Teaching children the alphabet lays the foundation for them to learn the English language. Children need to be taught to recognize the 26 letters of the alphabet and the sound associated with each of the alphabets. Furthermore, it helps in the formation of words and later in sentence building. To make alphabet learning fun and interesting teachers should find different and unique ideas to teach the same.
Through this post, I have illustrated some ways that I used while introducing letters/phonics in the preschool classroom.
Children love listening to stories. Stories are an ideal way to introduce a letter to the children. The story keeps the children engrossed and attentive throughout the lesson. Moreover, more words can be introduced through a story thus enhancing their vocabulary.
When you introduce a letter through a story, it is always good to make a list of the words you want to introduce along with the letter. Create a story to tell the children in which you can include all the words from your preset list.
For example, for an Introduction to the Letter Ff. Some words you may want to introduce are:
Create a scene of a farm in the classroom. Keep a shallow tub in the classroom and label it as a pond. Put some plastic fish in it. Put a large rock in the center of the tub and place a toy frog on it. Place artificial lawn grass to make the area look like a farm. Put some flowers, fruits (figs) and a doll dressed as a farmer. Keep a bowl of cut fig and a fork ready.
Label each object that starts with letter Ff. Hang a flashcard with letter Ff. Explain the pattern of the letter Ff to the children. Explain the sound of the letter Ff. Then start telling the story to the children.
Farmer Fredrik had a farm. He loved his farm and took very good care of it. On his farm, he grew beautiful flowers. He also had fruits but his favorite fruit was fig. Farmer Fredrick also has a pond on his farm. In the pond, he had a lot of fish. Oh, and what’s that we see sitting on the rock. It croaks. That is a frog. After a long day’s work, farmer Fredrick likes to eat a bowl of fig with a fork. He turns off the lights and says good night to all his farm friends.
Each time a word with the letter Ff is introduced the teacher should emphasize the letter Ff, the things that begin with the letter Ff should be pointed out too, for example, fork, fig, flowers, etc.
To recap the lesson done in the classroom children can be given a coloring worksheet with the letter Ff and pictures of a few of the words introduced.
Flashcards are rectangular cards that are shown to the children. These cards have a white background so that the letters printed on them can be read clearly. Flashcards should be big so that the pictures and letters are easily visible and can be identified clearly. The letters should be in a single color and should be large and clear.
To introduce a letter using flashcards, decide the letter to be introduced and make a list of the vocabulary to introduce corresponding to the letter. For example, if the teacher wants to introduce letter Bb in the class and the vocabulary that is decided is:
The teacher should keep colored pictures/flashcards of all the corresponding words that have been chosen.
To start introducing the letter the teacher starts by showing the card with the letter Bb. Then she shows the cards with the pictures of the objects beginning with letter Bb. Each time the teacher stresses the letter Bb by saying, Bb for butterfly, Bb for buttons, etc.
As an activity, the children can do balloon dabbing on the line drawing of the balloon.
Technology is widely used in classrooms today. It makes the lesson fun, interactive and interesting. The use of technology has become the need of the hour. Although we cannot do away with teacher intervention in preschools, the use of technology adds an element of entertainment to the lesson.
The PowerPoint slides made to introduce the letter should have sounds and movement. The letter that is being introduced to the children should have animation. The words being introduced should appear on the screen in a sequence and not at once. Animation and music should be added to the pictures.
For example, if the letter Dd is being introduced, and the words, dinosaur, dog, dolphin, drum, dancing are being introduced. Sounds of barking, drum roll, music, etc should be added to make the PowerPoint slide fun and interesting.
The use of technology through PowerPoint makes it possible for children to see real images and hear the real sounds. As an activity, the children can be asked to act like a dinosaur, bark like a dog or do a dance.
This is a good physical activity for the children. It will keep them alert and attentive at all times. As the name suggests the children have to walk around the class in the activity.
To introduce a letter using this technique the teacher displays/hangs the letter she has to introduce. The corresponding pictures that have to be introduced are also displayed in the classroom. For example, if the letter Mm has to be introduced, many cut-outs of letter Mm are put up in the classroom.
The words to be introduced are decided, for example, monkey, mongoose, mango, mason, monsoon, motorcycle and mug. The picture cards of these words are also displayed around the classroom. The teacher and children take a walk around the classroom. The teacher points to the letter Mm and the pictures of the objects beginning with letter Mm laying emphasis on the sound of the letter Mm.
As an activity, the teacher can ask the children to look around the class, point and name all the things beginning with letter Mm.
As is evident that teaching phonics to preschool children is very important. It lays the foundation for language learning. While teaching letters children are also introduced to new vocabulary. This word bank that is built will help them in sentence formation, writing, and conversational skills. Introducing letters through different teaching methods will make learning a memorable experience for your preschoolers.