Teaching a preschooler or a kindergartener the alphabet can really be a fulfilling adventure. The alphabet’s literally all over the place. Introducing the children the alphabet is a step closer to them being successful readers. However, this end goal requires hard work. To open the children’s eyes to the alphabet, you need to do much more than giving flash cards, tracing exercises and traditional songs. You can use the immediate environment around you so you can easily teach the children the alphabet.
Take a look on your classroom or home: do you notice any favourite toy of the student(s)? Does the toy have the letter which you are focusing on during the week? If it doesn’t, pick an object which meets this need. Using this object as your focal point, create an activity centre or a display. Create cards for each individual letter in spelling out the object/ word then add numbers on the corner of every card which show the letters’ ordinal pattern. This can also reinforce the numeric work you are focusing on during that time. In this activity centre, you can also put up a toy or small picture representing the starting sound of every letter of the bigger display object.
If exposing the children to additional sounds or letters becomes very overwhelming for them, just focus on one letter only for the entire week. If you aim to just focus on one letter alone for the whole week, add different picture cards which have the letter placed in a variety of positions. For example, if you are focusing on the letter G, a toy gun can be your focus object; picture cards showing a goat, grass, glass, bag, log, bug, etc. can be used. Make sure that every picture card contains the word’s spelling. You can also add other items to the display/ center.
You can incorporate the following suggestions in creating your display or you can also choose to make them sound/ alphabet activities which can stand alone.
a) Textured Letters- You can trace letters (using different fonts can also be fun) using glue (adding salt or sand if you want) then let it dry. This activity can be a great tactile experience for young students.
b) Name Scramblers- Make a card for each different letter in the alphabet. Then, making use of the child’s name, mix the letters and then challenge the child to rearrange the letters so they can recreate another name. You can also do this activity with advanced students by asking the whole class to think of all the words they can think as they rearrange the word “scrambled”.
c) Memory game- If you are focusing one letter during the week, make cards with each letter having a different font style (use lower and/ or upper case). Create two copies (you can laminate them for purposes of durability), cut them out, scramble the cards, then lay them down individually facing down. The mechanics of the game is that of the traditional lotto’s.
d) Play Dough- Make laminated large letters. Then, let the children trace the letter lines using dough snakes to come up with the letter you are focusing on. You can also make use of cookie dough in this activity. When you’re done with the activity, you can bake it afterwards for your children to eat on snack time.
e) Labels- You can put up labels representing the objects all over the room. Let the children roam around the classroom then ask them to count all the focus letters which they can find. Change labels every day so the children can have a new, as well as fun routine which is educational for the children.
The activities above are only some fun activities which you can do let the children do. As care providers, educators and parents, we have to lay down that stepping stone which can make your children’s reading experience successful. Using your imagination, you can make this adventure a successful one.
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