There is so much I want to teach the kiddos and so much I want to share with them and so many things I want them to try...there simply aren't enough hours in a day! When developing my Stepping Stones program, I had a hard time narrowing down all the units that I wanted to teach, share and try. So to help me prepare lessons I decided introduce a letter of the week and use it to guide my plans. Often we get off on a new learning tangent and stray from the path of the almighty letter, and that's super cool too! The letter just gives us a starting point and a reboot when we are ready to move on!
I don't focus on the letter, aside from the day we do literacy of course. I introduce it every morning when the kiddos first arrive. We always check to see if the letter of the day is a letter in their name. It's pretty exciting when it's our letter day!!
After we know the name of our letter (it helps to have them shout the letter or clap/hop along as we repeat the letter to help us remember it) I show the littles what the letter looks like (the symbol that represents the letter). The kiddos like to air draw it with me! I show both capital and lowercase together as much as possible but don't really emphasize the difference too much. Kids will gravitate towards one, and that's great at this point! Be happy if they grasp that the letter can look different and still be the same letter. Sometimes, typically on literacy day, I show the letter in different forms other than just capital and lowercase, Especially letters like a that have "fancy" symbol as well as the typical capital and lowercase symbol.
So, I let them know the 'name' of the letter, check to see if it's in our names, try to copy what it looks like (air draw) and then I introduce the phoneme (sound). But only briefly; we talk about the letter sound when I introduce the first activity of the day. For example, I say, "Our letter t activity for Music will be /t/ /t/ tempo. /t/ /t/ is the sound the letter t makes. Can you make that sound?" I encourage them to pronounce the sound correctly without adding /uh/ at the end of the sound. It's a quick /t/ not /tuh!! It helps to talk about what your lips, your tongue, your jaw, your breath are doing to form that phoneme (sound).
That's all I really do each day with respect to the letter itself. I do continue to point out the letter in things we do through the day. For Example:
If you have some kiddos working at a higher level (once the kiddos master letter recognition AND sound/symbol relationships) you can work on differentiating between the capital and lowercase letter. You can begin to look at other sounds (eg blends or digraphs) that the letter may be involved in such as /th/ or /st/. Kiddos can start deciphering when to use the capital and when to use the lowercase (begin a sentence, proper noun, etc.). Advanced learners can help sound out words for you when you encounter them. They can practice printing/spelling by keeping a list of all the letter words you use. There are many ways to incorporate the letter of the week into learning at all levels.
Stay tuned to my Literacy Day posts to see how I build on these ideas!
Laura from Evergreen
I've started this page during the COVID break to help the kiddos continue learning at home. Most activities can be done with kids of all ages if parents vary the level of content, participation and discussion appropriate to each child! (differentiated instruction). Before the break we were at letter S. Visit our facebook page for letter A-R activities at https://www.facebook.com/evergreenacademy.ca/