Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Brand-New Letter Buddies Teacher's Guide!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on May 2, 2017 2:16:00 PM

LR WEB LB Teachers GUIDE(SH) (dragged).jpg

 

Hameray is excited to announce "Letter Learning with the Letter Buddies," our brand-new Letter Buddies Teacher's Guide! This free guide provides ideas to boost your students' alphabetic knowledge with the Letter Buddies

The Teacher's Guide covers every product from the extensive Letter Buddies series:

The skills chart, included in the Teacher's Guide, matches Letter Buddies products to different alphabetic skills. For example, if your teaching goal is to have students identify beginning letters and sounds with accompanying pictures, the skills chart says that you can use the LetterMats, Alphabet Booksand Letter Books. Look no further than the skills chart to decide which product will best suit your students!
 
Libby Larrabee, the author of the Letter Buddies series, offers a multitude of alphabetic activities that you can use in the classroom. The Letter Buddies Alphabet Books are large and lap-sized, lending them well for whole-classroom or small-group settings. Students draw upon their vocabulary knowledge of common settings, such as the store and the classroom. Using these familiar environments, students learn to recognize and identify letter sounds and shapes. 
 
Larrabee offers many ideas for using Alphabet Books in the classroom:
  • "Talk about the features of the lowercase and uppercase versions of each letter.

  • Finger-trace the letters to demonstrate formation using verbal directions from the Child Talk Table (see pages 3–4).

  • Name the letters and give students practice naming the letters.

  • Talk about how certain letters are grouped together to form a word. Explain that there is a word under each picture naming what the object is.

  • Show that the letter at the top of the page is the same as the rst letter in the word below.

  • Demonstrate and practice alphabetical order using the picture glossary.

  • Engage in storytelling and conversation while playing the I-Spy game included" (5)

For more ideas and information about the other Letter Buddies products, read through the free "Letter Learning with the Letter Buddies" at our website!
 
~~

To download information about each Letter Buddies product, click the images below.

Letter Buddies Letter Books Sales Sheet Letter Buddies Blends Sales Sheet Letter Buddies Best Friends Sales Sheet Letter Buddies Starters Sales Sheet Letter Buddies Alphabet Books Sales Sheet

 
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Topics: Letter Buddies, Letter Learning, Teacher's Guides

Make Your Own Letter Buddies!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Nov 10, 2016 4:02:00 PM

 Have you met the Letter Buddies? The Letter Buddies Series offers children an engaging way to familiarize themselves with the alphabet and build a strong foundation for literacy skills. From Blends Books that feature common consonant blends to LetterMats for snacktime exploration, Letter Buddies encourages learning in a variety of settings.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the series, though, is the line-up of Letter Buddy characters. Each letter in the alphabet is personified into a fun, eye-catching creature with a unique personality. Meet them all below!

Screen Shot 2016-11-07 at 12.14.20 AM.png

You can find a Letter Buddy in every book of the Letter Buddies series. The block-printed letter buddy characters will ensure that your student can recognize alphabet letters in various fonts, an important aspect of letter-shape knowledge.

As an oral language activity, have your student choose their favorite letter buddy. You can find each letter on the covers of the Letter Buddies Letter Books. Discuss that letter’s personality traits (jumpy, loud, kind), and then ask your student to make up a story about the letter.

What does Happy H like to do? Why do you think Happy H is happy? Who is Happy H’s best friendhameray-early-childhood-letter-learning-resources-teachers.jpg

The Letter Buddy characters only feature the 26 uppercase letters in the alphabet—why not make your own class set of lowercase letter buddies? Assign a letter to each student. Brainstorm together to think of a “describing word” (adjective) that starts with their letter but is different from the uppercase letter buddy’s adjective! For example, Chatty C’s lowercase friend might be “cute c.” This exercise will help the students identify different words that begin with a certain letter.

Once the describing word has been decided, have the students write their lowercase letter and illustrate it with hands, eyes, feet, etc. Assist the students in labeling their letter buddy. Compile everyone’s drawings into a class set of Letter Buddies! 

