Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I have been teaching preschool for nearly 20 years.  One of my primary goals for my little ones is to help them learn the alphabet.  We focus on a letter a week, but we do not go in order.  I try to correlate the alphabet letter with the theme we have for the week. This has given the letter a context, more relevance,  and a takes more of a whole language approach to make it meaningful.  Each week has it's own theme based activities, but I do have some things that I do consistently with each letter to reinforce our learning of the alphabet.  This will be the first in a series of posts about TEACHING THE ALPHABET.


A great introduction to the alphabet letters is to give students a tactile experience.  I use this as an arrival activity as we begin each week.  We use a half sheet of paper that has an outline of both the upper and lower case letter.  We fill the letter with items that begin with the letter by gluing, stamping, texture rubbing, etc.  I have a large assortment of SHAPE PUNCHES that are quick and cheap (most cost only a dollar from the dollar corner at Target, the party supply section at Walmart, or the dollar store.)  I also have an assortment of rubber stamps - including alphabet sets (find them cheaply on ebay) that I use - especially for those hard letters like X.  Occasionally, I have used stickers, or  printed small pictures (finding images in clipart libraries) to be glued on.

This activity is worthwhile on so many levels.
  • First - I have found that it is a great sensory/tactile experience to literally help the students feel the shape of the letter. 
  • Second - it is an outstanding small motor activity to encourage a range of fine motor skills and improve finger dexterity. For many kids it is a challenge just to use a glue stick or to pick up a small piece with those little finger muscles.
  • Third - I have used it to practice sorting and patterning skills.  When I make punches, I will make at least two colors.  Then I can instruct the students to put one color on the upper case letter, and the other color on the lower case.  They can also use the shapes to make a pattern.
I realize most things just get thrown away when they come home from school, but I have know multiple families who have collected these into a book, or hung them around their children's bedrooms.

A - apples (punch shape/stamp), apple seeds, plastic ants (available at party supply stores or Amazon)
B - black beans, buttons, bumble bee (stamp), butterfly (punch shape/stamp)
C - cotton balls, Cheerios, cat (punch shape/stamp), candy cane (punch shape/stamp/sticker)
D - dots (colored stickers), dinosaur (punch shape, stickers or stamps), dime rubbings
E - egg shells, egg (punch shape), eyes (googly eyes from the craft store)
F - flowers (punch shape, stamp or stickers), fingerprints
G - glitter (gold or green)
H - hearts  (punch shape, stamp or stickers)
I - ice cream cones  (stamp, stickers or clipart prints)
J - jewels (plastic rhinestone jewels from craft stores or jewel nail stickers often found in party sections)
K - keys (rubbings or clipart prints)
L - lace, leafs (punch shape/stamp)
M - macaroni
N - noodles, nickel rubbings, newspaper scraps
O - octopus  (punch shape/stamp/stickers), o shaped stickers (hole reinforcement stickers)
P - popcorn
Q - q-tips
R - red ribbon
S - stars  (punch shape/stamp/stickers)
T - toothpicks, turkeys  (punch shape/stamp/stickers)
U - umbrellas  (punch shape, stamp or stickers)
V - velvet ribbon, velcro
W - watermelon  (punch shape/stamp/stickers)
X - x-ray (stamp), or letter x stamp
Y - yellow yarn
Z - zipper rubbing

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