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How to teach letters?

Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:50 am
by Ivy007
Hello everybody!
Can somebody explain to me which letters I should teach first? Is there a specific order? how can I teach letters in a fun way?If anyone could lend a hand on what they have taught, or games and activities that could work well with this topic would be much appreciated.

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:45 am
by askforlisa

I once observed a teacher teaching the alphabet to students and this is how she made it fun.

First she gave each student an envelope containing all the letters in the alphabet, cut out, both big and small, and got them to put the letters in order after she introduced the lesson.

The teacher checked to make sure everyone had the letters correct and they sung the ABC song together. The teacher also had a projector sheet with all the alphabets on the board, and she would use a pen to point to a letter and each student would get a chance to say the letter out loud.

Then, they would sing the ABC song together again. The students seem to like this activity very much, especially the hands on part.

Hope this helps!

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:48 am
by Brian
Hi Ivy,

I used to play an alpha-bet tennis game, where the class was divided into two halves.

One half shouts 'A'
The other shouts B'
The first half 'C'

... and so on up to 'Z'

You can play it several times, getting them to go faster and faster. Children also enjoy doing a whispering version of it, where each group says their letter very quietly.

You can use the same activity for practising counting.

You can also follow up the activity by having the studentsd do the same thing in pairs. Student 1 says 'A', student 2 says 'B', student 1 says 'C' etc etc.


My grammar COMICS ......

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 7:58 pm
by Sally Olsen
There is a really good book in the series of Let''s Go that has the alphabet and a small boy or girl to represent each letter. There are poems that the children can learn for each character. We cut out the characters and put them on chopsticks so they could have a small puppet play and say their rhyme for the character, taking turns. It is based on Jazz Chants if you know about them and the children really enjoyed them.

You can spread the large letters around the floor and have the children jump from one to the other in the order of the alphabet, saying the letter as they land on it. Of course, you can have many chilren on the path at the same time - in a line.

You can get pictures that are outlined in the alphabet and the children have to follow the dots and the alphabet to make the picture. If you can't get them on line, you can just get colouring books with large pictures in them and copy the shape roughly with dots and put them in the order of the alphabet.

Each child can line up under the alphabet in order of the first letter of their first name or their last name. They can name off colours and put the colours in order according to the alphabet - you don't have to fill up the whole alphabet but there is always one child who enjoys finding such things in the dictionary. You can do the same thing for animals, furniture, transportion or any other topic you have covered.

Older children like a dictionary hunt to see who can find the word the quickest.

You can buy or make old fashioned blocks with six letters on each side and put them in order and then make words of them,

The students can find different fonts on the Internet or on their Word Program and print out the alphabet in their favourite font.

We made puppets for every letter of the alphabet and the children would line up in order and I shout, "I am an alligator. I am a bear." and so on.

There are a lot of rhymes for skipping that they might enjoy. I remember, "A my name is Alice and I like apples."

There is a game called Scattegories that has a die with letters on it and you have to answer questions with that letter - a piece of furntiure, the name of a car, the name of a girl, the name of an animal, a sport, a piece of clothing. They have a certain time to think of as many categories as they can and then call out what they have written down. If anyone else has the same thing, they don't get a point but if they are the only one, they count that as a point. You go around the group, letting them call out in turn so they get a chance to practice the words outloud.

It is fun to make a telephone list of all the students if you are allowed to do that and write the numbers in a small telephone book with a letter from the alphabet on each page or make a list of class names in alphabetical order and also assign them a number for their assignments in class. It somehow is easier to organize homework according to number - perhaps because we just never played enough games with the alphabet.

You can write secret notes by assigning letters a number and then translating them back to the alphabet. You can write the alphabet in lemon and then hold it up to the light to see the secret writing. You can write the alphabet on a white poster board with white candles and then paint over them one by one with blue paint to make them stand out.

You can make up the alphabet on coloured cards so the green team has to find only green letters and in order and then spread them around the room, divide the students into teams and let them find their colour of alphabet. They can't pick up the card though until the team leader says that they need that letter. You can have team leaders stand still and the rest rushing back and forth delivering letters in turn.

