Teaching the Alphabet

Teaching the alphabet to young learners is complex and should not be viewed as a simplistic process.  Initially, the children need to be able to hear sounds and this is where direct phonemic instruction needs to come into play.  I have written many posts about phonemic awareness but in this particular post I wanted to focus on how to introduce and teach the alphabet letters and their related sounds in a meaningful teaching environment.


Kinderplans Alphabet Program

Alphabet Program

Alphabet Program

As a member of the Kinderplans site you have access to the “Alphabet Program” which a powerful way to introduce letters and sounds to young learners. The key benefits of the program are outlined below:


  • It was developed in correlation with today’s best teaching practices based on a “balanced literacy framework.”
  • It addresses all different learning styles (visual, auditory and kinsethetc learning).
  • Incorporates other key learning outcomes.
  • Provides a more meaningful delivery which results in better retention.
  • Provides meaningful follow-up activities which results in more opportunities for review.
  • Includes focus on reading comprehension which is inclusive in a whole languge approach to teaching.
  • Offers different options to assist in adjusting activities to meet the needs of your students and to work within your time frame.


How Does the Kinderplans Alphabet Program Work?

Since teaching the alphabet is not a simplistic process, it is difficult to answer the question above in just a few sentences.  I have created a video presentation which outlines how the program works.

Alphabet Program Explained

Alphabet Program Explained




Alphabet Program Explained Video Presentation




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Pete the Cat Activities

If you have read my previous blog posts, you will know that I love “Pete the Cat” and so do my students.  In my school we are required to always have an emergency lesson plan ready, which also takes stress off us in time of need.  I have created a plan based on the literature selection “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” written by Eric Litwin.  I have outlined my plan below.  The mini unit is Pete-Cat-Buttons-Unitfound in the link.


Pete The Cat And His Groovy Button Mini Unit


8:34 – 9:15   Morning Routine

-Put on shoes, get book bin and whisper read to self using the whisper phones (previous readers they have worked on).
-After everyone is  settled, they choose a partner to read to.


Read Aloud in Circle Corner

Read book “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” by Eric Litwin to the students.


Book Reading from (project on Smart Board)


Video of the Book


Shared Reading 
Project emergent reader “My Groovy Buttons” on the Smart Board.

-Read the title of the selection.  Do a picture walk of the selection and discuss what might be happening on each page and how it might relate to the story you just read to them, “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” by Eric Litwin.  Discuss what the interactive component could be (add facial features and buttons)

-Read the selection to the children modeling the reading process completing the interactive component as you read (add buttons and facial features to each picture).

-Read again, choosing different students to be the word pointer.


9:15 – 10:00  Developmental Centers and Guided Reading

Half the class goes to play (development) centers,  5- 6 students do guided reading with me and 5-6 students go to craft with the assistant (working on guided drawing activities).


Interactive Component

Interactive Component

Guided Reading

-students add correct amount of buttons on the shirt and complete drawing their facial features on the emergent reader “My Groovy Buttons” reader.

-practice reading the book to themselves, then read to teacher

-After, partner reads the book to another student.


10:00 – 10:15  Bathroom Break, Snack and Get Ready for Recess

10:15 – 10:30      Recess

10:45 – 11:15   Literacy Centers

I use activities posted on the link below:


Literacy Center Ideas

11:15 – 12:00  Writer’s Workshop
-Students write what they think of “Pete the Cat”.  Complete the pattern: Pete the cat is ____________.
-Share what they wrote

12:00 – 12:55     Lunch

12:55 – 1:55  MathColor-Number-Buttons
Review Numeral Identification

-Distribute small math manipulatives.  Display numbers found on page  7 and the children display that many.  After, can complete sheet found on page 8.

Introducing Subtraction
-Put the following subtraction sentences on the board.  After, each sentence have the students use their manipulatives to act out the sentence (start with first number and take away the other number).  Explain how this is related to the story you read this morning “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” by Eric Litwin

5- 3 =___,   4 – 2 = ___,   3 – 1= ___,  5 – 0=____, 5 – 2 =______,  4 – 3 =_____
Button-SubtractionAssigned Related Seat Work–  Complete the subtraction sheet.  The students cross out the buttons that need to be subtracted in order to find the answer.  May need to do this sheet together using the Smart Board.

