The alphabet is the cornerstone of literacy. Without alphabet knowledge a child will not become literate. While most of us cannot pinpoint exactly when and how we learned the alphabet , gaining mastery of the letters, their sounds and formation did not occur naturally. The alphabet must be explicitly taught. Explicitly teaching the alphabet allows your child to make the connection that there is a direct relationship between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language.
Below I am sharing 4 of my most used tools with my kindergarteners to explicitly teach the alphabet and push them towards mastery. These are simple tools that have made a huge difference in my kindergarterner’s ability to master the alphabet.
- Magnet letters : Magnet letters are a great tool to make alphabet practice hands on. Exploring the alphabet using magnet letters allows children to internalize the shape and feel of letters. There are a plethora of ways to use these for alphabet practice. Some of my favorite ways to use these are:
- .Letter hunts ( for name and sound) . This activity is very simple. Simply spread out the magnet letters and have your child hunt for the letter you’re currently working on.
- Letter Sort : (option 1) Only put out the letter you’re currently working on and have your child sort the uppercase and lowercase letters. (Option 2) Only add 2-3 letters and have your child sort the letters that belong together. For example: spread out the uppercase & lowercase m, a & t and have your child sort them. They should be naming them as they sort.
- Songs: I especially love songs to help practice the letter sounds. Songs help the body and mind work together, and the children love it. My current favorite songs that help practice letter sounds are: Act Out The Alphabet by Jack Hartman and The Alphabet Song by Have Fun Teaching
- Alphabet tracing sheets: Tracing sheets allow children to gain explicit practice with correct letter formation. One way to add some fun to tracing sheets: Rainbow trace with crayons or markers. Have your child trace each row using a different color of the rainbow.
- Alphabet Books : Alphabet books are a great tool to introduce letter names. They are also excellent for helping expand your child’s vocabulary.