Letter sounds are a vital piece to the foundation for Kindergarten reading. If our students don't know the sounds, they are unable to decode words and therefore, they are unable to read. It is our job to give our students repeated, daily practice with letter sounds to ensure this skill is concrete for them throughout their Kindergarten year.
This lesson is particularly helpful because medial vowel sounds need to be practiced a lot! The last sounds that students can hear successfully are medial vowel sounds. Usually, students hear initial sounds, then initial and final sounds, and finally they are able to hear the initial, final and medial sounds. Since students need to be able to hear medial sounds for reading and writing, it is important that we recognize their difficulty with them and provide them with solid practice!
Our children love practicing letters and sounds. Not only does it build a good foundation for them, but it also builds their confidence. So, we should do everything we can to make this learning activity fun. Now, since I don't like reinventing the wheel, I found another source to help out with this task! I love making a meaningful connection between a picture to a letter and a sound; it increases the likelihood students will remember it! The easy way to do this is... drumroll, please... to use Dr. Jean's Letter Tales. In this song (with a book and powerpoint to match), Dr. Jean uses the tails of animals to tell the "tales" of the letters! This is clever enough for any teacher to enjoy!
Here is the song for download.
Here is the song for free online to listen to (although I wouldn't recommend showing the video, just listening).
Attached below is the Microsoft Word document you can use to make the accompanying book.
Also attached below is the PowerPoint show to accompany as well.
*Please note: there is a book that uses more difficult, tier-two-vocabulary, like animals; however,I think that would be too difficult to use on a daily basis. If interested, you can purchase that more challenging e-book here.
"As you know, we have been working hard to learn our letters and our letter sounds. Today, we are going to learn a fun, new way to practice our letters and sounds! We are going to learn about Letter Tales. The interesting thing about Letter Tales, is that there are animal tails for every letter! So today, we will practice these Letter Tales and look at the animal tails, too!"
"Letter Tales is a song. So, I will teach you the tune now, before we start looking through the story together. It goes like this, (the words align with the tune of Gilligan's Island's theme song) This is a tale about the letter A. It makes a special sound. /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ A, let's learn another sound. Now, you try to sing it."
(Students will try to sing the tune for A.)
"Great. Now, let's go through all of the letters together!"
(You will need the Word Document and/or the PowerPoint for this to accompany the song- they are attached at the bottom in the resources box of the Materials Needed section shown above.)
You will go through each letter, singing the tune. After each time, stop and talk about the animal whose tail is shown for that letter. For example, I might say, "Whose tail it this for letter A's tale?" (Students will say, "It is an alligator tail.")
"Yes, you are right. It it an alligator's tail. What letter does alligator start with?"
(Students will say, "A.")
"Great! So that is why it's shown on this page."
You will follow this routine for every letter and picture through the end.
Once I have been through all of the letters with our song and I have explored the pictures, I play the song in its entirety as students sing along. I point to the words, or have students do that and/or point to the animal tails while everyone sings. It is easy to do this with either the book or the PowerPoint.
Here are the Letter Tales Printable Book Pages.
And here is the Letter Tales powerpoint. The preview on this site may look a little messed up, but you can download this to Microsoft PowerPoint and it shows up perfectly!
*This lesson can be as short OR as long as you want each day. I would, however, recommend that that anyone who wants to try this should do something similar each and every day during the morning message or oral language time.
Sometimes, I like to play the entire song and let the students get up and move around- this really keeps them engaged. I make sure to walk around and listen. Also, I correct any sounds I heard that may be mispronounced.
If I really just want to practice only a few letters, or just take less time to practice letters and sounds, I can easily use my book and/or your PowerPoint to review letters.
To change it up, I like to do everything listed above. Actually, I really like to do each of these things throughout the week. I like to do the entire song on Mondays. On Tuesdays, I use the book and focus on all of the vowels and the easily confused consonants (b, b, f, v, g, j, s, z). On Wednesdays and Thursdays, I use the PowerPoint and focus on the letters that we are blending with for that week. On Fridays, I like to do the entire song again.
As long as I use the materials over and over, your students will fall in love with them and will enjoy each and every second of practice! So, thank Dr. Jean, and have fun with your students!
Attached below is the practice that my students liked to use at the end of the year! After so much practice with this Letter Tales lesson, I could see how quick and fluent they were with letter sounds! The video for this more fast-paced song (that should be used later in the year) can be found here!