What is the fastest way to teach letter identification?We have a half day and some of our students are ELL.

Expert Answers
sostrowski eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that in order to teach good letter recognition, interactive writing of the letters is key.  Associate each letter with something the child sees in his/her every day life.  For example, when introducing the letter, have the student write the letter over broken models (tracing), while simultaneously providing them with things like banana, button and bear for B.  This way, they are associating the letter with something they already know, so they are more apt to understanding the letter and being able to recognize it at a later date.

Students remember things that are FUN for them.  I know one of the kindergarten teachers has letter parties every few letters they learn in the classroom.  That way, students can partake in treats or dress up like things that start with the letters they have learned in the last few weeks.  If they enjoy it, they're bound to remember it better!

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm assuming you mean a half-day kindergarten...I've worked with a lot of kids in that age group, with a variety of disabilities. It can be hard for kids to retain that info. Try to incorporate it into everything you do--walking down the hall, signs around the classroom, songs.  Singing, especially, has always seemed to me to help kids with learning disabilities remember information.  Some kids may need more help, and have different learning styles; for some, physically manipulating materials helps. I've used magnetic letters, playdough, shaving cream, and drawing the letters with their fingers in sand. Cutting letters out of sandpaper so that there is a more tactile sense, can help some. Strategies that help kids w/disabilities also help the typical learners.  Good luck  :)

lmallary | Student

I also agree with the above posts. My past students always seemed to learn the letter names when associated with characters. Also, I made a letter recognition power point that allows students the oppotunity to learn the letters (not in order) while playing on the computer. Students feel like they are playing a game and have a lot of fun learning their letters.

fiatmom | Student

I agree with many of the previous posts.  Associating the lettes with the child's name will help, but only with those letters.  Tactile approaches such as sand, or sticks also help those students who need a manipulative approach.  However, I feel the tried and true method is simply repetition. Whether through picture/letter association, or writing/letter or sound/letter, repetition is the best way to embed the letters in the child's mind.

cwinein1 | Student

My students really enjoy playing the flying cards game. I take several different sets of alphabet cards that display capitals and lower cases independently from each other and I throw them up into the air and let them land where they well. Then I ask each child to go find a certain letter until we have gone through the entire alphabet and then we sort the cards out collecting all the A's and B's and so on into the 26 catorgies/letters, and from there we go into math by counting the cards within each letter group. It usually takes them about 30 min to complete this activity, but hey they love it, they're learning, and they're actively moving.

giorgiana1976 | Student

There are so many creative ways to teach the small ones the alphabet:

1. Fill an empty recipient with flour and put them trace letters with their fingers.

2. Make alphabet popsickles. Buy 26 popsicle sticks and 26 wood shapes (whatever they are interested to) then glue them on the popsicle sticks. Mark with a black marker each wood shape with a letter.

3. Make 26 pockets and mark each of them with a letter, then put inside of each pocket items that have names which start with the same letter marked on the pocket they belong.

lidial | Student

 I think that the best way would be to associate the letter's with the childs name. There are also games or even songs you can use to make it fun!

morganhm13 | Student

When I taught up in the mountains we used a program called Letter Land.  It was amazing to see the preschoolers comming up to kindergarten that already knew and could recognize the letters of the alphabet.  Basically Letter Land if you dont know has characters that represent each letter.  They have songs, poems, books, coloring books, creative lesson that go along with each letter.  Each song explains how to draw the letter and is interactive through movement.  I believe the programs works becuase its not the normal "here the letter a, this is what it looks like".   

tjmack | Student

 It is best to work with the letters in the child's name first. Also, relate the letters to what the child already knows. The more you relate the letters to what they know and have the child move to recall the letters works the best for them to remember the letters later on. I hope this is helpful for you.