In this blog post: Take a closer look at the components of the preschool and pre-k phonics curriculum and how it aligns with the science of reading.
The idea of teaching phonics in preschool or pre-k can feel kind of daunting.
How do we build a strong literacy foundation while staying developmentally appropriate and, just as important, having fun?
Is it possible to have a preschool and pre-k phonics curriculum that aligns with best practices from the Science of Reading?
The answer is yes, yes, yes!
When I began writing the Preschool and Pre-k Phonics curriculum, I knew it was going to be a big task. After all, we’re combining explicit and systematic phonics instruction with age-appropriate FUN!
What we ended up with is a unique approach to teaching early phonics skills that I think you’re going to love.
What is included in the phonics curriculum?
The Preschool and Pre-K Phonics Curriculum was designed to get as much impact as possible out of a short period of time.
Each lesson includes phonological and phonemic awareness, work with the alphabetic principal, music and movement, independent practice, and differentiated small group activities.
I know, it sounds like a lot to fit in!
But in reality, these lessons are designed to only take up about 10 minutes of your whole group time, and that time is split up even more into each part of the lesson.
Let’s take a closer look at each part.
Phonological and Phonemic Awareness
Each lesson in the Preschool and Pre-K Phonics Curriculum has a short phonological and phonemic awareness practice activity. In unit 1, the phonological awareness skills covered include:
- Repeating sounds, words, and sentences
- Counting words in a sentence
- Hearing rhymes
- Identifying rhymes
- Identify words that do not rhyme
The phonological and phonemic awareness part of the lesson will only take about 1-2 minutes daily. However, if you are already teaching phonological awareness in another part of your day – for example, in my Pre-K Literacy Curriculum, you may want to skip this part of the lesson plan.
Whole Group Lesson
The whole group lessons in the Preschool and Pre-K Phonics Curriculum were meant to be short, sweet, and impactful. This is when you will get to the “meat” of your lessons, but we are also careful not to over-teach.
Meet Letter Lion!
Letter Lion is the mascot of the Empowering Little Readers Preschool and Pre-K Phonics Curriculum! Every lesson, Letter Lion will introduce the new sound and tell us how to spell the sound. Sometimes he likes to play tricks, like hiding letters for us to sort!
The whole group portion of the preschool and pre-k phonics lessons is meant to be short; it will only take 5-10 minutes maximum.
That being said, there is a lot of learning that will take place during those 5-10 minutes!
- Students will be introduced to the letter sound and the letter that spells it.
- Students will learn the alphabet motion for each letter.
- On review days, students will compare and sort 2 letters.
- They will read a nonfiction alphabet book for each letter featuring Letter Lion.
If you are short on time and can’t fit everything in from the phonics lessons, this is the portion that I say never cut out! It is truly the meat of the lesson.
Music and Movement
Every letter has its own original alphabet song. I would never call myself a musician (I took piano for years and still can’t read music), but these songs were all written by me!
They follow the tunes of other traditional childrens’ songs so you know that they’ll be catchy!
Here is an example of one of the letter Aa song:
Every Friday, you will compare the two letters learned during the week. There is a song for comparing those letters and sounds as well! The tune for this song stays the same each week so students can really focus on the words.
One important part of any phonics lesson is that students can practice and apply what they learned. If we want students to be able to identify letters in print, they need to see the letters in print!
The preschool and pre-k phonics worksheets are not meant to be overwhelming. They are short half-page worksheets and they follow the same routine each day to help your students become more independent.
Students will search for and color the target letter! One day focuses on uppercase while the next day focuses on lowercase.
On the fifth day, students will cut out letters and sort them to the correct side of the phonics worksheet.
Differentiated Small Groups
After you teach your whole group phonics lesson, you may find that you want to scaffold and give some students more practice, or you want to extend and challenge some students.
Options for both small groups are included.
Scaffold The Learning
The small group activities to scaffold the learning will stay very routine. I know this can get old fast to you, but I promise you – students will thrive on the routine!
