ACTIVITY EXAMPLES FOR READING FOUNDATIONS Letter Identification

ACTIVITY EXAMPLES FOR READING FOUNDATIONS
Letter Identification
RF.PK.1d Recognize frequently occurring uppercase letters and some of the most frequently
occurring lowercase letters.
Recognition of letter names for the alphabet is an important skill which typically follows a
sequence of mastery.
Children should be able to say the alphabet in order with ease (not sing). Practice by
chanting as a group. March as you say the alphabet, use your arm as a metronome to evenly
space letters as you say them, etc.
Although the introduction of letter identification and naming may be introduced in large
group, much differentiation in small group settings is essential to acquisition and
assessment of skill progression.
Level 1: Matching (visual discrimination)
1) Car Parking Lot Activity
Materials needed: poster board, 26 matchbox cars
Directions: Use a poster board to draw a visual of a car parking lot with four different lanes of
parking areas. Randomly label each of the spaces with the 26 letters of the alphabet. Label each
matchbox car with one of the 26 letters.
Have the students drive the cars to the correct parking spot (matching car with parking space).
2) Name Matching Activity
Materials needed: Student’s name written on index card (laminated), sentence strip with child’s
name (laminated with a velcro dot for each letter), individual letters (laminated and with velcro
dots attached)
Directions: Print student’s name on index card. Print student’s name on a sentence strip. Print
individual letters of child’s name on a separate sentence strip (cut into individual letters and
laminated).
Using the index card, discuss the letters in the child’s name and the order they are in. Compare
child’s name to other students’ names. Next, show the child their name on the sentence strip and
model how to attach the individual letters in order. Say the name of each letter as the letter is
attached to the strip. After modeling, have the student to match the letters in their name.
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3) Letter Matching with Clothespins
Materials needed: Laminated strips of cardstock with capital letters printed individually and a
box drawn around each letter (example of letter X-  ), wooden clothespins with capital letters
printed on each clothespin (X)
Directions: Explain to students that you are going to give them a strip of paper that has letters
written on it. Show students how to squeeze the clothespin to open it. Explain that there is a letter
written on each clothespin. Model for students how to match a clothespin with a letter on the
strip. Clip the clothespin to the strip so that the letters match.
Extensions/Modifications: Match individual letters, match uppercase letters and lowercase
letters, match letters in child’s name
4) Letter Building Cubes
Materials needed: Two sets of uni-fix cubes with small stickers on each cube- (each cube has one
letter of the alphabet written on it)
Directions: Children find the two alphabet letters that match and connect the cubes.
Extension: Children find the letters of their name and connect the cubes to spell their name.
Level 2: Identifying the Letter name
LETTER FORMATION IS AN IMPORTANT VEHICLE TO LEARNING LETTER
RECOGNITION.
DON’T FORGET TO USE AIR WRITING
Letter formation activities should be monitored and this does not mean worksheets are
appropriate.
At this level, the child shows receptive knowledge of letter names which will precede
expressive knowledge. The child can pick out the letter when the letter name is given but
may not yet be able to independently name the letter.
1) Modification of Monster Muncher (see rhyme activities) using letter names and letter cards,
magnetic or foam letters. Using puppet or poster with cut out mouth.
Muncher Monster, Muncher Monster, munch, munch, munch.
He wants to eat the letter B for lunch. (use with multiple letters)
2) Read aloud activity- Old Black Fly
Materials needed: Book Old Black Fly
Directions: Teacher reads the book Old Black Fly. This is a story about a fly that goes through
the alphabet, slapping flies with a letter of the alphabet. Next, the teacher calls out a specific
letter and lets the child slap the alphabet letters.
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3) Letter Hunt
Materials needed: Big book or chart or technology if appropriate
Directions: The teacher chooses a letter based on the students’ needs (first look for one letter and
then increase the number of letters). After reading a big book, the students use post-it notes to
identify the letter in the big book that the teacher chooses for them to find. With increased letters,
students can use different color post-it notes for finding several letters. The group can count how
many times the letter is found in the big book, while the teacher records the number on the board.
