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Alphabet (page 2)

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Alphabet Books

Alphabet books for children of preschool age (3–5) are much more abstract than the three-dimensional letters they are playing with. This means that after reading them, you should do something playful with the letters and ideas presented by the books. The books should be bright, lively, and tell a fast-paced story if you want children to look at them. Letters should stand out and be clearly related to objects that the children are familiar with.

These books present preschool children with an entirely new concept: that a letter of the alphabet represents an object. It is a concept not easily understood by young children at first, yet they do seem to memorize the fact that “A” stands for “Apple” because you say so. They may wonder “why should it?” since “A” does not look or sound anything like Apple. Remember, most preschool children are concerned with the sounds of the names of letters (ay), not the sound the letter makes. That will come later when they begin to recognize words.

If you have one or two alphabet books in your classroom, you should read them to one or two children at a time. Then they can sit close enough to see the pictures and begin to catch on that letters represent objects or actions on the page. Later they can look at the books on their own. Use each book (not worksheets) as a lead-in to three-dimensional activities based on it.

Activities

  1. Read Alphabet Under Construction. (Fleming, D., 2003, New York: Holt) Mouse works his way through each huge letter on a page, airbrushing, buttoning, and carving every one. Have your listeners sit close so they can get ideas for decorating their own letters. Put out a set of white cutout letters and a basket of collage materials (buttons, sequins, tiny shells, macaroni shapes, feathers), along with colored markers and glue sticks, and have each child choose and decorate his own letter.
  2. Read B Is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC. (Sobel, J., 2003, San Diego: Harcourt) Read this book before or after a field trip to a construction or a road repair site. A rhyming sentence on each page shows construction equipment with their first letter in color: Crane, Dump truck, Forklift. Afterwards, take the book and a sheet of peel-off letters to the block building center to see if children can find any of this equipment on the block accessory shelves. Let the finder stick on its peel-off letter.
  3. Read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. (Martin, B. & Archambault, J., 1989, New York: Simon & Schuster) This classic story will always remain a favorite. The letters themselves talk in rhyme: “A told B, and B told C, I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree.” Then they wonder: “Chicka, chicka, boom, boom! Will there be enough room?” Children love to repeat the catchy verses and afterwards to play a game that you make up in which everyone falls down. Children can each carry a letter and march to a center spot in your room until it becomes so crowded that everyone falls down. Or you can make your own tree, wrap it in burlap, and march Velcro letters up to the top until it gets too full. Constructive Playthings (1-800-448-4115) offers a 20-inch free standing cloth tree with letters, along with a CD containing songs, rhymes, and fun.
  4. Read K is for Kissing a Cool Kangaroo. (Andreae, G., 2002, New York: Orchard Books) Large colorful letters stand for cartoon animals doing zany things in rhyme. Children love the illustrations. Second time through the book, have the listeners find a stuffed animal in the classroom to represent a particular letter. Put the peel-off letter of its name on it. What zany things can their imaginations make it do?
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