Monday, July 22, 2013

Letter Recognition/Letter Sounds and the MVP (Most Valuable Product) Award!

Our daughter is four years old and attends preschool five days a week for two hours and forty-five minutes.  Our primary purpose for placing her in preschool was for her to socialize.  As an only child, it is hard to expose her to children her age on a regular basis; preschool serves that purpose while introducing her to many skills she will need when she enters Kindergarten.  As a teacher, I admit it is very hard to "pull in the reigns" and not play school all day with her:)  I think I manage to have a good balance.  My focus right now is on letter recognition and beginning phonics.  She can identify all of the capital letters and the majority of the lower case letters.  I don't push sounds too hard because she is learning so much from preschool and through songs and rhymes.  I am actually beginning to teach her sight words, but that will be another post ;)

I introduce the letters in a specific sequence.  I begin with the letters that look identical as capital and lowercase (i.e. Cc, Kk, Mm, Oo, Pp, Ss, Uu, Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy, Zz).  I always introduce capital letters first.  I like to introduce everything with a story. We use AlphaTales by Scholastic.  

These cute little animal tales are a fun way to introduce each letter in context.  They also come with reproducible mini-books that the child can keep and use to reread or circle the letter.  Once we have read the story we focus on identifying the letter.  The next two resources are FREEBIES!  The first one is from and it is a simple block letter with circles to be used for stickers or Do-a-Dot daubers.  I use this one for stickers. You can use round Avery stickers or circular alphabet stickers.  I purchased my alphabet stickers at The Dollar Tree.  

The next thing we do is put all different stickers on a large blank letter to create a collage.  I downloaded my large blank letter from a preschool curriculum we are using called God's Little Explorers.  It is an awesome curriculum and I believe she has many things available for FREE!  You can purchase the curriculum as one download if you prefer.  However, you can find large letters all over the web.  Our daughter loves doing this activity because she is obsessed with stickers right now:)

Now comes fine motor work, but not writing/tracing.  I may as well state here that I do not have our daughter trace letters at home.  She receives Occupational Therapy and I do not want to push her and turn her off to writing by constantly reminding her to hold her pencil correctly.   I expose her using more sensory experiences like the sandpaper letters, play-doh and writing in a salt box.  She really enjoys Do-a-Dot and that is what we do with our Do-a-Dot page from  

Another terrific resource is Animal ABCs from  These are just so cool and appealing to preschoolers!
Before we move on to the sound for the letter, I have our daughter do a page that I created to work on visual discrimination and differentiating between the capital and lower case of the letter.  We also count how many of each and record it.  I use a very easily readable print font at this stage.  I am working on something for her with the letter being presented in a variety of fonts, but at this stage it is essential for her to have a strong foundation.  If you would like to check out this product you can click on the picture to download a FREE page in my TpT store.  

Moving on to the letter sound!  Here come some more FABULOUS FREEBIES!  This is another one from  These are Letter Hunts with a simple story focusing on one letter.  In this case it was Xx.  We read it and then she dots the letter Xx ~ you can have your child or students circle the letters or highlight them too.  These can be found by clicking the picture below:)

Now a poem: A FREE printable from  We read it together and though the directions say to circle the letter...we use little star stickers.  I absolutely LOVE these because they use classic nursery rhymes!

 The rest of the resources are products from Teachers Pay Teacher.  The first two were created by yours truly;)  The one below is called Preschool Playlist.  It depicts an MP3 player and has objects that have the beginning sound of a given letter.  This is straightforward and simple on purpose.  When introducing letters and sounds you do not want to bombard a learner ~ exposure is essential at the beginning.  This is just good practice and allows for gradual release of responsibility.  Before they can select which one is NOT the sound they must be proficient with words that HAVE the sound.  If you are interested in checking out my product, just click on the picture below. 

My Initial Sounds Hole Punch cards are our daughter's favorite!  I am thrilled she loves it because it targets hand strength, eye-hand coordination, and visual discrimination all while reinforcing letter recognition and beginning sounds!  The learner has to identify the picture and say what the beginning sound is.  Then he or she hole punches all of the letters for that sound.  You can check it out by clicking the picture below.

Last, but certainly not least, is the MVP AWARD!  Hoooraaayy!  Most of you are no stranger to Annie Moffatt at The Moffatt Girls.  Honestly, EVERY product she has is a MVP in my book!  Her products are creative and fun and appealing to young children.  That being said, one of her most versatile products is her Alphabet Money.
Click on the picture of her product cover above to check out how she uses the Alphabet Money with her little girl.  I like to use mine as positive reinforcement when working with a particular letter.  In a previous post I discussed how we use the money to "shop" for things that begin with a particular sound.  As our daughter is mastering the letter she continues earn money with that letter.  She can use it to "purchase" a little something from a treasure chest I have with trinkets from the dollar store.  

Thank you Annie for this GREAT product!  It is truly a MVP!!!

1 comment:

  1. I am a 1st grade teacher, but love checking out your blog. It has been awhile for ideas for my grandchildren. She will love some of these ideas. I looked on for the Letter Recognition letters but can't find them. Do you know what you looked under?

    I also looked under this site for the Animal ABC's but I'm having a hard time finding them. Thanks for all your great ideas! Jackie