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February 22, 2016

The ABCs of Teaching Reading

By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    Teaching children to read is serious business and much of it begins with the ABCs. When children have the ability to recognize and name the letters in the alphabet, they will have a much easier time learning letter sounds and ultimately, becoming proficient readers.

    Here are some tips to take your kids from ABCs to reading books:

    • Start With the Letters in Your Students' Names

    There couldn't be a more natural place to begin teaching kids letters. A child's name is so important and it is one of the first things they learn to write in school. Focusing on the letters in their names builds confidence and helps them find important places in their classrooms (cubby, desk, centers, etc.). I always love to see the pride on a child's face when they finally can write and identify the letters in their name!

    • Recognize Letters and Associate Sounds

    “Teaching letter names and sounds TOGETHER helps children learn the letter to sound relation. A child should learn the name and the sound of alphabet letters where letters with names that contain relevant sounds helps to enhance the letter-sound learning.” (childrenlearningreading.com). When teaching letters, I like to say, “This is the letter B, and the letter B makes the /b/ sound.” I teach names and sounds at the same time, but regardless of the order teachers choose, I think most would agree that letters AND sounds are highly useful in teaching kids to read and write. 

    I love this ABC Sing-Along Flip Chart! We use it all the time and the kids absolutely love when I put on the CD that comes with the chart. It has 26 fun songs that help to build phonemic awareness while teaching each letter of the alphabet. There are also engaging lessons and activities to help you get started. My kids love reading the room and one of their favorite activities is when they get to use the pointers to read and highlight tape to highlight all the letters on each page. This is also a perfect resource for teachers like me who struggle with carrying a tune, because each and every fun letter song is set to a well-known song.

    • Introduce Uppercase and Lowercase Letters

    Most of my students come in to kindergarten knowing uppercase letters. I would love, love, love if PreK focused more on the lowercase letters. They both are important and have their place in reading, but the majority of everything we read and write is in lowercase. In my class, I teach both lower and uppercase at the same time and I use concepts of print to help my little ones know when and where to use each of them. 

    • Teach Concepts of Print

    Print concepts involve understanding the difference between letters, words, punctuation and directionality of text. Teaching kids that sentences start with capitals helps them to understand when to use an uppercase or lowercase letter. They also need to first understand what a letter is to gain understanding of what a word is, and finally, that words make up sentences. Alphabet knowledge leads to concept of letter and this in turn, leads to concept of word. Shared reading experiences help to increase awareness of concept of print, but I also believe that early writing practice also builds understanding in young children.

    • Encourage Early Writing Practice

    At the beginning of our school year, we always make an ABC book for the kids to review (or learn) the alphabet. In our ABC books, my children make an art project associated with the letter of the day, write a word or sentence (depending on ability level), and also practice uppercase and lowercase letter formation.

    I was so excited when my fellow kinder blogger, Allie Magnuson recently blogged about "Easy and Engaging Alphabet Art Activities." Many of her activities are very similar to the ones that I use in my classroom. I am also so thrilled about the Alphabet Art Activities book (can't wait to get my hands on this one!) by Immacula A. Rhodes that is available in both paperback and eBook versions. They are fun and engaging activities that teach so many fundamental early reading concepts and skills. I am definitely going to have to go to the Teacher Store to add this fantastic resource to my teaching library.

    I have included a cover for you to use with the Alphabet Art Activities book. I hope your kids have as much fun as my kids did when they make their very own ABC Book! It becomes a true keepsake that all the children — and their parents — will absolutely LOVE!

    Note: The super cute font I used for the ABC Book cover is Dafont's LoveNess Two

    • Read, Read, Read!

    Read all sorts of alphabet books. Kids love to be read to, and the more they hear and see the letters, the faster they will learn them! The repetition in ABC books is a great way to increase your students' phonemic awareness and have FUN at the same time! 

    In our classroom we have a weekly poem (hanging in a pocket chart) that aligns with our theme and the kids love to read it. We read our poem every single day, highlight our word wall words, look for letters, and find rhyming words — all of which help to build early literacy skills. On Fridays, we put a copy of our poems in our Poetry Folders and practice reading with a buddy. It's important that children get a variety of materials to read and I love any opportunity to add poetry to our reading repertoire. 

    • Last But Not Least — Letter Formation 

    Let's face it, kids need a LOT of extra practice when it comes to handwriting and letter formation. A to Z Letter Formation Practice Pages is a perfect resource to get your kids that much needed practice. The book has fun-filled pages that will not only improve handwriting and letter formation, but will also help your budding readers recognize and learn their letters! 

    I’d love to hear all about your favorite ABC activities. Please take a moment to comment and share your ideas for all to learn from and enjoy. Thank you so much! :)

    Don't forget to subscribe to my blog on Scholastic Top Teaching if you would like to get my latest posts delivered right to your inbox. 

    Thanks for reading, have fun with your kiddos, and I’ll see you here next time!

    Hugs,

    Shari 

    Some of the products in this blog post were provided to the blogger by Scholastic for her review and suggested use.