1:55  -2:10  Recess

2:10 – 2:50  Switch Developmental Centers, Guided Reading and Craft Groups

Students who did not have an opportunity to visit play (developmental) centers this morning now have an opportunity to do so.


3:00 End of Day





Pre-K Literacy Lesson Plan

This blog post outlines how I introduce a new letter, related sound and the follow-up Literacy Centers related to these.


Phonemic Awareness Warmup

Phonemic Awareness Warmup

Phonemic Awareness Warm-up

At the beginning of the school year many of my students do not understand the concept of beginning sound nor can they hear it.  The activity below really assists in developing this skill.

I use a puppet named Slow Speaking Sam as a base for doing phonemic awareness activities.  Slow Speaking Sam says sounds in words very slowly (CVC words).  The students must first guess what word he said.  After, three students come forward representing the sounds found within the word. We discuss the sound heard at the beginning, middle and end of it.  After, I attach letters representing these sounds and the students hold these letters.  Since the first phonics lesson focuses on the letter “Ll” and its corresponding sound, I will use words beginning with this sound (lap, leg, lip and log).AtSchoolClip


Introducing Letter During Shared Reading – Focus Letter “Ll”

I always introduce a letter sound in context of print during shared reading time.  I will be using the emergent reader At School to introduce the focus letter “Ll” sound and the reading process (left to right progression and what a word is).  I will display the reader on my Smart Board for all students to view as I model the reading process and focus on the sound of “Ll”.  If you do not have a Smart Board, copy and cut the pictures and place them in a pocket chart along with the text printed on sentence strips.

The reader is found in the All About Me theme.


All About Me Theme


Smart Board Activities

I use the Smart Board activities demonstrated in the video as additional practice for students to hear and associate the letter “Ll”  to its corresponding sound.  If you do not have a Smart Board, practice using the Literacy Activity Centers outlined below as a whole group.


The students touch the spinner board and print the letter that represents the sound it landed on.  The other game requires the students to sort the beginning sounds.


View Smart Board Activity on YouTube

Practice Printing the Focus Letter 

The students practice printing the focus letter on each others back, in the air and in the palm of their hand.


Literacy Centers

The Litearcy Centers are meant for the students to practice the skills they were taught in a fun and interactive environment.  Most of the games are meant to play with partners which I select in terms of personality and ability.  I have the students rotate from station to station (usually ten minutes per station).


Literacy Center One – Printing the Letter

Students practice printing the letter in their printing booklet found in the link below.  If the letter is a more difficult one to print, I will have them practice on small dry erase boards first, until they have mastered how to print it.


Printing Booklet I Use 


Litearcy Center Two – Sorting Objects and Picture Cards

Sound Sorting

Sound Sorting

I have three sets of partners at the this station (table). I am fortunate to have multiple objects that I hide in rice tubs and the students dig and sort these according to if they begin with the letter “Ll” sound.  If you do not have these objects, use the picture cards found in the theme unit.  The students will be sorting the objects or picture cards according to if they begin with an “Ll” sound or not.  I will only be using picture cards and objects beginning with “Ll and Hh” sounds.


Spinning Board Game

Spinning Board Game

Literacy Center Three – Spinning Top Game

Again, I have three sets of partners playing this game at a table.  Each partner takes a turn spinning a top (good quality one) and must determine if they hear the letter “Ll” at the beginning of the picture the top landed on.  If they hear the sound, they must print the letter.

Note:  I place the board in a pie plate to control the path of the spinner.


