Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! (Effie style, minus the whole Reaping Day thing.) This is my very-first post here in my new blog. I'm crazy-excited! I hope you like it!
You are probably here to learn how I SIGNIFICANTLY improved my student’s letter/sound fluency this year. Mind you, I did write SIGNIFICANTLY in capital letters for a reason. I’m screaming it at you: SIGNIFICANTLY!!!!!!!!
This great change came after our incredible Reading Specialist suggested that I add motions to our letter/sound practice. She actually told me this last school year but I waited too long to implement it. Sad face. :( So, I jumped on board head-first this school year. In all honesty, it was the BEST change I've ever made.
After practicing for only two weeks, I noticed that my new Kindergarteners were already latching on and internalizing their letters and sounds! It was amazing, and I’ll never do it any differently ever again.
Watch this video and then I’ll explain a little more later down the page.
If you are interested in trying this (which I highly recommend with all of my strongest, tingly-est, most heartfelt Kindergarten vibes), I’ll explain my process. (If you have a better way, I’d love to hear about in the comment section. I love new ideas! :D)
First, I created the posters. I actually printed two sets: one for my wall and one for flashing when we practice. You can check them out HERE on my TPT store, or you can easily create your own motions using any set you may already have.
On the first day of school, I explained to my students that in our classroom, we use a lot of “secret signals.” We are… after-all… super, stealthy Ninja kids. “Even our letters have signals! Isn’t that awesome! Today we will learn a few of them.”
I go on to explain that each letter makes a sound, and we make the sound while we do the signal. “The first letter is A. A makes the /a/ sound. Our picture for Aa is apple. Have you ever had an apple? What does it look like when you eat it?” (Students demonstrate.) “Perfect! While we pretend to eat an apple, say ‘A, apple, /a/,/a/,/a/. Great! Let’s practice that again!”
Connecting the motion with something students are familiar with really helps them recall them later on. (I’ll explain all of our motions below, in case the video left you wondering what in the World we were doing. hehe) Also, holding a poster with the letter and picture helps students begin to identify the letters in written form. I constantly remind students to focus on the actual letters when we go over them to assist in this identification.
I went on to teach my students 5 letters/sounds that first day. After teaching each individual letter, I would go back and repeat all preceding letters until all 5 were taught. I did 5 new ones each day (while repeating all previously taught) until we had covered them all.
After two weeks of daily practice, at least 85% (of my 26 students) already knew the entire alphabet! I felt like it took me months to accomplish this same milestone the year before. It was a great feeling!
We continue to have this as a part of our routine each day even though students have already mastered them all. I notice the more we practice, the quicker they can access this knowledge when decoding and reading words. Plus, they wouldn’t let me forget a day of this practice anyway. They just love this routine!
We also do an extension to this routine with Blends & Digraphs. I will post a video demo of this very soon too. You can find those posters HERE. On a side note, I always add motions to our SIGHT WORD PRACTICE and our CLASS RULES too. You just can’t go wrong with some fun ole’ hand motions.
I hope you found something useful here today! God bless you and yours! <3