Adventures in Literacy Land: alphabet

Showing posts with label alphabet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alphabet. Show all posts

Alphabet Books are for Everyone!

Alphabet books aren't just for the youngest readers. With so many choices, everyone can find one (or more) to enjoy!

And you thought they were just for the younger crowd! Did you know that children in all grade levels can benefit from lessons learned in various alphabet books? There are so many different alphabet books that serve different purposes and can be used in many different ways.



In Kindergarten, the first few weeks are all about our ABC's!!

Each day, we introduced a new letter and it went a little something like this:

We start our morning with a letter review. We introduce the letter and its sound. Then we practice stretching some words with that sound.  I find it helpful to have the kids applying their sounds as they are learning them.  It gives them a purpose rather than just rote memorization.  After we blend a few words, we sing some songs.  My kiddos LOVE Heidisongs and we sing them every day. 


A-Mazing Fun!

Hello, everyone!  It's Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars with a fun and easy trick for getting students to focus on reading letters and words.  I love using mazes to help them read various different things and focus on it.

A few years ago, I found this wonderful video from Teacher Tipster.  Have you seen him?  He has AMAZING and simple ideas that anyone can use!!  This one was so easy I used it that very day!  You simply take any maze, add words, letters, math problems, etc. to it.  Then the kids have to follow the path to the end.  If they get to a "dead end", they have to go back and read all of the words they went over {or whatever you have for them to do}.

Here is a video because he explains it soooo much better than I ever could!

Here are some examples I have used in the past.

 I put the letters in order in the correct places in the maze.  There are other letters in the maze at dead ends.  To get through the maze, the students must go in the correct order.

A finished maze!
 This maze has CVC words in it.  To get through the maze correctly, they need to follow the short a words.  Other CVC words are placed throughout the maze.
And we're there!
  The students LOVE these, and they are so easy to make.  Here are some sites with some good FREE mazes!  Or you could always use coloring books pages with them in it.

Krazy Dad ~ "books of mazes"
Mazes Online
Print ~ Has letter mazes to print
All Kids Network ~ LOTS of FREE mazes!

Or just "Google" free mazes and see what you get ~ LOTS of free mazes!

Hope this is something fun your kids will enjoy too!  Any grade level would love this because you can get some really intricate mazes and put in vocabulary or math problems for the older crowd.  My third graders love when I make these for them too!  I love watching and listening to them work them out!


Phonics Tubs

This is Jessica here, from Hanging Out in First!  I haven't been with you in a while but I am back with a big announcement.  I am moving to Kindergarten this year.

As a result, I am spending my summer reworking a lot of my lessons, centers, etc.  I have not taught Kindergarten before, so this will be a new experience for me!

One of my biggest summer projects is Phonics Tubs.  My phonics tubs are starting with letter sounds, but I may eventually branch out to word families, digraphs, short/long vowel sounds, etc.

I have seen many versions of these that you can purchase on TPT or on sites like Lakeshore but they have their downfalls.  Lakeshore is crazy expensive and TPT (as much as I love them) are going to be flat pictures.  I want something tactile!  So after much research, I settled on making my own.

I started at the Dollar Tree.  I picked up these little containers - 4 for a dollar.  Heck yeah!  That is in my price range.  While I was there, I perused the toy aisle for a bit.  I found lots of options for items to put in my bins, but decided to only pick up a few things because I still wasn't entirely sure what I wanted it to look like.  I needed to do a little more planning first.

I went home and made a list of possible items that I could put into each tub.  I was making 26 tubs for each of the 26 letters.  Some letters were pretty easy to brainstorm; others, not so much.

Then I headed into Michaels....just to see what they had.  I knew they had all of those little animal figures (animals are an obvious choice to start with) but I wasn't sure of the price.  What I did find, was even more amazing than I imagined!  BUTTONS!  Michaels has all of these little packs of buttons that are "themed."  I love that I didn't have to buy a bag of 12 soccer ball buttons to get one soccer ball.  I was able to pick up a bag of sports themed buttons and get a soccer ball, a football, a baseball, a bat, etc, all for $2.  I also got some animal buttons, food buttons, girly buttons, etc.

I totally forgot to take a picture before ripping into all of these lovelies in my excitement, but here is a picture of a couple of them out of the package.  Aren't they cute??

While I was there, I also found these adorbs letter stickers for only $2!  Beats having to make my own.  They were perfect for the front of my tubs. Great shopping!

Next, I cleaned out my kids' toy box.  Man they have so much junk many potential phonics tub toys and treasure box toys.  I found cars, trucks, flags, balls, lizards, dinosaurs, legos, blocks, and more!  (I have three boys. Can you tell?)

Last stop, Party City.  They have an entire aisle of party favors that are perfect for this!  You can get them individually for 30 cents a piece (so again, you can buy the one that you need without having to spend a dollar on 5).   Look at all of these little trinkets I picked up.  Only $20!

My tubs are nearly complete now.  I just have to find some items for those hard letters (x, y, z, q).  For those, I may have to resort to some printed pictures, but that's okay.
 (You can see I have even started gathering a few items for digraph tubs!)