Literacy Center Four – Alphabet Ordering FREEBIE

Alphabet-Ordering-PicAgain, I have three sets of partners playing this game.  They draw a letter card, say the letter name (if they know it) and place it on the game board in the correct order.  You can access this game from the link below:


Alphabet Ordering Game


Sight Word Practice

Sight Word Board Game

Sight Word Board Game

At the beginning of the school year I do not focus on sight words but phonemic awareness activities as this is really what my students need.  They would learn sight words incidentally through reading the emergent readers during shared and guided reading. However, in the theme unit there is an activity that can be used if you wish to start introducing sight words.  The sight words found within the reader At School would be “I and am”.  The blank sight word roll the die or spinner board games could be used for this purpose.


Music Connection

Each day my students sing the interactive alphabet song video found in the link below


Interactive Alphabet Song Video


Letter “Ll” Focus Sound – Leo the Lion on Alpha Tunes Action Download

On the Alpha Tunes Action Songs download the students can sing and act out the song “Leo the Lion”.  If you are a member, login, click on the link Song Book to access it.


Guided Reading

I will also be pulling small groups of students for guided reading.  We will be reading the black and white version of the emergent reader At School.  I will be focusing on the left to right progression of print and what a word is.  I will have the students circle the words found on each page.  They will be taking the reader home to read to their parents.


As always, I hope you find these ideas helpful.


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Writing Workshop

This blog post outlines how I incorporate  “Writing Workshop” and “Review Letter/Sounds”.  These activities are are introduced in context with what we are doing during the day, week or even month.


Writer’s Workshop

I call it “I have something to say” only in written format.  The students initiated this activity so I didn’t have to introduce it.  Some of the girls started writing me messages (a few letters and scribbles) and I had them share it with the rest of the class.  I explained to the class that this is kindergarten writing. The stage has been now set for them to start their own story writing book.  I will also be reading the book “Dog Loves Drawing”  by Louise Yates to introduce the letter “d” sound and the concept of how a story can be created by pictures only. This will serve as a model for my students to understand that they do not always have to print words to make a story.  The pictures they draw also tell a story.  The site below outlines mini-lessons on “Writer’s Workshop”.


Writer’s Workshop Mini-Lessons


Incorporating Modeled Writing

I always model the process first.  For example, on Tuesday  the students will not be experiencing a usual day as we have a number of visitors coming to do presentations.  This will be a great start to begin our “I Have Something to Say” story book.  I will draw a picture and write a sentence or two about what I enjoyed about the presentations.  I will have them help me with some spelling, explain the use of spaces, capital letters and correct usage of stop marks.  After, the students will draw a picture of what they enjoyed and tell about it in kindergarten writing.  They will have the option of having their writing scribed into adult writing.  This will followed by a sharing time.  In the link below you will find the title page I used for “I Have Something to Say” writing books.  I cut plain paper in half and bound about twenty pages to make the book.


I Have Something to Say Title Page


Guided Drawing

On Thursday and part of the following week I will be introducing the letter “Dd” and the corresponding sound.  The day(s) will evolve around the topic of dogs, including the “Writing Workshop”.  I also believe children need to be guided in terms of learning to draw.  The video below is a simple guided drawing lesson on how to draw a dog.


How to Draw a Dog



Since I only teach two days this week and one of those days consist of presentations, these plans will likely extend into next week.  My plans are never permanent as I coincide them with the needs of my students.  If I come across a vocabulary word they are not familiar with, I will search for an image or video related to that word and display this on the Smart Board.  We will spend some time expanding on this new word.


8:28-9:00  Circle Time

Phonemic Awareness Warmup Activity – Mystery Word(s)

This is a great activity to review sounds previously introduced in a meaningful context, as well, it introduces the children to the concept of blending sounds together to read words.  I have small little whiteboards that I print the letters that represent the phoneme. A child is assigned to each phoneme and holds the letter(s) that represents this sound.  We say each phoneme sound (usually review letters) several times as a review of the sound/letter and how it corresponds.  We talk about what makes the beginning, middle and end sound.  After, I place the students closer together and we blend the sounds together.  The students have to guess what the mystery word is.  I do this activity throughout the day as a review of letter sounds.


Phonemic Awareness Review Activity







Connection to Literature and Introducing New Letter Sound

The letter “Dd” sound is introduced through reading the book “Dog Loves to Draw” by Louise Yates.  This book is great for introducing the letter “Dd” sound but also how pictures can tell a story.


