Christmas Flashcards

Since Christmas seems to “take over” the thoughts of most children immediately following Thanksgiving, tap into this exciting time with holiday learning activities.  You can do this in a variety of ways - read holiday books, sing songs, plan some Christmas art projects, play number and other math games using holiday objects such as ornaments or bows, play literacy games featuring Christmas trees, Santa, and/or reindeer...the list goes on and on.

Christmas flashcards can add a touch of “fun” to your flashcards drills and activities. You can extend holiday learning beyond school by sending home Christmas flashcards. Use a set of letter sound flashcards at school and provide a corresponding black-and-white set for use at home to give your students an extra boost in recognizing and identifying letters sounds. 

By directing your attention to fun holiday activities, the next few weeks can become a time of productive learning. For holiday flashcards and other Christmas learning materials, check out these products:


I Spy Alphabet Activity

I Spy Alphabet bottles are fun to make and fun to use! All you need is a water bottle, some rice or birdseed, and a handful of alphabet letter beads. 

Let your students scoop in enough rice or birdseed to fill half of the bottle - the smaller bottle are a perfect size, but any water bottle will work.  Add 15-20 letter beads; provide letter beads of any color or size as long as they fit in the top of the bottle. (If your students make name necklaces, this is a great way to use the leftover beads!) If you wish, students can also add other small objects such as colorful beads or bits of confetti. Finally, twist the cap on the bottle and shake. 

Students can now hunt for - and record - letters in the bottle. This project gives the students an opportunity to review letters in a fun way while providing a tangible alphabet tool to take home.

October Alphabet and Sight Word Game Cards

Use these Alphabet and/or * Sight Word Cards for the Following Activities:

Flash Cards
Write the Room
Boom (Or a similar type game where all cards are lost if the extra card is drawn). * Each set contains an extra "Boom" type card
Go Fish
Old Maid
Memory Match
Draw and Write

*Includes upper and lowercase alphabet letters and all sight words used in the "Wonders - Journeys - and Imagine It" reading programs for Kindergarten

Strategically Teaching Alphabet Letters Through Alphabet Immersion

Immersing your students in the alphabet is a great way to work on letter or sound recognition. Engage your students with alphabet songs, chants, and books. Play alphabet games and review letters with flashcards every day. Trace and write letters of the alphabet every week.  Form letters with commercial or homemade handwriting sticks and use other manipulatives for hands-on practice with letters. Address the alphabet in a variety of ways to keep students interested and involved.

If you’re looking for a high-interest manipulative for hands-on alphabet practice, check out Alpha-Bots (available at Lakeshore)

These alphabet transformers are popular with girls and boys of all ages.  Try using them in the following ways:
  1. Have students choose a letter to name or write, and then transform. 
  2. Place them around the room for an Alphabet Hunt - when the student finds a letter, he/she writes the letter, then transforms it into a robot. The next student can transform it back into a letter, and then write that letter. 
  3. Let one student quietly transform the Alpha-Bots while waiting to be the next student that you assess.
Continue the list with ideas of your own.  Alpha-Bots are versatile and can be used independently or with a volunteer helper. 

Learning the alphabet helps develop a foundation for reading. The key to success is surrounding your students with the alphabet using a variety of approaches. For more ideas and supporting materials, check out the following products:

Animal Zoo: Early Reading Games

If you love teaching letters and sounds using lovable animal characters, you will enjoy this product: Animal Zoo: Early Reading Games.

Contents Include:

Animal Alphabet Flashcards
Alphabet Zoo Match-up: Matching Animal to Beginning Letter
Alphabet Zoo Beginning Sounds
Zookeepers: Letter Recognition
Write the Room: Alphabet Zoo
Alphabet Zoo Bingo

Alphabet Fluency

Automaticity is defined as fast, accurate and effortless recognition. And, that is exactly what I am working towards in my classroom each day; reading automaticity.

When students can recognize letters and sounds, and then sight words with little effort, that ease and confidence is quickly transferred to other, more complex reading skills such as blending, phrasing, etc.

