In my district, the children who entered kindergarten had a huge range of skills. Some children were already reading, others did not even know all the letters in their name. There are so many ways to teach about letters and sounds. I would like to share the program that I developed with the hope that you might be able to use some of it. For many years I shared this as a presentation at the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children, so I have it saved as a powerpoint and I will post some of those slides.
Language arts is made up of these main parts:
I believe that we need to consider the whole child – not just their cognitive abilities – I love using this graphic, feel free to use it too!
And I knew that I was also responsible for these things …
The graphic represented my feeling that even though reaching every child and helping them gain confidence in all those skills seems overwhelming – we have to dive right in!
I really love puppets (you might have read that elsewhere on this blog!) and when I was first developing this program I knew I wanted to use puppets. I did a lot of reading about brain research and how children learn, various learning styles, engagement, differentiated instruction, readers and writer’s workshop, etc. I knew that I needed to reach each child at their own level. Puppets were an avenue to keep all children excited about learning and engaged. I also added sign language to provide a challenge and new learning to more proficient children. In my program I went through the alphabet 4 times, emphasizing a new skill each time. These activities only took a few minutes of each day at the beginning of the year, but they provided a strong foundation that helped all the children become successful. This slide shows the main things I focused on each time I went through the alphabet.
I used these 5 puppets – Rosco the dog helped me introduce the alphabet. Alpha the Alligator and Erma Louise helped me with letter sounds. I used Kelby Kangaroo to reinforce phonetic spelling, and the last puppet – a vulture – actually had 26 names – one for each letter of the alphabet. For short we called him Archibald Bertram Cornelius.
I plan to share this program with you in separate blogs, please feel free to use any parts that are helpful to you.