Have you heard all the buzz lately about the science of reading? If you’re anything like me, I’m sure your ears perk up anytime you hear about new ways to help our students grow in reading skills! Today I’m going to chat about using the resources you already have to apply some science of reading basics and make teaching letter sounds in kindergarten a breeze!
What Is the Science of Reading?
The science of reading is an evidence-based style of teaching that incorporates insights and research on how we have discovered children learn to read.
In other words, the science of reading aims to help children learn to read and decode words in the most natural way.
Recently, there’s been a lot of buzz about the science of reading and how we should all be incorporating this style into our teaching.
I certainly agree with the efficacy of this research and I also know that we can likely use MUCH of what we already have to apply it!
Interested in all the details? Come along as we discuss how you can use the materials and curriculum you already have to teach letter sounds in kindergarten and focus on the science of reading!
Key Components of Teaching Letter Sounds In Kindergarten
Before starting to plan any lesson, I like to consider how I want my teaching to look overall. Based on research done on the science of reading, we know a few things about how children learn letter sounds best. In my classroom, I ensure my phonics lessons incorporate these science based teaching methods including:
- Hands-On Learning Activities
- Instruction Followed By Practice
- Reading In Action (How letter sounds are used in reading and spelling.)
Using these 3 components, you can be sure that you’re setting your kiddos up for success and helping them learn to read in a way that will make sense and present the most opportunity for growth.
Hands-On Learning Materials For Letter Sounds
In kindergarten, SO much of our learning is deeply rooted in hands-on activities. Young children need to be provided with tactile materials and active learning opportunities to really make the lessons “stick”. In my room, you’ll find no shortage of manipulatives and materials! We use a lot of hands-on learning centers and games throughout the year to support tactile learning.
In kindergarten, we need to focus on letter identification as well as letter sounds. When first learning to identify letters, you might want to introduce some fun games in your classroom. We use games like roll and write, roll and read, BINGO, and Feed Me. These games are highly engaging to my students and provide an easy way to learn letters and letter sounds.
Another great option for hands-on learning of letter sounds is the use of manipulatives. I think most teachers link manipulatives to math, but they are so great for literacy activities too! We use snap cubes, pattern blocks, pom-poms, mini erasers, BINGO chips, and more in my room! When it comes to kindergarteners, variety makes all the difference in keeping their attention, so don’t be afraid to try new things!
Instruction & Practice For Letter Sounds
The next step in adopting a science of reading style approach in your room is thinking about how you will instruct students and then allow for some targeted practice. My absolute favorite way to do this in kindergarten is with Google Slides. If you aren’t using them yet, you’ll love how simple and easy they make teaching letter sounds!
To get started, I project some slides from my Alphabet Practice Bundle for my small group and play the instructional video. Since these slides are aligned to work with “letter of the week”, you’ll find there are a total of 5 videos, one for each day. After the video, you can run through a few activities of your choosing as an example.
I love using lessons from my Alphabet Practice Bundle because they are so versatile. While “letter of the week” isn’t necessarily a component of the science of reading, you can easily adapt these slides to be used in your lessons!
To make these slides align with the science of reading principles, I pick up the pace a bit, and instead of focusing on just one letter per day, we use slides from multiple letters each day. I display the slides for my students, play the video and then run through some of the activities that are focused on letter sounds. Once I’ve provided a demonstration, students can work on completing the activities on their own. Using Google Slides for this makes it simple for everyone to get plenty of no-prep practice with learning letters and their sounds!
Showing Letter Sounds In Action Through Reading & Spelling
Finally, you want to provide your kiddos with some real-life examples of how letter sounds apply to reading and spelling!
The obvious way to do this is through reading in your small groups while focusing on the letter sounds you are currently working on. This is a crucial step in learning to read as it helps students see exactly how the letter sounds they are learning are used in real life.
In my classroom, we use Day 5 of my Alphabet Practice Activities for this. On day 5, the children watch a video and then work on reading words for each letter sound. There are also some beginning sound sorting activities as well to provide some added practice on working with multiple letter sounds.
I love using Google Slides for this because we can use them in whole group instruction by projecting them on the board, in small groups, and in technology centers. These activities also make great homework too! Just share the link with parents for a great at-home learning activity.
Putting It All Together
When you combine all three of these practices you create a learning environment that makes mastering letter sounds a snap!
Starting out with hands-on activities to familiarize children with letters and letter sounds will lay the foundation for success.
Then moving on to presentation and practice with your students helps them dive into the hard work of learning letter sounds.
And finally, showing letter sounds in action through reading and spelling activities brings your lesson full circle by showing real-life applicability.
This method for teaching letter sounds is my favorite and provides great results in my classroom! The best part is that I can use a variety of materials I already have!
I also love that I can support students in a way that promotes deeper thinking and rapid growth in reading skillsets.
Letter Sounds Activities For Your Classroom
Ready to get started?! I hope these ideas have inspired you to take a look at your teaching styles and see how you can apply some of the principles and practices from the science of reading research to your lessons. If you want to try out the Alphabet Practice Google Slides Activities in your room, I have a special FREEBIE just for you!
Simply enter your information below to be added to my email list and you’ll receive the Letter of the Week Google Slides Activities for M, absolutely FREE! You’ll be able to test out the videos, letter identification activities, letter sounds activities, and reading activities for free! Grab yours and get started with teaching letter sounds today!
Ready to use these letter identification and letter sounds activities in your classroom? Grab the Bundle and you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips.
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