Teacher made or commercial charts can be used for this activity in large or small group settings.
4) Tackle Box Letter Game
Materials needed: Magnetic alphabet letters, tackle box, magnetic board
Directions: Place magnetic capital letters in a tackle box. The teacher calls out the name of an
alphabet letter. The student looks in the tackle box for the alphabet letter. Once the child finds
the correct letter, the student places the magnetic letter on the board. Continue to have students
take turns and correctly identify and match up all the letters.
Extension: Match capital and lowercase letters
5) Parachute Toss
Place foam or magnetic letters in a small parachute. Chant: Letters letters everywhere. Letters
letters in the air. Using the parachute toss the letters onto the rug. Each child may pick up one
letter and will match it to the ” partner” letter. Toss uppercase and line lowercase up in an area
where children can place them.
Variation: Have chart paper on the board (that is magnetic) with all the uppercase letters written
on it either in or out of order depending on the level of your children. Have students place the
magnetic lowercase letter which was tossed next to the uppercase letter on the chart.
6) Have students wear large letters cut out of poster board. Using songs or poems, have child
with correct letter stand or act out where appropriate.
Example: Seven little letters jumping on the bed. “H” fell off and bumped his head, etc.
Level 3: Naming the Letter
1) Place letters on the wall, door, top of shelves, etc. around the classroom and hallway. Each
time the students walk by the letter they are to slap or touch the letter and whisper or shout the
letter name. Do this as you line up, exit your classroom, dismiss to centers, etc.
2) Shaving Cream Letters
Materials needed: Shaving cream
Directions: Have students sit at a table with the teacher. The teacher spreads the shaving cream
on the table, then draws an alphabet letter in the shaving cream. The teacher asks students to
name the letter. Student who names the letter may “erase” the letter. the teacher may choose to
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give shaving cream to students to draw letters (gauge ability of students to correctly form letter
prior to this progression) on the table if appropriate and have another child name the letter.
3) Fishing For Letters
Materials needed: Water or sensory table filled with water, magnetic alphabet letters, magnetic
fishing poles, and magnetic marker board (optional).
Directions: Tell students they are going fishing for letters. The goal of the game is to catch a
letter with the fishing pole and name the letter. When the letter is named correctly, students can
throw the letter back and collect another one or you can “string” the caught fish. Rename letters
at the end of the game as closure.
4) Dice with letter can be used in a variety of “games” with child naming the letter tossed.
5) Modify the game musical chairs. Place a letter of the chairs and child will name the letter they
sit on with each turn.
6) Sandpaper Letters
Materials needed: Alphabet letters cut out of sandpaper, crayons, drawing paper, “feely” box
Directions: Tell students that they will be working on naming alphabet letters using sandpaper
and making crayon rubbings. Students reach into the “feely” box and pull out a letter, then say
the letter’s name. Continue until all letters are pulled from the box and named.
ALPHABET ARC
The alphabet arc can be used in all the levels of letter naming/recognition. An example of the
arc with an example of a activity is available at:
http://www.fcrr.org/studentactivities/F_001a.pdf
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Segmenting Words and Sentences
RF.PK.2b Participate in oral activities to introduce counting syllables in familiar words and word
in a sentence.
.
Hearing the Syllables or Parts of Words: Practice dividing words into syllables
Begin with children’s names:
Teacher will say the child’s names with syllable breaks. Child whose name is said will
then repeat their name as a whole. Have the whole class repeat the syllable division of the name
after you.
Tapping words
Clapping the syllables of words is fun and provides and auditory component. However,
you should alternate with other physical motions. Tapping index finger to thumb cues the
language area of the brain. Arm or knee tapping can be used (quieter than clapping so that words
can more easily be heard). Check with kindergarten teachers and see what motions or physical
cues they use and progress to that model as the year progresses and the children are ready.
Using one syllable compound words: Say the two individual words and blend for children into
compound word. Using pictures can aid this, but it is primarily an oral activity. Using physical
motions or cues can be an aid.
