Kindergarteners come to school with a wide range of understanding and abilities in reading and writing. Most are quickly able to sing “The Alphabet Song” to you—very loudly, in fact! However, while they can sing the alphabet, many kindergarteners still struggle with writing those letters proficiently and independently as well as with recognizing the sounds the letters make.
In this activity, help your child practice the sounds and print the letters of the alphabet by creating an alphabet journal together. This is a great activity for the summer prior to the start of kindergarten. Add to and use this journal again and again on a regular basis as your child continues to build confidence with letter-sound associations. By the end of the alphabet, not only will your kindergartener have had consistent practice with the letters and sounds, but she will also have a beautiful, hand-made book to look at!
What You Do:
- Before beginning this activity, review the alphabet together—you can sing the song, look at the letters, or simply talk about the sounds that the letters make.
- Create the "Alphabet Journal." Explain to your child that you are going to make and design her "Alphabet Journal" together. Allow her to choose a sheet of her favorite color of construction paper to use for the cover of her journal.
- Cut the selected construction paper to the size of the composition book. Brainstorm a creative title for her journal (i.e. Hannah's Amazing Alphabet Journal). Write this title on the cut construction paper. Let your child decorate the cover sheet as she would like, and glue the paper to the front of the composition book.
- Now that you have the journal, start studying! Select a "Letter of the Day/Week." Research shows that children learn the letters and sounds "b" and "d" first, followed by "s", "t", "k", "m", and other consonants, so it would be helpful to select these as some of the first "Letters of the Day/Week." Save vowels and letters like "c" and "g" for later; these letters are often confusing to young children since they can make more than one sound.
- After choosing the letter, help your child search through the catalogs and magazines for pictures of items that begin with the target letter. When you find an item, ask your child to identify the item and the letter she thinks it might begin with.
- Cut the items out as you find them and glue them into the first page of the journal. If you are having any difficulty finding items in a magazine, just encourage her to draw pictures!
- As you put pictures in the journal, ask your child to help you spell the name of each item, and label the pictures on the page.
- When done finding pictures, have her practice printing the letter in both upper and lowercase on the blank lines of the page, or on the back.
- Keep adding to her journal on a daily/weekly basis until you finish the alphabet, and together, you'll create a wonderful alphabet resource book!
Note: As parents of kindergarteners, you are well aware that kids' attention spans may be somewhat short for an activity of this length. If this is a concern, try breaking the activity into more than one session. For instance, you can create the journal and find the pictures in one session; glue and label the pictures in another session; and save the writing for the last session.
Victoria Hoffman, M.A. Teaching and Leadership, is an elementary school teacher, writer and mother from Leonardtown, Maryland. She has taught grades K-5 in both regular and special education classrooms.