How would you like to give your students a solid foundation for reading and writing at the beginning of the year? How would you like to get your students reading faster?! You need a fun, engaging way to introduce and have your students master all 26 sounds and letters to your students quickly and effectively. What if I told you that we have a way for you to cover all 26 in only the first 26 days of school and what if we told you it’s aligned to the science of reading and has been in use for 10 years? Well, we do!!! It’s one of the components of our year-long math & literacy program called TKS Bootcamp. The component you are looking for is called ABC Bootcamp! Teachers across the country and around the world are raving about the success of ABC Bootcamp in their classrooms. We could talk about all 9 components of TKS Bootcamp but for now, we want to focus on just the ABC component which is the first component of our phonics curriculum.
Intrigued yet?! I am positive you are, which means you have questions! We hope this blog post can help answer many of them. Ready to get started? Remember TKS Bootcamp is the year-long curriculum but in this post, we are focusing only on the ABC component. If you want to learn more about the entire program, visit our new website at www.tksbootcamp.com.
What Is ABC Bootcamp?
Why ABC Bootcamp?
The TKS Bootcamp curriculum is built on the research of The Law Of 10-20 For Memory Sets. This research says that the optimal time to learn a set is 10-20% of the time you want to remember that set. The school year is 180 days. 10%-20% of 180 is 18-37 days. 26 days falls in the middle of this range. Therefore ABC Bootcamp and the TKS Bootcamp curriculum is the optimal time to learn letters and sounds. This research carries throughout the entire Bootcamp curriculum.
And yes, ABC BOOTCAMP is aligned to the science of reading. And it has always been built on this body of research. From day 1, ABC BOOTCAMP was built on the principles of the science of reading because that is how I was taught to teach reading!
Does It Work?
How Does ABC Bootcamp Work?
Drawing The Pictures
Circle Charts In Action:
Handwriting: Explicit Instruction And Independent Practice
Handwriting Modeling Video from 2018:
Here is a Hat Modeling Video from 2018:
The First Week
One thing we hear the most about ABC BOOTCAMP is how much time we spend on Bootcamp, especially during the first week or two. Here’s the truth: the first week or two takes time. Students aren’t really working independently at all so everything is being modeled step by step and being done whole group. It’s OK! The explicit instruction is a MUST! Don’t let the time factor scare you. We’re also using this time to work on fine motor skills, listening, following directions, and routines and procedures. And it’s the beginning of the year so we have the time to invest in laying a solid foundation. During the first week or two, ABC BOOTCAMP takes about 40-60 minutes. The hats are the most time-consuming piece AT FIRST! Keep reading….and see how we are able to speed up this process!
Assembling The Hats
ABC Bootcamp Dog Tags
Students also receive a dog tag each day. The dog tag contains the letter that we learned. When students come to me to get their hats stapled, they identify the sound and letter and receive a dog tag.
The dog tag is placed on a necklace with their other letter dog tags and hangs in their cubby. At the end of our 26-day ABC BOOTCAMP, they proudly wear their dog tags home!
ABC BOOTCAMP: Small Groups
One of the biggest keys to students’ success as readers is confidence. Decodable readers help boost the confidence of our readers. And if a child feels like a reader, they will be better readers. Using decodable readers allows students to apply and practice the phonics skills we’ve taught in whole group lessons during our BOOTCAMP phonics time. Decodable readers are a key part of the systematic, explicit phonics instruction that helps our students succeed as readers and writers!
We use the alphabet books in ABC BOOTCAMP to practice and review the sound and letters in context! Learning letters and sounds must happen in context (which is why we use circle charts with words!). I pull small groups and we use the alphabet readers to practice the sound and letters in books!
How To Use The Alphabet Books
I pull a group to my table. First, I ask them to find the front cover of the book. Then they identify the sound and letter on the front cover. I might also ask them if they know any words for the sound. Then we read each page. After reading the book we identify the pictures and sound. We then do another reading where students read independently with my assistance as needed. We’re also working on vocabulary with the books.
With ABC Bootcamp you will get 26 alphabet books in the download. These books are differentiated with 2 levels. For each letter, there is a one-word book which is great for building vocabulary and confidence in readers. There is also a predictable pattern book with a simple sight word sentence to build fluency and confidence. Each book is available in color and black line, so you can choose to save on ink!
Alphabet Books In Action:
Letter Sound Hunt
Student Circle Chart Books
I get asked if this is the only time we will learn the letter and sound….NO! We review every letter and sound every day during our morning literacy routine! And we work with letters and sounds in small groups and centers using the centers included with BOOTCAMP!