Move left hand out to left side of your body – say “dog”
Move right hand out to right side of your body- say “house”
Bring hands together in the middle and squish the words together- say “doghouse”
(do not separate words with “and”)
Reverse the process- say doghouse and divide into dog and house.
This activity also involves some blending, but that is not the point of the exercise.
Identifying the words within a sentence
Morning Message or other large chart or writing:
When modeling writing as a large group or individually, occasionally be sure to point out the
space between the words as you write.
Using charts with poems or rhymes with shorter sentences, have children occasionally count the
words they see in the sentence.
Morning message is a great time for modeling writing, word formation, and sentence structure
and sentences are usually short enough for ease in separating and counting words when the
sentence can be viewed on a single line.
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Rhyme
RF.PK.2a Recognize and discriminate rhyming words in spoken language.
Level 1: Hearing the Rhymes
Hearing Sounds
Read books with rhyme and call attention to the words that rhyme. Repeated exposure to
rhyming words is the key to hearing the sounds. There are numerous books that are good
literature that have multiple and obvious rhymes. (Time for Bed, Silly Sally, Sheep in a Jeep,
Dr. Suess, etc)
Many songs highlight rhyming words and should be included in the students’ experiences with
rhyme.
Down by the Bay and similar songs and be used at this level and modified to a more
advanced level as the proficiency of students progress.
Many repetitions of the rhymes, song, word plays with rhyming words lead children to
familiarity and comfort with the sounds and rhythms of the poems/songs.
Using nonsense rhyme in multiple ways highlights the rhyming sounds.
Inclusion of nursery rhymes and poetry has shown to facilitate the hearing and identification of
rhyme.
Nursery Rhyme or Poem Variations:
Say the rhyme in a whisper but say the rhyming words more loudly.
With a song, sing the song softly and sing the rhyming words loudly.
Physical motions or cues (hands on head, etc) can be added that children perform when the hear
the rhyming words within the rhyme or song.
Hearing Sounds during Transitions
Call children to the line by the using a nonsense rhyme of their name- if your name rhymes with
Wellie (for Ellie) line up, stand up, sit down, touch your head- whatever you are doing at the
time or while waiting.
Sing rhyming songs and recite nursery rhymes during transitions.
Rhyming rings:
Hook word picture cards that rhyme together on a metal ring. You may include the word with the
picture. Children flip through the picture cards and say them into a PVC phone. Example: dog,
hog, log, fog, jog. Take these rings with you to the hall when waiting at the cafeteria or use as
time fillers while children are washing their hands, etc.
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Level 2: Completing with familiar rhyme
Nursery Rhymes and familiar books
When poems, rhymes and books with rhyme are familiar, students can be asked to complete
sentences or phrases with the correct rhyme.
“I will not eat them in a box. I will not eat them with a _______.”
“Hickory, Dickory, Dock. The mouse ran up the ________.”
From Down by the Bay: “Did you ever see a mouse painting a ________?”
Level 3: Matching/ identifying the Rhyme
Introduce activities in large group, but guided practice in small groups is essential to instruction
and assessment at this level.
Pairs and Oddity groups
It is important that the teacher pronounce the word pairs for the students prior to the asking them
to identify the rhyme. Remember NOT to separate the words with “and” or “or”. Simply pause
between the two words.
Having a rhyming puppet or similar object that “eats” the rhyming pairs but won’t eat the no.nrhyming pairs adds fun to the tasks. See explanation of Letter Muncher Game below
1. Provide students with picture pairs and have them identify which pairs rhyme:
hat/ cat or dog/ shoe- which ones rhyme (begin with obvious pairs)
2. Provide students with pairs and have students determine if the pair does or does not rhyme.
These can be sorted into piles of rhyme and don’t rhyme.
3. Oddity groups: Provide students with 3 pictures- 2 of which rhyme and one which does not.
Have students remove the non-rhyming word from the group. Again, find some gimmick/ game
to make it interesting or fun to keep students engaged.