Who is your favorite Letter Buddy? Let us know in the comments below!

~~~

Click the image below to learn more about the Letter Buddies Letter Books series. Visit our website to see all of our Letter Buddies products!

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Beginning Letter Sounds, Letter Learning

Teaching the Alphabet through Connections

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jul 1, 2016 10:01:16 AM

Teaching the Alphabet through Connections - Kathy Crane

One of our frequent guest bloggers, Kathy Crane over at Kindergarten Kiosk, wrote this neat post on teaching the alphabet through connections. She uses lots of strategies: animal buddies, letter books, anchor charts, and an object tub, among other things. Here is an excerpt from her post:

One of the most important skills that young children need to conquer quickly, is to crack the code of the alphabetic principle! This is not an easy task for most children. In fact, the skill is most easily acquired if it is taught in a strategic manner that is purposeful, and makes sense. 

This group of animal friends allows for such strategic teaching! As I introduce a letter a day for the first 26 or so days of school using multisensory cues, I have found that most students learn the majority of letters and sounds in a very short time.

Click here to read the rest of her post, and if you're interested in the Letter Buddies Letter Books she uses in her approach, there are a few ways you can get a better look at them:

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Letter Learning, Kathy Crane

Summer Fun with Letter Learning!

Posted by Margaret Hufstedler on Jul 30, 2015 4:41:00 PM

MaggueHufstedlerbiopicThis is a guest blog post by Margaret Hufstedler, a veteran teacher of 28 years who has taught kindergarten for the past 22 years.  She is an accomplished musician, the owner of Maggie’s Kinder Corner, and co-moderator of #TeacherFriends Chat every Tuesday on Twitter.  The following article features ideas for implementing project based learning using a variety of resources in your own classroom.

With the summer months here, it is so much fun to be outside enjoying activities with little ones. I love playing camp out in our washing machine box "cabin," reading great books, and mixing up various concoctions. Combining books and concoctions is one way to make summer letter learning fun!

I recently received a set of Letter Buddies Letter Books from Hameray, so my grandchildren and I spent a lot of time looking at the colorful pages and discussing what the objects on each page had in common. We talked about the shape of each letter, the sound at the beginning of each object name, and how we could write, paint or draw the letters. This led us to a search on Pinterest for recipes on sidewalk paint using corn starch, water and food coloring.

summer_funAfter a brief scramble to find paint brushes, then mixing the "paint" and adding color in each of 12 muffin tins, we went outside! Wonder of wonders! This was the best activity of the summer! I asked the children to try making the first letter of their names, then we tried other letters. The oldest painted the entire alphabet! The best thing about this paint is how it brightened to a beautiful chalky appearance as it dried.

After the fun, we came inside to clean up and look at the books that had letters we had made. We also made letters by arranging beans, cereal, raisins, baby carrots and many more edibles, and everyone had a good time!

Using books as a springboard for learning helps children make permanent connections about important concepts. I encourage you to try the paint and a few other things to create your own summer fun!

Recipe for chalk paint:

1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. corn starch

1/4 c. water

bright neon food coloring (color to suit your needs)

~~~ 

 For more information about the Letter Buddies series, click HERE to return to our website or click the series highlight page below to download an information sheet. 

 
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Topics: Letter Buddies, Letter Learning, Margaret Hufstedler

Working with Magnetic Letters—with FREE Download!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Mar 26, 2015 3:50:46 PM

This is the final post in a series of three posts on letter learning taken from the Letter Buddies teacher's guide by Libby Larrabee. You can read the earlier posts here and here!

magnetic-lettersMagnetic letters can be used on a daily basis to support young children’s development of letter-shape, letter-name, and letter–sound knowledge. This can be accomplished with sorting activities. As they practice sorting, children learn to categorize, recognize, and classify distinguishable features of letters. Their ability to distinguish one letter from another rapidly is a skill that is important for reading. Good readers sample just enough information in print (letters, word parts, and whole words) to maintain meaning while they are reading. This quick visual sampling means that letters must be recognized automatically.

This automatic recognition of letters develops over time. Initially, young children will need to examine the details of individual letters. Your conversations about letters and how they are formed will help this happen. Daily sorting of letters will also support the development of this automatic recognition. Once you have demonstrated how to sort, the activities can be placed in your ABC center. You can also have several different sorting activities available depending on the needs of your children. 

