Great Ways to Help Kids Learn Letters and Sounds

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  • 8/14/2019 Great Ways to Help Kids Learn Letters and Sounds


    Great Ways to Help Kids Learn Letters and Sounds

    Submitted by,

    Susan Meynell

    Most researchers, teachers, and parents will agree that letter and letter soundknowledge is a basic component to be weaved in while children are beginning to

    learn to read. In this article you will be provided with great examples of how a

    teacher creates and hooks into childrens prior knowledge when presenting new

    letters and letter sounds.

    The Class (or family) Book: A very effective way to draw the learners attention

    to the initial letters and sounds in their names and the names of their peers or



    Individual class pictures or family pictures

    Card stock paper


    Permanent marker


    On one side of each page attach a picture of a class member or family

    member. Under the picture write some simple predictable text such as, This

    is {name}. Highlight or make bold the first letter of each name {Joey}.Over each picture attach a flap of colored paper (that the children cannot see

    through) to hide the picture. The children make predictions about whose

    picture is under the flap by the letter and letter sound beginning the name.

    Put the pages together and bind them into a book.


    The teacher reads the entire text to the children.

    The book is left out for the children to explore.

    When introducing a new letter/sound the teacher will zero in on The

    Class Book page with the students name that begins with that letter

    (later they can zero in on final and lastly medial letters.) For examplethe teacher would point to the books and say This is S . . and pause,

    allowing children to make predictions about whose picture may be

    under the flap based on that first letter. Lift the flap and confirm or

    negate their predictions.

    Place the childs name, beginning with the featured letter which was

    found in The Class Book on the word wall.

  • 8/14/2019 Great Ways to Help Kids Learn Letters and Sounds


    Have the children practice forming the featured letter with clay, in theair, on the floor, each others backs etc. Make sure they are notreversing the letter!

    Student should then record the featured letter in his/her own personal

    alphabet book. The children draw a picture of the child whom they

    have been reading about in the class book. S/he may also draw or

    write any other words s/he knows that begins with that letter. Dont

    insist on any one way, let each child find their own way to demonstrate

    the letter in a way that is meaningful for him/her.

    When teaching letter formation, it is important to provide the studentswith a consistent way for them to recall how to form letters easily.Emphasize that almost all letters start at the top and go down. Teachthe exception, some letters are formed by first making the letter C:such as, O, Q, G, etc.

    Some teachers find it helpful to have a clock on display and makereference to the starting place for those C letters as 2 on the clock.

    It may also be useful to leave pages at the end of the class book for

    possible letter combinations that may come up (Sherry).

    As letter confusions arise they should be dealt with. Most letter

    confusions will not disappear with the passage of time in your lowest

    readers and writers. They will only become habituated and increasingly

    problematic for the learner. The most common confusion and most

    important to get under control due to the frequency with which it

    occurs in both reading and writing is b/d. The most useful approach I

    have found is to simply record these next to their corresponding

    uppercase letter and have it prominently displayed for frequent

    reference by the learner (Bb, Dd ). For older readers still exhibiting

    this confusion it sometimes helps to ask the child if s/he can make anuppercase B. If the student does this without reversing them, explain

    that all they need to do is picture (or write) an uppercase B and

    remove the top loop and presto! Its a lower case b!

    Children will learn at a markedly increased rate when you foster a can do attitude

    in them. You are creating prior knowledge in them in your making of the class

    book. Research shows that hooking in to prior knowledge is invaluable for all

    childrens learning in all subjects. Many children come to school without a lot of

    prior knowledge so it is imperative that the instructor find ways to create that for

    them. The Class Book is one great way.