A GREAT way to get students to practice beginning reading skills AND their letters/sounds is with my ABC Easy Readers! You can find all 26 of them here.
Each reader has a Cover Page for students to also take ownership over the book by writing their names next to the word: by. This is also great for students to practice writing their names AND inevitably someone will loose, or misplace their book, so that name is always helpful!
Then there are 3 pages for each letter, with a different picture on each page. This is great to help students practice beginning sounds of words too (it will get them ready to focus on beginning sounds when they are reading AND writing). The Aa pages look like this:
The dots under each letter/sound or whole word is to help students practice placing their finger under each word they read (a beginning reading skill).
Following the 3 practice reading pages, there is an activity page that looks like this:
This allows your little ones to practice writing both the uppercase and lowercase letters. I have my students trace them and then try it by themselves. The on the right side of the page, I ask my little ones to think of something that begins with that sound and draw it (they can either pick something from the book that they liked, or choose something else that they know that begins with that letter/sound. This helps challenge those students who might already have some knowledge of the letter/sound.
I have created 26 books, one for each letter. There are only 2 pages of picture examples for letter I and U – I wanted to use picture that were specific to the short vowel sounds so that the students focus on the most common sound for the vowels. Also, the Letter Xx book has 3 pictures that all END in X. You will have to make sure to point that out as well.
You can choose to present these books in lots of different orders. Some teachers prefer Alphabetical Order when teaching letters/sounds. However, I teach them in Carnine Order.
Soooo… want to know the Carnine Order? It looks like this:
One of the BIG reasons is because we can start writing & blending words right away! I do flip the Mm and Aa order, so I teach Mm first, then Aa – but that’s just a preference of mine.
On day 1 I teach Mm, then day 2 I teach Aa, day 3 I teach Tt, Day 4 – Ss, and day 5 I teach Ii. With these 5 letters, my students can make and read:
I love that we move into blending SO quickly… it takes the fear or “It’s too hard” out of the way because we are learning, practicing and doing things all at the same time. Of course some students pick up on blending faster than others, and that’s fine. These skills are going to be constantly evolving when we eventually introduce blends, digraphs, vowel patterns, etc.
Another thing I do that makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE, is teach a motion with each letter sound. I have found many of my students (like myself) are kinesthetic learners, which is a learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out physical activities. Many of learners that take the longest to transfer their knew knowledge to long term memory use the motions to help them trigger their memories. When giving students their ABC Letter & Sound Assessment, I often see students who are struggling to recall the sound a letter makes by first doing the action, and then seconds later, they are saying the sound because the motion has triggered their brains to remember the sound that goes along with the motion. Below is the Motions I use to teach the letter and letter sounds. I will also make a YouTube Video of me doing the letter sounds & motions to help!
Every day my students and I mix up the letter flashcards (of the letter/sounds that I have ALREADY taught) and practice them first with the letter name and then again with the sound.
If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share, please leave a comment! Thanks!!