Letter recognition activities and alphabet intervention ideas for kindergarten students. This blog post will help to provide ideas to help your students with letter names and give you a few ideas on how to teach letter sounds to struggling students.
Getting Started with Letter Recognition Activities
Yes, it starts with an assessment! The very first step in targeting your instruction is knowing where your starting point is. We must know what our young students already know about the letters of the alphabet to know what the next steps are for our alphabet instruction.
With kindergarten, it would be really difficult to have usable data since essentially there are 85 questions you need to ask JUST for letter/sound recognition (26 capital letters, 28 lowercase letters [includes a book “a” and a book “g”], and 31 sounds [consonant and short/long vowels]). Quite frankly, there are not enough sticky notes in the world for me to keep track of that information for 20-25 students. This is why I love ESGI. It keeps track of everything for you AND you have a ton of usable data that you can turn into action.
You can grab a 60 day free trial of ESGI by clicking: ESGI FREE TRIAL This link will also give you a nice discount if you decide to purchase it. THE best part of the free trial… you don’t need to put your credit card in.
You can learn more about ESGI by watching this video or reading this blog post: ESGI: Embracing Assessments… PSST You Will LOVE THEM!
Let me show you one of my favorite reports from ESGI. It is this parent letter and it is a great way to keep parents informed! I sent these home just about every 2 weeks for most of my class, but weekly for my intervention students. This kept parents in the know. This report shows the lowercase letters, uppercase letters, lowercase sounds, and sight words. However, you can customize the report.
But let’s talk about your intervention students for a minute.
Quick story: When The Perfect Son was in kindergarten, I was not a teacher yet. I met with his teacher and she told me, “Matt is doing well with reading, but he needs to work on comprehension. Can you work on that at home?” What did I say? “Sure.” I said “sure” because I was too embarrassed to tell her that I did not know what that looked like.
Every time I tell that story at conferences I give, I tear up. I tear up because I think about all of those parents out there who say, “sure” but have no idea how to help their child OR they do things like drill and kill. Let’s help our parents out.
For my intervention students, I ask the parents to come in so I can show them some alphabet activities they can do with their child that is FUN! Then I give the parents these resources and we practice them in different ways with their child.
These are activities are not just letter cards, they are fun, hands-on activities. After all, we know that engagement is the best way for young learners to learn their alphabet letters. So we include some fun alphabet games too!
Resist the urge to just send these home with your student in their backpack. They will be found 2 weeks later with an old smelly banana peel. (Voice of experience).
Letter Knowledge and Recognition Activities
Once you know where to begin with each student, based on their knowledge of the letters from the assessments, it’s so much easier to help them learn the letters with activities that can be customized just for their needs!
Below, I’ve included lots of engaging and fun activities to help you reinforce letters and learning. This is SO important! Don’t just have them sort or write, make sure they say the letter name and sound each time. “H, hat, /h/.”
Have a look at this list of some of my favorite alphabet activities to make learning fun and effective. These activities are great ideas for small-group learning and literacy centers.
#1: Magnet Activities
Using magnetic letters is a great tactile way for students to gain experience with letters. These are 3 dimensional and allow for more connections. Have students work with the letters that they need to learn next. The picture below shows a student who has just about mastered their letter identification and sounds. So the student had more letters to replace.
#2: Path of Motion Practice
The student writes the letter while repeating, “H, hat, /h/.” Then I have them circle the one they felt was the best. This is a fun way for students to strengthen their fine motor skills while learning letter formation.
#3: Phonics Board Games for Kindergarten and 1st Grade
These phonics board games for kindergarten and first grade are based on the Science of Reading. This set of phonics games allows students to practice both letter sounds and various phonics skills. Because they’re non-seasonal, students can play these board games throughout the entire year, too.
The All Aboard phonics game to practice letter recognition can be found here:
#4: Roll, Say, Keep Games
Regardless of your student’s level, word list, or the reading series you’re using, these sight word and ABC games will be just what you need. This simple game will allow students to practice high-frequency words in a fun and easy way. You can easily edit the words as your students make progress.