If you too are working on automaticity and are in need of alphabet letter or sound fluency probes, check out this web site that generates them automatically for you!

And if you are looking for activities to build towards automaticity, our thematic units are filled with such activities.

Handwriting in Kindergarten

Why teach handwriting in kindergarten? Research indicates that structured handwriting lessons lead to improved writing performance, increased letter identification, and academic success. MRI scans done before and after letter instruction even found that when children practiced printing by hand, their neural activity was greater than those who had simply looked at their letters.

While teaching handwriting in kindergarten is necessary and beneficial, it is also important to keep instruction developmental.  What steps can we take to meet this goal? Try the following:
  1. Encourage your students to pick up small items - legos, buttons, beans, counting chips, etc.
  2. Provide opportunities for your students to play outside - monkey bars are great for strengthening upper body as well as finger and hand muscles.
  3. Teach capital letters first, then lowercase letters. Students are more familiar with capital letters and they have an easier time forming them; furthermore, capital letters all start at the top and they are distinctly different from each other.
  4. Instead of following an A to Z order for handwriting, present easier letters (such as F) first.
  5. Provide tactile opportunities for students to form letters with playdough, wood pieces, wikki stix, pipe cleaners, etc.
  6. If possible use a developmentally appropriate handwriting program such as Handwriting Without Tears.

Handwriting instruction can be completed in a short time - just 10 to 15 minutes each day. With a developmentally appropriate approach, you can not only help your students improve in handwriting, but you can also enhance their learning and performance in language arts and math.

To compliment your handwriting program, we offer several products:

Alphabet Sound Cards

Have you been looking for just the right alphabet sound cards? Well look no further. Kids love these catchy songs, sung to the tune “Miss Lucy Had a Baby.” Why are they all the same tune? Well that is the hook! You know how a song gets stuck in your head and it won’t go away? Kids quickly learn their letter sounds using this unique format.

This set of cards match our product Power Word Wall companion packet contains alphabet and picture cards that are suitable for a word wall, nearly 200 high-frequency word cards, student size word wall cards, and a chant to promote letter-sound knowledge.

These cards will look great as your anchor alphabet displayed around the room or can be compiled as a book.

Lite Bright Letters

Do you have access to an old Lite Brite? 

These “vintage” toys can be a great tool for introducing or reviewing letters or sight words. Just lift the screen off the Lite Brite and put it on a desk or other flat surface. Next, place a black piece of construction paper on the screen. Write the desired letter(s) or sight word on the paper using a white crayon. Place the screen and black page back on the Lite Brite and turn it on. Instruct students to push in pegs only on the white lines - the hole placements will usually be apparent. Your students will enjoy this activity for days!

The Alphabet Chant

The alphabet and its sounds form the foundation for reading. The success of early readers is impacted by letter and sound knowledge. A resource that Kathleen is currently completing to enhance letter and sound knowledge is the Alphabet Chant

The Alphabet Chant addresses the letters of the alphabet and their sounds. The Alphabet Chant packet includes a page for every letter of the alphabet, enabling each student to make an alphabet chant book. Each page features a portion of the chant along with an accompanying art project. The projects include coloring, painting, and constructing pictures. An alternative page is included for every construction page, allowing the option of simpler projects if desired.

The Alphabet Chant can be used with students of varying abilities. While it was designed to highlight the letter/sound association, it can be used effectively to introduce letters or sounds, reinforce rhymes, emphasize beginning sounds, and/or support sight word recognition. 

The Alphabet Chant book is very versatile and can be adapted to fit your needs. It can be completed over a period of one or two weeks or over a period of two or three months. It can be used to introduce or reinforce letters and sounds. It can supplement your alphabet study or be used as an intervention tool. The pages can be completed in alphabetical order or out of order to fit your sound introduction sequence. Make a book from the completed pages or send each individual page home as it is finished.

Whatever options you choose, your students are sure to enjoy the Alphabet Chant. It is a fun and interactive way to focus on letters and sounds!