In Practice: Activities, Teaching Material, Tips & Ideas

In Practice: Activities, Teaching Material, Tips & Ideas

  • Students should receive a copy of the alphabet that they can refer to and study. This could be as simple as a sheet of a paper that shows the alphabet in both uppercase and lowercase letters. Depending on your program, you could even create an alphabet reference booklet for students, such as the Read and Write booklet created at the Arlington Education and Employment Program (REEP) in Virginia, USA. The booklet presents one page of the alphabet in capital letters followed by lowercase letters. Consonants appear in black and vowels in red. The booklet provides examples of long- and short-sounding vowels along with visual images (for example, cat and cake for the letter a)—an important component to help with students’ sound/symbol correspondence. The booklet also introduces consonants, giving students the chance to circle a letter a few times in a string of random letters (i.e. letter matching) and then write each letter a few times on practice lines. The latter exercises within the booklet present letters both in upper- and lowercase. As the booklet progresses, students match short words that look the same—for example, they see the word gas and then must circle where the word appears again from these options: gaz, gas, gaz, gos, gas.

  • Another way to practice the alphabet is with Alphabet Bingo. You can easily make this game with grid-like laminated cards. Students can use coins, dry beans, or as place holders on the cards or even dry-erase markers. In addition to teachers calling out letters, students can form pairs or small groups to call out letters. Alphabet Bingo (and Word Bingo, which you could use once students are more comfortable with the alphabet) is a fun way to increase letter sight recognition and boost sound/symbol awareness. Alphabet flashcards have a variety of uses in a literacy classroom. You can use them for general alphabet practice or for games where students sequence letters.

  • Learners have a model of letters on paper that they trace. Each letter appears with interrupted lines that students connect (think of the letter- tracing models you might see for young children). The concept is the same for connect-the-dots. Learners form letters that are represented with a series of dots. These activities are particularly good for students who need more mechanical practice with a pencil.
  • Learners have a piece of paper with a few words that they have learned. However, each word has the initial letter missing. The teacher/facilitator says each word, and learners write in the missing letter. You can also turn this activity into a full-blown dictation, where learners write down a word or words that they hear is missing from the phrase or sentence.
  • Students copy a series of letters that is on the board or on their worksheet. This is great practice for learners, but remember that copying may take them a long time. Keep the text that they will copy to a minimum, and give them a sufficient amount of time to copy.

Image: Jose Alijovin @Unspash
  • Songs are always a fun way to learn a new language, and they will especially appeal to your auditory learners. Once learners become familiar with the alphabet, practicing a song reinforce what they have learned.

Image: Mohammad Metri @Unspash