This is a guest blog post by Marcy Godesa, a first-grade teacher from Oregon who blogs over at Searching for Teacher Balance. If you like what you read here, be sure to check back here for more of her guest blog posts!
Teaching word recognition to developing readers can have its ups and downs. I swear there are days when my kiddos are on it, they are recognizing all their sight words, and then POOF!—the next day it is all gone. I decided to try out the Letter Buddies series with my developing readers.
According to Hameray, "This product line supports the development of letter knowledge and early literacy skills through letter recognition and formation, letter-sound correspondence, phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, and oral language development." I couldn't agree more with this statement. Right away, my readers started building letter recognition that they struggled with prior to using this series.
First of all, I love that the letters on the covers of the books are printed in a raised text. My kiddos were able to "feel" the letters before diving into the books. By using their kinesthetic sense, we began building a muscle memory that is vital for learners.
Each Letter Buddy has a book and a starter that go hand-in-hand. We started with the Letter Books and practiced our letter and whole word recognition. This allowed my readers to begin connecting the inital letter throughout the book.
After spending time with the Letter Book, we reviewed the words, generated a few more, and started gaining more letter and sound connections. It was amazing listening to my readers as they inquired about their learning. One of my students, who has really struggled with letter recognition, asked, "Why do all the words have red letters?" This is HUGE!! He took his learning past letter recognition to word recognition.
Once my readers showed an understanding of the letters and their sounds, we dove into the Starter Books. These pattern books take the words that students practiced in the Letter Books and place them in an early reader format. The Starters allow for students to continue to build on their letter and word recognition while gaining fluency and accuracy with more sight words.
I am so excited for my readers and the skills that they have gained. I cannot wait to use the Letter Buddies Blends Books with them!
Have you used Letter Buddies with your readers? What are your favorite resources for teaching letter and word recognition? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Click the image below to read about the Letter Buddies Letter Books and the Letter Buddies Starters.