How Does the Program Work?
The video below demonstrates how the "alphabet readers" and other follow-up activities are used to teach the alphabet and other early reading skills.
Activity 1 - Creating a Meaningful Reason
Introducing the alphabet in the context of using the alphabet and sight word readers give the children a much greater understanding of why they are learning the letters (to read) rather than in isolation. The readers also provide a powerful tool in modeling the reading process to the children. Other skills can also be taught in context with using the readers.
Activity 2 - Connecting to Literature
The "Alphabet Program" uses well-known literature selections as a base for introducing each letter of the alphabet. This helps connect the enjoyment of listening to the stories to the importance of learning to read (starting first with learning the alphabet and their related sounds).
Activity 3 - Using Auditory Stimulus
The "Alpha Tunes CD" is an additional tool used to teach the alphabet and related sounds. This will appeal to the auditory learners. All the songs on the CD are related to the alphabet readers.
Activity 4 - Using Visual Stimulus
Research has shown that the children learn the alphabet letters and sounds more successfully if they are associated with a picture or visual image. Each letter has a craft follow-up activity related to it for the purpose of incorporating this for visual learners. For example, the activity displayed on the left would be completed after reading the alphabet and sight word reader "Apples in the Meadow" which introduces the letter "a' for apple within its story context.
Activity 5 - Extending the Learning to Sight Words, Word Families and Other Concepts
Fry's and Dolch word lists were used to generate the sight words for the program. Many of the preprimer and primer words from the lists have been incorporated in the alphabet and sight word emergent readers. If you are working with younger children (preschool) this would not be applicable. This concept extends to blending sounds together for forming words (word families). This is when the reading process begins. Other learning concepts have been incorporated into the readers. The video below demonstrates this.
Activity 6- Teaching Printing in a Systematic Fashion
When developing the program many avenues were looked at. The reason for the sequencing the alphabet in the manner suggested was to ease into printing the letters more successfully.
Although every effort has been made to sequence the letters in this fashion, it was difficult to coordinate the themes, emergent readers and literature selections to coincide exactly as suggested. The vowel sounds have been introduced near the beginning of the program so kindergarten teachers can begin introducing related word family groups early in the school year. The first letter introduced is letter "c" because it becomes the base of printing other letters. The base for learning is outlined below:
Letter "c" turns into "a", "e", "d", "o", "g" and "q"
Letter "l" turns into "t", "i", "j" and "k"
Letter "r" turns into "n", "m", "h", "b" and "p"
Letter "v" turns into "y"", "w" and "x"
Extra letters "f", "s", "u" and "z"
I teach 4 and 5 year olds and one of the challenges I face at the beginning of the school year is having the students understand the concept of what a beginning sound is and hearing it. The activities outlined below have helped develop this concept. Throughout the day I have three students come forward. I give each child a letter/sound printed on a small whiteboard. The students represent this specific sound.
We discuss what sound is heard first, in the middle and last. After, I bring the students standing closer together and we say the sounds faster and blend them. The class must determine what the word is. This activity is great for helping the children understand what a beginning or first sound heard means. I call this "Mystery Word Game."
Beginning of the School Year
I play the animated alphabet video displayed below. I use this video to demonstrate the characters that they will be introduced to when reading the "Alphabet Readers." The readers are the key component in introducing the alphabet and its related sound in context.
Rolling Dice Phonics Game
I have included a link to a game I use to assist students in developing the skill of hearing initial letter sounds. I also send this link to my parents in my monthly newsletters so they can play the game at home as well.
How to Play the Game
This is a partner game that would need to be monitored by an adult (this is why it is a good game to play at home). Each student takes a turn rolling a die. They must say the name of the picture they land on and verbally tell what sound they hear first.
Rolling Dice Phonics Game
More information on the program can be found in the link below. This document outlines the literature books, sight words and word families used in the program.