Have you been looking for a tried and true way to teach alphabet letter recognition and identification? Then you may have found what you’ve been looking for. I’ve used this format over and over for years to teach my struggling learners their letters. Daily use of the “I See Letter …”, letter search, and write the room activities in the I See Letter … : Alphabet Letter Recognition and Identification pack will show just how successful it works.
I See Letter …
The first component of Alphabet Letter Recognition and Identification is the I See Letter chart. We call it a game and since we use clear, plastic “game pieces” to play, the kids think it’s fun. But the only person they’re playing against is themselves.
I print the color chart on cardstock, laminate and use with small plastic colored discs. I use it with a small group or one-on-one. Each student has their own chart/mat. We start by pointing and saying the letters on the chart first. Then a student starts play by saying, “I see letter —.” K for example. They point to the letter and if it’s correct, then they cover letter K with a disc. If they point to the wrong letter, I tell them the letter name, and show them the correct letter. They do not get to cover that letter. Then it’s the next person’s turn.
If the person is playing alone, it is my turn. I say a letter and they must find the letter. I always try to pick a letter that I know they know or one we’re working on. We play until frustration level or no more letters can be identified. Then we go over all the letters not identified and count the ones covered. We play every day and the student tries to best their own score from the day before. Sometimes I offer incentives, but not always. The kids love playing, but they think they’re playing a game and it’s a great way to learn their letters. And if done on a daily basis, you will see success in letter recognition and identification. You can also use it the same way for letter sounds.
Because kids love using Bingo stampers so much, I also made a blackline version for Bingo stampers. Have them point to the correct letter first, then stamp. You don’t want them practicing stamping the wrong letters and that’s what may happen if you don’t have them point first. By pointing first, that gives you the chance to check and instruct if needed.
If you chose to, you could even create directions for the blackline I See Letters chart and use as a Following Directions activity. For example: color the S green, put an x on the A, circle the P, etc.
I See Letter ____
The second component of Alphabet Letter Recognition and Identification is the I See Letter ___ pages. After playing the letter idenfication game above, there’s a specific letter identification page for each letter of the alphabet. These pages are designed to be used with Bingo Stampers for maximum engagement. However, experience has taught me that some practice may be needed with some students before letting them go with a stamper unless you want EVERYTHING stamped. So I practice with my students using plastic discs first. They place the discs on which letters will be stamped. Then we count them and reiterate that ALL the letters will not be stamped.
Because I teach struggling learners K-2, I’m always cognizant of skill level for my students. I created these pages with 2 levels of directions. E- easy directions A-advanced directions That gives me even more flexibility with my students.
Alphabet Write the Room Activity
The last component of Alphabet Letter Recognition and Identification is made of the CUTEST capital and lowercase letter cards along with response pages for a writing the room activity. The cards are printed on cardstock, laminated and placed around the classroom. You can use just the lowercase cards, just the capital cards, both capital and lowercase, or just isolate a few letters that you’re working on. Load up enough clipboards for each student with the correct response page … there’s one for capital letters, one for lowercase and one for both. Then have the students find the letters in the classroom and copy them onto their paper. I would have my students read their list of letters to me and they might get a star, sticker, stamp, or smiley by each letter they identify.
BONUS: If the letter cards are printed twice, you can use the second set for flashcards or as a sequencing activity. I also use a lot of flashcards with my struggling learners. Over and over repetition is what it takes for some learners. But don’t do just one thing. Fill your toolbox with lots of types of activities and use them daily. That way you can really hit a skill in many ways and not burn your learner out.
I hope this has given you some ideas to use with your students for alphabet letter recognition and identification. One of the most important aspects of teaching this skill is to teach it consistently on a daily basis. And don’t expect your students to teach themselves. This is a skill that has to have direct instruction. It might not be you as a teacher, but to learn letter names, the instruction has to come from someone who already has mastery of that skill … an assistant, another student, a brother, a sister, mom, dad, a software program, etc. This isn’t something you can send them to their seat or a Center to work on alone. They can sort, they can copy, they can write letters, but those things will not teach them letter names. Letter discrimination is good, but it is only a step towards letter identification.
More Ideas for Alphabet Recognition and Identification
My website, The Virtual Vine, has not been updated in YEARS. I need to take the time to deal with it, but I just haven’t. But there are still some useful things there. This is a link to a 4 page download there. I created the pages to be used with letter stamps. My students loved using them. The students use letter stamps to stamp in the letters. This is mostly for teaching matching capital to lowercase letters. It won’t teach the letter name unless you follow up by asking the student the letter names or sit with them as they work and ask them as they work what the letters are. This is a prime example of how doing this activity will not teach a student the letter names … unless they already know one letter and then can match the other letter to it. Then they may make the connection .. oh, if this is capital D, this must be lowercase d.
I do a lot of theme teaching, so I create a lot of themed ABC cards. (pumpkins, eggs, etc) Before I got so computer savvy, I purchased themed notepads and wrote the letters on them and laminated them. The capital letters usually went on something bigger and the lowercase on something smaller. Then the kids could match them up in pairs and we did a lot of sequencing activities on the floor. Afterwards, we always went over the letters and said the ABCs, even if I helped them as they worked. To make it more fun, I would let them use my big pointer to point at the letters. It also helped me to see that they actually were identifying the letters and not just saying the ABCs. These cards can also be used for flashcards as well.
We also play a lot of themed alphabet bingo. We play in small groups or even one-on-one so that I can make sure that they are choosing the correct letter. I don’t want them practicing learning the wrong letter names. This gives me lots of opportunities to correct and instruct as we play. If playing one-on-one, I have my own card and I point to my letters and as I put my markers on them and say the name as reinforcement and I’m also verrrrryyyyyy absentminded and have verrrrryyyyy poor vision. So somehow my students always seem to win unless I see they’re just not trying. 😉
More Alphabet Recognition and Identification Resources
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