Success in an assignment can be a definite step to a child’s enthusiasm to learn more new things. Discovering that a simple thing, such as a letter from the alphabet, can relate to knowledge already gained and knowledge yet to learn, reinforces the child’s self-esteem, and desire to learn more. Following are some of the guides I developed to encourage excitement about new reading and writing tasks.
Don’t overwhelm students by raining an entire alphabet, upper and lower case, on their desks. Reading, writing, and speaking are different languages, even though we like to clump them together. Consider that saying “a” does not project a picture, reading “a” may have a different shape than what you will produce when you write “a.”
Start with the simple and work your way up
Two of the easiest letters in the alphabet to write in lower and upper case are “C” and “O”, because it’s also “c” and “o.” Every child in the class will be a success when you introduce these letters first. Once a child can write “c”, he or she can complete an “o.” Some children will persist in writing “c” backwards. Draw a line on the “c” and tell them, “backwards “c” helps make a ‘d’ “, a letter to be learned later. If they learn the jingle, they’ll know they need to invert the “c” when it goes the wrong way.
Lower Case First
Teach lower case letters before working on the upper case segment. Aside from writing, reading, and language, visual arts should be employed to gain class participation and understanding. Unless your name is Alex, do you really care what an “a” is? However, if you like apples, or airplanes, or Alice, there is another world of learning waiting – a richer, deeper area of subject matter and enjoyment.
Success in recognition
Blend flash cards and sticky notes with colors, numbers, days, friends, and so on. Always have a visual display of the “letter of the day” and encourage the class to participate in adding more data to the bank.
Simple homework assignments can include bringing examples of items for that day’s letter, or for the letter for the following day. Field trips can involve excursions around the school, inside or out, to find objects that the children recognize as starting with the letter.
Send a calendar home to the caregivers so they are aware of which letters will be covered, and when. Parents who are invited to be involved at the beginning of the learning process and are able to participate with the child are often the concerned, involved parents as the years go by. Do your colleagues a favor by establishing good relationships between the school and the families.
Examples of Combinations
The letter for today is “o.” Before we practice writing the “o’, let’s take a look at it. I’m writing the letter “o” on the board right now. Can anyone tell me anything about the letter ‘o’? (Notice that you are reinforcing the name and sound of the letter.) A circle! Thanks, Bobby. You are absolutely correct. Good point, Amanda, an ‘o” has no opening. Great observation, Jim. “Opening” does start with “o”, and so does “observation,” although it has a different sound. Most of our alphabet has different sounds. I’m proud of all of you for learning so quickly. Does anyone see anything in the class that might start with “o”? An orange on Billy’s desk? Yes, that fruit is an orange. The pumpkin is orange? That is right, orange is a pumpkin color. (You’ve confirmed their choices and added extra information about the item.) Oregon? Fantastic, Marie. Oregon is a state above California, on the west coast of the United States. (Geography lesson for the day; that tidbit might stick in their mind forever.) Shawna? Did you want to say something? A zero – Shawna, that is great! How did you know that? Your mom drinks Coke Zero? Good for you for noticing. That means there is no sugar in her soda. Zero in a number that means “none.” (And now, you’ve succeeded in the math lesson.)
Write it for later
When Jerry blurts out something that could have started with “o” but didn’t, thank him, explain where it is really going to fall, and write it on a flip chart for that letter, with the name of the person who contributed it. This reinforces our complex language, which combines different letters to make different sounds.
I suggest giving the alphabet writing sequence in the following order, by level of writing challenge.
Teach the lower case first; then follow with upper case. When writing their name, each child will learn their uppercase first letter.
C O T L I D Q B N M V W A E U H R PY G J K F X Z S
I hope this article will help you open the gate to the path of knowledge and success to even one child. I still thank teachers I have not seen in many years for information they imparted with sticky glue. Enjoy the year, and continued success with your students.
The above is based on personal experience.