Materials Needed:

  • Several sets of Letter Buddies Magnetic Letters

  • Small baskets to hold letters for sorting activities

  • Letter Buddies Magnetic Whiteboards or any magnetic surface (upright and at child’s eye level)

Choosing Letter Features to Sort:

Initially choose categories where the differences are easy to see (e.g.: short and tall), and use only a few letters. As children become more proficient in sorting, put more letters of each category in the basket. Letter Buddies Foam Magnetic Letters come in three colors, which helps draw children’s attention to the different features of the letters.

Here are some categories of features for sorting letters:

  • Short and tall letters

  • Short and tall letters and letters that fall below the line

  • LB-ZLetters with open and closed curves

  • Tall letters with and without circles

  • Small letters with and without circles

  • Letters with and without hooks

  • Letters with one valley/two valleys (v, w, y)

  • Letters with one hump/two humps (n, h, m)

  • Letters that are crossed/not crossed (t, f, l, h, b)

  • Letters with tunnels/letters with holes (n, h, m, d, g, a, b, q, o, p)

  • Letters with sticks and curves/letters with just sticks (t, l, v, w, z, y, r, u, f, h, m, n)

  • b, d, p, q (done after many other sorts)

Also try using some of these categories to sort uppercase letters!

whiteboardDemonstrating Sorting (best done individually or in small groups):

  • Bring the basket of letters to the upright magnetic surface. Initially use only 6–8 letters.

  • Show children how to place the letters in a group on the magnetic surface just above their eye level.

  • Using both hands, slowly move the letters down into their appropriate groups. (It is important for children to use both hands and have the letters at eye level).

  • Return the letters back to the group and sort again. 

  • Initially (especially for very young children), it is not necessary to name the letters. The focus to begin with should be on the features of the letters.

  • As children become familiar with the task, their speed will increase.

  • When they have learned the corresponding letter names, ask them to name the letters while they sort. 

  • Remember to change your sorts every week or two weeks to keep the activities fresh and the children challenged.

A Note about Sorting:

Make sure to continue telling your students the purpose for sorting. It is brain work! They are exercising their brains so that reading will be easier!

Matching Uppercase and Lowercase Letters

Once your children can recognize the significant features of letters, use the Letter Buddies Magnetic Letters for matching uppercase and lowercase letters. Knowing both the uppercase and lowercase form of each letter is important. You may want to start out with only 6–8 letters to be matched. As time goes on, children will be able to match all the letters of the alphabet.

Learning Alphabetical Order

LB-C-QLetter Buddies Magnetic Letters can also be used to help children learn alphabetical order in both uppercase and lowercase. Prepare some strips for matching. You may want to break the alphabet up into smaller groupings before having the children alphabetize all the letters. For example:

  • a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i,
  • j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r,
  • s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z

After working with smaller groupings of letters, children can be challenged to alphabetize all the letters without the matching strip.

Advanced Activities

  • Place pictures of several objects in a basket with the corresponding magnetic letters for initial sounds. Have the children match the correct letter and picture.
  • Practice letter formation. Place a letter on the magnetic whiteboard. Have the children finger trace the foam letter, getting a feel for its shape. Once familiar, ask them to try writing the letter on the whiteboard, next to the magnetic letter, using dry-erase markers. 

For More Practice with Letter Learning...

Download our 12-page Letter Buddies Matching worksheets below, with tracing and initial-sound exercises for each letter of the alphabet.


Learn about our Letter Buddies line of letter-learning products for early childhood by clicking here to visit our website or clicking the image to the left below to download information sheet on Letter Buddies Letter Books for letter learning! To download the free worksheets, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Letter Buddies Initial Sounds Worksheets

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Topics: Making Learning Fun, Letter Buddies, Letter Learning

Working with Alphabet Books—with FREE Download!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Mar 24, 2015 3:30:00 PM

This is the second in a series of three posts on letter learning taken from the Letter Buddies Teacher's guide by Libby Larrabee. Check back later for the next post in this series! You can read the earlier post here!