Connection to Literature

Introducing Emergent Reader – “Dog Dances” – Rhyming Book

– Introduce the printable emergent reader “Dog Dances” to the students. Prior to reading the emergent reader, discuss how they think a dog would dance and demonstrate this and what they think would make the dog dance.  I display this on the Smart Board. If you do not have an Interactive Whiteboard, you could place the pictures in a pocket chart along with sentence strips.  You could also display the story using an overhead projector (which I have done for years).  I also make a copy of the color version for our classroom library.  I copy this on cardstock, laminate and bind it.

-Read the sentences together, pointing to the words while you read, discussing the rhyming pairs.  In the student’s black and white version of the reader, they will be cutting and gluing the picture that rhymes with word and picture on each page.


Color Version of Dog Dances


Interactive Black and White Version



9:00 – 9:40 Play Centers
4-5 Students assigned to “Craft Center”.  My assistant works with them.

Students will finish matching the words to what they dictated about the snowy owl craft they completed last week.  My assistant will also be doing a guided lesson on drawing a dog.


Guided Reading With Emergent Reader “Dog Dances”
4-5 students will be reading the black and white emergent reader  “Dog Dances” with me.  The focus will be on tracking words, cutting and pasting the rhyming picture that corresponds to the text. This integrates a comprehension component into reading.


Rest of Class at Play Center with Parent Volunteer

Each month we change the Play Centers.  I have outlined the changes below.  The rest of the students will be at the play centers while my assistant and I work with a small group.


1.  Sand remains dirt – Plastic animals have been placed in this center.  The students can dig winter homes for the animals.


2.  The “Housekeeping Center” has now become the “Big Dollhouse Center”.  We have a large dollhouse with furniture, boys and girls dress up dolls to go into the dollhouse.


3.  The “Big Blocks” has now become a “Winter Home Building”.  The students make winter homes for the stuffed animals located at this Center.


4.  Computers – I have downloaded the  Smart Board activities outlined in the Literacy Centers on individuals computers and the students can work on this.


5.  Paint Easel has stayed the same.


6. Playdough and Lego


7.  Creative Craft Center – Paper, cards, tape, scissors, glue, all types of decorations and odds and ends are placed here


8.  Water Table – Plastic animals have also been placed here with a styrofoam blocks used as icebergs


9.  Science Center – The students can feel the furs and other objects related to how animals protect themselves from the cold.



9:40 – 10:15 Get Ready and Go to Gym


10:15 – 10:35   Bathroom Break and Snack 


10:35 – 11:20 Literacy Centers

Circle Time

Review the letter “Dd” sound.  On the Smart Board together we will be sorting pictures according to if it begins with a “Dd, Gg or Qq” sound.  If you are a member you will be able to download this activity.  If you do not have a Smart Board use the alphabet picture cards instead.  Login to your account go to “Alphabet Program” and then “Alphabet Pictures”.  I used many of these pictures to create this activity.

Letter Formation

Introduce the correct letter formation of “d”.  Students practice in the air, on each other’s backs and in the palm of their hand.


Literacy Center Time

Center 1 – Alphabet and Print Awareness Center – Parent Volunteer Monitoring

Many of my students do not know all the names of the alphabet letters so this Center will be devoted this.  I am going to start with seven letters to begin with (Aa – Gg).  This is a partner game.  The students must place the letter cards in the correct order using a model.  They must say the letters (sing the song if needed).  After, they try to place the letters in the correct order without using the model.


Phonics Sorting Activity

Center 2 – Phonemic Awareness Center – With Teacher

Mystery Bag

Students will be taking turns pulling objects out of the mystery bag and determining what sound it begins with and what sound category it belongs according to the initial sound.  If you do not have objects, copy the alphabet picture cards found in the member’s area on card stock and laminate them.  They can be used to replace the objects.


Rice Tub

Same as above but only pulling objects from the rice tub.


