If you teach Pre-K or Kindergarten, then you know that teaching the alphabet is kind of a big deal! Teaching letters and letter sounds is a HUGE part of our curriculum. It can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to teach the alphabet the “right way.” After all, teaching the alphabet is a foundation skill for learning how to read!
I truly believe that it doesn’t have to be that complicated, however!
This blog post will discuss how to teach the alphabet in Kindergarten, hands on alphabet center ideas, and lots of free alphabet center activities that you can begin using in your classroom this week.
Teaching the Alphabet
In my Kindergarten Phonics Curriculum, students are introduced to a letter a day for the first 26 days of phonics instruction. However, that’s not the only alphabet instruction they will receive!
Think of the first 26 days of teaching the alphabet in Kindergarten as a way to build background knowledge in students. During this time, I introduce each letter sound and how to spell it (the alphabet letter). We learn an alphabet hand motion to connect the letter to the letter sound. Students practice identifying and forming the letter.
Your students probably won’t be completely fluent in letters and letter sounds by the end of this 26 days! That is okay.
You are building the foundation needed for building words.
I don’t know about you, but the majority of my students come in knowing less than a handful of letters. Spending time exposing students to each letter and letter sound while focusing on identifying letters and letter formation gives students a chance to start making connections to the letters.
The first 26 days, I introduce the alphabet in a-z order. Why? I want to give my students one more connection to our alphabet chart and alphabet songs. Once we are a few letters in, students are able to guess what letter will come next.
As i’ve gone through training and done research into the science of reading, I have found that there is no one recommended scope and sequence for teaching letters. All letter orders have their pros and cons. If you choose to introduce the alphabet in a different order than me, that is completely okay!
After the First 26 Days
After the first 26 days of phonics instruction, we will continue to focus on teaching the alphabet with my Kindergarten Phonics Curriculum. Now, we focus on letter sounds and isolating beginning sounds.
This time, I review letters in order of sound frequency:
m, s, f, b, t, c, a, r, l, p, o, d, g, n, w, i, h, j, k, v, u, y, q, z
We spend a lot more time reviewing letters now because we are also working on beginning to identify sounds in words. I spend 3 days on 2 letters. This would look look:
Day one: Review letter Mm
Day two: Review letter Ss
Day three: Review Mm and Ss and sort by beginning sounds
This is one of my favorite Kindergarten phonics units because we get to become alphabet detectives! Sneaky Sam will hide the picture cards. Students get to help Detective Dan find those cards around the classroom or school and sort them by sound.
It’s just one more way to take something that could become boring while teaching the alphabet and give it new life!
Guided Reading & Phonics While Learning the Alphabet
When I began my science of reading journey, I switched from a traditional guided reading lesson. Leveled readers were swapped for decodable readers. Reading strategies were traded out for decoding strategies.
But how do I teach guided reading with decodable readers while still teaching the alphabet?
I wrote my Alphabet Decodable Readers Unit to answer this question. Each lesson has activities to work on alliteration, phonemic awareness, letter sounds, and beginning decoding and encoding.
There are two versions of the alphabet decodable readers included. You can choose one for the lesson, or use both to stretch the lesson over two days.
Students will also work on letter formation and sorting by beginning sounds. This decodable readers guided reading unit leads perfectly into my beginning readers unit when students are ready to begin decoding in context.
While teaching the alphabet in Kindergarten, I try to connect my morning tubs and literacy centers as much a possible. It’s a fun challenge to come up with as many different ways as possible to practice letters without getting stale!
The alphabet center activities included in my new Alphabet ENDLESS Bundle combine teaching the alphabet with fine motor skills. It’s a win-win when you can hit multiple skills at once! These alphabet centers and activities grow from very basic alphabet centers to more advanced. That means that you can use them for months and months as your students grow!
There are a mix of hands on alphabet centers and no prep printables included:
You can grab the new Alphabet ENDLESS Bundle at a HUGE discount HERE!
FREE Alphabet Centers
I have lots and lots of alphabet freebies for you today! You can print these free alphabet centers and activities and begin using them in your classroom tomorrow! They will go perfectly with the alphabet centers and activities above.
Now, the alphabet activities included in the HUGE free download! First up, these Alphabet Dot It Mats. Students LOVE dabbing the letters with bingo daubers!
If you don’t want to use daubers, you can add pom-poms and tweezers to make these alphabet fine motor mats reusable.
Alphabet Cube Mats! Students can build each letter using cubes, poms, playdough, and more! Then, they can use cubes to find and cover the letter.
Going on an Alphabet Magazine Hunt is a great way to help students start recognizing letters in different fonts. You can give each student a different letter to find or make this a literacy center activity.
Magnetic Letter Matching is an easy, peasy beginning of the year literacy center activity. Students will match magnetic letters to the mats.
I love these Alphabet Build It Mats because they allow you to get creative with what materials students build each letter with. Beads, Wikki Stix, buttons, and more! The sky’s the limit.
You can grab these free alphabet centers and activities by entering your email below. They will be delivered straight to your inbox and ready for teaching the alphabet in your pre-k or Kindergarten classroom!