Alphabet_BooksLetter Buddies Alphabet Books are great resources that encourage young children to begin learning the alphabet. The large- format, lap-book size (12” x 16”) encourages conversation and interaction by all children in a whole- or small-group setting. During alphabet book sharing, children can learn about letter features, letter names, and letter sounds. The large letters in the corner of each page allow for easy letter-formation demonstrations.

Each Alphabet Book focuses on an environment that is common to a child’s world: home, school, and store. Encourage children to talk about their experiences in each place, using the vocabulary from these books as much as possible. This will promote greater comprehension and retention of new words and skills. 

Your conversation during Alphabet Book sharing is critical. This is the perfect time to encourage oral language development. Explicit talk and questioning about each book will encourage children to make connections to their own experiences and become involved in the reading. This is the time to explain unfamiliar concepts and teach new vocabulary.

Letter_Buddies_VAlphabet_Books_SpreadThoughtful questions and comments will also help children focus on different aspects of letter knowledge. Here are some ways that you can use the Alphabet Books:

  • Talk about the features of the lowercase and uppercase versions of each letter.
  • Name the letters and give students practice naming the letters.

  • Talk about how certain letters are grouped together to form a word. Explain that there is a word under each picture naming what the object is.

  • Show that the letter at the top of the page is the same as the first letter in the word below.

  • Demonstrate and practice alphabetical order using the picture glossary.

  • Engage in storytelling and conversation while playing the I-Spy game included.
  • Finger-trace the letters to demonstrate formation using verbal directions from the Child Talk Table (see below). 

Child_Talk-1

Child_Talk-2

For more ideas, be sure to check out the suggested activities provided at the end of each Alphabet Book!

Add to your collection! Have your students create a class alphabet book (or try it individually). Start the year with a large, empty book with at least one blank page per letter. Each time you have a read-aloud, ask the children to identify 2 or 3 items from the story to be placed in the class alphabet book. 

Alphabet books can also be used to teach initial sounds. Each page of the alphabet books uses a letter to introduce something with the corresponding beginning sound. The items introduced will be familiar to children from the context of home, school, or store. To further help children learn the correspondence between letters and initial sounds, we have included a free 23-page downloadable set of initial-sound worksheets at the bottom of the page.


Learn about our Letter Buddies line of letter-learning products for early childhood by clicking here to visit our website or clicking the image to the left below to download information sheet on Letter Buddies Alphabet Books for letter learning! To download the free worksheets, click the image to the right.

 New Call-to-Action  Letter Buddies Initial Sounds Worksheets

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Alphabet Books, Letter Learning

Classic Post: Letter-Learning Ideas

Posted by Tiffani Mugurussa on Aug 5, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This guest blog post is by Tiffani Mugurussa of Rohnert Park, CA. It was originally published in October 2013. If you like what you see here, Tiffani also writes a blog called Time 4 Kindergarten, in which she writes about phonemic awareness, classroom decor, numbers, letters, and more! 

Letter Learning with Books and Manipulatives

letter buddies books 250Hi, I’m Tiffani Mugurussa! So many of my students come to school with very little knowledge of the alphabet. For many, singing the ABC is their only connection to the alphabet. This is why so much of the beginning of my school year focuses on the alphabet. We are very busy learning the difference between letters and numbers, what each alphabet symbol represents, and the sound for each letter.

On the first day of school, I begin with the letter A and introduce a new letter each day until we reach the letter Z. This is just an introduction to the entire alphabet; once we have met all of the letters, we begin our letter of the week focus. This is a more in-depth concentration on each individual letter.

letter buddies interior 250To introduce each letter during my 26-day letter introduction, I use alphabet books, flash cards, and other alphabet materials. I have a very old set of alphabet books with cartoonish pictures that I have used for years. However, when I saw the Letter Buddies Letter Books, I knew I needed to use these. The books have beautiful, real photos. There is something about using real photos when teaching—the students really become enthralled with the pictures, and it makes the content you are teaching relevant.

To begin, I share the book with my class. We discuss each photo. Being that many of my students are learning English, these books are a great resource for building their vocabulary. I point to the beginning letter in each word in hopes that the students make the connection that the beginning letter is the beginning sound and the focus letter. Next we try to name some other items that begin with the letter.

I follow up the books and letter introduction with other letter activities during our daily center time.

