F is a fairly easy letter for Kindergarteners to grasp; however, the /f/ sound is extremely difficult for most Kindergarteners to produce correctly on a regular basis. F is a letter that students frequently confuse, so it is important that we really take the time to teach it well!
/f/ is a hard sound for two reasons:
it is voiceless
it is one that is made very similarly to the /v/ sound
If we want our students to be able to sound out words with success when reading and writing, it is crucial for us to make sure that they know how to form those sounds correctly. When we spend time with students teaching confusing letters explicitly, like F, it is more likely that they will be able to remember the sounds and formation successfully.
"Today, we are going to learn about the letter F! What letter are we going to learn about?"
(Students will say, "We are going to learn about the letter F!")
"Great job, everyone! F... F is for fun, friend, family and fast! So many words start with F! Do we have anyone in here whose name has a F in it?" *Wait time*
(Students will share responses.)
"Yes, you are correct! Nice work! Now, let's learn a little more about this letter F and the sound that it makes in words!"
I Do 1:
I will show the students how to make the /f/ sound. I will show them how my mouth is formed and I will even let them watch me make the /f/ sound in a small, hand-held mirror. I will talk to the students about /f/ being a voiceless sound- "It's only your breath. No noise."
You Do 1:
I will have students use their own hand-held mirror and practice making the sound for /f/. As they do that, I will remind them that "/f/ is made when you press your top teeth down gently on your bottom lip and push air out. You don't need your tongue for the /f/ sound... now try it again!"
I Do 2:
I will talk to students about some words in our class that being with f and some popular words that they would all be familiar with.
"Now, we are going to watch a video about the letter F and I want you to listen. When you hear a word that starts with /f/, find the F on the video and point to it! The video is full of words that begin with F, so use a finger and point to the initial F in each word and trace it as you say the word." (This helps with their fine motor skills and practicing formation!)
"Are you ready?"
(Students will say yes)
"Let's practice a few times. If I say a word that begins with /f/, point to me... Here we go:
fan, man, frog, stop, funny, check, fresh, slip, funny... Wow, most of you did a great job! Now, let's watch the video and keep up the good pointing!"
You Do 2:
Students will watch the F video. It is super fun and catchy and students will sing along to the video and enjoy it. After the video, I will ask students to help me make a list of words that begin with /f/ and we will create a reference chart to use throughout the week.
Here are some things I will do throughout the week when we focus on the phonemic awareness and phonics skills for the letter F!
I will give students a poem with many F words in it and have them find all of the F's; then, we will practice reading it together for fluency.
We will read the F book- a printable book with short sentences that have words that begin with f. I have My Alphabet Letter Books which I like to reproduce; however, there are also some online like the ones found here!
I will have students practice finding F's around the school (in the halls, on bulletin boards, etc).
I will have students practice making F's (while they trace or write it, they will say, /f/, /f/, /f/)
Here is a link to some cool letter formation videos I use on TeachersPayTeachers.
On the last day of the F week, we go back over our F video and review our list of F words. We also take about two minutes and hold the small, hand-held mirrors for a partner and make sure they are correctly enunciating the /f/ sound. We go back over how to make the /f/ sound properly as the final activity. Then, I will tell the students that next week will bring us a new focus sound!
EXTRA FUN!!! To add to the summary for the week of F and /f/, I schedule for the firetruck with firemen to come visit! We learn all about the parts of the firetruck and the jobs of the firefighters; it's so informative and fun! I also try to schedule for The Fire Safety House to come visit- it is a house that teaches kids what to do around fire hazards and what their plan should be if they're stuck inside with a fire or smoke! This week is one of my favorite weeks because it teaches kids some really important lessons (and it usually falls during Fire Safety month)!
Also, we usually always do a main writing piece with the letter F.
This year, we wrote about our families. Last year, we wrote about our favorite food. We have also written about friends and even what we are a fan of! The writing opportunities are endless!
Finally, we hang our F letter card up on the wall. That way, we can use it for our daily letter-sound practice! From then on, /f/ will be part of our regular practice!
In addition, I like to make sure students have an opportunity to practice F versus V in centers. I like for students to look at and hear and say these sounds many times to make sure they can produce them appropriately!