Matching Game
In small group, children can have a set of picture cards and can match the cards based on the key
word to be rhymed. The activity should be explicitly taught to students prior to having them
work on it in small groups. In large group, the pictures can be placed on large cards, the rug, or
full size paper and the class can work together to find rhyming. *Technology could be
incorporated into this activity by using white board, etc.
There are many computer games that give children practice hearing and matching rhyming
words
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Monster Muncher Game
Use a puppet or poster with drawing and cut out mouth: will be called the Muncher Monster.
Say the rhyme:
Muncher Monster, Muncher Monster, munch, munch, munch.
He wants a word that rhymes with “cat” for lunch.
(change the word each time to match up with your cards- sometimes using nonsense words. He
wants a word that rhymes with for “touse” for lunch)
Children will place the picture card of the rhyming word in the monsters mouth.
Teacher and/or child will say the rhyming pair aloud before deciding whether to feed the
monster.
All students are asked to repeat the pair as the monster is fed.
Pairs of words can be displayed in front of children or children can be given individual cards.
Alter the game to keep children engaged as you repeat this multiple times.
This game can be modified and used for identifying letter names and beginning alliterative
sounds.
“He wants a word that starts with /b/ for lunch “ (make the sound- not the letter name
when working on alliteration)
“He wants to eat the letter A for lunch (say the letter name when working on letter
naming/identification)
Sorting Rhymes
This activity requires a variety of small items to represent various words. Put the small items in
a box and introduce key word. A picture can be used to represent the word to be rhymed. The
teacher tells the students that they are going to draw an item in the rhyming box. If the item
rhymes with the target word, it goes in the “rhymes” tray or circle (sorting hoops work well). If
it does not rhyme, it goes in the “does not rhyme” tray or circle. Students take turns putting their
hand in the rhyming box and pulling out one item. The students name the item and the teacher
repeats the key word and the name of the item. The student says the pair of words and sorts it
into the “rhymes” and “does not rhyme” trays. Once all students have sorted an item, the
“rhyme” tray can be “read” with students repeating the rhyming words.
Alternative: Find pictures from magazines, resource books, etc, that have rhyming words and a
few with words that do not rhyme. Ask the students to name each picture and determine the
placement into either Rhymes or Does not Rhyme.
Rhyme Hunt
For this activity, teachers introduce the target word and hold up a card with a picture to represent
the sound. The teacher will pronounce the word and have the students repeat it. An example
may be given as necessary. The teacher may provide examples of things that rhyme, including
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nonsense words. Students can repeat what the teacher says. The students have a set time to find
an object in the classroom or hidden pictures that rhyme with the target word (set up classroom
with various objects that rhyme with the word) The object should be found and placed within a
designated area (hoop, tray, table, plastic tub, etc.). After everyone has a turn, the teacher will
review each object with the class to discuss the words/ names of the rhyming pictures and words.
Rhyme Circle Map
On the board, draw a circle and put a picture and/or letter in the middle of the circle to represent
the word you will be rhyming. As a group, have the students say the word. (This activity could
follow a book with rhyme). If the students say a word that does not rhyme, put it outside the
circle. Write the word and draw a picture to illustrate the words inside and outside the circle.
Review the words within the circle. Have the students repeat the words.
Memory Game
Place the cards face down on the table and play a memory game looking for rhyming pairs.
Have students repeat the rhyming pairs they found at the end of the game as closure.
Completion Rhymes with unfamiliar poems or songs:
These activity should first done with picture choices of only 2-3 options and later as some of
your children approach the level of rhyme production you can ask them to provide a rhyming
word without picture choices or with multiple picture choices depending on their level of
mastery.
A Fishing We Will Go
(tune of A Hunting we will Go)
A fishing we will go, A fishing we will go. We’ll catch a
Mouse and put him in a _____ (house) and then we’ll let him go.
Dragon and put him in a ______ (wagon)
Sheep/ jeep Bear/ chair
Cow/ plow
ants/ pants
Goat/ boat or coat
duck/ truck
Cat/ hat
whale/ jail
Pig/ wig
fish/ dish
Frog/ log
fox/ box, etc…..
