The concept of teaching the alphabet is more complex and important than simply singing your ABC’s. Children begin the process of learning their alphabet long before they arrive in Kindergarten, yet still may just be skimming the surface. “Research suggests that a child’s knowledge of the alphabet is one of the best predictors of his or her success in early reading” (Beaty, 2009). In order to begin reading and writing children need to understand the basics of the English Language, the alphabet. “English is an alphabetic code, and children crack this code as they learn about phonemes (sounds), graphemes (letters), and graphophonemic (letter-sound) relationships” (Tompkins, 2006). By teaching the alphabet, children are learning the name and sound of each letter, providing them the basic knowledge in order to begin the reading and writing process. Children will be able to manipulate the English language more with a basic knowledge of the alphabet. This includes names of letters, letter sounds, as well as formation of letters. Teaching the alphabet also increases a child’s phonemic awareness, which is “the basic understanding that speech is composed of a series of individual sounds, and their ability to manipulate the sounds in words orally” (Tompkins, 2006). Without phonemic awareness, a child will struggle to read and spell words.
This project was designed to teach Kindergarten students the basics of the alphabet and letter/sound recognition. The goal is for students to be able to name the letters of the alphabet, their corresponding sound, as well as the written form of the letter both upper and lower case. It is aligned with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, and is a combination of both whole group learning as well as small group learning. The project is designed to take 26 weeks, focusing on one letter a week. When designing this project, I chose not to teach the letters of the alphabet in order. My reasoning behind this is that children should be able to use the letters they learn first to begin emergent reading, thus they should learn letters that have a high usage or appear more frequently in words. Also letters that have more than one sound or may be visually difficult to understand should come later, so as not to confuse the child and also make sure they have some background knowledge of the concept of letter names and sound to build on. This project is designed to enhance Kindergarten literacy instruction and provide increased language exposure to students to further phonemic awareness. For each week of instruction in this unit there will be a whole class introduction lesson, 3 days of rotating centers, and a whole class review/wrap up lesson. The project is designed to continuously build on student knowledge, reinforcing previous letters as new ones are being taught. The centers allow for individual practice of each letter, as well as a chance for added teacher assistance to those who may be struggling. Assessment for the project will include a pretest, formative testing after every letter, as well as a summative test on overall letter/sound knowledge. There will also be opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding for every letter through whole class activities and lessons for teacher feedback.
Our ultimate goal as teacher’s is to make our students successful, especially in the area of reading and writing. A main component of this goal is teaching the alphabet letters and sounds. This project was designed to be engaging for students, and provide meaningful lessons and activities that help them learn the alphabet letters and sounds in a way that is helpful and connected to other learning. Students will become master’s of the alphabet and on their way to becoming great readers and writers.