Give me a T, Give me an R...

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Students will be able to demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter sound correspondence.

Big Idea

Using one base word students make many new words.


10 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I tell the students we are going to get fit while saying our letter sounds. I use the song Let’s Get Fit to the Alphabet, sung by Jack Hartman on the Let’s Get Fit to the Alphabet CD.  

“Boys and girls when I say go you will need to find a space on or around the rug area where you can move without bumping into your friends. We are going to get fit while reviewing our letter, names sounds and words. It will be your responsibility to keep your body in control. If I see bodies out of control I will tap you on the shoulder and you will need to take a break until you have your body back under control. Everyone got it? Okay, go.”

When the song is over I have the students take a seat back on their dot.


I use this song to wake up the students phonemic and phonetic abilities which they will be using in today’s activity after the book. It is a fun upbeat song which associates movement with letter sounds thus waking up the brain kinetically.   


45 minutes

“This book is called Around the World Transportation, by Margaret Hall. Looking at this book do you think it is fiction or non-fiction?”

“Why do you think this book is non-fiction Carson?”

“Carson says he thinks the book is non-fiction because of the photo on the cover and the fact that we have been reading books to find out information.”

“I think Carson is right and we will have to check out this book to see if it has non-fiction text features.”

“Let’s go ahead and read.”


During the reading of this book I remember to point out the non-fiction text features and we discuss many of the different types of transportation we see. We also discuss some of the safety practices. For example, the main cover has more than two people riding on a motorcycle and none of them are wearing helmets. We discuss different practices and expectations in different cultures.  


After reading I tell the students, “Today at one of the integrated work stations you will get a worksheet that looks like this one (I hold a sample for the students to see).”

Beginning Sound Transportation.

“You will notice that is has a list of letters written down the left hand side of the paper. Can anyone read sideways and tell me what word those letters make? I will give you a hint the word was in the title of our book we just read (This last part I lean over and whisper conspirator like to the students sitting on the rug).”

I select a student to respond.

“Well done it is the word transportation.”

“You job is going to be to go down the list and make a new word using the letters from the word transportation. For example, I see the first letter is what?”

I select a student to respond.

“Great job, the letter is t. What sound does the letter t make?”

I let the whole group respond with the sound /t/.

“Nicely done team; I hear the /t/ sound too. Well now I am going to take that /t/ sound and make a word. Let’s see what is a /t/ word I know?”

I let the students randomly call out words beginning with the letter t until I hear one I like.

“Hey tank is a /t/word I know and it also happens to be a vehicle. Now do I need to write the letter t to represent the /t/ sound at the beginning of my word?”

I let the students call out the response, “No!”

“That’s right I don’t because it is already there. What sound do I hear after the /t/?”

“Thanks Finnley; I hear the /a/ sound, which is represented by what letter?”

I allow the student to call out, “A!”

I write it down nest to the t.

“What now?”

I select a student to respond.

“Thanks Carson; I do hear and n like at the end of your name.”

I write it down.

“And last?”

I select a student to respond.

“Thanks Kara; I hear a /k/ sound too. Who wants to tell me if it is a /k/ like cat, or a /k/ like key?”

I select a student to respond.

“Well done Shelby; it is the latter k.”

“Now I have written the word tank. Can someone tell me another resource I could use to get a word that started with /t/?”

I select several students to respond until all of the resources are covered.

“Those were great responses. I can use a book from book area, I can use a friend, I could use the word wall or the transportation words written around the classroom. Sounds like you guys really know your resources.”  

“I would like to remind you all that I will be using a checklist to go over your work when it is done. I will be looking to see if you wrote your…?”

I allow the students to call out, “Name!”

“Yes, and I will be looking to see if you wrote a word for each letter and if that word makes sense. I will also be checking to see if your work is neat and tidy, because if I cannot read it, then I cannot understand it.”

 “Does anyone have any questions?”


Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;

“Table number one go have some word writing fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”


Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely.



One of the most important skills for children to develop in the kindergarten year is the recognition that letters and sounds are related. We often call this "the alphabetic principle," which is the notion that speech sounds can be connected to letters in a predictable way. To grasp the alphabetic principal, children need to understand that:

  • letters represent speech sounds
  • letters go together to make words
  • changing the letters changes the sounds and the words

This is not an easy concept for many young learners to absorb so teachers must provide lots of practice opportunities in the classroom. The letter sounds should also be experienced as initial, medial and ending sounds because this can alter the sound the letter makes. 



10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look, listen” technique mentioned above.

“When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time.

High sample.          High middle sample.          Middle sample.           Low middle sample.

Low sample.           Very low.


Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to give me a word for the letter sound I give them.

“Today your exit ticket is a little tricky. I am going to give you a letter sound and you have to first tell me which letter makes that particular sound and then give me a word which begins with that letter sound.”

“For example, if my name got pulled out and I heard /p/, I would say, “P plane.””

I use the fair sticks to select the order of the students.

I am selective about which letter sounds I give to students. For example, my higher performing students would get letters that have more than one sound, but my lower performing students would get letter sounds that match the beginning sound of their name – a familiar item.

If a student has difficulty with coming up with the letter name for a sound and a word, then they can do one of two things. They can:

  1. Ask a friend to help, or
  2. Wait until everyone has left the rug area and we will work on coming up with a response together.


Using this very quick and easy exit ticket method everyday gets the students into a routine and they know what to expect as a continuation of their learning. The exit ticket gives me a quick glimpse of how a student is doing when they either fluently give me a response or if they struggle I know I may need to do each support work with that particular student. The exit ticket also supports the lesson we have just completed and ties it up before moving on with the rest of our day.  


I use the Word Making Checklist to go over the student’s work and once it is complete I will place the student’s work in his/her collection portfolio.

Looking at the student’s work with the checklist helps me to stay focused on the point that I am looking to see if a student was able to recognize the letter and then come up with a word which begins with the letter. What resources did the student use to write their word – word wall, books, friends, phonetic spelling, etc? I also make comment on how neat and tidy the work is.

The checklist helps me because the work sample provides me with evidence of students learning as to whether the student met the objectives or not. The checklist helps to convey information to the student’s family as to how well they are doing in class, and finally it helps the student by letting him/her know how he/she did and if there are areas where he/she could improve. 

Discussing student work.


At one of the other work stations students play “Street Sign Memory.”


At another station the students work vehicle manipulatives to solve mathematical equations in order to collect the various letters to make up the word “transportation.”