Activities to scaffold the learning include dabbing the letter while saying the sound, and then sorting the uppercase and lowercase versions of the same letter to work on visual discrimination.
Extend the Learning
If your students are ready for a challenge, you can then extend the learning with the included alphabet decodable readers.
You might say, “But they’re learning letters! They aren’t ready to read books yet.”
Using alphabet decodable readers is beneficial for your students because you will work on:
- Book handling
- Concepts of print
- One-to-one correspondence
- Letters and Letter sounds
- Understanding that letters in print represent sounds
- Building vocabulary and background knowledge
- Growing students’ confidence as readers
For the alphabet decodable readers included, students will point to each page and say the letter sound and then name the picture – /b/ /b/ bus.
You can use the vocabulary on the back to do a picture walk before reading, or to review beginning sounds after reading. Just point to each one and say “B, bus, /b/”.
Pre-K Handwriting Practice
Many of your students entering preschool and pre-k may not yet have the fine motor skills needed to form letters correctly.
That’s why I designed the Preschool and Pre-K Handwriting Curriculum to work alongside the first phonics unit. This handwriting curriculum is included when you purchase the curriculum bundle!
Each week of the preschool and pre-k handwriting curriculum focuses on one specific handwriting stroke or line.
The lessons are very short – meant to take 3-5 minutes – with an optional handwriting worksheet at the end.
Each week, students will meet a Handwriting Friend. The Handwriting Friends are the handwriting lines and strokes and they each have their own poem to help students remember how to make the line.
Some shapes, like the square, show how the Handwriting Friends work together!
You can then follow up the lessons with the fine motor tracing and handwriting practice worksheets. These worksheets follow the same routine each week, but the new themes keep them fun and engaging.
The last two weeks of the preschool and pre-k handwriting curriculum, you will review all of the handwriting lines and shapes.
Each day, students will get even more fine motor practice with the easy prep crafts and printables.
Pre-K Phonics Centers
Both the Pre-K Phonics units and the handwriting curriculum include hands-on literacy centers to continue the learning!
The first phonics unit includes 12 alphabet centers. These alphabet centers are meant to be low prep, but give your students practice identifying, building, and recognizing letters.
Some of the alphabet center activities include:
- Building letters with blocks
- Playdough letters
- Search and find letters
- Sorting letters
- Spin and cover letters
- And many more!
The handwriting unit also comes with 5 more centers that focus on handwriting.
These centers include options to work on the handwriting lines and strokes, or to work on writing letters.
Frequently asked questions
If you’re considering adding the preschool and pre-k phonics curriculum into your day, you probably have some questions to see if it will be the right fit for you. Here are some of the frequently asked questions i’ve gotten and their answers.
Can I use the Preschool and Pre-K Phonics Curriculum with other grade levels?
Yes! I made sure that none of the students pages were marked with a grade level. This curriculum would be perfect for young fives, transitional kindergarten, special education classrooms, and Kindergarten phonics intervention.
Is the Pre-K Phonics Curriculum aligned to the Science of Reading?
Yes! This curriculum was 100% written with best practices from the Science of Reading in mind. You can rest assured that your students will be getting the very best phonics instruction possible.
How many units will this curriculum contain?
The Preschool phonics curriculum will contain 2 phonics units and a handwriting unit. It will include 175 days of instruction in total.
What will each unit cover?
This curriculum will take students from meeting the alphabet to beginning to decode simple CVC words.
Unit 1 Meet the Alphabet – This unit will introduce students to each letter sound and the letter that spells it. This unit is designed to give your students strong alphabetic background knowledge.
Unit 2 Explore the Alphabet – This unit will go deeper into the letter sounds and letter formation. Students will then begin to see how letters work together to create words. They will also begin to learn some High Frequency Words so that they can read simple sentences if they are ready.
The beautiful part about this curriculum is that is can be completely differentiated to meet each student where they are!
Ready to take the leap?
Phonics instruction isn’t only for elementary students! If you’re ready to add comprehensive, explicit, and engaging phonics instruction into your day, you can grab the Preschool and Pre-K Phonics Curriculum here.