I always start off my letter/sound instruction for a vowel by singing two ABC songs and a vowel song. 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. The third song is a vowel song that teaches short and long vowel sounds for each vowel. 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.
We then review pictures that begin with the sound of A. 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 'apple' with the letter A. I say: Apple. Students say: Apple. We all say: /a/ /a/ /a/
If you do not have any picture cards, here is a great video that reviews /a/ words and also addresses letter formation!!
I revisit letter A formation with this brief video that is fun for the kids!
By this time in the year, my students have done several letter books, so they know the routine. This book is a particularly student driven read because all of the words are CVC words and many students are able to sound them out. This book helps them to apply their learning in terms of directionality (left to right progression), letter/sound knowledge and blending to read words. This is when they really begin to feel like readers!
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.
Writing the Words
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, you are going to cut it 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? (bat) Watch me copy letter by letter to write the WORD ‘bat.’ 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.
Making the Book
The last thing students will do is cut the page in half and fold it to make a little book. Say: Does everyone remember how we 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. After you do this, raise your hand and I will staple it 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.
Reading the Book
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
I say: Turn to page 2. What picture do you see there? (bat) Touch the word here at the bottom. I say: Let’s use our sounds to read that word. Ready? /b/ /a/ /t/. bat. 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? (cap) Most of my students will say ‘hat’ for this page, so we sound it out and I usually have to correct them when they start with the phoneme for ‘H’ rather than ‘C.’ I say: Let’s sound out this word. /c/ /a/ /p/. cap. I follow this same pattern for the whole book.
On the last page they need to circle/color the short a words from the book. I usually do one with them, but see if they can find the others on their own.
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.
2. Listening- I put the big books of all the stories we’ve read together in our reading program in this center with the CDs of those stories. Each CD has 3-4 stories, so the kids can listen to those as they sit on the floor and share the big book!
3. Play Doh- I have capital and lower case cookie cutters that I put out with play-doh. The kids can cut letters of their choice and make words, if they are able!