ABC Bootcamp Fashion Show
How To Cut Out The Vests:
Fashion Show from 2018:
Our ABC Bootcamp download contains everything you need for complete science of reading-aligned phonics instruction with your class. It is 100% flexible and adapts to fit any scope and sequence and/or curriculum! ABC Bootcamp is only one component of our year-long math and literacy curriculum called, TKS BOOTCAMP!
The TKS Bootcamp Curriculum can be purchased as a Bundle that contains all 9 math & literacy components at a 25% discount, or you can purchase only the components you wish to use. Each component and/or bundle is available in 5 different themes: Army, Monsters, Safari, Superhero, or No Theme!
Available in 5 themes:
For more details on the entire TKS Bootcamp Curriculum, check out the TKS BOOTCAMP website:
For more research into ABC BOOTCAMP, check out this blog post!
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Oh how I wish I had down ABC Bootcamp this year! I have started doing the whole letter a week thing. But I am BORED! LOL…most of the kiddos seems fine, it's just me! Thinking about doubling up beginning next week.
My kiddos love doing Pokey Pin for each letter. I love that they are working on their fine motor muscles and talking about the letter the whole time!
We also love watching Have Fun Teaching letter videos! It emphasizes the letter, sound, and writing it.
I would love to win a copy of the alphabet hats.
I love to make a snack for each letter sound. I encourage the parents to do the same for their child's snack day. We also wear silly sunglasses and walk around the room with clipboards for letter sound Write the Walls. When we see a word that begins with that letter, we write it and circle the beginning letter. Silly sunglasses makes everything more fun!
I have a Mr. Muncher, made out of a dollar store garbage pail that the students can feed letters, beginning sound pictures, rhymes…the ideas are endless. We sing, “Mr. Muncher, Mr. Muncher, what's for lunch? Mr. Muncher, Mr. Muncher, crunch, crunch, crunch!” The kids love feeding him and it's so much fun!
We have been playing “I Have, Who Has” game with letters! They really seen to enjoy that!
I use Fundations to introduce letters and sounds. Love the idea of ABC Bootcamp though since many of my kinders come to me with a lot of their letters and sounds under their belt. Would love to win the hats and use as a center.
We work do a letter or two a week. The kids love it when we sing songs for the letter of the week and work on Starfall together.
We love making an alphabet craft for each letter! The hats are so cute! Love them 🙂
My kids love the object tubs. After a few letters are introduced we will sort objects. Tfrteach@aol.com
We do a lot of sorting based on beginning sounds, it could be photos or real objects.
I teach Early Childhood Special Ed so a lot of our focus is on letter differences and the letters of my student's names. We really focus on differentiating between different parts of the letters (big sticks, above/ below the line. Later in the year, we do circle crafts for each letter…My kids love love love silly hats and would love it if I added this to the routine
I wish I would have tried boot camp! Maybe I will start next week …… I use a lunch box and call it the letter box. I have the kidlets guess what items might be in the box based on the letter and sound
My kids are loving the Alphabet /Usher song from Go Noodle. We sing it everyday.
Lover Dr Jean and HeidiSongs! Heidi's music and movement for the letters and letter sounds is amazing! We do it daily and I have seen grown already 12 days in!!! firstname.lastname@example.org
I love your Boot Camp and would love to use it. However we use Fundations for teaching letters (2-3 a week), sounds, and handwriting and then it goes into sounding out words. The hats look like fun, and I like your rules for them.
I am no where near as creative as any of these wonderful teachers I am finding on instagram and teacher pay teacher. I so want to come teach with many of these wonderful individuals. One of my activities is have the kids bring in a show and tell item that goes with the letter of the week. Not only does this introduce them to different items that start with the letter of the week, but it also gets the to communicate by using and improving their language skills.
This is awesome!! We just started school today and I have been following your blog for weeks…so we are going to embark on this adventure beginning next week. My kids love eating through the alphabet (we do a snack each day that starts with that letter)! We also learn a new letter of the Phonics Dance. This year i definitely wanted to add the circle chart and the hats are so cool! I thought about doing an alphabet museum for the culminating activity, but i love the fashion show idea!!!
I would love to win. I put magnets in a mystery hat and have kids sit in a circle. If they pull an x game is over. If they pull an s they can steal and if they pull a g they give one away. I have also used mini bean bags. Kids love this letter recognition. Can switch it up and do sounds instead. email@example.com
I love your idea about the fashion show and the hats. I have a very busy group this year so the hats would make a great addition. We do a dictionary for the letters we learn. The class chooses the word and we write then illustrate in our own personal dictionary.
