August 19, 2016

Learning the Alphabet Through Movement - Physical Phonics {part 1}

When students come to us as Kindergarteners, many of them do not know their alphabet or even the letters in their name. Teaching the alphabet and letter sounds are the building blocks of teaching children how to read.  Research shows that using a multi-sensory approach to learning, can help students learn the information in multiple ways and retain the information better. I created Physical Phonics to do just that! Physical Phonics helps meet the needs of all of your students, no matter which way they learn best. I have found that students are not only more engaged when they use Physical Phonics, but they also retain the information and learn their alphabet and sounds quicker. 
Here's a little preview of what is included in my Physical Phonics Alphabet set. 
(turn your sound on)
One of the most important things I keep in mind when introducing the alphabet to students, is to show them proper letter formation. When creating this new set, I made sure to use Kindergarten appropriate fonts and easy to recognize pictures. 

Below are the teacher direction cards. You will use these cards to teach your students the letter and the letter sound all while incorporating movement. This helps the brain learn through a variety of learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic movement. 
Lesson Example:
1. Say the Sound: First I show the students the card and tell them the sound the letter makes. We say the sound 3 times. I do this because learning sounds is the most important thing to help them become readers and I tell them the letter is how we show that sound. The picture of the little kid at the bottom of the card, lets students know that is what they will say.  
     Remember:When you say the letter sounds, make sure to say them quickly and not add the schwa (uh) sound at the end. B says /b/ not /buh/, make sure that you're not dropping your jaw and accidentally adding the UH sound at the end. If you do, then when students start to write they'll want to add the letter u to many words. 

2. Say the Picture Clue: Then I will tell them the picture clue and how we hear that sound at the beginning of that word.  EX: alligator begins with the sound /a/ I will show them the hand motions we will do to help us remember the sounds. Then we'll practice and say the sound 3 times, then name the pictures EX: /a/ /a/ /a/ alligator  I will then give the class a list of a few more words that begin with that sound and see if they can come up with any. 

3. Say the Letter: Last I will show tell them the letter name at the top of the card. I show them how to write that letter on my white board. They practice writing the letter in the air a few times. 
Finally you are ready to put it all together and practice the sound again. Say the sound 3 times, say the picture clue, then the letter.   EX: /c/ /c/ /c/   car   C  (say all this while pretending to drive)

I created instructional videos that you can use to learn all of the movements, but the students really enjoy watching the video and playing along. The video is in alphabetical order, so if you teach the letters in a different order, you can quickly just scroll to the letter you are teaching that day.  There are 2 videos. The 1st is the alphabet with sort vowels, the 2nd is just the short and long vowel sounds. You can these videos with students in whole group, small group, or let them watch it during center time on your computer to give them extra practice.
These ABC charts can be printed as is or blown up into poster size and will be a helpful reminder for your students. One set has the directions on it as a reminder for you, parent volunteer, or substitute.  These would be great to hang up at your writing center, throw in centers for your students to use as a reference, or keep these at your small group table. 
These students strips will be a great resource for your students. Here are a few ways to use them.
1. "Point to the letter ____"
2.  What is the letter after ____ (or before)
3. "Point to the sound ____"
4. Use with the Dr. Jean song "Letter Tales" and have students say the names of these pictures instead of the song. "a for alligator /a/ /a/ /a/, b for bed /b/ /b/ /b/...
I created a small set of just the picture cards as well. These are great to throw in centers, use in your small group, or send some home with students to get extra practice. Students could play memory with these cards and the alphabet cards below, match a magnetic letter to the correct picture, or use a wipe off board to write down the beginning sound they hear.
Teachers can never haver enough letter cards either!
Besides learning the name and sounds of the letters, students also need a lot of practicing writing their letters. I wanted to create a writing book that is sturdy enough to last for weeks as you teach the alphabet. 
I also know how much time teachers spend on their classroom, so I wanted to make this book as easy as possible to put together.  Simply print the pages double sided, fold, attach the cover page & staple! I used card stock to make the cover sturdier. 
Here's what the inside of the book looks like. Each page has the picture clue, spaces for students to trace the letters, and then space for them to practice writing the letters on their own. If you want to differentiate this activity, you can have your students draw more pictures that start with that same beginning sound in the empty space on the top. Use these in centers, during writing time, or while you are teaching them the new sound. 
This Physical Phonics set has been in the works for a long time, so I'm thrilled to have it done. I hope you really find that your students learn and retain their alphabet and letter sounds more now that you have incorporated some moment. You can find this Physical Phonics bundle on TPT here

I have also created Physical Phonics Blends & Digraphs set for later on in the year and a Physical Phonics Word Work Bundle too. 

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