Teaching the ABCs is one of the building blocks of literacy. Experts say that letter recognition is the strongest indicator of reading success up to the fourth grade. Children who cannot automatically recognize uppercase and lowercase letters will struggle with making letter-sound connections and ultimately, decoding words. A good portion of kindergarten phonics is devoted to letter recognition. I spend the months before Christmas concentrating on 2 letters a week. The lesson plan for each letter takes 2 days. On Fridays, I review with games or a craft. Is this too fast? No. Experts believe that the traditional one letter per week is too slow. We want our students to learn their letters quickly so they can relate it to words they will decode and ultimately read. Join me for a walk through our phonics lesson.
In a previous post, I talked about how I created GO-TO curriculum out of sheer necessity. For several portions of my Kindergarten day, I rely on easy, predictable, engaging lessons that are easy to write (or rather copy and paste) into subsequent plans. Today I’d like to share how I structure our phonics lesson.
NOTE: Students will need an individual white board, dry erase marker, and eraser.
1) ABC Picture Cards:
I begin each lesson in an informal setting such as the carpet. I hand an ABC picture card to each child (To get a FREE copy of this file, read through until the end of the post). Some are pictures that begin with the letter we are learning and some are not. After I pass them out, I hold two plastic boxes labeled Yes or No in front of me and ask each child to tell me what their picture card says. After they tell me, I say “Yes” or “No” and they put their card in the appropriate bin. They love trying to guess what the letter is. By the time we’ve made it halfway around the circle they all know it.
2) Word Work:
At the pocket chart, we take the cards from the Yes box and try to spell them (I keep the limit to 6 words so we can spend enough time on each). Here is where we work on stretching words, clapping out syllables, letter sound recognition, etc. I write the words on an index card and then the kids copy the word on their white boards.
3) Letter formation
I have reviewed several different handwriting videos on Youtube and love these from The Singing Walrus. The students write on their whiteboards while they follow the instructions. We might repeat the video several times. Here is their link: The Singing Walrus
4) Handwriting Practice
Back at their tables or desks, we practice letter formation. I ask the students to repeat 2 lines of uppercase and lowercase letters. Here is where I work individually with them, correcting bad habits (such drawing a lowercase “h” using an upside “u” then adding a short stick on top.) The object here is to get the students to use a fluid path of motion. An example would be writing a lowercase “a” without lifting the pencil.
We begin the lesson on this day by reviewing the formation of the letter, its sound, whether it is a vowel or consonant, and what letter comes before it in the alphabet and what comes after.
2) Word Game
We play a game using my collection of ABC manipulatives. I separate students into four or five groups (depending on numbers) and ask them to work as a team to spell as many “letter” words as possible. Here is a picture of one group.
Throughout the years, I have collected a box full of different types of ABC Manipulatives. They range from Scrabble tiles to magnetic letters in all colors and sizes to baby blocks. The kids love this activity and so do I…it keeps them engaged and builds teamwork as well.
3) ABC Practice Page
We now move to tables or desks to work on the ABC Practice Page. Sometimes, I use this page as an informal assessment. The students work on it individually and when they are finished, I go over it with them.
There you have it – an easy, predictable, engaging phonics lesson that is easy to repeat again and again. All you have to do is change the letter. I hope all or some of this lesson helps you simplify your lessons. Stay tuned for more GO-TO lessons in literacy and math.
If you’d like to grab a copy of ABC Practice Pages, click on the picture below.