I love doing Write the Room- ABC! Students hunt for objects and words throughout the room that start with our target letter and sound of the day!
I just wanted to say thanks for the glitter abc's.
I love the hats! I have songs for all my letters and my kids love Starfall. Love the idea of an ABC bootcamp.
We make a movement to help remember the letter sound and I have a little box of mini toys that start with the sound. Today was “j” so we had a jeep, jeans, jelly, juice, jar and jumprope in the toy box.
We do sounds we say- making movements for each letter and letter team. This is the first year a lot of my students don't have much letter recognition coming in, so I'm struggling a little bit! LOVE the hats, love the rules and love adding some rigor to learning our letters and sounds!
Musical Letter Chairs – Have children put their chairs in a circle around the rug. I put a letter on each chair both upper and lowercase ( on a card, bean bag, etc…) and a wipe off marker. Students carry a white board around chairs to an ABC song like Greg and Steve’s ABC Rock or Hap Palmer’s Marching Around the Alphabet. When the music stops they kneel down and use the marker on the chair to copy the letter. After three or four letters I tell them to hold up their boards to show their work and/or turn to a neighbor and name the letters/letter sounds. I learned the hard way not to have them carry the marker! I do this for numbers also as they want to do this activity all the time. Put a variety of colored markers on the chairs and their boards will look like rainbows 🙂
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My principal introduced me to your blog, and I'm in LOVE! After 2 years of first grade, I transitioned back to kinder this year. Your blog has made it so easy! Thank you for all the wonderful ideas.
We play a mystery game. I have the letter in a bag and describe it, using terms like Vowel or Constant, slants, sticks, curves. They have to guess the letter we are discussing for the day.
I am so happy that you posted the glitter alphabet letters. I have been seeing them on your anchor charts and kept hoping that you would give them as a freebie, I love them. I too use the alphabet hats and the kinders love them. Thanks for always sharing iformative ideas that meets the needs of all students.
This is awesome! I would absolutely love to have these hats! We do Mustaches for letter Mm and Noodles painting for letter Nn (we form Nn with noodles first). You can check out my posts for this here:
Mm – http://aneighborhoodkindergarten.blogspot.com/2014/08/um-miss-peden-i-think-man-thing-just.html
Nn – http://aneighborhoodkindergarten.blogspot.com/2014/09/noodle-nonsense.html
I make letter/sound I-Spy bottles. I put 5-10 tiny little objects (plastic ants, erasers, etc) that represent each sound into a small water bottle, then fill the bottle with rice. The kids “search” for the objects, then write the word or draw a picture on their response sheet. They love it!
We make an ABC book but I make it ahead of time with only the child's known letters in it. The kiddos pick a picture that starts with that sound to glue to each letters page. When they have completed pictures for all known letters we add one new letter (they choose which letter they want to learn next). Each child reads their own ABC daily. They love it!
We have done a letter a day for the last 4 years. Our district has written an interactive letter a day program. I love rainbow writing the first 26 days. Your silly hats would be a great addition to our letter a day routine. Thanks for the glitter letters!
I'm a new Kinder teacher (was in 1st last year)…So far, we're loving lining up to the beginning letter/sound of their own names.
Bb We use the shape of blue jeans on blue construction paper and glue pics that starts with B on it.
Did you pick the winner on September 4th? I have looked on your site and Facebook but didn't find it? Hoping I won.
Next year I am soooooooooooooooo doing this in first grade!
We loved your idea so much that we created our own ABC boot camp at our school! The kids absolutely loved it!! Thanks for sharing!
Any chance you'd be willing to post the letter you send home to parents, specifically the part about the paper bag vest activity?
Great post. I don't call mine boot camp or anything cool but I do the same thing. The letter a week was killing me and it wasn't helping my students become literate. I also teach more sight words early on too so we can write to our friends sooner. This looks like so much fun.
Letter per day makes such a HUGE difference, right!?!? Thanks for commenting!
Look on Pinterest…I found some there.
Do you teach uppercase or lowercase first or together when asking them how they spell the sound?
I teach them together
How many days are the kids at school before you start the bootcamp?
About 2 days. I start ASAP! Get some classroom routines going for a couple days and then jump right in!
How important is it to do the letters in order from A-Z? My kindergarten team started doing a letter a week which is KILLING me. I think this would be more fun and engaging for my kiddos, but we already started with the letters T and F…
I don’t think there is any importance of doing letters in order from A-Z.
Hi, i was wondering if you can do a letters weekly instead of a different letter everday?
You can do it any way that works for YOU! That is part of the beauty of ABC Bootcamp. It can be adapted to fit the needs of any classroom!