I just love the gnomes in this game! Check it out here:
#5: Play Dough Mats
With play dough letter mats, small hands quickly develop their fine motor skills as they learn the letter names! Take a look at some helpful ways to use these mats for letter recognition by clicking here!
Here is the resource filled with play dough mats for letters, numbers, sight words, shapes, and more:
#6: Handwriting Practice and Spelling Game
This game can be used for letter identification, sight word identification, or sight word spelling; all while students practice letter formation. It’s editable, so you can add your own words as students make progress.
Down on the Farm is a perfect beginning-of-the-year board game! You can find it here:
#7: Clean Sweep Board Games
Check out this video to see how this game is played! Your kindergarten friends will have so much fun!
There are 4 alphabet board games included in this set:
#8: Alphabet Songs and Videos
One of the most fun alphabet activities for letter learning is singing alphabet songs! Kids retain information learned through singing and overall, learning is easier with singing and rhyming, clapping hands, and seeing the letters visually.
Here is my hands-down favorite alphabet song:
I put together a list of the best alphabet songs. You can find that list, by clicking HERE!
#9 Intervention Letter Activities
This resource was born out of necessity. Wouldn’t it be magical if all of your students in your intervention group had the same needs when it comes to letter recognition skills?
Real world… that never happens.
However, I wanted my students to all do the same activity as a warm-up, but with the letters THEY needed.
You can see how this fun activity works in this quick video.
Once my students understood the tasks, I was able to quickly find a volunteer to work with them to complete these tasks. The students don’t need me to guide them once they know what to do, BUT they DID need someone there to support them as they said, “N, nut, /n/” every time they touched a letter.
Where did I get volunteers? I borrowed a few 4th-grade buddies to work with them each day for 15 mins. Then I could do other tasks with my intervention students during my small group time.
You can find this resource by clinking: Intervention THE BUNDLE ~ Editable! Help Me! Help You!
That link includes a packet for letter recognition activities (3 focus letters at a time), sight word recognition (3 sight word at a time), and big sight word recognition (6 sight words at a time). You can also just get them individually. You can get a FREE sample of this letter intervention at the end of this blog post.
You can read more about sight word interventions by clicking: Sight Word Interventions
#10 Sensory Bins Ideas and Activities
Sensory bins make it easy to have a variety of letter identification activities all at one station. They are a great way to provide hands-on practice to help kids remember those letters quickly! Here are a few manipulatives that are perfect for fine motor activities:
- Have a Letter Hunt game in your sensory bin (for example, a bin with rice, with letters hidden)
- Use shaving cream to draw letters with their fingers
- Use Wiki sticks to make a list of letters
#11: Pocket Chart Learning
Kids love to play with pocket charts! Having them identify a focus letter, jumping up to touch or place a letter in the chart is a great resource for young children who are your kinesthetic learners.
I have this hide-and-seek pocket chart game that I love using when I have just a few minutes before specials or at the end of the day.
Check out the year-long bundle of these hide and seek pocket chart games:
#12: Read to me Alphabet Books
These fun books provide an extra practice activity when you are teaching letter recognition. Each book is designed around a single letter of the alphabet.
We also added a QR code to the cover of the book. In this way, the child can scan the book and it is read to them. They can even take the book home.
Not only will this letter recognition activity help them with phonics skills, but the letter books will also help build their home classroom library as well.
This is a video for the CVC version, but it will give you an idea of how they work.
#13 Nonseasonal Center Cards
We want student learning to be permanent, so centers are a great opportunity to practice and overlearn! These non-seasonal center cards can be used at any time throughout the year.
These kindergarten friends are working on putting the alphabet cards in alphabetical order.
You can find these centers here:
If you need even MORE ideas to help your students with letter-sound correspondence and letter recognition, take a look!
Alphabet Knowledge FREE FILE
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