Keep reading for a FREE alphabet chart printable & a set of FREE alphabet flashcards that you can use to teach your little one letter names & sounds. These freebies can be used in SO many ways while working with your preschool, pre-k, & kindergarten littles.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ALPHABET
My mom loves to tell me that I knew my ABCs when I was only 18 months old. That might sound impressive, but back then, parents thought having their kids memorize the Alphabet Song meant they knew their ABCs.
Today, preschool parents & teachers understand that our little ones need to do WAY MORE than just memorize the alphabet to really “know” their ABCs.
We want our students to be able to:
- say the name of each letter (out of order)
- say the sound each letter represents
- recognize words that begin with each letter sound
That’s a lot more than memorizing a song!
The more we can help our little ones practice these phonemic awareness & phonics skills, the better off they’ll be when starting school.
Once letter names & sounds are mastered, students will be able to use that information to blend sounds together to read words…and that’s exactly what we want!
ADVICE ON HOW TO TEACH LETTER SOUNDS
To help you work with your little ones on letter names & sounds, I have two FREE resources for you! Print these out and use them with your preschoolers or kindergarteners, and you’ll be setting them up for success with reading.
And just a few words of advice for you:
When you’re choosing activities to teach letter sounds, make sure to choose resources that use the most common sound represented by that letter.
Many letters represent more than one sound, such as Letter Gg, which can represent /g/ as in gorilla and /j/ as in giraffe. In order to avoid confusion, stick with activities that use the most common sound (they’ll learn the other sounds as they get older).
Here are some of the biggest culprits to keep an eye on when working with your little ones:
- Letter Cc represents /k/ as in cat (not /s/ as in city)
- Letter Gg represents /g/ as in gorilla (not /j/ as in giraffe)
- Avoid resources that use digraphs (ex: Shark starts with /sh/ not /s/ and should not be included with Letter Ss.)
- Avoid resources that include long vowels (ex: Letter Aa represents /a/ as in apple, not /a/ as in acorn. They’ll learn that later on in school.)
- Xylophone begins with the /z/ sound, not the /ks/ sound that we associate with Letter Xx. Therefore, it should never be used to teach Letter Xx.
- Avoid resources that use R-controlled vowels (ex: Orange should not be used for Letter Oo since it does not make the short o sound. Look for words like octopus and otter.)
- Avoid resources that use blends. For example, it’s more difficult to hear the /g/ sound in grapes since gr- is a blend. Stick with purer sounds if possible.
I’ve carefully chosen the pictures in these free alphabet resources so you can be sure you’re teaching your little ones correctly from the start!
FREE ALPHABET CHART
The first tool I have for you is a FREE Alphabet Chart. This colorful chart includes the uppercase letter, lowercase letter, and picture for the beginning sound each letter represents.
(*The only exception is Letter Xx. Since there are no words in the English language that begin with the /ks/ sound, I chose “fox” to represent the /ks/ sound at the end of the word.)
This chart is great because you can print it and have it available for students to reference while working at their centers, especially the writing center. It can also be incorporated into other literacy centers or table-time activities in lots of different ways:
- Print two copies of the chart & cut both of them out. Use the cards to play Memory or Go Fish.
- Find toys or objects around the room that start with each sound.
- Cover up a letter and have students name the hidden letter and its sound.
- Pick two letters and have students talk about how they’re related. For example, if you picked “P” and “T,” students might say both penguins and turtles swim in water.
- Put the entire chart in a baking sheet and cover it with sand or salt. Have students use a paintbrush to brush away the sand or salt and “discover” one of the letters. Then have them say that letter’s name & sound.
- Print two copies of the chart. Cut out one of the copies & have students match up the letters to the other chart. You can add the letters to a sensory bin like we did to make it more engaging.
- Match any letters you have to the chart. These are our favorite letters because they include both uppercase & lowercase letters, and I love that the vowels are in red.
FREE ALPHABET FLASHCARDS
The second tool for you to help your little ones are these Free Alphabet Flashcards. These printable cards include the uppercase letter, lowercase letter, and picture for the beginning sound each letter represents.
Although these are technically “flashcards,” I don’t suggest using them in a traditional way. There’s no need to quiz your little ones or drill them each day. That’s not what these are for!
What you can do is use these cards to play different games, sing songs, and make learning FUN!
Some ideas you might want to try:
- ABC scavenger hunt
- Adding the cards to a sensory bin
- Finding toys or objects around the room that start with each sound
- Making each letter out of play dough
- Tracing the letters with a dry-erase marker (laminate them first, or put them into a plastic sheet-protector)
- Matching letters to these cards
But my FAVORITE way to use these cards is with a song!
These cards are specifically designed to go along with Jack Hartmann’s song “Learning Letter Sounds Version 2” from You Tube.
We sing this song & use these flashcards each week in my preschool enrichment class. My students LOVE it, and they’ve learned so many letter sounds this way!
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