Two of the most basic and important skills for Kindergarteners are: letter naming and letter-sound matching. Without these two concepts being concrete, our students cannot decode. It is imperative that we review the letters and letter sounds as often as possible.
Every day, I come back from my Special Areas class to begin Oral Language. As you can imagine, it's kind of hard to wrangle in the attention at this time. So, I have come up with a simple, fun and useful activity for my students to participate in at this time.
When my students come in from their Special Areas class (and even sometimes lunch), I have them find their own spot in the room. They can go anywhere in the room they want, as long as they are not talking and are standing still with room around them. When everyone is in their spot, we begin our "Letters and Sounds Jam," as I have deemed it. As soon as we begin, they can move however they want (on their feet only), as long as they are watching the video and singing along. If they aren't singing along, they have to sit down-- that only happens once until they are participating with excitement. The students just think they are getting to play and wiggle around; little do they know, they are getting specific instruction and visual aids for letters and letter-sound correspondences. How? See below!
As I always say, I do not want to reinvent the wheel; nor do I want to lose my voice going over something every day that I don't have to. So, I use this fabulous video to help my students practice. This video is about 4:30; however, it is worth every second spent.
In this video, EVERY capital and lower case letter is shown. Also, the phonetic way to spell each sound is shown, as the sounds are pronounced (and they are all pronounced correctly- score).
This video isn't super quick because it shows all of the letters, multiple times and gives the sounds two times as well. This is good though- more exposure means more remembering!
This video is sort of like a rap, so the students really get into it and enjoy moving around and saying the words, letters and sounds as well.
Another cool thing about this video is how visual it is. There are different colors and the font is huge and students really get drawn in. I show this video practically every day and my students (even the ones who know their letters and sounds like the back of their hands) LOVE practicing with this fun song!
I adore this video, as I am sure is evident (although, other people must love it, too; as it has almost 25 million views on YouTube)!
I just have two suggestions that I have tried to boost this video.
1) I like students to point to the letters when the video goes over them. I do this because it ensures that the students are all looking at the video and are not only saying the letter names but are seeing the image as they say them.
2) I like to have the video say the letter sound first, then the student repeat after. That way, every time, the students hear the proper example of the sound before they say it themselves.
In the end, this video is amazing and flawless; I just like to tack on some extras. My kids love this song and will gladly participate in this activity from the beginning of Kindergarten until the beginning of first grade (and then they will bug their first grade teacher to watch it)!
Here is a short clip of my students enjoying some letter sound moving practice with a fun and familiar song!
Like I said above, I show this video almost every day, all year. With that being said, I like to add different things to it throughout the year to make it more exciting.
Some things I do:
1) I have students use pointers to point at the alphabet on our wall (instead of the video) as they say the letters and sounds. I also have them do this with the alphabet on their name tags or the mats we use to track the alphabet sometimes.
2) I assign each student a random letter (I do this for the week). When that letter and/or its' sound shows up on the screen, the student raises their hand.
3) I give students wands with letters on them. By the time the video gets to your letter for the first time, I want you to be pointing to that letter somewhere in the room.
4) And, towards the end of the year, I like to have students attempt to trace the letters (not the sounds) along with the video.
I don't have to do anything to make this video useful, meaningful, instructional and exciting; however, adding my own oomph is what makes it work for my kids for the whole year!
I also love using this video for reviewing these skills as a reward... it shows the same things and really supports the video we use often, but it does it to the tune of "What does the fox say?" Of course the kids love this!