In last month’s issue we asked teachers: How do you practice letters and how they sound with your students? Here are some of the answers we received alongside some additional suggestions. Do you want to participate and share your ideas? Check out this month’s questions in the Your Turn! section – Your Top Tips.
Practicing Letters and How They Sound
- This is a song and video I use in class to teach the alphabet. – Anonymous
- Another teacher sent us this link to a song called: “When Two Vowels Go Walking”. This song would be more for upper primary but has a nice tune and provides some useful tips.
- This song is nice as it teaches letters and their sounds using vocabulary words the children in class are generally familiar with.
A tongue-twister is a phrase that is difficult to say because it contains many similar sounds. The object is to repeat it as many times as possible, as quickly as possible, without making a mistake. Some tongue twisters you can try in class include:
– Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
– Red lorry, yellow lorry.
– Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers.
– A proper copper coffee pot.
– Greek grapes.
– She sells seashells by the sea shore.
– A big black bug bit a big black bear.
A huge list of tongue twisters can be found HERE.
Some popular activities to practice letters and their sounds:
– I spy with my little eye something that begins with the /b/ sound
– Matching games with sounds or rhyming words
– Matching capital and lower case letters
– Making letter shapes using plastecine or using the students to ‘make’ letters
– Pronunciation chants and songs (there are some ideas HERE on how to use songs to develop pronunciation in class)
– Spelling bees
Teachers from Bell International in Bucharest were kind enough to share their ideas with us on activities to introduce and practice letters and their sounds:
– I use the ‘alphabet song’, the game ‘What letter is missing?’, the ‘Touch the letter…’ game and the exercise ‘circle the B words…’ – Denisa Calistrate, Bucharest
– I link sounds to familiar vocabulary (animals, toys, colours…) and associate each letter with a word (ie. A -apple, B – banana..) – Madalina Giogescu
– Pictures – putting them in the right category according to how they sound (rhyming) – Speranta Valce, Bucharest
– A, B, C song; Hangman (when a student says a letter they have to say B for butter); Students create their poster in the class with the letters putting the words they’ve learnt. – Elena Isfou
– I use the ABC song a lot in my class. Spelling is also very important and each time they learn a new word, they spell it. We have lots of games where they come and write words by listening to the teacher or pick a card, write the word and spell it. Sometimes we have competitions with points and the children get very excited. – Alexandra-Corina Simon, Bucharest
– I use Jolly Phonics, ABC song, characters from ‘Letter Land’, flashcards and pictures. – Mallika, Bucharest
– I use the ABC song and I use ‘connections’, for example, E (for e-mail), I (FBI), J – J.R.., K – OK etc. I aslo use songs and chants. – Luiza Neagu
– Chants: ‘We’re going on a lion hunt’ or ‘5 Little Monkeys’; Songs: ‘Apples and Bananas’ or ‘I like apples’…; I also use short stories from www.starfall.com (really useful and wonderful) – Angela Teclian – Bucharest
– The Alphabet Song – for each letter we put a word that starts wtih that letter (a – apple, b – ball) etc.;
Dialogues in pairs asking the partner for his/her first name and spelling. Then each child reports back to the class; I spy with my little eye a thing in the classroom and they spell the name of the object while the classmates name the object. – Ana-Maria Dumitrescu, Bucharest
– I like using the ABC song and playing BINGO with letters. The practice sound, I use rhyming. – Monica Iliescu, Bucharest
– I like to use the ABC song. I tried many activities in my class but they got the alphabet after learning this song. Another thing which helped quite a lot was displaying flashcards with the alphabet in the classroom. Every time they don’t pronouce a letter correctly I go back over those flashcards. Another idea is a game: I write a word, let’s say B__Y and they have say the missing letter. I always start with short words the more on with more complex word. – Gabriela Vargyas – Romania
– I ask children to pick out letters from a small bag and call out the letter. Variation: They show the letter to their partner and he/she calls out the letter. Variation: The letters lay face down on the desk and they pick up the letters. Variation: Children learn to spell their names.
Thanks to the Bell team for sharing their ideas.
How do you practice letters and their sounds in class? Leave a comment or send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org