Little Miss Muffett
Instead of a spider who sat down beside her……
Along came a pig and took off her_____ (wig)
Bunny licking some (honey)
Snake eating some (cake)
Bee sipping some (tea)
Goat wearing a (coat)
Parrot eating a (carrot), etc.
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Change little Miss Muffet to
Little Ms. Stare sat on a (chair)
Little Mr. Cool sat on a (stool)
Little Mr. Flat sat on a (mat/ hat)
Little Ms. Brave sat in a (cave)
Little Mr. Float sat in a (boat)
Make up any names that rhyme with objects or places you have pictures of
even if they aren’t real words.
Little Ms. Tofa sat on a (sofa).
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Alliteration
RF.PK.2e With guidance and support, identify whether or not two words begin with the same
sound.
RF.PK.3d
first
With guidance and support, discriminate between words with the same and different
letter sounds.
Level 1: Hearing the Sounds
Alliterative Phrases
Introduce the term alliteration to students. Have the students repeat the word. Explain that
sometimes to make books more interesting and fun, authors use alliteration, which is using the
same beginning sound over and over. An example is “fast furry foxes fight ferrets”. Have the
students repeat the alliterative phrase. Emphasize the initial /f/ sound. Talk about how it is
difficult to say some phrases and so people call them tongue twisters. Ask students if they have
ever heard of any tongue twisters. Have the students repeat any tongue twisters, if appropriate.
Rather than introducing the concept of tongue twisters, teachers can read a book with several
alliterative phrases and emphasize the beginning sounds during the reading of the text. Students
can be encouraged to clap or use a specific gesture when they hear alliteration during the story.
As a class, the teacher and student can work to create several alliterative phrases. The teacher
can model writing the phrases in front of the class, emphasizing the sound, but underlining and
highlighting the letter, if appropriate.
Hearing Sounds during Transitions
Call children to the line by the initial sound of their name then point out the students with the
same initial sound. Use tongue twisters, alliterative phrases, songs with alliteration during
transitions. As a class decide on a specific action for a target sound, then throughout the day as
students hear the target sound they must perform the action.
Hearing Sounds
Read the book, Worm’s Wagon, and then with teacher guidance and modeling, discuss the
different things in the story that begin with the /w/ sound – list descriptive characteristics such as
wiggly worm and wagon wheels.
Alternative: Read the book, The Pig’s Picnic, and discuss and identify the things in the story that
begin with the /p/ sound.
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Bunny Puppet
Introduce the /b/ sound with a bunny puppet. Read the letter b book about all of the bunny’s
favorite things (words that begin with the /b/ sound). Discuss the words that start with the /b/
sound.
Level 2: Matching the Sounds
Alphabet Alliteration
Read the book, Alphabet Alliteration by Adele Marie Crouch, emphasizing the beginning
sounds. Have the students repeat the sentences aloud after reading a page from the book.
Discuss with students listening for the first sound in words. Possible extension activity for
students is to match some of the initial sounds introduced with the letter. Students can use
alphabet magnets, letter tiles, letter blocks, etc. to match the letter to the sounds introduced in the
text. During a re-read of the book, students can listen to the beginning sound and choose the
letter by placing it on the work mat, holding up for class, etc. (Recommendation: only provide a
few letter tiles for each student).
Matching Game
In small group, children can have a set of picture cards and can match the cards based on the
initial sound. The activity should be explicitly taught to students prior to having them work on it
in pairs or small groups. In large group, the pictures can be placed on large cards, or full size
paper, and the class can work together to find alliterative matches. *Technology could be
incorporated into this activity by using white board, etc.
Sorting Sounds
This activity requires a variety of small items to represent various sounds. Put the small items in
a box and introduce a beginning sound – not letter – but sound. A picture can be used to
represent the sound. For example, the /b/ sound could be represented by a picture of a bug. The
teacher tells the students that they are going to feel for an item in the feely box. If the item starts
with the same sound as the target sound, it goes in the “same” tub, tray, sorting hoop. If it does
not sound the same, it goes in the “different” tray, sorting hoop, circle. Students take turns
putting their hand in the feely box and pulling out one item. The students name the item and the
teacher asks what sound is heard at the beginning of the word. The student says the name and
sorts it into the “same” and “different” areas. It is appropriate to let students get up to put the
items in the tub to incorporate a multisensory aspect to the lesson. Once all students have sorted
an item, the “same” group can be explored to emphasize the target sound.
