I am excited to kick off our summer book study with our friend Abby from Kindergarten Chaos. The summer book study has become a tradition for us. We love going on this journey together and learning and growing so we can be the best teachers possible. Since this journey focuses on teaching reading and will include much about the science of reading (SOR), this will be a JUDGEMENT FREE journey. No shaming. Just teachers learning together!
Our book this summer is Know Better, Do Better. We chose this book because it focuses on the foundations of reading so it seemed like the perfect book for summer!
Chapter 1: Letter Recognition And Alphabetic Knowledge
Here are my takeaways from chapter 1:
One of the things that this chapter taught me is that we’re doing it right! Ya’ll! We explicitly teach our students’ letter names and letter sounds. This means we’re doing what’s best for kids and following the research. In our class, we use ABC BOOTCAMP to teach letter names and sounds together. However, this year our new foundational skills curriculum had us teach sounds and the “symbol” to spell the sound. Later on, we learned lowercase letter names. And near the end of the year (true story) we learned the uppercase letters. I definitely noticed my students struggling more this year because they didn’t have the letter names to ground their learning. Next year, we will go back to learning the sounds and letter names together. And yes ABC BOOTCAMP is aligned to the science of reading and has been from day 1.
As part of ABC BOOTCAMP, we also explicitly teach the correct letter formation. This motor component helps build brain pathways for remembering letters. We do this with explicit instruction and modeling. We also use small chalkboards and chalk because the friction of chalk helps build those brain pathways.
These are the chalkboards we use in our classroom! My dad made these for us. He cut squares of wood and painted them with chalkboard paint! We’ve used these for 13 years! The kids love them even though they make a giant mess!
Reading high-quality alphabet books regularly is another great way to work on letter recognition! Here are some of our favorites:
After reading the book, we go on a letter hunt. We cut letters out of magazines. The students bring me the letter, identify the letter and glue the letter onto the chart!
I love this brand new book because it’s sung to the tune of the alphabet song BUT the letters are all mixed up so it’s great for working on letter recognition! Click the image to grab the book on Amazon!
I love this book because students can find letters in real-life photographs from around a city! The real photographs are really engaging and after that, we can go on a letter hunt around our school and look for letters!
And finally, this chapter said something that we all know and something I believe in 1 million percent: learning should be FUN!!!!!! Research supports it. So it’s time to bring the fun back into our classrooms!
One of our favorite letter recognition games is our letter hunt! We have these cool stuffed letters called AlphaPals. I hide them around the room. The kids find them. We identify the letter and put them in order!
My class also loves cup stacking so we made letter cups so they can work on letter recognition while stacking cups!
What are your takeaways from chapter 1? What are your favorite letter recognition games and activities? What are your favorite ABC book read-alouds? Leave us a comment and join the discussion on Facebook!
Letter Recognition Resources:
For more information, check out these posts:
Make sure to visit Kindergarten Chaos and read Abby’s thoughts on chapter 1!
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