Here are two of my students’ favorite centers:

Alphabet Manipulatives: Use Beads, Magnetic Letters, or Letter Tiles

Choose one of these manipulatives to place in a tub of rice. Students sift through the rice searching for the focus letter. I colored my rice to make it a little more fun.

colored letters rice 250 white letters rice 250

Shaving Cream: Spray a small amount of shaving cream on the table. Students can practice writing the focus letter in the cream. They will love this activity, and—best of all—it cleans up easy and makes your tables really clean.

shaving cream 250

When teaching the whole group, I like to use activities that get the students involved. Pocket-chart sorting is an activity that I use often with my whole class. Using a set of beginning sound picture cards that I have made, students take turns placing the cards under the correct letters.

pocket sorting 250

First, I pass the cards out to the students. I then have them come to the pocket chart one at a time. They must say the name of their picture, the beginning sound, and then what letter the picture begins with. This activity focuses on several skills at the same time, which are perfect for my for my English-language learners. My students are learning English vocabulary, first-sound fluency, and letter names.

tiffani mugurussa~~~

A little bit about me: my name is Tiffani Mugurussa, and I am an alphabet-singing, storybook-reading kindergarten teacher. I am also the author of Time 4 Kindergarten, a blog for kindergarten teachers. I have been a teacher for 23 years, teaching grades kindergarten through fifth. This is my ninth year as a kindergarten teacher. I'm a kindergartner at heart. I love being the foundation of a child's education. Knowing that I am responsible for their first school experiences warms my heart with love, pride, and joy.

~~~

Do you know a K–8 teacher whose creative classroom activities could use some well-deserved recognition? Have you, yourself, hit upon a strategy that you think works so well that you'd love to share it with others? Do you have a teaching blog or website with ideas you'd like to spread? Come stand in our Teacher Spotlight!

We're looking for teachers with unique, fun perspectives to feature on our blog. At least once a month, possibly more often, we want to inspire the teaching community with the innovative work of teachers who have a true passion for what they're doing. We'll broadcast your ideas here on our blog, distributing them through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Each teacher we choose will get some Hameray "goodies" from a series that fits their classroom needs—early literacy, oral language development, striving readers in upper grades, informational text, or literature.

To nominate yourself or another teacher, tell us a little more here.

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Topics: Teacher Spotlight, Making Learning Fun, K-2 Literacy, Letter Buddies, Letter Learning, Tiffani Mugurussa

Working with Magnetic Letters—with FREE Download!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Apr 25, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is the final post in a series of three posts on letter learning taken from the Letter Buddies teacher's guide by Libby Larrabee. Check back later this week for the next post in this series! You can read the earlier posts here and here!

magnetic-lettersMagnetic letters can be used on a daily basis to support young children’s development of letter-shape, letter-name, and letter–sound knowledge. This can be accomplished with sorting activities. As they practice sorting, children learn to categorize, recognize, and classify distinguishable features of letters. Their ability to distinguish one letter from another rapidly is a skill that is important for reading. Good readers sample just enough information in print (letters, word parts, and whole words) to maintain meaning while they are reading. This quick visual sampling means that letters must be recognized automatically.

This automatic recognition of letters develops over time. Initially, young children will need to examine the details of individual letters. Your conversations about letters and how they are formed will help this happen. Daily sorting of letters will also support the development of this automatic recognition. Once you have demonstrated how to sort, the activities can be placed in your ABC center. You can also have several different sorting activities available depending on the needs of your children. 

Materials Needed:

  • Several sets of Letter Buddies Magnetic Letters

  • Small baskets to hold letters for sorting activities

  • Letter Buddies Magnetic Whiteboards or any magnetic surface (upright and at child’s eye level)

Choosing Letter Features to Sort:

Initially choose categories where the differences are easy to see (e.g.: short and tall), and use only a few letters. As children become more proficient in sorting, put more letters of each category in the basket. Letter Buddies Foam Magnetic Letters come in three colors, which helps draw children’s attention to the different features of the letters.

Here are some categories of features for sorting letters:

  • Short and tall letters

  • Short and tall letters and letters that fall below the line

  • LB-ZLetters with open and closed curves

  • Tall letters with and without circles

