This post originally appeared on the blog Tame the Classroom.
The task that teachers have to teach letters and sounds is monumental. Helping young learners master their letters and letter sounds is crucial to their being able to read. You can’t build a house without the foundation, and students will have a hard time learning to read if they don’t know their letters and sounds.
As a second grade teacher, I don’t encounter too many students who struggle to read, but I do have them in my classroom. Some students have not received a solid foundation for learning their letters and sounds, so we, as teachers, must fill in those gaps.
If you are a preschool, pre-K, kindergarten, or even first grade teacher, you are probably meeting students who are just being exposed to the alphabet. My son is nearing his first year in kindergarten, and his pre-k teachers are doing an excellent job of helping my baby learn his letters and sounds. However, with his speech delay, I wanted to further help him at home so I started researching fun ways to teach him his letters and sounds.
I’ve found a few creative ways to help your students and even your young children learn their letters and letter sounds.
Magazine Letter Hunt and Sort
Becky at This Reading Mama uses magazines to help her son identify letters. Doing this magazine letter hunt and sort activity would be very easy. Ask parents and co-workers to donate old magazines to your classroom. If you do letter of the week, the students can use the magazines over and over. If you can’t access magazines, you could also use newspapers.
Touch and Feel Letters
Nadia from Teach Me Mommy had an idea of using pipe cleaners to create touch and feel letters. Not only will your students be able to practice naming the letters and saying the sounds, but they get to practice letter formation too. Once you make the cards, they can be used over and over again.
Learning the Letters Mini Books
One summer, I taught a kindergarten readiness class through the local university. My class consisted of about 7 students who were about to start kindergarten in a few months. I used these Learning the Letters Mini Books, and not only did the students love them, the parents loved them as well. The books include various practice activities on letter sounds, identifying letters, identifying words with the featured letter, and more. Try the free mini book for letter A, then see if you might want the individual books or the bundle of all of the books.
Elizabeth from This Little Home of Mine uses laminated printable letters for students to practice with playdough, blocks, and even vegetables.
Beginning Letter Boo Bingo Game
Beginning Letter Boo is a game that I created to help students work on letters, sounds, or both. If you’ve purchased any of my Bingo games before, you know that students create their own Bingo cards. The Boo games are mini versions of my Bingo games. This makes it easier for little hands to cut the pieces and paste them on their cards. Once each student creates their own Bingo card, the teacher will call out either a letter or sound. When calling out each card you might say, for example, “Find the picture that begins with the letter M,” or “Find the picture that begins with the /m/ sound.” My students love any kind of Bingo game! Oh yeah, and this Beginning Letter Boo game is free!
Around the Table ABCs
Stephanie from Boy Mama Teacher Mama has several creative letter practice ideas. My favorite is Around the Table ABCs. She simply cut out letters on colorful paper and put them around her dinner table. Using the ABC song, she had her son walk around the table (think Musical Chairs), and when the music stopped, her son had to say the letter and sound. It’s these fun, yet simple ways of learning that students love.
Say and Spray
When the weather is nice outside, I love to do outdoor classroom learning. Jennifer from A Dab of Glue Will Do has a great letter activity to do just that. Her Alphabet Say and Spray activity is a fun way to practice letters and sounds using just a spray bottle and chalk.
Alphabet Knock Down
Clear some space in the classroom for this alphabet knock down game from Kristina at Toddler Approved. Using just a few craft items, you can create small stands for each letter. Students will use a small ball to knock over a letter and say its name and/or sound.
ABC Clip Cards
I use clip cards with my second grade students, but this type of activity can easily be used in the lower elementary grades. Not only will they get letter practice, they will also get great fine motor skills practice by using the clothespins. Jennifer at Early Learning Ideas created these ABC clip cards to help students practice matching uppercase and lowercase letters and practice letter sounds. Another reason that I love clip cards is that they are self-checking! This would be a great independent center activity.
Here are a few more ideas for teaching letters and sounds:
Cotton Swab Painting from The Stay At Home Mom Survival Guide
Paper Plate Memory Game from Frugal Fun For Boys and Girls
Letter Matching Apple Tree Activity from Mom Inspired Life
Rainbow Hop Letter Sounds Game from Mom Inspired Life
Alphabet Kaboom from The Many Little Joys
Alphabet Zoom Zip Line Letters from Stir the Wonder
Alphabet Sounds Fishing and Matching Game from The Imagination Tree
Alphabet Ping Pong Drop Game from The Imagination Tree
Feed the Alphabet Monster from I Can Teach My Child
Jasmine is the author of the blog, Tame the Classroom. She enjoys sharing ideas and resources for elementary teachers. Besides blogging, she creates funny teacher videos as a way to help teachers embrace the humorous side that comes with teaching. You can follow her and find more ideas on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and Pinterest.