make dog bone diecuts and put letters on them and we'll match them to dog bowls. Or I will hide cut outs around the room with alphabet letters and they identify them when they find them. We have a big alphabet floor puzzle and each child will get a piece to add to it. Anything to get us talking about the letters.

    I LOVE Nursery Rhymes. So we will often play with letters on our big nursery rhyme charts to work on letter sounds. We turn Humpty Dumpty into Mumpty Mumpty or Bumpty Bumpty and things like that.

    We also do Handwriting Without Tears, so we are working on letter names and sounds during that time.

    One thing I would like to add to my room is more tactile letters. I would love to get the Lakeshore Alphabet blocks, but for now I will settle for some tagboard letters to put in the writing center. I also have some small Sesame Street plastic letter shaped blocks. I might make some sandpaper letters as well. I've wondered if I could hit a sale at a craft store where they have those wooden letters to paint and decorate?

    Whew! Was that more information than you needed? Hope it helps a little!
     
  5. Beverly

    Beverly Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I use songs with visual aides. My kids learned all their letters within about 3 months.
     
  6. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Jul 26, 2011

    What songs?

    We do Dr. Jean Alphadarty quite a bit- but would love to have more.

    I don't really teach letters in isolation at all, but we talk about them and do them as part of our routine with kids when it comes up. (I.E. Writing center, journals, finding names, friend's names....)
     
  7. zoey'smom

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    Jul 26, 2011

    Thanks for all the great ideas, a lot of them I do already. Which makes me feel a little better. We also do Handwriting without tears. I hated doing a letter a week, but at the time I thought it would be a great way to make sure I went through all the letters. Thanks again for the great ideas. I would love to hear more.
     
  8. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jul 26, 2011

    We do the matching of the item and the letter games as well, and many others.

    Scmoms discussion of lack of room reminded me that when we are focusing on the single letter that is tied to the season we make our own poster for what starts with that letter. So by the end of the year we have a million of these mini posters and they are all in a classroom binder. It is a dictionary...but they don't know. I have seen 3's look things up. It is great!
     
  9. tk1teacher

    tk1teacher Rookie

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I was happy to see Dr, Jean come up.... I use her music everyday. Phonercize is my very fav. If you can only afford one cd I suggest Keep on Singing and Dancing. I also use Jack Hartman Shake Rattle and Read. I find it strange that you are not tied to a curriculum. I have been teaching for 18 years and have been under a County, State adopted curriculum.
     
  10. zoey'smom

    zoey'smom Cohort

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I am part of a preschool co-op and when I took over the classroom last year, I could find nothing on what curriculum to follow and no one could tell me what I needed to be teaching. They said to follow the Illinois Early learning standards and just get them ready for k. It was so frustrating. Then last year around October I was told most of the other classrooms use Creative curriculum and they finally gave me the books, that they thought I already had, but didn't. I am going through them this summer, but I feel I wanted to do more and did not want to do a letter a week again. I also use a lot of Dr. Jean.
     
  11. Beverly

    Beverly Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2011

    We use the Dr. Jean Who Let The Letters Out (I hate that Who Let The Dogs Out song, ha ha... but every child I've ever used this with has been very enthusiastic about learning letter sounds!), Heidisongs Singable Songs for Letters and Sounds, the song from the Leap Frog Letter Factory video, and Alphabet Lane by Sue Dickson. What I like about Alphabet Lane is that it includes rhymes, but it really is a mouthful! I think she should have spaced out the song a little more so you can breathe! It is really cute though. Oh, and there's also a song for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom from Scholastic, and although it doesn't teach sounds and the song is really too fast to help students focus on each letter, I find that both the song and book help to peak their interest in the alphabet. :)

    Other than songs, we also do a lot with names, abc bingo, stamping letters in playdoh... I found that my homemade playdoh totally outlasted the store bought stuff, especially if you refrigerate it.. and I love the way it smells when you use Kool-Aid to make it.
     

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