Beginning teachers often ask, “Coral, how do you choose which letter to introduce? Do you follow a particular order or use a specific program like …?” I tell them, “I connect the letters with ‘real life’ and the interests of the children. For example, one year we started with ’j’ because there were 6 children in the class with names that started with ‘J’.”
Free dress day connects us with the letter ‘f’
Last Friday, our school had a free-dress day and we raised money for people in floods and cyclone Yasi. The children came to school dressed in everyday clothes rather than their uniforms – and each donated a gold coin for the privilege!
That morning our shared writing became: It is free-dress day on Friday, February 18th for people in floods and cyclone Yasi.
Almost immediately, Pia said, “f could be our new letter.” Our shared writing about free dress day suddenly offered an opportunity to introduce and explore the letter ‘f’. It was one of those ‘teachable moments’. Brian Cambourne describes them as ‘hit-and-run-and-never-let-a-chance-go-by’ moments. I proceeded to capitalize on Pia’s observation…
The children found ‘f’ words, double letters, little words in big words and special endings.
I wrote a giant ‘f’ on the board, talking about the name and the sound and we added the ‘f’ alphabet card to our word wall.
We’ll continue our study of ‘f’ next week:
- Model the shape of ‘f’.
- Talk about its name.
- What is its sound?
- Brainstorm ‘f’ words.
- Draw and label five pictures of things that start with ‘f’ in alphabet books.
- Take alphabet books for home reading. Parents help children paste/draw more ‘f’ pictures.
- Next morning, share and celebrate the ‘f” words in the alphabet books.
Find out more…
See Alphabet Activities in Teaching Strategies for Literacy in the Early Years (pp. 1-3) including 11 extensions.
How do you introduce alphabet letters?