We finished our first week today! In my kindergarten class, we use Saxon Phonics. The first letter that is introduced is "L". It is followed in the second week by the letter "O" and the third week brings us the letter "G". The beauty of this introduction is that by the third week, students are feeling successful because they recognize they can "read" something: the word "log". The letters "H", "P", and "T" follow shortly, so you can see they have a number of words that can be put together for reading soon after school starts.
For years, I have tried to think of a way that makes sense for five year olds to connect immediately with the sounds that we are working with. I finally came up with something that both the students and I love!
It is called the "Show and Tell Your Letter" board. I laminated a posterboard and hung it on the wall. I then put border around it to make it a mini bulletin board. I laminated it so that I could write on it with a whiteboard marker.
As each letter is introduced for the week, I put a little blurb in my newsletter about what letter we will be studying the following week. I ask parents to have their children bring in something that STARTS with the letter of the week. I tell them they can bring it in any day of the week. As we start our phonics lesson, I let students "Show and Tell" about the item they brought. They put it on our letter shelf and I add the word to the weekly word wall.
I am so excited by the events that this has already caused in only the first week. For one thing, students did WAY better with initial sound concepts with the letter than in any other year. On another note, students even began to use the words from the word wall in their own writing without my having even suggesting it. I LOVE that they are making real connections with the phonics concepts because of this.
The other benefit to this activity is that it allows students to bring in toys that they are otherwise "banned" from unless it is their "Bear of the Week" time in which they are allowed to bring in items from home to share.
As we complete other weeks, I can come back to add pictures from items students bring in.
If you have any other suggestions for my board, please feel free to leave me a comment:)
Here are a few additions from the weeks after this was written:
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