Center 3 –  Printing Center

Students will be practicing forming the letter “Dd”.  The students will be practicing printing the letter “d” on white boards.  They can also print the words cat, cut , quit, get, egg and dog.  The next day, they will be completing their printing book.  The version I use is found in the link below:



11:20 – 11:55    Writing Workshop


I will write about my experience with my daughter’s dog as a model.  After, the students will do the same.
11:55 – 12:00  Bathroom Break 
12:00 – 12:25 Eat Lunch
12:25 – 1:00  Lunch Recess
1:00 – 1:10 Bathroom Break

1:00 – 1:20 Circle Time 

-Calendar, count days on calendar, count how many days they have been in school, add this many straws to the 10’s cup.

-Sing “Days of the Week” display video on Smart Board.

-Sing and view animated alphabet video and have students pay special attention the the letter “Dd”.


Animated Alphabet Song Video


-Sing “The Apple Tree”, “Extraordinary Egg”, “Cool Clouds” and “Queen’s Feet” and “Groovy Gorilla” “Doggie Dance” action songs found in the “Alpha Tunes CD”.


Rhyming Activity

I place a picture of a dog on the Smart Board.  The students take turns coloring (scribbling out) the rhyming part of the picture I am talking about:

1.  I rhyme with toes, I am the dog’s (nose)

2.  I rhyme with beg, I am the dog’s (leg)

3.  I rhyme with hears, I am the dog’s (ears)

4.  I rhyme with pail,  I am the dog’s (tail)

5.  I rhyme with saw, I am the dog’s (paw)

6.  I rhyme with fly, I am the dog’s (eye)

6.  I rhyme with south, I am the dog’s (mouth)


Rhyming Smart Board Activity



1:20 -2:00  Play Center Time – Switch groups for craft and guided reading from this morning


2:00 – 2:35 Math Mini-Lesson and Practice

I have downloaded different patterning activities from the Smart Exchange.  We will do these together first.


Concept – Patterning

Students will continue to create patterns using two different attributes.  We have different math tubs that are used for this.


Note:  Math tubs used were mentioned in previous blog post.


2:45-3:10 Bathroom Break, Recess and Dismissal


3:10  Bus Students Leave


3:15  Walking Students Leave

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New Smart Board Lesson

This is another interactive “Alphabet Review Game” that is meant to use on the Smart Board where the students are required to have a sound knowledge of their alphabet and related sounds to complete the game.  It is also available in a downloadable version.

Click Here to View Game on YouTube

The students would touch one of the covered cells to select a letter.  If the picture on their game board represents that sound, they can place a marker on their game board.  The students can touch the picture on their game board to hear the word and beginning sound.  The first person to have their game board covered in markers would be the winner.  This could also be a cooperation game where they were together to cover the game boards.

This game is available for download in the “Dinosaur Theme” unit.  It is available to members of the Kinderplans site.


New Smart Board Activities

We have just added new Smart Board activities to our growing resources.  These are very interactive
and effective in teaching children new skills and also allowing them to practice acquired ones.  The activities also include a downloadable version to make a game board if you do not have access to a Smart Board.

The students will be required to use their knowledge of beginning and ending letter sounds, building phonemic awareness in relation to rhyming and identifying community helpers and initial letter sounds. Each activity is related to a specific theme and skill development.

View One Game on YouTube 

CHECK OUT OUR NEW ADDED SMART BOARD GAMES!!!!  Post a comment or give us a like!!!!

New Smart Board Activities


Smart Board Activity Tutorial


Click Arrow or Click Here to View Tutorial

Video on how to create an alphabet bingo game using Notebook Software.  This is a fun and effective game used to reinforce your student’s knowledge of letter sounds.  The video outlines step by step how to create the game using Notebook Software.  If you are a member of the site you will be able to download the prepared game and bingo cards.

More Smart Board activities are outlined in the link below:

More Smart Board Activities

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It is important that you provide feedback letting us know if you want us to continue to provide these tutorials and and prepared Smart Board activities.  This is a significant amount of work so your feedback will determine if we continue to provide these resources.