It takes more than a song to teach children their ABC’s. In kindergarten and preschool, learning to recognize the letters in the alphabet is one of the most important skills a child can learn. From signing their name to reading a book, letter recognition is a foundational skill that we all need to have
There are dozens of fun ways to encourage and teach letter recognition in the classroom. Kelly Justus Campbell outlines many excellent lesson plans in her book Art Across the Alphabet. Her fun activities provide tips on teaching everything from the alphabet, to letter sounds, to basic reading skills. Check out these tricks for teaching letter recognition in your classroom.
Letter of the Week
Each week, introduce a new letter to the students and place it around the room. Attach the letter to familiar objects that begin with its sound, like putting an F on the flowerpot. At the end of each week, take the letters down and prepare to put up next week’s letter! Seeing the letter in unfamiliar places is an excellent way to get children to notice the letter’s shape and associate it with its sound. One fun way to encourage children to notice the letter of the week is by making a Letter Hat!
- Masking tape
- Corrugated cardboard cut into 2” strips
- Patterned contact paper, colored construction paper
- Tempura paint
- Colorful tag board (12”x12”)
- Adult scissors
- Utility knife
- Measure your head with a piece of yarn
- Use masking tape to tape together enough cardboard strips to make a headband that will fit onto your head
- Cover the entire headband using the patterned contact paper, construction paper, or tempura paint
- Adhere two Velcro tabs to the ends of the headband and several along the inside strip so that you can adjust the hat to fit each child
- Draw large block letters (one for each letter of the alphabet) onto the tag board squares and cut them out using scissors and the utility knife
- Place the Velcro tabs onto the back of the letter near the bottom. As you discuss each letter, place the appropriate letter on the headband
- Have one of the children wear the letter had for a day during the week of each letter. Make sure all children have a chance to wear it!
Each time a letter is retired from Letter of the Week, add it to an alphabet gallery! Make sure the gallery is at eye-level with the children so that they see it when they walk in the room. For added fun, you can create a kind of ceremony when you add each letter to its new spot, either by singing a song or having one of the children ceremoniously place it in the gallery.
- Cut a 2’x3’ sheet from the roll paper
- Use a fat black marker to draw the letter in large block form, filling the entire sheet
- Come up with a creative way to fill the gallery as each letter is added. This could be as simple as drawing something that begins with that letter or by taking a picture of a child whose name begins with that letter