So how will I use these fancy schmancy tubs you ask?  I have so many ideas for them!  The most obvious is at a center, the students can dump two tubs and then sort them by sound.  But I am also thinking that I can use them for quick phonemic awareness lessons, like I pull one from a tub and if it makes the sound we are learning, the students give me a thumbs up/thumbs down.  I can use them during guided reading groups for letter sounds.  I can use them during guided writing or dictation by having students pull an item and write the letter that makes that sound.  It could even be in writing center, where students have to pull an item and write about it.  I think these are going to be a great addition to our classroom learning!


How to Make Letters Fun!

With the school year in full swing now, my kindergartners and I are up to our eyeballs in letters! At the beginning of the school year, I assessed all of the kindergarteners on letter recognition. This is how I determined which students would be in my intervention groups. Many of my students are quickly picking up their letters, but a few of my friends need a little more practice. We have done letter names and sounds just about every way you can imagine. I will show you a few of these ways below.

One of my students' absolute favorite ways to practice their letter names and sounds is with the Pancake Game. I used the die-cut machine to cut out 26 brown circles to be the pancakes. On one side of the "pancake" I wrote the lowercase letter. On the other side, I wrote the capital version of the same letter that was on the front. 

I purchased a very cheap spatula at the dollar store. To play the game, I call out a letter name or sound, and the student has to "flip" the pancake with the corresponding letter. We have perfected our pancake flipping technique. Students place one finger on the front as they scoop and then flip. 

Another favorite of my students is the card game SNAP! In this game, I made a separate card for the lowercase and uppercase versions of every letter. Then, I made about 6-7 "SNAP!" cards. Students draw a card and have to say either the letter name or sound. (Depending on which I ask for!) If students answer correctly, they get to keep the card. When someone draws a SNAP! card, he or she has to put all of their cards in the discard pile. It is hilarious how excited they get about such a simple game!

Another activity we work on is matching capital and lowercase letters using clothespins. First, I made a card for each lowercase letter of the alphabet. I super glued these cards onto clothespins.

Next, I made large cards with the capital versions of each letter. Students have to pin the clothespin with the lowercase letter to the corresponding capital letter. 

I also use this activity to practice letter sounds by asking students to match the cards for the letter that makes the sound /b/. These are just a few of my students' favorite letter ID activities. There are endless ways to practice letter names and sounds.

What are some ways you practice letter names and sounds?


Using Music to Teach Reading Skills

Hi everyone! It's Bex here from Reading and Writing Redhead. You probably know by now but I love finding creative ways to teach reading and I love bringing other types of learning into the classroom beyond the basics that I have to teach. Today I have some ideas to share with you about using music to teach reading skills.

Ask yourself, how many children know the alphabet at a young age- age two  for example? Probably most of them know it because someone thought to set the alphabet to the song "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". The tune, the rhythm, even the rhyme, helps ingrain the letters in kids' brains.

Music can be used to help students learn the alphabet,  the sounds of letters, develop phonemic awareness, build phonics skills and vocabulary and more! There are many songs to teach grammar skills and folks have used nursery rhymes as songs to teach basic spelling patterns and print conventions. Fountas and Pinnell once wrote that our students should "sing songs of such delight that the lyrics remain in the memory forever". What songs do you still remember from school (Hello Conjunction Junction!)?

Besides listening to songs, singing songs, and watching music videos, some teachers have their students rewrite familiar songs as a lesson to learn sounds or rhymes.

I found a great website that is an amazing resource of songs for teachers. It's called Songs for Teaching: Using Music to Reinforce Learning. It is a treasure trove of songs and song lyrics (click on any title to hop over and see the song).  There are songs that teach the alphabet letters such as Fran Avni's Dinosaurs to Dinner.  There are songs specifically for vowels and consonants such as  Get Your Own Goat by Avni and Vowel Sound Hound Dogs 1.  A song I plan to use this week is one for R controlled vowels called Rock and Roll Star by Fun Phonics Songs.

With all the technology out there, maybe you are able to show videos to your class. Here are just a very few on what seems like millions of videos, new and old, that use music to teach reading skills.

Want a new twist on the alphabet? Try Usher's Alphabet Song! (by the way, does Elmo's voice scare anyone else's dog?)

Phonics Songs with 2 Words

Electric Company-  Silent e - I bet you remember this:  "Who can turn a can into a can, who can turn a pan into a pane?"

Schoolhouse Rock - Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here 

Schoolhouse Rock - A Noun is a Person Place or Thing

Schoolhouse Rock Conjunction Junction- the sentimental favorite!

Electric Company's  N Apostrophe T: I personally played this several times this year and my students love it! Who needs fancy technology to enjoy music and a video (and learn while we're at it)?

Beans and Franks TV - Rhymes

Ocoee Middle School's Gotta Keep Reading: A fun, creative take on Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling which is really fun, catchy, and inspires kids to read (great to motivate them for the summer break) !

Finally here are a few music teachers' blogs. They are worth a look, even if you're not a music teacher. Teacher blogs are always full of treasures!

Amy Abbott's Music a la Abbot 
Tanya's Kodaly Inspired Blog 
Lindsay Jervis's Pursuit of Joyfulness
A collaborative music teacher blog: Kodaly Corner 
Mrs. Miracle's Music Room 
Allison's Music Blog

I hope  you have a few new ideas for how to incorporate music in your reading lessons. How do you use music in your teaching? Please comment below and let us know!