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  • Becky Carlisle Cothern

Alphabet Knowledge: Activities for Distinguishing letters

This is the second of a three part series on developing alphabet knowledge in preschool and kindergarten. Research (Reutzel 2015) shows that students develop alphabet knowledge in three areas 1. Identifying the upper and lowercase letter 2. searching for and distinguishing the letter in text 3. producing the letter in written form. As I look at all three areas I will share with you resources and ideas I have that can benefit you and your students in the classroom.

Alphabet knowledge has long been one of the most consistent and strongest predictors of reading success (NELP 2008). Research also shows that alphabet knowledge is most effective when taught in short, repeated, explicit lessons (Jones and Reutzel 2015). These alphabet lessons need to be developmentally appropriate with high repetition and play-based learning objectives (Neuman 2006). When the right components are in place fluency of alphabet knowledge is achieved and ALL students reach a high level of success. The second component for mastering alphabet knowledge is searching for the letter. Distinguishing a given letter from other alphabet letters improves alphabet knowledge as students learn the vital components (formation, directionality, etc.) of each letter. Below you will find ideas and resources to plan activities and teach lessons that promote alphabet knowledge: Distinguishing Letters.

Students search for alphabet letters and mark the given letter using a bingo dotter. Students can search for upper or lowercase letters. Each letter of the alphabet is included on each sheet so you can target whatever letter(s) students are focusing on. The themed sheets can be used throughout the school year to add engagement and interest to students.

Students can practice identifying, searching, and producing any letter of the alphabet in a single worksheet. Students will write the upper and lowercase letter, circle the letter multiple times within a box of letters, and write words that begin with the targeted letter.

3. Searching using the Alphabet Activity Bundle:

This bundle includes so many alphabet knowledge skills for each letter of the alphabet. Specific to distinguishing letters students can make alphabet goggles that they can wear as they search the classroom, color a hidden picture as they search for and color each focus letter, and find and cover each focus letter on the page.

4. Hunting for letters in ABC Nursery Rhymes:

These alphabet nursery rhymes are specifically chosen to target each letter of the alphabet. Students will use the nursery rhymes, students sheets, and small group games to build alphabet knowledge as they identify, search, and produce each letter.

This FREEBIE is so easy to use simply print, cut, laminate, and write the target letter on the magnifying glass. Students will use the magnifying glass to search for the focus letter around the classroom. Text is all around them, and searching the classroom adds another level of interest beyond searching on paper. ENJOY!!!

Use any of these 5 products to help build alphabet knowledge in your students as they search for and distinguish each letter of the alphabet. You can find the first part of this alphabet series for additional ideas and resources on my blog, "Alphabet Knowledge: Identifying Letters".

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