I always start off my letter/sound instruction by singing two ABC songs. The first one focuses just on the letters and order of the alphabet. The second one focuses on the sound of each letter. I sing these songs every day of the school year. Even though I have not formally taught every letter and sound at this time of year, the kids quickly learn the songs and they actually recognize many of the letter sounds before I have formally taught them. Here is a picture of the chart we use while singing!
We then review pictures that begin with the sound of T. I use the same pattern for these pictures every day and with every letter. You will see this pattern throughout my lessons:
I say(name of picture)
Students say(name of picture)
We all say letter sound three times.
For example, I may begin with the picture of 'turtle' with the letter T. I say: Turtle. Students say: Turtle. We all say: /t/ /t/ /t/
If you do not have any picture cards, here is a great video that reviews /t/ words and also addresses letter formation!!
Explicit instruction in both the isolated sound and letter formation is crucial for both reading and writing in kindergarten! It helps students sound out words when reading and spell words when writing.
I use these letter books throughout the year to build the foundational skills of letter/sound knowledge, reading, vocabulary and letter formation. The first few times we do these books, we do them whole group.
I leave the ‘book’ as a page for the writing part of the lesson. It is much easier for my students to write on a flat paper than a book that is folded and stapled. They simply do not have enough experience with books yet to press the page down firmly to write on it and it is far too time consuming for me to do it for every student.
I have them look at each page and I copy the words as students watch me. Students are seated on the carpet with me and I am up front modeling what they are going to do at their seats.
Say: Boys and girls, everyone look at the page with the title on it. We are going to write our name on that page on the line at the bottom. I write my name on that line. Say: Now we are going to copy the picture word onto the lines for each of the pages. After that, I am going to show you how to cut this and make it into a book! Does everyone see the number 1 here for page 1? (yes) On this line at the bottom, I am going to copy the word for the picture. What is this picture? (table) Watch me copy letter by letter to write the WORD table. I copy the word letter by letter for the students and show them how to reference the existing word to know what letter comes next.
I model one or two more words and inform the kids that they will be copying ALL of the words. I then show them how to trace the dotted lines on the last page to match the word with the picture.
Say: Now we are going to cut our paper and fold it to make it into a book. Watch me. I am going to get my scissors and cut ACROSS on the line. Not DOWN. ACROSS. I cut across on the horizontal line to show students where to cut. Remember to cut on the line exactly! Then we fold both of our pieces in half. Boys and girls, after you have folded these pieces, raise your hand and I will come and staple your book together for you. Then you can color the pictures. Does everyone understand what we are doing? Any questions? Ok! Let’s get started! I usually dismiss them by rows to get a paper and sit down to write their names and letters in the book.
As they are writing, I am monitoring and assisting when necessary. If students are not using correct letter formation, I erase their letters and ask them to do it again. I stand and watch to make sure they know what to do. Depending on the student, I will use hand over hand or highlighter tracing to help them with formation.
After all student books are stapled, we read the pictures and words together. I have my book on the document camera so all students can see it and they are sitting at their desks with their books in front of them. Say: Boys and girls, let’s read the title together. I will say a word, then you echo me. Ready? We echo read the title
Turn to page 2. What picture do you see there? (table) Touch the word here at the bottom. Say table. (students say ‘table’) Now look at page 3. Do you know how I know it is page 3? Accept student answers, but point out that there is a number 3 on the bottom of the page. What is that picture? (tent) Now touch this word here at the bottom. Say tent. (students repeat) I follow this same pattern for the whole book.
Because this letter is one of our first of the year, the kids are just beginning to establish the idea that words represent pictures and pictures represent words. We are also learning directionality when we read the words together and turn the pages. I show with my finger on the document camera how I read the word from left to right, sliding my finger under the word. This directionality is further reinforced by turning the pages and starting with the left page and moving to the right when reading.
On the last page there is a matching task. I do this with students on the document camera. I also do this with the students. I remind students that text and pictures match when we are reading books.
Centers: Students rotate through the centers, going to one per day. I have a centers chart where they find their name daily and what center they are assigned to for that day. My centers are designed to address skills that students need, be it fine motor, gross motor or academic.
1.Pocket Chart- Students sort pictures into groups in a large pocket chart. I put a mix of pictures (tree, mop, snake, snowman, mask, turtle, mailbox, tent, etc…) in a basket and students sort them into three groups: /t/, /m/ and /s/
2. Writing-I use the Ellison Die Cut letters and punch T and t from fine grain sandpaper and glue them to 4” x 5” pieces of construction paper for durability. Students trace the letters with their fingers using proper letter formation that has been both modeled and practiced. I will also include other letters (Mm, Ss, Hh) that I have provided direct instruction in for students to review and practice further. (tactile fine motor),
3. Art - T cut and paste-Students distinguish /t/ ‘feathers’ and glue those /t/ feathers into a turkey picture.
4. Computer- students can listen to /t/ pictures and a story on starfall.com
5. Listening- Students listen to a variety of letter/sound songs that review letters and sounds.