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:14 pm
by Brian
that hurts my eyes, Sally - how about some paragraphs??

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 5:58 pm
by Sally Olsen
Sorry, is that better? Cheers

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:46 am
by Brian
Much. Thanks! :D

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:29 pm
by David-sensei
You didn't say how old your students were, or how many kids are in the class, so I don't know if these activities will work for you, but here's what I use for a classroom full of kindergarten kids:

No Props Necessary

Head and Shoulders ABC Song - Touch your head, shoulders, knees, and toes in succession (over and over) as you sing the ABC song (or simply recite the alphabet). For X you can make an X with your body (arms and legs spread). For Y, feet together, arms up at angles, spin around as you say Y. Z, do a Zorro slash.

Alphabet Telephone - Students in a line, front to back. With your finger or some other object, draw a letter on the back of the last person in line. On your signal, that person draws the letter on the back of the person in front of him, and so on until it reaches the front. That student can either say the letter, write it on the board, run to slap the appropriate flashcard, etc.

Nim - Students in circle formation. Students go around saying the letters of the alphabet, but they can say up to three letters at a time. The student who says Z has to do a silly task. For more fun, designate other letters for this action as well.

Phonics Song - (to Farmer in the Dell) "The A says 'uh', the A says 'uh'. Every letter makes a sound, the A says 'uh'." Repeat with B says buh, C says cuh, etc.

Letter Construction Groups - Students get in groups and form letters with their bodies. Can precede this with a game of Clumps.

Activities with a Foam ABC Board

ABC Song, BINGO Style - Sing the song and point to each letter as it's said. Then take out pieces from the board. Wherever there's a hole, clap your hands (or make a funny sound effect/movement) instead of saying the word. You can just write the alphabet on the board and erase letters as you go as well. I like to do this several times, removing more letters each time. At the end, there's just A left on the board. We sing "A" and then finish with a round of applause.

ABC Tower - Stack the pieces one on top of the other until the tower of letters falls. In a large class, works well with students in a circle formation and the tower in the center.

Race to Replace - Two teams, letters handed out randomly. On start, they race to put the letters in order. A Pass-and-Race version has the teams in two lines and each team with its own ABC board. All the pieces are in a bag (one bag for each team). On start, the bag goes down the line, when it reaches the end, that student runs up to their board, takes a letter out of the bag and places it in the board as they say the letter. Then they sit down at the head of the line and pass the bag down again. First team to fill their board wins.

For smaller classes:

Recitation activities - Recite the alphabet as you

Jump rope
Pass a ball back and forth
Bounce a ball
Play pattycake

ABC Pictionary - Draw a large letter, then add onto the letter to create a picture (the letter A can be the tip of a pencil, O can become a bulls-eye, etc.). You can go in reverse also. Look at an object or a cutout from a magazine, and see what letters can be used as a base to draw that object.

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 6:19 pm
by Senorita Daniels
For the order of when to teach each letter, I would focus on the most common ones first. You can still do activities with all fo the letters, but why have lessons on the q before r or s if you're not going to see it in any words? Q, x, and z are the last letters I'd worry about.

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:37 am
by Brian

That 'Nim' game sounds great - I'm going to use it next time I have a beginner class. Could also use it for practising the numbers 1-20.

I think I once played a similar game in a pub - with three rows of matchsticks or something. The loser is the one who takes the last match.

Cheers for the great idea



Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 10:21 pm
by David-sensei
Brian wrote:David-sensei

That 'Nim' game sounds great - I'm going to use it next time I have a beginner class. Could also use it for practising the numbers 1-20.

I think I once played a similar game in a pub - with three rows of matchsticks or something. The loser is the one who takes the last match.

Cheers for the great idea


I can't take credit for the idea. Nim's an ancient game. The way you played it is the true version (multiple rows/heaps). In that version, you can play the game with any themed flashcards - just divide them into several rows and elicit them as students take them away. Wikipedia it for more info.

Teaching letters

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:14 am
by EnglishRaven
Perhaps this page (with links to lots of activities and resources) can help you out:


Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:22 am
by binu
I used to play an alpha-bet tennis game, where the class was divided into two halves.