Hands-on Alphabet Activities for Emergent Readers

Looking for hands-on alphabet activities to support your PK-K classroom? This post includes a great variety of options and links to other great alphabet learning posts.
As we are introducing the alphabet letters and sounds to our kindergarten students, we are setting the stage for beginning reading. Instruction on alphabet formation and sounds needs to move along, but as we're moving toward reading, we certainly want to spiral back to continually review letter identification and sounds. In order for children to begin reading, we know they need these pre-reading skills:
  • Alphabet Knowledge
  • A Concept of Word or Print Awareness
  • Phonological Awareness (Ability to hear and identify individual sounds in spoken words)
  • Motivation and Interest in Reading
  • and General Language Skills (Listening comprehension, Oral vocabulary)
In this post, I'm going to share with you a collection of alphabet activities that you can use with small group instruction, in your workstations/centers, and with RTI tutoring. These activities also work well in the home too. 😊

Teaching Context Clues with Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by

Vocabulary knowledge is one of the biggest indicators to reading success. How do we as educators support vocabulary growth? One of the best ways to build vocabulary is through literature that provides exemplars AND carefully constructed writing that includes context clues. Crown: Ode to the Fresh Cut is the perfect book due to the rich vocabluary embedded within it as well as the real life connections and experiences of getting the perfect barbershop cut.

Developing a Concept of Word and More with Animal Poetry

Kids love animals, so why not use that love to motivate them with reading too This post shares how to develop a concept of word with animal themed poems.
Kids LOVE learning about animals, and there is a plethora of great animal themed literature we can use to our advantage that will pull...them...in! I have yet to meet a kid who wasn't curious about bears, penguins, bats, and wait for it...snakes! Have you?

Well, I got an idea the other day that I just could not wait to start on and put into use. I am working with little people in kindergarten, and if you have worked with kinders before, you know there is a WIDE range of reading skills even at this young age. We have kiddos who are well on their way reading at a mid second grade level, but we have some who are still working on some letters and sounds. Concept of Word (COW) poems can serve all which we can not say about every piece of curriculum we use. So how is it that these poems naturally differentiate? Well, read on, and I'll give you a few ideas that might help.

Using Interactive Read Alouds for More than Story Time

Using interactive read alouds for more than story time is very beneficial to students. In this post, ideas are shared on how students benefit with examples.

Reading aloud to your students is a classroom tradition. If you ask students what they remember most about their time with Mrs. So and So, chances are pretty good that the students will mention the books Mrs. So and So read to them. In surveys with teachers, sharing favorite books with students is often one of the top teacher loves. This classroom tradition is wonderful, but in this post, I'd like to share ways that interactive read alouds can be used for much more.

How Making Books in the Classroom Can Make Learning Stick

Research shows that hands-on learning helps increase student engagment and improves retention of the information learned. Kids love making things, and if you haven't made books with your students, then read on to learn tips to make them easy and fun. You can use student made books in all subjects to teach concepts and to make learning memorable, and I'm excited about how these paper bag books will make a difference with reading comprehension.

Why Cynthia Rylant is the PERFECT Author for Right NOW!

Cynthia Rylant is one of the best descriptive writers. This post includes ten of her best books and how one teacher uses them as mentor texts for reading and writing.

Of all the authors I love, there is one who has published a great collection of titles that I find work well from fall into winter. With themes of scarecrows, changes in the weather, life in the mountains, the Christmas holidays, and winter, you can weave in so many skills and writing options.

Cynthia Rylant's writing style works well for teaching author's craft, visualizing, point of view, imagery, drawing conclusions, making inferences, and finding text evidence to support thinking. Of course, her works also provide an excellent example for writing ideas, voice, and word choice, so they lend themselves well to persuasive, descriptive, and narrative writing. Today, I'd like to share the titles I like best and how I've used them.

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