    Teaching children to read is serious business and much of it begins with the ABCs. When children have the ability to recognize and name the letters in the alphabet, they will have a much easier time learning letter sounds and ultimately, becoming proficient readers.

    Here are some tips to take your kids from ABCs to reading books:

    • Start With the Letters in Your Students' Names

    There couldn't be a more natural place to begin teaching kids letters. A child's name is so important and it is one of the first things they learn to write in school. Focusing on the letters in their names builds confidence and helps them find important places in their classrooms (cubby, desk, centers, etc.). I always love to see the pride on a child's face when they finally can write and identify the letters in their name!

    • Recognize Letters and Associate Sounds

    “Teaching letter names and sounds TOGETHER helps children learn the letter to sound relation. A child should learn the name and the sound of alphabet letters where letters with names that contain relevant sounds helps to enhance the letter-sound learning.” (childrenlearningreading.com). When teaching letters, I like to say, “This is the letter B, and the letter B makes the /b/ sound.” I teach names and sounds at the same time, but regardless of the order teachers choose, I think most would agree that letters AND sounds are highly useful in teaching kids to read and write. 

    I love this ABC Sing-Along Flip Chart! We use it all the time and the kids absolutely love when I put on the CD that comes with the chart. It has 26 fun songs that help to build phonemic awareness while teaching each letter of the alphabet. There are also engaging lessons and activities to help you get started. My kids love reading the room and one of their favorite activities is when they get to use the pointers to read and highlight tape to highlight all the letters on each page. This is also a perfect resource for teachers like me who struggle with carrying a tune, because each and every fun letter song is set to a well-known song.

    • Introduce Uppercase and Lowercase Letters

    Most of my students come in to kindergarten knowing uppercase letters. I would love, love, love if PreK focused more on the lowercase letters. They both are important and have their place in reading, but the majority of everything we read and write is in lowercase. In my class, I teach both lower and uppercase at the same time and I use concepts of print to help my little ones know when and where to use each of them. 

    • Teach Concepts of Print

    Print concepts involve understanding the difference between letters, words, punctuation and directionality of text. Teaching kids that sentences start with capitals helps them to understand when to use an uppercase or lowercase letter. They also need to first understand what a letter is to gain understanding of what a word is, and finally, that words make up sentences. Alphabet knowledge leads to concept of letter and this in turn, leads to concept of word. Shared reading experiences help to increase awareness of concept of print, but I also believe that early writing practice also builds understanding in young children.

    • Encourage Early Writing Practice

    At the beginning of our school year, we always make an ABC book for the kids to review (or learn) the alphabet. In our ABC books, my children make an art project associated with the letter of the day, write a word or sentence (depending on ability level), and also practice uppercase and lowercase letter formation.

    I was so excited when my fellow kinder blogger, Allie Magnuson recently blogged about "Easy and Engaging Alphabet Art Activities." Many of her activities are very similar to the ones that I use in my classroom. I am also so thrilled about the Alphabet Art Activities book (can't wait to get my hands on this one!) by Immacula A. Rhodes that is available in both paperback and eBook versions. They are fun and engaging activities that teach so many fundamental early reading concepts and skills. I am definitely going to have to go to the Teacher Store to add this fantastic resource to my teaching library.

    I have included a cover for you to use with the Alphabet Art Activities book. I hope your kids have as much fun as my kids did when they make their very own ABC Book! It becomes a true keepsake that all the children — and their parents — will absolutely LOVE!

    Note: The super cute font I used for the ABC Book cover is Dafont's LoveNess Two

    • Read, Read, Read!

    Read all sorts of alphabet books. Kids love to be read to, and the more they hear and see the letters, the faster they will learn them! The repetition in ABC books is a great way to increase your students' phonemic awareness and have FUN at the same time! 

    In our classroom we have a weekly poem (hanging in a pocket chart) that aligns with our theme and the kids love to read it. We read our poem every single day, highlight our word wall words, look for letters, and find rhyming words — all of which help to build early literacy skills. On Fridays, we put a copy of our poems in our Poetry Folders and practice reading with a buddy. It's important that children get a variety of materials to read and I love any opportunity to add poetry to our reading repertoire. 

    • Last But Not Least — Letter Formation 

    Let's face it, kids need a LOT of extra practice when it comes to handwriting and letter formation. A to Z Letter Formation Practice Pages is a perfect resource to get your kids that much needed practice. The book has fun-filled pages that will not only improve handwriting and letter formation, but will also help your budding readers recognize and learn their letters! 

    I’d love to hear all about your favorite ABC activities. Please take a moment to comment and share your ideas for all to learn from and enjoy. Thank you so much! :)

    Don't forget to subscribe to my blog on Scholastic Top Teaching if you would like to get my latest posts delivered right to your inbox. 

    Thanks for reading, have fun with your kiddos, and I’ll see you here next time!

    Hugs,

    Shari 

    Some of the products in this blog post were provided to the blogger by Scholastic for her review and suggested use.

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