Alternative: Find pictures from magazines, resource books, etc, that have the same beginning
sound and a few with other sounds. Ask the students to name each picture while saying the initial
sound loudly. A target sound is introduced and represented with a letter and/or a picture on a
chart and students tape their picture to the chart if it starts with the same sound as the target
sound.
Alternative: Let students sort picture cards with a pocket chart.
TN-ELDS Early Literacy and Language Summer 2013
Level 3: Identifying the Sounds
Monster Muncher Game
Using picture cards, students will feed the monster muncher puppet or poster with things that
start with the target sound. (see full explanation of game under rhyming activities)
Munche, Monster, Muncher Monster, munch, munch, munch.
He wants to eat the sound of /b/ for lunch. (make the sound, not saying letter name)
Student will feed the monster the picture or item that starts with the target sound.
Let’s Make a Nickname
For this activity, students can sit in a circle. As the teacher stops at a student, the other children
come up with a nickname for the student using alliteration. For example, Hank may be “Happy
Hank”. The teacher should model some appropriate nicknames for students. Students could be
encouraged to use “words of kindness” for this activity. The teacher can record the nicknames
on the board as a group activity emphasizing the repeated initial sound. Children can pick their
own nickname rather than the class. In centers, children could decorate name strips with their
new nickname.
Alternative: Read the book, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, and make a class book using student’s
name and something that begins with the same beginning sound, such as If you give Stacy a
Sandwich…
Alliteration Meal
Read the book, Eating the Alphabet, which introduces different foods that begin with the letters
of the alphabet. The class can work together to come up with the name of a food that begins
with the same sound as each student’s name in the class (e.g. Martha mashed potatoes). The
students can be encouraged to use their name and food in a complete sentence (e.g. Martha
liked/bought/had/loves mashed potatoes). Teachers can model writing each sentence in front of
the class and/or write the sentence for each student on a piece of paper. As an extension, the
students can illustrate their paper with the sentence and the class can make a book.
Letter Sound Spinner
For this activity, a letter spinner or letter die is needed- a key picture should be on the die as well
as the letter. When the spinner lands on a letter (letter and letter sound has been introduced), say
the letter sound (and letter name, if appropriate). Encourage students to think of words that start
with the same sound. The students should repeat the words as a whole class.
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Sound Hunt
For this activity, teachers introduce the target sound and hold up a card with the letter and/or a
picture to represent the sound. The teacher will model the sound and have the students repeat it.
The teacher will provide several examples of things that begin with the same sound. Students
can repeat what the teacher says. The students have one minute (set a timer) to find an object in
the classroom that begins with the target sound (set up classroom with various objects that start
with the target sound). The object should be found and placed within a designated area (table,
laundry basket, plastic tub, tray, hoop, etc.). After everyone has a turn, the teacher will review
each object with the class to discuss the sound each item begins with emphasizing whether it is
the same as the target sound or different.
Beginning Sound Circle Map
On the board, draw a circle and put a picture and/or letter in the middle of the circle to represent
the target sound. As a group, have the students say words (from pictures or a book)that begin
with the target sound. (This activity could follow a book with alliteration). If the students say a
word that does not begin with the target sound, put it outside the circle. Write the word and draw
a picture to illustrate the words inside and outside the circle. Review the words within the circle.
Have the students repeat the words.
Letter Mats
Select a picture mat (sets available) or customize pictures and have students choose small objects
and/or pictures that have the same beginning sound as the picture on the mat. This activity can
be differentiated by increasing or decreasing the number of objects the child has to choose from
for the mat.
Activities compiled by Cheryl K. Schmidt
ELA consultant, Dept. of Early Learning
May, 2013
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