  • Small letters with and without circles

  • Letters with and without hooks

  • Letters with one valley/two valleys (v, w, y)

  • Letters with one hump/two humps (n, h, m)

  • Letters that are crossed/not crossed (t, f, l, h, b)

  • Letters with tunnels/letters with holes (n, h, m, d, g, a, b, q, o, p)

  • Letters with sticks and curves/letters with just sticks (t, l, v, w, z, y, r, u, f, h, m, n)

  • b, d, p, q (done after many other sorts)

Also try using some of these categories to sort uppercase letters!

whiteboardDemonstrating Sorting (best done individually or in small groups):

  • Bring the basket of letters to the upright magnetic surface. Initially use only 6–8 letters.

  • Show children how to place the letters in a group on the magnetic surface just above their eye level.

  • Using both hands, slowly move the letters down into their appropriate groups. (It is important for children to use both hands and have the letters at eye level).

  • Return the letters back to the group and sort again. 

  • Initially (especially for very young children), it is not necessary to name the letters. The focus to begin with should be on the features of the letters.

  • As children become familiar with the task, their speed will increase.

  • When they have learned the corresponding letter names, ask them to name the letters while they sort. 

  • Remember to change your sorts every week or two weeks to keep the activities fresh and the children challenged.

A Note about Sorting:

Make sure to continue telling your students the purpose for sorting. It is brain work! They are exercising their brains so that reading will be easier!

Matching Uppercase and Lowercase Letters

Once your children can recognize the significant features of letters, use the Letter Buddies Magnetic Letters for matching uppercase and lowercase letters. Knowing both the uppercase and lowercase form of each letter is important. You may want to start out with only 6–8 letters to be matched. As time goes on, children will be able to match all the letters of the alphabet.

Learning Alphabetical Order

LB-C-QLetter Buddies Magnetic Letters can also be used to help children learn alphabetical order in both uppercase and lowercase. Prepare some strips for matching. You may want to break the alphabet up into smaller groupings before having the children alphabetize all the letters. For example:

  • a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i,
  • j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r,
  • s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z

After working with smaller groupings of letters, children can be challenged to alphabetize all the letters without the matching strip.

Advanced Activities

  • Place pictures of several objects in a basket with the corresponding magnetic letters for initial sounds. Have the children match the correct letter and picture.
  • Practice letter formation. Place a letter on the magnetic whiteboard. Have the children finger trace the foam letter, getting a feel for its shape. Once familiar, ask them to try writing the letter on the whiteboard, next to the magnetic letter, using dry-erase markers. 

For More Practice with Letter Learning...

Download our 12-page Letter Buddies Matching worksheets below, with tracing and initial-sound exercises for each letter of the alphabet.


Learn about our Letter Buddies line of letter-learning products for early childhood by clicking here to visit our website or clicking the image to the left below to download information sheet on Letter Buddies Letter Books for letter learning! To download the free worksheets, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Letter Buddies Initial Sounds Worksheets

Read More

Topics: Making Learning Fun, Letter Buddies, Letter Learning

Working with Alphabet Books

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Apr 23, 2014 8:47:00 AM

This is the second in a series of three posts on letter learning taken from the Letter Buddies Teacher's guide by Libby Larrabee. Check back later this week for the next post in this series! You can read the earlier post here!

Alphabet_BooksLetter Buddies Alphabet Books are great resources that encourage young children to begin learning the alphabet. The large- format, lap-book size (12” x 16”) encourages conversation and interaction by all children in a whole- or small-group setting. During alphabet book sharing, children can learn about letter features, letter names, and letter sounds. The large letters in the corner of each page allow for easy letter-formation demonstrations.

Each Alphabet Book focuses on an environment that is common to a child’s world: home, school, and store. Encourage children to talk about their experiences in each place, using the vocabulary from these books as much as possible. This will promote greater comprehension and retention of new words and skills. 

Your conversation during Alphabet Book sharing is critical. This is the perfect time to encourage oral language development. Explicit talk and questioning about each book will encourage children to make connections to their own experiences and become involved in the reading. This is the time to explain unfamiliar concepts and teach new vocabulary.

Letter_Buddies_VAlphabet_Books_SpreadThoughtful questions and comments will also help children focus on different aspects of letter knowledge. Here are some ways that you can use the Alphabet Books:

