Learning to Connect Letters and Sounds

By: Alayna Kramer and Amelia Manes, Kindergarten North Teachers
The kindergarten classes spent 26 days focusing on the building blocks of our language – the alphabet! Each day focused on a different letter. Teachers worked to bring the letters and their sounds to life using a multi-sensory approach. The goal was to present this work in a way that was both engaging and provided multiple entry points for a variety of learners.
The “A-Z Gallery Wall” was on display in front of the kindergarten classrooms. Each week, children were assigned a letter sharing day. They brought in an object or idea that started with their letter, gave clues to their classmates to guess the item and then drew a picture to put in the gallery. Observing the students tackle these tasks informed the teachers as to where each child was in their understanding of phonics and their ability to utilize that knowledge in their pre-writing skills.

Writing work took place in each child’s own personal dictionary where they chose a word for each letter and drew a picture.They utilized the Orton-Gillingham approach we presented to see, hear, and act out letter sounds. We also learned the American Sign Language alphabet and replicated each letter with our bodies using a Yoga alphabet.
Specialist classes, sharing time, daily games, and read-alouds were all part of the ways we saturated the program with this work. Using the day’s featured letter, students flew to different locations in our classroom (loft) airplane, Live Oak Air. They traveled to Turkey and visited Vermont. They used the blocks to build structures such as an ocean for O day and a warehouse for W day. We also spent some time in the ChangeMaker Lab with Lianna. We made “phones” using the Glowforge machine and glue guns on G day and explored UV light on U day.

On Fridays, kindergartners ventured on field trips to explore places that also aligned with the day’s letter. For example, we went to Heron’s Head for H day, The Randall Museum on R day, and culminated our alphabet unit with a trip to the San Francisco Zoo on Z day. 

This immersive alphabet experience exposed students to the skills they will use to become lifelong readers and writers!


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