  • Talk about the features of the lowercase and uppercase versions of each letter.
  • Name the letters and give students practice naming the letters.

  • Talk about how certain letters are grouped together to form a word. Explain that there is a word under each picture naming what the object is.

  • Show that the letter at the top of the page is the same as the first letter in the word below.

  • Demonstrate and practice alphabetical order using the picture glossary.

  • Engage in storytelling and conversation while playing the I-Spy game included.
  • Finger-trace the letters to demonstrate formation using verbal directions from the Child Talk Table (see below). 

Child_Talk-1

Child_Talk-2

For more ideas, be sure to check out the suggested activities provided at the end of each Alphabet Book!

Add to your collection! Have your students create a class alphabet book (or try it individually). Start the year with a large, empty book with at least one blank page per letter. Each time you have a read-aloud, ask the children to identify 2 or 3 items from the story to be placed in the class alphabet book. 

Alphabet books can also be used to teach initial sounds. Each page of the alphabet books uses a letter to introduce something with the corresponding beginning sound. The items introduced will be familiar to children from the context of home, school, or store. To further help children learn the correspondence between letters and initial sounds, we have included a free 23-page downloadable set of initial-sound worksheets at the bottom of the page.


Learn about our Letter Buddies line of letter-learning products for early childhood by clicking here to visit our website or clicking the image to the left below to download information sheet on Letter Buddies Alphabet Books for letter learning! To download the free worksheets, click the image to the right.

 New Call-to-Action Letter Buddies Initial Sounds Worksheets

Read More

Topics: Letter Buddies, Alphabet Books, Letter Learning

What Does Letter Learning Encompass?

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Apr 21, 2014 8:00:00 AM

Letter_Learning_1

This is the first in a series of three posts on letter learning taken from the Letter Buddies Teacher's guide by Libby Larrabee. Check back later this week for the next posts in this series!

Letter knowledge is more than just being able to name letters. Letter knowledge includes four interconnected elements. Your children need many opportunities to explore these four elements, both with your guidance as well as independently. These are the four elements of letter knowledge:

  • Letter-Shape Knowledge (letter recognition)

    • Ability to distinguish individual letters by their distinctive features

    • Ability to recognize letters flexibly in various fonts, sizes, cases, and handwriting styles

    • Ability to recognize the features of different letters when they are embedded in text

  • Letter-Name Knowledge

    • Understanding that each letter has a name and that two symbols (uppercase and lowercase) represent each letter name

    • Ability to identify letter names quickly

  • Letter_Learning_2Letter–Sound Knowledge

    • Understanding that in written speech, letters (alone and in combination with other letters) represent sounds

    • Ability to identify letter–sound and sound–letter correspondence with speed and accuracy

  • Letter Writing Ability (formation)

    • Develops fluent, efficient actions for forming letters

    • Pays attention to details when forming letters

      Children need to understand and practice these four elements of letter knowledge as they develop the literacy skills required to read and write sentences.

      Letter Buddies materials have been designed to support your letter-knowledge instruction in whole-group, small guided-group, and independent settings. These colorful, engaging materials can be used in a variety of ways, individually or together, to support children as they gain competency in the four elements of letter knowledge. 

A Note on Letter Formation:

Fluent, efficient actions for forming letters are an important part of a child’s literacy instruction. Research shows that children will learn to form letters more quickly if three lobes of the brain are engaged simultaneously:

  • The eyes (occipital lobe) focus on the lines necessary to form the letter.

  • The ears (temporal lobe) hear the verbal direction for the formation of that particular letter.

The hand (parietal lobe) makes the necessary movement to form the letter.

Initially, you will give verbal directions for the formation of each letter. However, the child ultimately needs to
take on the seeing, saying, and doing for himself. In the following tables you will find simple verbal directions for the formation of manuscript uppercase and lowercase letters that will be easy for young children to repeat as they form the letters. 


 

Learn about our Letter Buddies line of letter-learning products for early childhood by clicking here to visit our website or clicking the images below to download information sheets on Letter Buddies books for letter learning!

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Letter Learning

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